The Benefits of Handstands

handstandIs there something you are striving for and diligently focused on achieving? Don’t give up. For four years I wanted to go up into a handstand without the assistance of a yoga teacher or wall.  Some days I got really close, but most days I surrendered to my body and mind. Yoga class or at-home practice, it wasn’t happening beyond a half-handstand or cartwheel. I kept trying. Year after year. And then two months ago, during a Saturday afternoon yoga class, I popped right up. Call it willpower, call it luck, call it whatever you want, I had a smile for a mile. An unexpected matter of fruition is an example of everything: patience and practice pay off. Curiosity lead me to the benefits of adho mukha vrksasana as told by Krista Stryker on Mind Body Green:

They’ll make your upper body super strong.

In order to stay upside down for any length of time, you’ll need a massive amount of shoulder, arm, and upper back strength. In fact, it’s not uncommon for beginners to start shaking after just a few seconds of holding a handstand.

To build up strength, start by holding a handstand against a wall for three sets of 5-10 seconds. Work up to holding them for a minute or two at a time. Practice often, and watch as your upper body strength skyrockets.

They’ll increase your balance

If you’ve ever tried a handstand, you know that besides needing to be strong to do them, you’ll also need to have substantial balancing skills as well in order to be able to hold yourself up. Freestanding handstands, especially, require you to be able to have full control over your muscles and to constantly make small adjustments to avoid falling.

Practicing freestanding handstands or doing handstands against a wall and trying to take your feet off the wall for as long as possible will help increase your balancing abilities like no other exercise can.

They can boost your mood.

Not only will handstands make you strong and help improve your balancing abilities, handstands can also make you feel happier, since the blood flow to your brain has an energizing and calming effect, especially when you’re feeling really stressed out.

Another way handstands can help your mood is by reducing the production of the stress hormone, cortisol, which can not only de-stress you in the short-term but could also help relieve minor depression and anxiety.

They build core strength.

There’s no need to spend hours focusing just on your abs — you can have fun doing handstands and build core strength as well.

Since staying upside down forces you to stabilize your muscles, you’re constantly working your abs, as well as other key muscle groups such as your hip flexors, hamstrings, inner thigh muscles, obliques and lower back while in a handstand. Training handstands every day will get you a well balanced, super strong core.

They help with bone health, circulation and breathing.

Since handstands are technically a weight-bearing exercise, they can help strengthen your bones, making you less prone to osteoporosis. Handstands are also beneficial for your spine, and help aid bone health in your shoulders, arms and wrists.

Not only that, the upside-down nature of a handstand can increase circulation to your upper body, while relieving pressure on your feet and legs and stretching your diaphragm at the same time, which in turn can increase blood flow to your lungs.

March Magic

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March has me feeling like anything is possible, more than ever. A handful of unexpected, but ultimately positive, changes happened in my personal life last month. The one step at a time theory is everything, all of the time. Keep tuning into how you feel. Question yourself for your own growth. Say no and say yes. March to the beat of your own drum and surround yourself with your kind of high vibe folks.

P.S. here are some sparks of my daily March…

En route to Ojai next weekend, a getaway that doesn’t have me on a plane but feels like an exciting escape!

Hosting friends for a dinner of delicious fresh fish tacos and some cold brews. Homemade yum yum sauce is the trick.

I’m not a gardener, at all. However, I’ve attempted to grow African Violets…and it’s happening.

Homes with a heart are always after my heart. Loving this French home. Each room tells a story.

 

Heart Overflowin’

What can you do to get your heart overflowing this weekend? Sparks and reminders are all around. Even my best friends lovingly roll their eyes at me, but I am telling you, look out and be aware. It’s all always happening. We are alive and breathing! Bare with me a few moments more, massive stream of consciousness happening. Last month I was on yet another cross country flight. Seated next to me was a most handsome Argentinian man. We sipped red wine and shared family, career and love stories way up in the air. Six hours later it felt like our first date. Studies show your senses are heightened while flying, as in 55 percent of travelers said they had “experienced heightened emotions while flying.” Truth be told, a few years ago I was seated adjacent to another handsome (American) man who ended up my boyfriend of half a year+. Things like this do happen. But back to the Argentinian…it was just a moment, a we are alive and life is rad when you connect with people moment. We did what you do nowadays: immediate social media friending. Fast forward to a few weeks later, I’m blasting Leon Bridges’ music in my office on a Friday, creating content for a film campaign, subconscious-simultaneous scrolling of Facebook happening and low and behold the Argentinian posted the same exact song I had playing. You still with me here? If so, this is a silly, fun reminder that it is freaking Friday and it’s time to open your heart and your mind to what feels right. Roll with the patterns that pop up in your life. xx, JBD.

Tipi (or Teepee) Living

New year, new ideas. After spending some glorious holiday family time between South Carolina and Seattle, I returned to my cozy LA beach abode this past weekend. I swiftly plopped myself on the sofa and rejoiced in knowing I will not step foot on another airplane for exactly 22 days (the longest duration of no air travel in over 13 months!). Daydreaming set in and I floated into frequent notions of driving through the canyon roads of Topanga, moon roof wide open, breezy sunshine bursting in. A few small bits of world wide webbing later, I found myself glued to looking at photos of tipi glamping and promptly declared this the year of why not?

b556eae9_originalThe authentic 18 foot tipi lives on the grounds of a Topanga, California area farm house, furnished in genuine aboriginal decor of the past, according to Airbnb.

hkgtohgonfucdgpp2nd0Enjoy the experience with up to three of your favorite people, evening soaks in an outdoor hot tub, and the general fun of sleeping in a kitschy tipi…because why not? For information on costs, availability and more, check out this link.

Last Minute Lovely Gifts

wo we JBDCheers for a holiday season full of goodness, calmness and over-the-rainbow moments. If you’re like me, you have a few items left to buy and give. Once a last minute shopper, always a last minute shopper! Below is the JBD version of a blogger’s gift guide. Definitely unconventional and clearly a sprinkling of things close to my heart. Merry wishes to you!

HEAL

Eastern Medicine may feel foreign to a first-timer, yet it is one of the greatest gifts we may give ourselves. My two favorite healers are in Los Angeles and New York. I’ve written about the magic of Erin at Radiant Heart Acupuncture here and now introduce you to Erica of Mind & Body Acupuncture. Heal yourself, heal the world.

DOGS

If you like dogs, perhaps I may convince you to fall in love with corgis, too? Queen’s Best Stumpy Dog Rescue specializes in saving and rehabilitating the more difficult dogs to adopt, always taking a methodical approach to adoption. Your donation can help a corgi like lovable Simon get the medication he needs or pay for food to keep these low riders ready for any adventure.

STARS

Astrology 101 anyone? Contact Sandra Sitron of Strong Eye Astrology for a thoughtful, intuitive astrology consultation. I had my “chart read” earlier this year and it was a ton of fun. Her creative insight is second to none.

GIVE

In the new year I’ll be sharing details of an exciting partnership with The Her Initiative, an organization which offers access to clean water and specific health and hygiene curriculum to women in the developing world. In the meantime, please consider making any donation and join us in providing safe water to the 800 million people who still need access to it.

Image via Wo and We

Brilliant Business Advice

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It’s no secret I work hard in a job I like, a lot. Yes, the constant creative change and global travel help, however the biggest reason I thrive and feel good most days is in direct correlation to the superstars I work with from the office to the road. These smart pieces of advice as told by Inc. are worth reading for your own success.

1. Carve Your Own Path

Don’t let someone else’s vision of success force you to stray from the path you worked to be on. Carve your own path and you’ll always be heading in the right direction. — Michelle Phan, co-founder of Ipsy.

2. Soak Up Knowledge From Smart People

I love the [Jim Rohn] quote “You’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” I’d encourage female entrepreneurs to find people that they admire and spend lots of time with those people that are more successful than they are and smarter than they are, because those are the people I’ve learned the most from. –Nanxi Liu, CEO of Enplug

3. Do It Now!

Don’t wait until you have all the answers because you will never have all the answers. –Zoe Barry, founder of ZappRx

4. 99 Percent Perspiration

Be ready to work! Business is not simply built on innovation — we’ve had a great idea in a great industry that’s required quite a bit of “perspiration” and late nights to achieve. –Adam Lyonz, founder of The Zebra

5. Find Solutions to the Right Problems

I think one of the things we did that was important was that we worked really hard to identify the right problem before identifying the solution. … If you find a problem that people talk about emotionally as a serious problem in their lives … you can take that leap to developing the solution. –Liam Don, co-founder of ClassDojo

6. Network Like a Pro

Attend as many events as possible and do your research beforehand. Knowing who you’ll be meeting with and understanding how they may be able to help you is vital. With preparation, you are instantly set up for a productive and efficient conversation once you’re face-to-face. –Kegan Schouwenburg, founder of Sols 

7. Own Your Mistakes

Your team needs to be accountable without throwing one another under the bus. Reward those who both acknowledge their own slip-ups and offer solutions to fix them. Some of the best learning can come after mistakes are identified and ultimately lead to a better product/process in the end. –Al Goldstein, CEO of Avant

8. Ask Influential People For Help

Reaching out to the right people and getting connected to influential and intelligent people has helped us do more than we ever could have done alone. –Alex White, co-founder of Next Big Sound

9. Kill Your Insecurities

As you start working on your company, you start working on yourself. Because this company is a reflection of who you are, and every single one of your insecurities are somehow going to be challenged; they are somehow going to bubble up to the surface. And you are going to have to defeat them in real time, in order to be successful at what you’re building. –Anda Gansca, founder of Knatch

10. To Thine Own Self Be True

Just be yourself. Work hard, and do something you love. Focus: do less, but do it better. And give back when you can. –Jordan Fliegel, founder of CoachUp

11. Look for Opportunity

One of the things I preach a lot about is getting in early. This means be opportunistic with things when you see something new coming onto the scene, or when you can sense that a trend is on the rise… –Jesse Tevelow, co-founder of PlayQ

12. Drive It With Data

Don’t try to count everything. Concentrate on bottom-line numbers. Collect lots of data. Feel free to change. –Douglas Hanna, founder of Help.com

13. Hire Superstars

Choose the people you work with carefully; they are more important than what you do! –Jonathan Neman, co-founder of Sweetgreen

14. Find an Outstanding Co-Founder

Find an incredible co-founder. I think both of us have found that we do better work together than we ever could alone. –Noah Ready-Campbell, CEO of Twice

15. Build, Build, Build!

1. Build stuff. 2. Make a lot of things. 3. Make a list of said things. 4. Make said list longer. –Sahil Lavingia, founder of Gumroad

Image Credit: Jenny Graham / Advice above via Inc.