Ensure your hands are underneath your shoulders in handstand.
I hear many a yoga teacher talk about hands being “outer shoulder distance” apart in downward facing dog, which is where you move into your handstand from. While this is not unhealthy and may be required for tight shoulders, it is tricky to balance upside down when your arms are in a “V”! It’s easier to balance when your joints are stacked. If you don’t know what you look like in dog or going upside down, take a picture! Until you look closely, it might be hard to notice the difference, but the embodied difference is huge. I had trouble finding balance long enough to take the picture with my arms in a “V” while I can sit for over a minute with my joints stacked. Pic 1: Dog with arms in “V”. Pic 2: Handstand with arms in “V”. Pic 3: Dog with arms prepped for stacked handstand. Pic 4: Handstand with joints stacked.
Push Down in high plank.
Like in handstand, you also want to practice pushing down in high plank. Push the floor away so that your upper back domes. This will build much needed stability and strength around the (very mobile) shoulder joint, as well as build the desired strength necessary for your arm balances and handstands. This video demonstrates the doming you want to aim for when holding high plank, through an exercise called scapular pushups, which is another great strength and stability building practice!
Push Down in handstand.
In other words, push the floor away (because sometimes just saying it a different way makes it click). Pushing down stabilizes your joints, your posture. I didn’t get this tip until a few years ago and it was transformative for me. It took a bit of time for me to find balance in my handstand once I began pushing down, but once got used to pushing down, my handstand practice took off because balancing was so much easier in a stable posture! Here, Raleigh demonstrates her growing ability to walk while I demonstrate not pushing down, to pushing down, back to not pushing down again. Always ask if you have questions, here or in class!