Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Handstand Heaven

I love handstands. In fact, these days, I can't stop doing them.

I kick up whenever I get the chance - against walls, trees, fences, cars, posts, jungle gyms - wherever I happen to spot a sweet space that looks like it needs a little upside-down action.

My new favourite is using a sturdy tree branch or the kiddy goalpost in my neighbourhood, which is low enough to catch my heels and provide a guiding support as I practice rooting through my hands, drawing up and out of my wrists and elbows, and then harnessing what arm power I've got by getting really super-connected: 

I plug my shoulders into their sockets and hug my ribcage girdle into my torso; from there, I draw up through my spine, sweetly curl my tailbone under, and engage my pelvic floor muscles like I've reeeally gotta go, and that's when things start to get interesting!

Adho Mukha Vrksasana or Downward-facing Tree Pose

Engaging Mulha Bandha, a.k.a. the root lock, is like flicking on a switch that sends out two opposite but compatible waves of energy along two divergent lines in the body: 1) pubic bone-naval-sternum-throat-Third Eye; and 2) pelvic floor-inner thigh-to-bottom-of-foot.

Thus begins a spirited and often tenuous dance of equal opposites: effort/ease; work/play; earth/ether; tenacity/discernment; heart/head.

Here, upside-down ... which kinda starts to feel like right-side-up ... I can play with pulling my feet away and balancing without training wheels!

When I come back down, I often feel a rush of energy and alertness, and stronger, more powerful; but also an increased lightness of being, and joy has been shaken from my belly - like the last cookie in the cookie jar - and made its way into my throat.

Even a split second upside down, can do wonders for building confidence, improving your mood, shifting your perspective (literally!) and reminding you that anything's possible when you can stand on your hands, reach for the sun with your tootsies and make the sky your regular stomping ground.

Plus, nothing beats feeling like a kid again - and proving to yourself that 20 or 30 years ain't nothing but a thing, Chicken Wing!

Here's a great Yoga Journal link for a step-by-step to doing handstands.

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