Cultivate Inner and Outer Strength With Handstands
November 8, 2020
If you’re intimidated by the word “inversions” when it comes to your yoga practice, don’t be! An inversion is any pose where your head is below your heart. If you’ve ever been in downward-facing dog or a standing forward fold, you’ve been in an inversion.
Over time, though, your practice might evolve to incorporate inversions that require specific techniques to execute – like handstands. Here’s what you need to know about the benefits of handstands, and how to develop a safe, sustainable handstand practice.
Benefits of Handstands
A handstand isn’t a party trick – it’s a physical channeling of the mental and emotional strength and fortitude that it takes to develop a handstand practice in the first place. Handstands have many benefits:
- Boost your mood: Like any inversion, turning upside down and increasing blood flow to your brain can have an effect that’s energizing and calming at the same time – relieving stress and elevating your mood.
- Improve balance: Handstands require a heightened awareness of where your body is in space – and the ability to make small adjustments to avoid falling. A consistent handstand practice increases spatial and body awareness and enhances your overall sense of balance.
- Increased core strength: A strong core is incredibly helpful in all aspects of the physical asana practice – not just in handstands. As you develop the core strength to balance on your hands, you’ll notice other poses in your practice – from plank to warrior 3 – feel lighter and more accessible.
- Better bone health: Handstands are weight-bearing, and like many of the poses we practice on our mats, help strengthen bones and improve bone density as a result.
A safe, intentional handstand practice offers a multitude of benefits to the practitioner. How do you start your journey?
Journey to Handstand
Working toward a handstand can be a very fulfilling process – one that requires practice, and non-attachment to a timeline or quantitative goal (sounds a lot like the yoga practice in general, right?).
As with anything else you do on your mat, your handstand practice must be mindful. Handstands require core and upper body strength as well as body awareness – all of which take time and patience to develop. Before practicing handstand, it’s important to warm up properly with shoulder, back, hamstring, and wrist stretches.
Not sure how to get started? It’s helpful to have an instructor walk you through the elements and alignment of a handstand, as well as different approaches to take to safely practice one. For that reason, we’re offering a handstand workshop on November 21st at our Uptown location, guided by Danielle Latta-Russell, an instructor based at our Austin Ranch location and resident handstand expert. Danielle has also recorded a six-part online handstand series that you can use from the comfort of your home, available right now.
Join us, whether you’re brand new to standing on your hands or would like to safely refine and advance your technique.