My Top 10 Reasons Why Handstands are Awesome

5 May

Handstanding in Brazil

While taking classes this weekend with my favorite handstanding couple, Brock and Krista Cahill, I realized that handstand is a microcosm for my yoga practice. Now, I’ve often heard this said about tadasana (mountain pose), but handstand? Oh yes. Read on for my top 10 list of why handstands are awesome :)

Brock and Krista handstanding

1. There are many health benefits to doing handstands! Click on the link to read the article from Yoganonymous. Inversions are great for increasing your energy levels and stimulating your metabolism. Also, they’re excellent for finding balance.

2. They’re fun and help you find your joyful, childlike side :)

3. Hello core work and ripped arms! Per Light on Yoga, by B.K.S. Iyengar, it “develops the body harmoniously. It strengthens the shoulders, arms and wrists and expands the chest fully.”

4. Handstand is a pose that I have to start fresh with every day. One day I need to put more power into my hops up. The next day, I need to ease off. I can’t think of any other pose this is truer for. It keeps me being creative and focused during my practice as a result.

5. Handstand is not a pose I can do mindlessly. If I don’t pay attention and am not present, I will fall. OK, sometimes I fall even when I am being present ;) It forces me to stay in the moment more than most poses, which helps me clear my mind and let go of mental chatter.

6. Handstand helps you to be brave and conquer your fears. It’s pretty scary to toss (ok, gently float is the ideal) your feet up over your head, especially away from the wall. It helps you realize how you face deal with challenges in your life. Do you back away and not push yourself out of fear? Do you fling yourself in too hard without being safe?

7. You don’t realize it at first, but handstand is a heart opener as a well (see above quote from Iyengar).  Not only are you facing your fears (see previous point), but you have to try to do so with your heart open. The temptation is to push out of your shoulders and collapse your chest, in an effort to protect yourself. It’s so hard to challenge your feels AND stay open!

8. To quote George Michael, when you do handstands “you gotta have faith!” Handstand make you trust yourself. To do the pose correctly and eventually learn to do transitions, you have to lean WAAAAAY forward and trust that you are strong enough to do it. Admittedly, this is NOT my strength in handstands ;) It’s constant work to trust yourself.

9. Handstand helps you change your perspective when you look at the world upside down!

10. Finally, handstands are crazy sexy cool ;) They make you a badass. Check out this yoga scene from the Oliver Jackson movie “Faster”. The body is my teacher Brock Cahill.

Check out this article about making sure to care for your wrists while practicing inversions by my lovely friend and one of my favorite teachers and people, Angela Kuhkahn.

Go forth and handstand!

Marysia and Angela handstanding. Copyright Jim Knowles 2011.

8 Responses to “My Top 10 Reasons Why Handstands are Awesome”

  1. Krista May 5, 2011 at 12:02 pm #

    Right on sista. Handstands are the ‘new’ tadasana!!!!

    • K.O. Yoga May 5, 2011 at 1:41 pm #

      Thanks for the inspiration and teaching Krista!!! XO

  2. Big Om Daddy May 5, 2011 at 8:32 pm #

    I absolutely love the scene from the movie Faster. The best line in that movie is when he mentions that he has “conquered yoga.”

    Doing a handstand is a great form of meditation. You are forced to think of the present. At least I am since I am still working on being able to do one without a wall. I will say though sometimes I have seen some yogis use handstands as a status symbols like oh we are in the cool club because we can do handstands. Well as far as cool clubs go, handstands aren’t so bad.

    • K.O. Yoga May 8, 2011 at 7:52 pm #

      Wait, I can’t conquer yoga? Darn it lol ;)

      I’m still working on mine in the middle of the room too. I like the challenge though. I definitely agree it is great meditation!

      And yeah, probably not as yogic to see oneself as superior to another yoga because of one’s yoga abilities. It’s all the process, right? But handstands are pretty freaking rad :)

  3. angela Kukhahn May 7, 2011 at 8:38 am #

    Yay! I couldn’t agree more, handstands rock!

    • K.O. Yoga May 8, 2011 at 7:52 pm #

      Word, handstand buddy and teacher!! It’s been so fun watching your handstand practice grow Ang!!! :) Your handstands look so amazing and solid!

  4. Matthew Beavers March 11, 2012 at 4:47 pm #

    Headstands are cool. I would love to do one for more than a few seconds. I don’t have the best balance in the world. I have improved a bunch since I have been doing yoga for a couple of years. Great article.

    • K.O. Yoga March 11, 2012 at 5:21 pm #

      Glad you liked it! :) It’s all about practice, practice and more practice :)

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