Updated: Dec 16, 2019
DON'T LET THE FEAR OF FALLING KEEP YOU FROM FLYING
My Handstand journey started when I was a little kid and we had a giant poster in our apartment, that my mom had hung up. It was a flyer for a gallery exhibit showing an oil painting depicting two fools in the era of Louis the 14th, maybe in France, entertaining an audience by dancing on their hands with their legs up in the air. I loved looking at that poster and the playfulness, strength and ease that these two characters embodied.
Seeing this inspired me to throw myself with my back against walls or cupboards, which made me unafraid being upside down, leaning onto something solid. I totally forgot about handstands during my teenage rebellion up until I had given birth for the first time. So being upside down wasn't an issue, when I began doing yoga and I suddenly remembered this interest in upsidedown-ness.
For a couple of years my ego kicked in and I thought "I should be better by now, the wall was my enemy and I should leave the safety of the wall to do the real thing". So I started flinging my legs up in the room, afraid of falling over and eager to jump the steps that are necessary before leaving my concrete buddy, the wall. Luckily: I got taught better by my awesome teacher Yuval who just said during my first workshop with him: "You're not ready. You need to go back to practicing at the wall." I was pouting of course, but realized he was totally right and thinking back I'm really thankful for his honest observation. So back to the wall I went and started the 365 days of Handstands challenge on January 1st 2017. This helped me TONS. With all the prep work, core work, wrist and shoulder warm ups, I immersed myself with this topic, which has become a passionate.
DAYS OF WEAKNESS
For me, as a woman, I had to come to accept that during (men are ok to skip this paragraph) my menstrual cycle, my lower body and upper body weren't as connected as usually, like the rest of the month. So these days were not the days to power through like a maniac, but more to accept and absorb the rest of my training. Feeling the weakness although you've been through strong sessions is hard and frustrating. But this is the course of life for us ladies nonetheless. And I like being a strong chick and vulnerable butterfly at times. This yin-yang aspect is what makes life beautiful, right?
THE FEAR OF FALLING
For an efficient handstand it is all about: Alignment, Strength and Balance. Through memorizing the alignment at the wall and practicing anything that's relevant to build strength for handstands (like a handstand itself) you will work through the initial fear of falling. This fear is actually our best friend that keeps us from making dumb mistakes and helps us, simply put, to just stay alive and be safe. If we wouldn't have that fear, people with no clue of where they are when upside down and no power at all, would just constantly be falling over. What I'm trying to say is: don't fight the fear. Instead: work on where ever you need more understanding or tightness in your body in order to balance on your hands steadily instead of going into bad alignment because the fear is dictating your moves. When afraid, your handstand will look like mine in 2015: Head too much forward, arched in the back, because the back does not want to fall over. With less fear, like in the photo now 2018, the hips are stacked above the shoulders and the head isn't looking forward as much. Still not perfect! But I'm slowly getting there and I'm proud of the progress.
TIPS TO WORK ON YOUR FEAR IN HANDSTANDS! ONE STEP AT A TIME
practice being on your hands (like crawling)
practice cartwheels, enjoy life like a child by simply hopping on your hands
practice at the wall back to wall
practice at the wall belly to wall
practice in a doorway or with a spotter
then eventually, gradually start kicking up back to wall & slowly move away from the wall
THE BENEFITS OF HANDSTANDS
Maybe you are wondering, what is this handstand craze all about?? Why is everybody wanting to put their clean, soft hands on the dirty, dangerous ground? Well, if you're asking this, then you haven't experienced the rush of blood to the head and the wideness of the smile when coming down from the upside down world. It's not only beneficial for blood circulation, builds muscle in shoulders, arm and core, increases stamina and strength but also helps boost self confidence. It says that standing on your hands also reduces stress, anxiety and can help with worry and depression. As far as I'm concerned, handstands just make me happy. If you're suffering from injuries in hands or arms, there are certain tools like paralette bars or blocks to help with handstands.
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