Issy (6) started after school crossfit classes last week and she came home from class with “homework” which is to spend time on her hands upside down.
Handstands can be scary, challenging and even somewhat soul destroying. Some days she’s excited about the thought of doing her homework and other days, not so much. Fair enough I’m much the same it’s probably genetic.
BUT regardless on how you feel about the humble handstand you should tip your world on it’s edge and do them anyway as they offer a vast range of health benefits.
Handstands make you stronger – after all you are holding the entire weight of your body on your hands.
Handstands give you abs – forget crunches, nothing gets your core stronger than balancing on your hands. If you lose tension in your core and you’ll fall, simple. 😉
Handstands help with weight management – handstands stimulate the thyroid and pituitary glands, which can help regulate your metabolic rate, so in theory daily handstand practice could help you maintain (or reach) a healthy weight.
I recall Kat telling me during my crossfit induction that “you should get upside down everyday because it keeps you young”. I certainly recall the first time I successfully held a freestanding handstand for longer than .002 of a second that I jumped up and down beaming from ear to ear like a child.
But never fear – if a handstand is just too much for you (right now) you can still receive the benefits of getting upside down! An inversion basically means any pose where your feet are above your head. So put yourself in the shoes of Goldilocks, just because the handstand is “too hot” there is bound to be one that’s “just right”.
There are many variations of headstands, the one I’m pictured doing is the easiest as the weight is distributed between your arms and your head. You can kick up into this position and you could also do it against a wall.
I was taught in a yoga studio however this seems to be a pretty good tutorial (you may want to skip to 5:42 if you just want to get straight into it) 😉
I’m not great at these and actually find them much harder than doing a handstand and these days I only tend to do them when they are part of a yoga class. I did have a quick play before writing this blog post just to see if “I still have it” and I do (just) 😉
I found this great little forearm stand tutorial over at YouTube.
Nothing at all scary about a shoulder stand, even my “babiest” baby can semi manage one ..
And finally ..
The lie down on the floor and put your feet up “stand”
Old Hindu scriptures claim that Viparita Karani (lie down and put feet up pose) hides wrinkles in addition to banishing old age and death. This is my all time favorite restorative pose and one I try to do often. I recall James and I watched TV in this position one night <3
So there you have it an inversion to suit everyone and every mood!
No excuse not to get upside down (or should that be the right way up?) 😉
Till next time