Apr 17, 2013
I pretty much have an obsession with all things Handstand at this point. Now, I don’t like to pick favorites, but it’s real high up there on my list of choice asana. I practice Handstand so much that I forget that it’s not always appropriate to practice it in certain locations or situations (or is it?). I practice it so much that I walk around this city (Philadelphia) in search of the perfect spot to snap a Handstand photo. I can’t stop. I can’t stop practicing it. I can’t stop talking about it. I can’t stop taking video of myself practicing it and critiquing the video. I can’t stop until I land it in the middle of the room for 10 breaths (or more!) with a witness (and hopefully that witness is my teacher!).
I didn’t always love Handstand so much. In fact, I had a complete aversion to all inversions in the beginning of my practice. At that point, imprisoned in fear, Handstand seemed like a long shot. The fear was difficult to get over. Many small breakthroughs had to occur for me to even attempt Handstand against the wall! Yes, it’s true. But it’s okay. It’s all about the journey and I have learned a lot about myself (emotionally and physically) along my Handstand-ing journey.
I’ve learned that – cliche alert! – anything is possible. I’ve learned patience. I’ve learned detachment to outcome. I’ve learned not to take myself so seriously. I’ve learned playfulness. I’ve learned that we create our own limitations – our own prisons. I’ve learned to fall and get back up. I’ve learned to put more trust in others and myself. All awesome lessons, right? I think so.
But there’s no doubt about it: Handstand is not easy. At least my relationship with it has not been easy. It’s taken lots of devotion – devotion that now borders on obsession, but I’m okay with that. It’s required work. Lots of it. That work has delivered small wins. And those wins feel good! It’s also required doses of fearlessness. Fear has been my main deterrent and getting over that has been my biggest feat.
If you don’t have Handstand in your practice but want to, you can! Sure, it’s not going to happen overnight. It could take you days, months, or even years before you fully work into this pose. But it’s not the result that matters. It never is. It’s all about the journey. You will learn so much about yourself and your practice. Trust me. Plus, you will build more strength, body intelligence, flexibility, and focus along the way. And finally, that sweet moment will come where you effortlessly float into the pose. I’m on the brink of this. Any day now. Any day.
To begin your Handstand-ing journey, turn to these free online yoga videos, demoing different variations and methods to approach and prepare for Handstand.
- Happy Handstand (Adho Mukha Vrksasana) with Sadie Nardini
Avoid the tendency to compress the lower back in handstand and learn an intermediate shift into core power and more lightness in the pose, no matter what your level!
- Handstand (Adho Mukha Vrksasana) with Isaac Peña
In this free online yoga video, you will learn some various Handstand preps against the wall to achieve correct alignment.
- Opening the Hamstrings to Access Handstand with Jessica Bellofatto
Practice Supta Padangusthasana (Reclining Big Toe Pose) as a prep for Handstand.
- L Stands (Preparing for Inversions and Arm Balances) with Jennifer Beyt Coffin
Learn L Stands against the wall in this free online yoga video. L Stands offer a simple, accessible way to prep for Handstand and other inversions.
You got this, yogis.
Photo Credit: Handstand via www.yogadudes.tumblr.com