Hands-Free Yoga: Why it is Definitely Worth a Try!08/25/2021 2021-08-25 16:54
Hands-Free Yoga: Why it is Definitely Worth a Try!
Have you ever heard of hands-free yoga and wondered what that is and why it is a practice worth integrating into your routine? I’m here to give you all the answers.
How is hands-free yoga even possible?
When talking about hands-free yoga, this doesn’t mean that you won’t use your hands in any way. It means we won’t put pressure on them, like in tabletop, downward-facing dog, or plank. And if you take any yoga class that doesn’t focus on a hands-free flow, you will quickly find that these poses are very common in most yoga classes. Don’t get me wrong, this will be the same for my class, but as I recently had someone join my class who couldn’t put pressure on their wrists, I had to start to think outside the box.
Once you re-think poses that put pressure on your hands, you will not only discover other fun transitions, but you also become more creative in your sequencing and learn to accommodate people with special (physical) requirements. And who doesn’t want to make yoga more accessible?
When I starting thinking about this, I found that yin yoga and restorative yoga, in general, are both practices that can be very hands-free friendly. You could also explore other parts of yoga, that are not connected to the physical, which is only a small part of yoga anyway.
Why should you teach or take a hands-free yoga class?
In a time of home workouts, often without any verbal introduction, I can only imagine how many people injured themselves. Especially the wrists get worked a lot, usually without any warm-up or stretching, so everyone’s wrists, whether they have an actual injury or not, will be happy to get a break, I dare say.
Accessibility is definitely another great reason to offer a hands-free yoga class every once in a while – or include more flows into a class. If you’re a teacher like me, then you might also enjoy thinking about different transitions or poses, especially if you feel like you’ve been in a bit of a rut when sequencing. Another reason to benefit from an opportunity like this is to be reminded again that yoga poses without variations really aren’t that accessible to many people. It never hurts to keep that in mind when you’re a teacher.
If you’re a student, it might simply be fun to try a hands-free class, just like it can always be fun to try out new or different versions of things you already enjoy. I find that only when I integrate a wider range of yoga practices into my schedule, I really get to know my body and mind on different levels. If you always stay with only one yoga style or teacher – which I can totally understand – you might simply not have the opportunity to explore your body in these dimensions.
What you might find in a hands-free class
Standing poses in general tend to be a bit more hands-free friendly. If you’re on the ground, you can either sub the poses I mentioned above (down dog, plank, tabletop) for version on the forearms, if that is accessible to you or your student – or simply find different ways to transition into yoga poses.
- Kneeling: as you can see in my Instagram post, I used kneeling as a transition to move into a low lunge. In general, I would say, kneeling is a great alternative to downward-facing dog, as your body is facing a similar way and you can step through with one foot or even both feet.
- Balance: I find that in hands-free flow, we use the element of balance perhaps a little bit more. You might use balance to come into standing from a squat perhaps. This would also bring a more playful element to your practice.
- Lower body: in practices where we have to be mindful of certain body parts, it is possible that other body parts work a little harder or simply will be featured more in the class – in this case, it might be your legs or core. However, that doesn’t mean that you won’t be using your arms in a hands-free class, quite the opposite I would say!
- Weightless arms: as we don’t put much or any bodyweight onto the wrists, you might think that your arms will just hang by your side. Well, that might be the case, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Your core will also help stabilise you. As you can see in my video, you might find your forearms give you stability, like in a low lunge or extended side angle, and that you can still use your arms a lot, simply by extending them. I dare you to hold your arms out in front of you for a minute or more – does it feel like they’re NOT working? 😉
I really hope that – no matter if you’re a student or teacher of yoga – you will give hands-free yoga a try. There are so many classes out there, why don’t you just choose one for your next practice? Or simply start with my Instagram tutorial 😉