Ah, the infamous handstand pose. Handstands are blowing up all over social media and yogi’s from around the world are obsessed with this pose. I can relate. As a little girl I loved to flip around in my living room and kick up into handstands. There was one problem however; I would always fall out. Holding a handstand was near impossible. Is there a yoga pose that feels utterly impossible for you? Are handstands challenging for you?
I hear ya. Although challenging, they are so good for both body, mind and spirit. Here are my top 5 reasons to start practicing handstands, no matter how scary.
1 – You build poise, posture and confidence. It takes guts to fling yourself upside down like they do in gymnastics. Let me rephrase… it ain’t easy girlfriend!!!!! But here’s the secret: we make it hard. Yes we do! The more we focus on how hard it is, the more challenging it will actually be. You see our words are a reflection of our thoughts. I can always tell someones confidence level by the words that come out of their mouth.
Quick tip: before kicking up into a handstand, tell yourself “I am poised, postured and confident. This is easy.”
2 – It tones your legs! Yes, handstands are similar to moves in ballet and gymnastics and the ultimate inner thigh toner. Try spreading your toes wide, keeping your legs straight, engaged, and zipping your inner groins in towards your pelvis. Keep your hips square – this is where most people struggle with form. Holy thigh burn, batman
3 – Handstands teach us to surrender. This is my favorite. When we fight, we fall down hard. When we resist, the challenge persists my teachers always told me. When we bring a sense of ease, surrender and play, we create an ability to actually listen to our body. Handstand is an art form: although this blog doesn’t go through the form from head to toe, I will share that there is MASSIVE ACTION happening in your body that needs to click in order to hold a handstand. We can only make that happen if we breathe, surrender, and pay attention to every muscle, every finger placement, every subtle weight transfer. Are you listening to your body and making adjustments or are you in fear and happy when it’s over?
Quick tip: slow down!!!! I often see people rushing and kicking up like they are doing a cardio workout or something crazy. I used to get frustrated and tell my students to slow down… they liked to go faster instead! I would laugh a little inside realizing that going fast just simply does not work. I had to adjust my words as a teacher and really challenge my students to listen to their bodies and slow down.
It simply won’t work unless you slow down and surrender. Try it!
4 – Handstands teach us to have fun! Allow yourself to fall. Ask your teacher how to “fall out” of the pose. That way you remove the fear of crashing. Smile. Laugh. Play. Repeat.
5 – Handstands allow us to trust that we are exactly where we are meant to be, right now, in this moment. Do you feel like you have mastered steps 1 through 4 and it’s still not happening. It’s all groovy! Some poses will happen quick; others will take a lifetime. Own it. Be for it. Love your messy handstands and they will love you back and I’m guessing you will be surprised one day soon. It always happens when we are least expecting it.