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 :)
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.
Go forth and handstand!