Ashley Albrand has been studying movement since she was five years old, and if you know her, you know that she's most comfortable when she's upside down. Ashley gives us the scoop on getting into the very poses that so many of us want to get into (especially us guys) -- inversions, more specifically, the oh-so-elusive Handstand!
MBG: What's the biggest misconception about getting into a Handstand?
AA: That handstands are all about strength. A lot of it is flexibility, balance, and getting straight. Once you can get your hips over your wrists and stack all of your bones you will be pretty close to the pose.
What's the one thing we're probably not doing but should be doing?
Thinking about your inner groin muscle! You need to square your hips and lead with Mulah bandha (the physical element) while entering the shape. However.... the pose takes MANY elements. That's why it's challenging! It's really all about your brain and body connection. The more you can feel and be in your entire body from your Crown Chakra to your toes all at once, the closer you will be to balancing on your hands.
Why do your abs/core muscles play a role in getting into a Handstand?
Because your Solar Plexus Chakra holds the pose!!! Your abdominal wall is KEY in balancing once you are straight and stacked. Supporting the flimsy, jelly, organy section of your body with your core is essential. The strength you build in your core with this asana also heals lower back pain which is a bonus!
How do we know when we're ready for inversions?
If you can breathe then you're ready. Downward dog, Uttanasana, and Shoulder Stand are some of the inversions we start with as beginners. Later you can progress to Headstand, Forearm Stand, Handstand, and other inversions once you FEEL ready. If you are dealing with fear in your practice the best practice I can recommend is meditation. When you meditate, you channel the great healing flow of energy into your being and EVERYTHING changes.
If you had one tip to give someone who wants to get into a Handstand what would it be?
Practice ALL THE TIME! When I was first learning, the Handstand was my morning shot of espresso. I would literally roll out of bed and go up against the wall! It's amazing for your system and really gets your juices flowing! Just keep at it. Be patient and breathe. The great gods of the universe will give you the pose when your ready.
What are you currently working on? Can you tell us more about your upcoming workshop?
Don't miss my workshop at Strala Yoga because it will be my last inversion workshop until after my baby is born!! Yup! We're having a bliss baby and I guess you could say that's what I'm working on.... building a life inside me. Enjoying the process of the great goddess prana shakti vibrating through my being!
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