I’ve never been very confident or skilled on my hands. My wrists were wonky for about 15 years and sometimes wouldn’t even allow me to hold downdog (thankfully I am completely healed from that issue!).
Over the last 3 years I have slowly been improving my handstands. Physically, I’ve gained stability in my shoulder girdle and core and mentally I’ve started to believe that it’s possible to go up and stay up (still working on this one, I still find myself surprised when I actually find some balance upside-down).
Going upside-down is awesome! It’s like a shot of espresso; I always feel a nice boost of adrenaline after just one [attempt at a] handstand!
Is doing a handstand yoga?
NO. Not necessarily.
Very occasionally I will include some handstands in my yoga practice but most of the time my attempt to balance upside-down is something else; just a fun physical challenge that makes me proud of myself because I can remember a time not long ago when what went up…came down very quickly and not very gracefully.
Can handstands be yoga?
Practicing different types on jumps and arm balances on my mat as well as learning how to better stabilize my shoulders has definitely informed my handstands but that’s still just the physical.
What’s in a handstand that actually allows us to practice yoga; the union of body & mind, inner & outer worlds?
Here are a few ways to find the “yoga practice” within the “trick” of doing a handstand
- Handstands can help you access your deep core “locks” or uddiyana bandha and mulabandha.
- One of my favorite aspects of yoga, calming your mind even when you are experiencing uneasiness, is essential to handstanding.
- Handstands can help bring full awareness and attention into every cell of your physical body.
- Handstands are fleeting, even when you nail it and can chill up there for a while, non-attachment is key!
- Yoga is not meant to be mastered. It is a practice, not a destination. There are always new places to take explore and do the work within yoga and within handstands.
My yoga handstands have never been captured with a picture. My yoga handstands have never been instagramed. My yoga handstands are another moment in my yoga practice no more and no less important than savasana or that first downdog. My yoga handstands are not an attempt at showing off (my other handstands sometimes are and they are also totally fun to try to capture and share :)).
This post was a bit inspired by this awesome video.
Full disclaimer: occasionally I get a good picture right at the crest of my handstand and it looks like I could be there forever, that forever is a max of 3-4 seconds…I have a lot of practice before I can hang out up there and before I can slowly just draw my body up into it. #truthbehindthepicture