Author: Practice Yoga Austin

The Subconscious Motivation To Master Handstand

The Subconscious Motivation To Master Handstand

Handstand Rey CardenasI’ve been thinking about handstand and why so many people (myself included) are inspired to master this pose. Even as a child I remember being drawn to the innate potential of balancing on my hands. It seems to me that people are fascinated, perhaps on an unconscious level, by handstand because it is an embodied metaphor for keeping it together in a state of chaos. I want to unpack this idea a bit and hear your thoughts on the matter.

In chaos, your world is flipped upside down (**obvious connection alert**), and perhaps you don’t know where you are. For example, you’ve been in a relationship for a long time, and you find out your partner is cheating and leaving you. All of a sudden, every aspect of your carefully crafted existence has been shattered including your perceptions of your own identity. You are in chaos, and your nervous system switches you into predatory threat mode.

The question now is, what should you do when you are in a state of chaos? The first thing that you need to do when you don’t know where you are is PAY ATTENTION. One reason being that you don’t know what else might come up and pull you down. Focusing your awareness enables you to learn about where you are and derive value from your circumstance. For example, you might come to understand the ways in which you were complicit in the destruction of your relationship. These insights strengthen you and allow you to establish a new and improved order in your life.

Attention is the requisite action for handstand.

Proprioception, or the use of attention to activate specific muscles in your body, not brute strength, is what enables you to stack your feet over your hips over your shoulders over your hands and hold it. The result: You get stronger. If your attention wanes, gravity will pull you down, and you may injure yourself. Holding handstand forces you to be present.

I want to offer a cautionary disclaimer not to over practice handstand.

It is a super fun, flamboyant pose that garners admiration which can be addicting. Handstand in Sanskrit is adho muhka vrksasana which means downward facing tree. The image itself is chaotic and unsustainable. Our subconscious mind associates trees with ‘home’ because our ancestors used to live in trees. Flipping that upside down reinforces the chaotic metaphor.

When practicing handstand, you must continuously pay attention to how your wrists, neck, shoulders, and back are feeling and be willing to take long breaks when your body tells you to. I have personal experience overdoing handstand and have heard stories of former handstand masters who are now in their 50s and can no longer lift their arms in the overhead plane. Handstand is the application of order onto chaos and should be practiced with great care. After all, spending too much time in chaos can break you.

~ Rey Cardenas, Studio Owner and Instructor

Student Testimonial – Allie Whitworth

Student Testimonial – Allie Whitworth

“Nothing has had such a profound effect on my daily life than the 300hr program at PYA.

allie

If I had to choose a few words to describe my experience during the 300hour PYA training program they would be: inspiring, strengthening, empowering and honestly, life changing. Embarking on a 11 month journey with 10 strangers and 5 incredible teachers gave me such a broad, expansive experience that I will truly never forget.

The quality of teachings, lecture, practice, sharing and lifelong connections provided me with the tools I needed to deepen my practice, spirit and intentions as a student, teacher and human being. Each teacher brought their own personal expertise, including anatomy, meditation, pranayama, regulation of the nervous system, the list goes on and on. Although each teacher had their own approach, their messages coincided so beautifully with each other, which supported my growth throughout the program, off the mat and into my daily life. We took the fundamentals and turned them into life changing conversation, practice and empowering realizations.

This program pushed me to overcome fears, lack of confidence, even relinquishing my expectations of what it means to be a teacher, a student, a human in this complicated world. Without the support of my teachers, mentor and fellow students, I’m not sure I would be who I am at this moment. The connections I made with others and myself will last a lifetime and I couldn’t be more grateful for my experience.

This was truly a priceless experience I will never forget. Thank you PYA <3


Allie is currently developing her own lifestyle, health and wellness business, Bodhi by Allie. She also teaches yoga privately, in group settings and corporate wellness workshops on topics such as pranayama, office yoga, emotional wellness, nutrition and even cooking classes.

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Acro for Yogis

Acro for Yogis

Acro for Yogis at Practice Yoga Austin

Thursday February 16th 6:30-8:30pm
@Side Space
$25 Donation

Are you curious to venture off your mat ‘island’ to explore collaborative duo and group practices?

Want to try Acro but don’t where to begin?

This all levels workshop is built on a foundation of surya namaskar A and B (flying sun salutations), integrating partner yoga, acro yoga, and therapeutic flying.

Beginners encouraged, all levels welcome.
No partner required. Feel free to bring a friend!

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VDay Partner Practice

VDay Partner Practice

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Monday, February 13th from 8-9:30PM
$20 Individual / $35 for Two!
@PYA Side Space

Celebrate LOVE with yoga. This partnered class will guide you through shared movement, supported stretches, breath synchronization, and basic therapeutic flight practices. Soften into your connection and heal.

Our incredible human bodies fit together in so many supportive ways. Go beyond your individual practice into a partnered practice and discover a new dimension. In contrast to your personal practice, partner yoga is a shared practice that exercises not only strength and balance, but trust, communication, and synergy. Synchronize, breathe and move with a partner. This healing practice is a great way to develop trust, presence, awareness, and balance. Deepen your connection together.

Side effects may include extremely high levels of playfulness and a rekindling of young spirit.

No experience necessary.
Partner not required, but suggested.

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Practice in Precision with Shanti Kelley

Practice in Precision with Shanti Kelley

Practice in Precision with Shanti Kelley

Saturday, March 4th from 2:30-5PM
$35 Early Bird / $45 Day Of
Limited to 20 People

pre·ci·sion : prəˈsiZHən/
– marked by accuracy and exactness; a refinement in measure

Inversions, Backbends and Hip openers can be challenging and often scary explorations, but when done with a wisdom and knowledge of how to access the body thru smart alignment and a compassionate heart we find the practice (and the pose) just naturally open to us. This practice intensive with Shanti will cover anatomy, refinement and the exploration of many of the most fundamental and challenging classical practices.

Come practice strong, play wise and explore with heart …..

The session will include: Anatomical discussion, relevant kinesiological principle, practice for refinement, opening and pose advancement, and philosophical discussion, meditation and pranayama. Each session will close with long, cool, yin and yoga nidra (guided deep relaxation for healing and integration). Some Yoga RX will be explored.

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Clarity & Connection with Nicole Morin

Clarity & Connection with Nicole Morin

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Thursdays, February 23 – March 16, 6:30-7:45PM
$15 Single / $40 Series
@Side Space

Awaken more clarity and connection with yourself through Yin yoga. This restorative practice accesses deeper tissues in the body to release physical and emotional tension and offers a reset for the nervous system.

4-week series exploring Yin yoga postures, Chinese meridian theory, breath awareness and meditation techniques.

Each week will be thoughtfully focused and sequenced to support a different meridian pairing.

  • Week 1: Liver & Gall Bladder
  • Week 2: Kidney & Bladder
  • Week 3: Spleen & Stomach
  • Week 4: Heart, Lung & Intestines

Students will learn a basic understanding of yin yoga, the meridian lines of the body and their physical/emotional ties, prop-based asana instruction, and given time for quiet contemplation and stillness throughout. The classes are inspired by Sarah Powers’ ‘Insight Yoga’, Yoga of the Subtle Body by Tias Little, and many of Pema Chodron’s books.

The series is designed so that each can stand alone, but the offering is more powerful bundled as a 4-class series as the knowledge will build each time.

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Mandala Flow with Gigi Mao

Mandala Flow with Gigi Mao

Mandala Flow with Gigi Mao

A Mandala is a circle that represents Wholeness and our relationship to the Infinite. As a spiritual and ritual symbol in Hinduism and Buddhism, it is often employed in meditation practice to establish a sacred space and to focus practitioners’ attention.

Join Gigi Mao in this fluid and playful flow practice. We will use the shape of the mandala as a powerful tool to connect with our body and breath while anchoring our attention and intention. You will leave feeling refreshed, balanced, and in the flow.

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Happy Hips

Happy Hips

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Saturday, February 11th from 3-5pm
$25 Donation

A workshop targeting the hips, hamstrings, IT-band, and low back

This two hour, all levels, Hatha Yin practice includes long holds, hip openers, and breath work. The focus will be on hips and low back, including neck and shoulder work. Using mindfulness and adapting poses for your body’s needs, we will transition through standing and floor postures.

The practice will end with breath work, pranayama, and singing bowls during savasana. Come open the body and relax your mind with Happy Hips!

This workshop is suitable for ALL LEVELS and body types!

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Practice With Purpose

Practice With Purpose

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Wednesdays, 1/18-2/8 from 5-6PM
Cash Only Donation

Join Practice Teacher Training graduate Janet Ha Wednesdays in the side space for an alignment based vinyasa practice benefitting The Refuge. 100% of your cash-only donation will go towards providing trauma-informed, long-term restoration shelter and services to girls 11-17 years old who have been exploited through sex trafficking.

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Handstand: Moving Away from the Wall

Handstand: Moving Away from the Wall

Handstand Workshop with Jenn Coats at Practice Yoga Austin

Saturday, January 28th 3-4:45PM
$25 Suggested Donation

Are you comfortable kicking up against the wall but are struggling to find a handstand in the middle of the room? Join Jenn as she breaks down the Do’s and Don’ts of a free standing handstand. We’ll review alignment, proper muscular activation, and explore exercise that playfully move you away from the wall; you’ll being floating in the middle of the room in no time!

Note: The ability to find handstand against the wall is a prerequisite for this workshop.

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