Handstand is considered one of the most challenging yoga asanas taught in every modern, especially urban, yoga class. And we all know some yoga enthusiasts are obsessed with it in various degrees. I’m not kidding, because I’ve met a person who willingly and voluntarily spends several minutes of his time to perfect his handstand. He did it every single day. On and on and on, until he injured himself for a while. Nothing but injury can stop him doing the silly self harming practice further.
So the lesson learned is: I’m not going to injure myself from overly repetitive unmeasured practices without knowing and respecting my limit and without no professional supervision. Never ever.
But I was fortunate enough to attend a handstand-themed class days ago and to witness two acroyoga teachers –Claudine and Honza Lafond of Yoga Beyond – teaching doing handstands safely at Anandamaya Wellness Festival in Jakarta, last Saturday (19/9).
First and foremost, prepare the hand at shoulder width. Extend fully the arms. And jump with all force you’ve got.
First, PRESS. Using momentum from a series of jumps only tires you out. After a few jumps, you’ll find yourself too tired to continue trying. Instead of doing that, Honza and Claudine gave a number of warmups for the handstand beginners like me. Have someone as your assistant and watch as you make attempts at this. Jump forward with all your core strength and widespread fingers as your solid fondation. Bear in mind your legs are still folded and thighs are held close to the abs (a.k.a tuck your legs). Once you find the balance, stay there and press your palms onto the earth!
Second, HUG THE MIDLINE. Squeeze your entire body towards the midline of body.
Third, GAZE. Look to your thumbs. Look towards the back of your head.
Last of all, BREATHE. That’s how we find the balance, advised Honza.
The “exit strategy” after reaching the final pose is slowly come down by tucking your legs onto the abs and then landing smoothly on the ground on tiptoes (instead of on your soles of feet).
Let’s give it a try…