The Inner Power Of Arm Balance
by Crystal Hatzimichael
As a massage therapist, I avoided doing handstands for many years. Whenever I attempted to go upside down, my wrists hurt and it made absolutely no sense to ask my hands to do any more than they already had to! I thought that using them for handstands would only create injury for me. And, because my precious hands, wrists and fingers were my livelihood, I didn’t want to chance it.
With every weekly Yoga and Acroyoga class I attended, I noticed that handstands were becoming more and more popular. But I still couldn’t understand why people were so jazzed, addicted and totally inspired by these inverted postures. I figured I could get all the benefits of a handstand by just lying on the floor with my legs up the wall or even reclining on an inversion table. Right?
I continued to tell myself this story which I’m sure was just to keep my feelings of discomfort and inadequacy at bay. Even though I disliked handstands in my own body, I was still curious about why others loved them so much.
I kept taking handstand workshop after handstand workshop over the course of 10 years because my Acro partner and I were committed to doing partner hand balancing acts together. And in each workshop, I would hit a point of pain and frustration but I wouldn’t give up.
And guess what…?
…My wrists stopped hurting!
And the more I kept learning the proper form and understanding the biomechanics of inverted postures, the more consistent and comfortable I became. I started feeling stronger, lighter and with each inversion…Successful.
I was becoming one of those “addicted to inverting” kind of people and the more I practiced, the more confident I felt to do more. I also started noticing how handstands would shift my perspective and lift my mood. The transformation was real and I wanted to understand more. So, I decided to share it with students who were also ready to move through their discomfort, fear, inadequacy and write a new story for themselves.
How can you achieve these benefits…?
…Well let me tell ya!
Confidence – This comes from knowing your body, your strengths, weaknesses and knowing what you need to do to kick up and balance. It also comes from knowing how to fall or come down safely.
Shift in perspective– While in the handstand you get the benefit of seeing the world upside down which can directly transfer over to your day to day life experiences. It sure has helped me when I faced challenging problems. One of my favorite therapies is to go for a trail run and pause for a handstand or two right in the middle of the run. This has been so effective in helping me figure out other solutions to my problem as well as shifting my mood.
Mood enhancement – There is something about all the effort it takes to perform a handstand. Plus, when you come out of the pose and the blood rushes back into your upright body you experience PURE BLISS. The chemicals released in your body at that time are called endorphins and with those surging through, all the tension, stuckness and restrictions of the mind, the emotional and physical body seem to melt away.
My handstand practice is far from over. The more I discover, the more I know there is more to uncover and I love sharing my knowledge and experience.
So, I look forward to going upside down with you soon!
Certified Vinyasa Flow and AcroYoga Instructor