Hasta Bandha, The Hand Lock
“As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.” – Audrey Hepburn
Bandha is the yoga term for body lock. You may have heard of Mula Bandha (root lock), Uddiyana Bandha (abdominal lock), Jalandhara Bandha (chin lock), or Pada Bandha (foot lock). In this Blog we will examine Hasta Bandha, the Hand Lock. Hasta Bandha is important in poses like Downward Dog where students sometimes experience wrist pain or discomfort.
To explore Hasta Bandha, find a comfortable seated position, and bring hands to prayer. Press the palms firmly together and point your fingertips forward so you can see the heels of your hands. Notice that there is no space between the heels of the palms. Now point your fingertips upward and press the finger pads together. Simultaneously press the mounds at the base of the fingers together. Continue those actions while focusing on putting additional pressure to the finger pads and finger mounds of the pointer fingers and the thumbs. At the same time, avoid putting pressure at the heel of the hand, especially the outer heel on the pinky side.
Notice that by altering the pressure points, the center of the palms have lifted or suctioned outward and away from one another. Turn your fingers forward again and gaze for a second time at the heel of your hands. You will now notice a space at the center of the heels of the palms big enough to fit a pencil. This is the carpal tunnel, the passageway on the palm side of the wrist that connects the forearm to the hand.
Next try finding Hasta Bandha with your hands on the mat especially while practicing poses like Table Top, Downward Dog, and any arm balance. It will take some time to make Hasta Bandha a habit, but with a little effort this minor adjustment can dramatically improve the safety and enjoyment of your yoga practice.