Don’t Forget Your Hands: Hasta Bandha for a Stronger, Safer Practice

Last week, we delved into Padha Bandha, focusing on the connection and engagement of the feet. Building on that exploration, this week in our yoga classes in Rugby, we have shifted our attention to Hasta Bandha, the art of hand lock. Just as Padha Bandha grounded us through our feet, Hasta Bandha empowers us through our hands, offering an opportunity to refine our practice and deepen our connection to each pose.

Hasta Bandha: Beyond Wrist Protection

Our hands facilitate our connection with the world in myriad ways, and on the mat, they serve as tools for stability, balance, and power.

Hasta Bandha, translating to “hand lock” in Sanskrit, isn’t merely about safeguarding your wrists. It’s a subtle yet engagement of the hands that fosters stability and protects your joints. Good application of Hasta Bandha distributes weight evenly across your palms, leveraging the natural arch of your hand for support. This not only alleviates strain on the wrists, particularly in weight-bearing poses like Downward-Facing Dog but also lays the foundation for a number of benefits:

  • Strength and Stability: Activating Hasta Bandha establishes a sturdy foundation, empowering you to hold poses with greater ease and control. Envision your hands firmly rooted into the mat, anchoring you in each posture and fostering a sense of confidence and power.
  • Heightened Proprioception: By consciously engaging your hands in Hasta Bandha, you enhance your body’s spatial awareness, refining alignment throughout your practice. This heightened proprioception not only reduces the risk of injury but also deepens your connection to the nuances of each pose.
  • Precision in Movement: Hasta Bandha encourages mindful use of the hands, transcending mere gripping to focus on spreading the fingers and activating specific points of contact. This precision fosters intentional movement, enabling you to flow gracefully from one posture to the next with heightened awareness and control.
  • Potential Energy Flow: In certain yoga traditions, Hasta Bandha is believed to channel subtle energy (prana) up the arms and into the body’s central channel. While the scientific basis of this concept is still evolving, many practitioners attest to experiencing heightened energy and concentration when incorporating Hasta Bandha into their practice.

Incorporating Hasta Bandha into Your Practice:

Eager to explore Hasta Bandha? Here’s a step-by-step guide to get you started:

  1. Establish Your Foundation: Begin in any pose that relies on hand support, such as Downward-Facing Dog or Plank. Ensure your wrists are aligned directly under your shoulders to optimise stability.
  2. Spread and Ground: Extend your fingers wide, pressing the fleshy pads of your palms firmly into the mat. Visualise creating an “L” shape with your thumb and index finger, creating a broad base of support.
  3. Lift and Engage: While maintaining alignment, gently lift and broaden your palms as if pushing against an unseen force. Lengthen your fingers through the fingertips, activating the muscles of your forearms and hands for enhanced stability.


  • Avoid Over-Gripping: Aim for a firm yet gentle engagement. Excessive tension in your forearms can hinder your practice.
  • Stay Breath-Aware: Maintain a steady breath throughout, using it as a guide to stay present and release any unnecessary tension.
  • Listen to Your Body: Honour your body’s signals. If you encounter discomfort, adjust your technique or transition to a modification that better suits your needs.
  • Embrace Variation: As you become more proficient in Hasta Bandha, feel free to explore subtle adjustments in hand placement to optimise your experience in different poses.

Have a question about something yoga-related? Feel free to drop me a message! I’d love to hear from you.