While working on handstands in Brock Cahill‘s Flight Club class at Yogis Anonymous, I was chatting with other students about handstand tips. We were talking about how hard it is to manage simultaneously two of the tricks to finding balance in a handstand: engaging your core while opening your heart. Thinking about it after class, I was pondering about how these two principles apply in life.
Most of us have a tendency to lead with one or the other. Personally, I tend to open my heart without always using my strength to maintain balance. In handstand this means I collapse into scorpion or wheel and I can’t maintain my balance. In life, this can result in being a pushover and not standing up for myself. Other people can keep their core strong but find it hard to stay open. In handstands, they muscle their way in but cannot soften into the pose, which can make them push out of your shoulders so they are not integrated. In life, people with this tendency are strong and able to stand up for themselves, but their defenses are so high they can’t let others in and expose their true selves for fear of being hurt.
These two traits also are associated with two of the seven chakras. The manipura chaka is located at the solar plexus, right in the center of the core. It is associated with personal power and the transition from simple emotions to more complex emotions when it is open. When it is closed or blocked, it is associated with anxiety and fear. I know handstands are anxiety and fear provoking for me! The anahata chakra is the heart chakra. When the heart chakra is open, it is associated with complex emotions, compassion, tenderness, and unconditional love. When it is closed or blocked, it is associated with rejection and being out of balance.
While it can be easy to get down on yourself for realizing you tend towards one or the other, the key is observation without judgment. Everyone has a natural tendency, you just want to learn more about yourself so you can grow. From there, you can try to integrate the two aspects of yourself to find balance, whether it is in a handstand or in life in general.