Six Handstand transitions for Yoga – Downward Dog to Forward Fold

It feels great to float from downward dog to forward fold whilst practising Yoga, which is why I created this short video to give you some exercises to work on.

As with most movements – a combination of strength and flexibility is required. If you have less of one, you will need more of the other to make up the difference.

People with great shoulder mobility and forward fold will be able to position their weight nicely over their hands without relying so much on strength, and people with very strong shoulders will be able to use brute force to support their bodyweight without relying so much on form or alignment. 

Any time your arms leave the vertical position and lean forward (planching forward) then shoulder strength will be required to support that lean.

Check out my other blog posts for more tutorials and articles. 

Additional stretching exercises will help increase the shoulder mobility and make all Handstands easier.

Additional gymnastic conditioning such as GMB will help overall movement ability

A free 20 minute handstand tutorial is available from the homepage

Resistance bands, parallettes and other bodyweight fitness equipment can be found at Rubber Banditz

Ben Lowrey Handstand Classes (Bristol U.K.) + national workshops can be found here

Posted in Blog Article, Handstands, Yoga Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Tucked Handstand. Bum out? – or not 

A tucked handstand is easier in some ways because the bodyweight is lower and so it’s easier to balance. 

People with good shoulder mobility will find it easier to stick their bum out because open shoulders are a part of the overall back bend. 

People with restricted shoulder mobility will find that their closed shoulders spoil the back bend and so they’ll find it difficult to stick their bum out and balance in a tucked handstand. 

If they are strong enough, they will be able to lean forward and support their bodyweight but it will feel like a struggle, if they are not strong enough then the tuck simple won’t be possible.

These people will find a regular straight Handstand easier to balance, but it won’t be entirely straight because the closed shoulders will cause a slight back bend to compensate, but it will feel easier than the tuck. 

When the arms are vertical to the ground the bodyweight can rest on the arms with very little effort.

Whenever your arms are leaning forward you are then relying on shoulder strength to support your bodyweight. Plus the sensation of leaning forward into the wrists may feel uncomfortable unless you have good wrist mobility.

Your body will adapt to handstanding the more you practise it. 

Additional stretching exercises will help increase the shoulder mobility and make all Handstands easier.

Additional gymnastic conditioning such as GMB will help overall movement ability

A free 20 minute handstand tutorial is available from the homepage

Resistance bands, parallettes and other bodyweight fitness equipment can be found at Rubber Banditz

Ben Lowrey Handstand Classes (Bristol U.K.) + national workshops can be found here

Posted in Handstands, Yoga Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

How to do Forearm Stand in 10 easy steps. Video Tutorial. 

Would you like more confidence in your forearm Stand? Do you get nervous or opt-out of Forearm Stand when you get to the Inversion part of your Yoga class? If so… this short video could be helpful for you!

Be sure to check out the Luxury Strength + Inversions Worlshop + Spa on 11th March. 

1) I highly recommend you practise near a wall. You could ask a friend to spot you but the wall is very reliable and always available!

2) Don’t be in any rush. It’s ok to just get comfortable with your weight in your forearms at first (like a downward dog but in forearms, bum in the air, legs straight), and then practise lifting one leg at a time off the floor. (practise both sides). 

3) Once you feel comfortable lifting legs, then start to hop. Keep the legs nice and straight and toes pointed. Hop from one foot to another.

4) Eventually it will feel natural to hop all the way up so that one or both feet touches the wall. It’s ok to have both legs together or stay in splits, either is fine.

5) Get comfortable just staying in the Inversion, breath, find some calm and stillness. This will help your Strength, endurance, and mental focus. 

6) Once you feel confident in the Inversion try bending your knees so the tips of your toes slide down the wall closer to your head and to the ground. This is a Scorpion pose. 

7) Once you are comfortable looking between your hands (at the wall), try tucking your head through so you’re now looking towards your bellbutton. This will help stretch your shoulders and triceps open which is useful for all inversions including handstand. Be sure to push your chest through away from your hands as far as you. This will feel like a nice stretch. 

8) You are now ready to move away from the wall. (It’s ok to have a friend spot you). If you fall to far whilst practising  just lift one elbow and it will twist you out sideways so you can land on your feet like a cat without any problems.

9) Repeat the same steps you did against the wall by lifting one leg at a time, then start to hop from one foot to the other until you eventually find some balance in splits. (Splits is easier than having feet together.)

10) Once you are confident balancing without a wall or a spotter, try bending both knees in splits (sometimes called Stag, or Attitude, legs are split front and back but knees are bent.) let one leg fall back so the knee bends and the foot comes towards your head, let the knee of your other leg tuck towards your tummy, keep your feet and toes pointed. Now the extra step is to tuck your head through so your looking towards your belly button!


thanks for reading this article.

Feel welcome to attend my handstand and Inversion classes in Bristol United Kingdom, or check out the free 20 minute video tutorial on 

Ben Lowrey

Posted in Yoga Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Why do Pole Dancers love learning Handstands?

Handstands are addictive… really addictive. In some ways they are the holy grail of party tricks, the trophy move.

For a start, they can not be blagged or faked, there’s no easy version.. the handstand is either happening.. or it’s not.

Just like any accomplishment, handstands are gratifying because they are an outward demonstration of the huge amounts of patience + persistence + dedication + consistency that were required to accomplish them.

“Is it all about core strength?”

No. It’s true that learning to engage the core muscles will help your body be tense which will help the stability of the handstand. But really this amounts to nothing more than squeezing your abs and your bum and pushing really hard through your shoulders.

The whole body needs to be under tension. That means hips, legs, feet, glutes, shoulders, abs, there’s nothing particularly special about the core.

“What’s the secret to being able to handstand?”

In a nutshell: Squeeze everything and push as hard as you can.

The slightly longer answer is:

1) A confident + controlled entry.

2) Alignment

3) Body tension

4) Shoulder strength + stability

5) Balance

(If you haven’t seen my free 20 minute handstand tutorial video, anybody who is on my workshop newsletter can view it.

There’s 2 types of people who find handstand easier:

1) Really strong people, and 2) really flexible people.. but the flexible people find it easiest.

Check out these resistance bands which can be used to progress Strength + Flexibility

Handstands can be perfectly inserted into a Pole or Yoga routine.

Pole dancers love to transition on and off of the pole via handstand. It demonstrates another dimension of strength + control + body mastery beyond just being on the pole. A solid handstand can give you an edge over other competitors in a competition, or make you stand out when performing.

Yoga people love handstands because it is a great challenge to incorporate into one’s own practise and is a bench mark of body mastery, strength, control, and balance.

Flexibility is the most common limiting factor… not strength. 

If you have enough shoulder mobility to get your arms straight in the air with your arms + spine straight in one continuous line, you will find handstand easier.

If you shoulders do not open that far, it requires a lot of strength to hold your bodyweight without that straight alignment. Some people ARE strong enough to do that (think buff weight lifters, crossfiters) but they fatigue quickly. On the other hand, super flexible people can easily position and align themselves without needing much strength.

On the other hand, people with more strength have more leeway to dip and save the handstand than a weaker person.

If you would like to book a 90 minute handstand workshop for your Pole, Fitness, or Yoga studio, please get in touch.

Ben Lowrey

Bristol, United Kingdom


I hope to see you soon, either in my weekly Bristol classes, or at a Workshop near you.

Posted in Acrobatics, Blog Article, Circus, Handstands Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,

Podcast Ep.7 – Hannah Finn – Contortionist – Flexibility Explained


Facebook: contortioncoach

Instagram: Hannah Finn

Workshops: BookWhen

Hannah Finn has been doing contortion and other circus arts  for eleven years.  She came into circus arts with a strong background in acting and theater and brought that into her circus discipline. She started out doing circus in Los Angeles at Le Studio (now Le Petit Cirque), at a young age . She has trained and performed all types of circus acts including hand to hand, duo trapeze, duo contortion, and contortion on the trapeze, but her main specialty is contortion.  Shortly after she began doing circus, the world renowned ‘Steben twins’ ( Cirque du Soleils “O” and “Saltimbanco”), took a notice in her, and saw her passion, dedication and talent shine through. The Steben twins took Hannah on as their protégé and began to train her further in trapeze and contortion, becoming her mentors, and long time trainers. While training with the Steben twins Hannah began performing for various shows, and corporate events all over the Los Angeles area, and expanded into other parts of the United States. As she became more esteemed, Hannah got selected to attend the extremely prestigious summer program at Ecole Nationale De Cirque, in Montreal. After coming home from the program she continued performing and extended her presence internationally,  teaching and performing all over the world. Hannah is known for her professionalism, experience in the industry, high level skill set, and an ability to adapt to any event. Her acting background allows Hannah to fit her routines to the emotional needs of any event.

Hannah continued to perfect her art of contortion but at the same time, decided to combine her passion for circus with a University level education (something that no one in the United States had ever done before, to this extent). She graduated from the University of Redlands in December of 2015 with a Bachelors Degree in: Creating and Producing Emotive Works of Contemporary Circus and Theater. By being a part of the Johnston program at the University of Redlands,  Hannah was able to create an interdisciplinary education pulling from different fields of study to explore the multi faceted world of building a show from the ground up, and everything that entails. The details of her study included learning the  business side of creating her own performance company, the theory and psychological side of translating emotion through the body by using circus arts and other expressive movement, the behind the scenes theatrical side of directing, stage managing, lighting design and producing, and continuing to improve her skill level in circus arts. Hannah was also able to alter her courses to infuse circus into her studies.  All of this makes Hannah a key asset for circus companies by knowing not only how to direct,stage manage, and light for theater but also how to do it for the circus world, and what that demands.  In both her behind the scenes, and performing endeavors Hannah stands out with her unique outlook on circus arts, unique movement style, and capabilities as a highly skilled contortionist, director,and creator.



What makes Hannah Finn so special is her unique performance style, capabilities and philosophy.  Hannah’s acts are derived from raw emotions that we all experience, sometimes a story, or sometimes just a feeling.  Hannah graduated with a Bachelors degree from the University of Redlands where she spent her time at school studying the intense and mystifying connection between the moving performer and audience member; what makes the audience feel emotion, and how to deliver that through the body.  With her studies to back up her passion to inspire emotion in others; Hannah is able to deliver these emotions to the audience in such a real way that it stirs intense affect in them.  Hannah hopes to create a circus company that explores this deep subconscious understanding between movement and emotion and how it connects with the audience.  To achieve this she has specialized in such topics as dance therapy, movement theory, Jungian psychology, affect theory in terms of performance and much more.  She plans to use circus, dance and theater along with a variety of multimedia apparati to achieve her goal of creating shows all around the world.  Hannah stands out with her integration of the moving body and the mind, innovative ideas and creations.


Image processed by CodeCarvings Piczard ### FREE Community Edition ### on 2013-07-28 02:28:25Z | |

Hannah Finn contortionist you may also like_


EVOL: University of Redlands Circus Collective

In April of 2014 Hannah created the Circus Collective, a performance collective at the University of Redlands.  This collective is one of the only student run circus performance clubs at a University, in the United States.  In October of 2013 Hannah auditioned students from her University and chose the ones that had potential.  With these students she created a schedule, training regimen, and eventually a show.  Hannah trained these students for four hours a day everyday for months until she achieved her goal of producing and directing her first circus show. Not only did Hannah direct and produce the show, but she also choreographed, stage managed and starred in it.  The show beautifully articulated the many different ways that love can be expressed. She used her studies on emotion and movement,  costuming, lighting, sound and more to achieve this feat. The show was the first of many that Hannah hopes to create.  If you would like see the show, contact Hannah through the contact form.


Shadow: Circomedia Spring Project

Hannah created her second piece at Circomedia in Bristol, England. She was given the task of creating an act and wanted to expand her experience as a director.  As in her last show, Hannah chose two performers and coached them in emotional exercises as well as worked on choreography. She dedicated an extreme amount of time and effort into her project, delving deep into research and development and utilizing her studies at University, in the performance. She used psychological movement cues to help the audience understand the story and connect with it. This act was a dance and physical theater piece about oppression of the self, specifically in the way of self deprecating body shaming. Hannah drew from influences such as “Strange Fruit” choreographed by Pearl Primus and Cafe Muller choreographed by Pina Bausch.  Hannah directed, stage managed, and designed the lighting for this performance. She also used LED technology in the performers costume to emphasize the emotions being felt in different body parts.

0c07155842d55aaae5598e71aeb736b8 50527a5cf821d215065154984a7dff58


Facebook: contortioncoach

Instagram: Hannah Finn

Workshops: BookWhen

Hannah Finn contortionist you may also like_

Posted in Contortion, Flexibility, Podcast Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Shoulder + Spine + Hip Alignment for Handstand

How to Do a Handstand Tutorial. Correct Form. Online Video • Tutorials • Podcast • Acrobatics • Movement • Handstands • Flexibility • Yoga • Circus • Gymnastics • Pole

I just wanted to show you a diagram I drew which shows different kinds of handstand posture.
Pay particular attention to positions 1 & 6.

How to Do a Handstand Tutorial. Correct Form. Online Video • Tutorials • Podcast • Acrobatics • Movement • Handstands • Flexibility • Yoga • Circus • Gymnastics • Pole

Most people find themselves in position 6 instead of position 1 because limited shoulder mobility means their shoulders don’t open fully. This is why stretching the shoulders regularly can help us get to position 1.

Also notice in position 8 it’s possible to hold a tuck with the back and arms in straight alignment but it means leaning into the wrists and requires a lot of shoulder strength. Position 9 however is more easier on the wrists & shoulders but requires the bum to stick out with a slight back bend to counterbalance the tucked legs.

Anyway. Spend a bit of time thinking about each one and I can help you find your alignment when you come to class.

Consider getting some of these Resistance Bands which can be used to help progress your Strength + Flexibility

How to Do a Handstand Tutorial. Correct Form. Online Video • Tutorials • Podcast • Acrobatics • Movement • Handstands • Flexibility • Yoga • Circus • Gymnastics • Pole

An example of position 9 where the arms are vertical but the bum sticks out with a slight back bend to counterbalance the legs.

For more coaching on correct technique consider looking at the GMB videos.

For a free 20 minute handstand tutorial visit

Posted in Blog Article, Handstands

Handstand: 5 tips for learning a solid Handstand 

1. Confident and Controlled Entry.

  • Start simple. put your hands on the floor, shoulder width apart, about 10 inches from a wall. Practise a small hop so that one foot just touches the wall. Practice this 5 times on each foot. This will build your confidence so your mind learns where the wall is.
  • If you feel confident, put your hands in the same position and kick up into a full handstand against the wall so both feet touch the wall and your body is straight. Keep doing this repeatedly until your feet touch the wall more gently with more control.
  • If you feel confident to move away from the wall, practise with a leg staying straight and the other leg kicking up into a stag position so the foot touches knee of the straight leg.

How to Do a Handstand Tutorial. Correct Form. Online Video • Tutorials • Podcast • Acrobatics • Movement • Handstands • Flexibility • Yoga • Circus • Gymnastics • Pole

2. Body tension.

  • Balancing a wobbly body is difficult. Keep the body tense and engaged so that the balancing is done by the fingers not the rest of the body.
  • Practise by laying on the floor and squeezing your bum, abs, legs, pointed toes, and hands above your head as if you’re in a handstand. Practising body tension on the floor will help you engage it when in a handstands.

How to Do a Handstand Tutorial. Correct Form. Online Video • Tutorials • Podcast • Acrobatics • Movement • Handstands • Flexibility • Yoga • Circus • Gymnastics • Pole

3. Alignment.

  • Alignment makes the handstand easier because the bodyweight gets supported by the skeleton rather than muscle effort. We would like the body (arms, spine and legs) to be in a straight line. If the shoulders don’t go straight then the back will bend to compensate and muscle effort will therefor be needed which is tiring!
  • Stretch your shoulders every day to encourage a straight line between your arms and back.
  • Squeezing your tail bone under will also encourage the back to go straight.
  • If you’re unsure, ask a friend to spot you, or film yourself doing a handstand to see if you’re straight.

How to Do a Handstand Tutorial. Correct Form. Online Video • Tutorials • Podcast • Acrobatics • Movement • Handstands • Flexibility • Yoga • Circus • Gymnastics • Pole

Check out these Resistance Bands which can be used to progress your Strength + Flexibility.

4. Shoulder Strength & Stability.

  • Even if you have control, alignment, and bodytension, your shoulders need to be strong enough to maintain your body weight whilst in a handstand.
  • Kick up against the wall (hands about 10 inches from wall) and hold a straight handstand for 10 seconds. Build this up to 30 seconds and 60 seconds over a period of weeks.
  • Do press ups and downward dog shoulder presses to increase the shoulder and tricep strength.

How to Do a Handstand Tutorial. Correct Form. Online Video • Tutorials • Podcast • Acrobatics • Movement • Handstands • Flexibility • Yoga • Circus • Gymnastics • Pole

5. Balance.

  • With everything else in place, the final component is to practise balancing.
  • Kick up against a wall and press in your fingers so your feet are pulled away from the wall. Do this repeatedly to build the strength in your forearms.
  • If you do this repeatedly you will find balance & control begin to improve and you will start to hold a handstand for several seconds at a time without your feet touching the wall.

How to Do a Handstand Tutorial. Correct Form. Online Video • Tutorials • Podcast • Acrobatics • Movement • Handstands • Flexibility • Yoga • Circus • Gymnastics • Pole

Further thoughts.

  • Everybody has different limiting factors. Some people have great flexibility but not enough strength. Those people will benefit from strengthening their shoulders. Some people have plenty of strength but not enough flexibility. Those people will benefit from more stretching.
  • This is why Crossfit people and Yoga people would require different coaching when learning handstands.
  • Enjoy your practise and be playful. The most important thing is that you find enjoyment.
  • Be patient. Handstand are difficult.
  • Everybody starts somewhere. Don’t compare yourself to what others can do. Some people may learn more quickly, but they may have been doing gymnastics or yoga or strength training for years.

Be sure to watch the free 20 minute handstand tutorial on
If you live in Bristol United Kingdom you can attend Ben Lowrey’s handstand classes here.
Be sure to also check out the Podcast

For further coaching
GMB Fitness

Posted in Blog Article, Handstands, Yoga Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Podcast Ep.6 – Yuri Marmerstein – Handbalancer Acrobat Aerialist

Acro Library How to Do a Handstand Tutorial. Correct Form. Online Video • Tutorials • Podcast • Acrobatics • Movement • Handstands • Flexibility • Yoga • Circus • Gymnastics • Pole


A little bit about myself and what I do:

I am a self-taught acrobat.  This does not mean I did not learn from other people, it simply means that for the large majority of my training I never had anyone pushing me harder or telling me what I am doing wrong. Likewise, there were not a whole lot of resources when I needed them that would have been crucial to my learning at the time.   Because of this, the process I used to achieve my skills has been my own.

I was not especially active as a child, and I really did not start getting into all this until towards the end of high school.  I literally got my start from watching too many martial arts movies and trying to imitate them.

In college I had exposure to several new movement styles including capoeira, MMA,. martial arts tricking, cheerleading(stunting and tumbling), weightlifting, and parkour.  I got very involved in movement at the time, but I still had very little resource or instruction.  Most of the progress I made came from me being stubborn and experimenting.

Out of college, I started to get more into gymnastics training.  I was very lucky to get a chance to work with Valentin Kirichenko, a former member of the Soviet Olympic gymnastics team from 1976.  This was a huge inspiration to me because not only could Valentin still perform beautifully at nearly 60 years old, he also had a very deep technical understanding of gymnastics and movement.  It was invaluable to get advice from him on occasion and be able to pick his brain on certain subjects.
On top of that, this was the first time I had any honest critique of my skills, and it took some good shots to the ego to learn how to accept and embrace it.

It was this exposure that started to give me a clear image of what a real teacher should be.  A good teacher should completely embody his art; live it and breath it.  A good teacher can break down a technique to anyone, where the necessity is to be completely technical or simple enough to show a child.  Moreover, a good teacher should continually be a student and inspire his students to never stop learning.  Lastly, a distinction has to be made between learning and following orders, which makes the difference between a student and a soldier/minion.  A teacher should be showing their students how to think and learn for themselves, so that the lessons can extend well beyond the scope of the class.

In 2011 I moved to Las Vegas in the hopes of being around people who were better than me that I could learn from.  I got the opportunity to learn from many amazing acrobats and hand balancers.  Over this time I learned many new skills in the realm of circus arts.  In addition, I was able to perform in some large scale events such as the Winter Cup, the Target Expo, Fetish and Fantasy Ball, Broadway Bares, and the Redken Symposium among others.  I also attended(and taught at) some Gymnastics Bodies seminars with Coach Sommer, where I learned some new perspectives on developing gymnastics strength.
I was also incredibly fortunate on my way to meet and learn from Kit Laughlin, who is another major influence on my work.  I also drew inspiration from Kit’s open sharing of information as well his ethics of how to run a business.

What does all this have to do with my work?  Well the point I am trying to make is that I am not by any means a finished product as an athlete, artist, or teacher.  I do not believe in finished product, just constant works in progress.  I believe that as a human you can either learn and grow, or devolve and deteriorate in your experiences.  Stagnation leads to deprecation if you do not learn anything new as time goes forward.
This brings me to the subject of “fitness”.  What I do is not fitness.  Even when I was young and terribly misinformed I still did not get the concept of “fitness” where people just went through the same motions for years without ever seeing results.
Why not use that time and energy to mindfully learn something?  The human body is so incredibly complex, and so few people actually get to realize their own potential.  The things I teach develop your connection with your own mind and body in a unique way.
What I am offering is a unique perspective on learning acrobatic feats from someone who was not born to the life.  I had to struggle to get to where I am, and you can have the benefit of learning from the many mistakes I made.
However, there is a cost to all this.  It takes hard work, patience, perseverance and dedication.  Learning something new requires you to be uncomfortable.

With that said, I recommend my seminars to anyone looking to learn new skills with their own bodies.  In addition the information is useful for people who want a new perspective or reinforcement on the concepts they already know.  Athletes, yogis, gymnasts, dancers, weightlifters can all benefit greatly as well as those who come from no athletic background.

It’s your body, don’t you want to be able to do something with it?

Posted in Circus, Handstands, Podcast Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

My favourite circus Handbalancers

Acro Library How to Do a Handstand Tutorial. Correct Form. Online Video • Tutorials • Podcast • Acrobatics • Movement • Handstands • Flexibility • Yoga • Circus • Gymnastics • Pole Music: Benedek - Dial My Number

How to Do a Handstand Tutorial. Correct Form. Online Video • Tutorials • Podcast • Acrobatics • Movement • Handstands • Flexibility • Yoga • Circus • Gymnastics

Posted in Blog Article, Circus, Handstands Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Upper body strength for handstands… are you sure?

Many people believe they need more upper body strength to hold a handstand, but in many cases what they need is more shoulder flexibility.

When you’re in a handstand, if your arms and spine form a straight line then you need very little strength to hold a handstand, just like how standing upright on your feet is effortless.

The less flexibility you have in the shoulders, the more angles there will be (closed shoulders, back bend), and the more muscle strength will be required to support those angles. If you don’t know what I mean then try holding a squat for 60 seconds and notice how difficult it is.

The answer is to push and stretch.

  • When you push upwards so that your hands go away from your body, and your shoulders come right to your ears, this has the effect of opening the shoulders into a straight(er) line with the spine.
  • Stretching the shoulders open will also improve the range of motion and make your handstand easier. This can be done with a few basic stretches but will also be improved by yoga and regular full body stretching routines.

Come to class and we’ll work on it. 🙂
If you have any questions email me.

MoveGB Bristol Voucher worth £40 - Free first month

MoveGB Bristol Voucher worth £40 – Free first month

Bristol Weekly Handstand Classes

Feel welcome to come to any of the following

  • Wednesdays at 6pm
    Matter Wholefoods, 1 Greenbank Road, Easton, BS5 6EZ
    (login to MoveGB then register here)
  • Sundays at 1pm (here)
    Bubalu, Gloucester Rd. Bristol, BS7 8AS
  • Tuesdays at 6pm.
    Funky Monkey Studio in Bath
    (Not MoveGB, 6 week block, book with Funky Monkey)

If you are not a MoveGB member please feel welcome to drop-in (£7).

Posted in Blog Article, Circus, Handstands Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,