Making a firm connection to the earth with our hands is a really important aspect in any type of yoga practice. It is, however, one of those areas that is often overlooked and underestimated because it is too simplistic to bother with. Of all the bandhas, hasta bandha is probably the most obvious lock but that is why we often forget to engage it properly and take it for granted because we think we naturally have it!
From a physical viewpoint it is important to have an even connection to the earth through the whole expanse of each hand (from the tips of the fingers to the heels of the hands and everything in between). A safe and injury free practice is essential so by doing this we are trying to avoid unnecessary pressure on the wrists, arms and shoulders. From an energetic standpoint we are also being mindful of locking in vital prana and not letting it escape. For newcomers to yoga it is a good idea to constantly monitor this connection to become really familiar with it. As your practice and confidence develops you should naturally start to feel you are in the right position without even looking at your hands! Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Dog), Balasana (Child’s Pose) and Bakasana (Crow) are good poses to practice your engagement of hasta bandha.
For the past month or so we have been exploring this especially using our ‘cat’s paw’ technique. To find out more about all this, join us in class!