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Hasta Bandha: The Secret to Stronger Arm Balances and No Wrist Pain During Yoga

Updated: May 25, 2021

The Hasta Bandha which is key for preventing wrist injuries and creating a stable foundation throughout your yoga practice.

What’s a Bandha?

  • A bandha is a way to trap energy and redirect it. This allows us to shift weight/force from one area of the body and move it towards another, which ultimately, protects our joints and makes our practice stronger.

What’s the Hasta Bandha?

  • Hasta means hand in Sanskrit and Bandha means energy lock, so Hasta Bandha literally means Hand Lock. The Hasta Bandha is used in all the poses where the palms of the hands are in contact with the earth such as plank pose, downward facing dog, and arm balancing poses. The Hasta Bandha redirects the force put into hands towards the arms and shoulder joints to lift the body.

How to Activate the Hasta Bandha?

Start in a tabletop position:

  • Spread fingers wide and keep the finger pads flat on the mat. Actively press all four corners of the hands into the mat. Curl your fingers and grip the mat to create activation in the fingertips.

  • Imagine your hand is like a suction cup as you draw the center of the palms upwards. This traps the energy/force in the arch of the hand, and sends it upward though the arm and shoulder joints.

  • What we’re doing here is shifting the weight from the heels of the hands/wrists, to the central bones of the palms.

  • Most of the weight in your hands should be in your thumbs and pointer finger and inside of your hand, followed by your other fingers and the outside of your hand. There should be no weight in the center of the palm. The arch of the palm is where we’re drawing our hands up like a suction cup.

When to do it?

  • Practice this bandha whenever your hands make contact with the earth: such as table top, downward facing dog, and eventually this technique will help you in your arm balances to not only get more strength but to also protect your wrists and joints.

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