Friday, December 26, 2014

Handstand At Ease

Here I wanted to share a way of coming into handstand and being in a handstand where I feel at ease in my spine especially.

My teachers always taught that the spine should feel long and free.

What I do in this handstand is try to capture a feeling in my spine that is like I am standing with my arms reaching overhead.  Only instead of the weight being on my feet I put the weight on my hands.

To do this handstand I do a few key things.

First, I lengthen the lower back by moving sitting bones down towards my heels and gently moving top of pelvis back.

Then I do a sit up in my tummy.  This is the type of sit up you do where you get firm in the middle and soft in the sides and where you feel as though you can still breathe in a way that the tummy will move.  I recommend that you read Simon Borg Olivier's blogpost on is it correct to pull navel to spine to understand what I am doing here (see:

Third, I keep that sit up in my tummy and reach my arms out as far as possible.  If I were in standing it would be like I was reaching for something off a really high shelf.  The arms move forward and upward.

On the ground I really push my hands downwards into the floor.  I feel for my shoulder blades wrapping around the spine.  I try to roll my outer armpits to my face.  I grip with my fingertips as though I am trying to make a fist with my hands.

I try and keep my neck free.

I breathe.  I check that I feel firm but calm.

I lean more into my hands but it does not feel like I am sinking as I keep pushing downwards which makes me feel like I am lifting upwards.

I walk my feet in if I need to see if I can get more of my hips over my shoulders.

I don't sink into my shoulders.  I keep pushing the floor away.

I keep the sit up in my tummy but I can still breathe there.

I bring more weight over my hands and keep my tummy firm and my feet naturally come onto the tip toes.  They are light on the ground.

I take a leg up and do a little tap with the grounded foot.  If I don't come up I try again.

My legs might come up.  Maybe they don't.  If they do and I am up there I keep the fingertips pressing, keep breathing, relax my face, and try to feel for the lightness in the spine.

This is a spinal releasing posture for me.  It feels lovely and free on my back.

This post is intended for my students who are working on this pose.  It is best not to work on more advanced postures like this without the guidance of a teacher.  You need to make sure your shoulders and wrists and tummy are mobile and strong enough so you do not strain or injure.

We will work on this type of posture in upcoming retreats, classes, and workshops in Canberra, Colombo, and Bali. Looking forward to sharing with you in person.

Happy and safe practicing.

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