Stand on your Hands – See the World from a New Persepctive
Just a year ago the word Handstand in a yoga class immediately brought tears to my eyes. The idea of standing on my hands somehow acted as a major trigger for where I didn’t believe in myself, in my strength, or trust in others to support me if I was vulnerable. Today I love to handstand, I still need somebody to support me with a hand on my hips as I come up and then at the top of my feet helping me ignite my core strength. Handstands are a big part of my plan for 2015. By the end of the year I want to be able to do a free standing handstand wherever I am, on my yoga mat, in the middle of the room, on the beach, or even on my balcony. I am working on building the strength and confidence to make this happen.
The above photo was taken last week by my teacher Leila Sadeghee, she just stuck her camera underneath my face as I stayed up in my longest handstand to date. It captures the real joy of handstands for me. I had the support of fellow teacher Jessica Green who is my co-assistant on The Practices of Freedom and Wellbeing Immersion. It was on this immersion last year that I learnt that I could do this, and where I learnt that the fear that was stopping me from feeling like I could handstand was the same fear that was stopping me from all kinds of other freedoms that I deserved in my life.
I remember one time as I came down in tears from a handstand with two fellow students supporting me, my teacher Leila saying to one of them. “She is so strong but she doesn’t know her strength yet.” It took months for me to understand what she meant. It clicked one day when I realised that I was strong, and that it was my fear that was creating the heaviness.
Even when you get up into a handstand, it can be disorientating and it can feel odd. We aren’t used to seeing the world from upside down and so often want to come down quickly. When we get comfortable and start to look at the world from a new perspective we can find so much magic.
There is a free-spiritedness that comes with handstands. It has that child like play quality to it. They bring us into the present moment, and literally shakes us up. I find that a handstand brings me pure joy and a huge swell of energy. It’s the freedom of losing yourself for a moment without fear.
I often teach handstands in my classes using a very great assist from Anusara yoga where we work in groups of threes. It means that if they want to, anyone can get up into a handstand feeling supported by two friends. They can gave that super fun experience and build strength.
I was teaching last week and when I said, let’s do a handstand. One of my students simply bowed out. She didn’t cry in the way that I did, but I could feel the same fear. Her reaction was composed, she simply said “I don’t do handstands, I will watch” and moved towards the wall. She offered to help support another student. And after we spoke for a while, she was happy to try it, and as it really didn’t matter if she got up or not. She tried, got up there and didn’t want to come down. There was such a feeling of joy, success, inner power that she experienced through giving it a go.
Handstands are great because they:
* Empower you
* Build core strength (you need it to stay up there)
* Increase your balance (you need that up there too)
* Open your heart
* Boost your mood – giving you joy and a burst of energy
* Strengthen your bones
* Increase your circulation and blood flow to your lungs
* De-Stress you by literally turning your world upside down
* Strengthen your arms, shoulders, neck, chest and upper back
* Stimulates the thyroid gland
* Calms the brain and the nervous system
* Decompresses the spine
* Strengthens the arms and wrists (which need it given all our typing and texting)
* Boosts the immune system by stimulating the lymphatic system
* Teaches us humility. The journey is the treasure.