This post is dedicated to RB and others (like me) who have been stymied at one time or another when trying to kick up into this intriguing pose.
Handstand is so cool.
A while ago I wrote about how it made me really pissed.
For myself, I don't think I can own handstand. These days I can do it more often than not. It seems to be easier, but I wonder if it's just because I'm not taking it as seriously as I used to. I really love the handstand and find it incredibly empowering, and mysterious, too. Like a rare bird that you know where it usually lives, but it might not be there on some days. I suspect that my relationship with this pose will also continue to change.
There was a time when a yoga teacher friend was watching my handstand struggle. She shared that it looked like I just had a long way to go with my tall body--I had a lot to kick up. But while this assessment is technically true in that I am tall, I don't totally buy into it. Sometimes my handstand is very easy. When it is easy I still am kicking up the same amount of me so there is something different about the times I can easily do it and times I can't; I don't change my height, body mass or weight. So even though I have a lot to kick up, it's not my height that makes the pose easy or hard for me.
The obvious answer is practice. When I am practicing my handstand every day--sometimes several times a day in between classes--I am much more likely to nail it when I am asked to do it in a class I am taking. But, even within the last few months there have been times where I have had performance anxiety when asked to do it in a class. Even if I pop into one right before class, I sometimes have failed to do it with ease when asked to do it later during the class.
And like RB, once I'm up I tend to be solid.
When I have had difficulty with the pose, I usually think that it has to do with something psychological--like I am afraid to be strong and selfsufficient. True. I can fake it pretty good but I have fear. I actually think that I've nailed it right here.
But there is also something about my abdominal connection. When I swing my leg up where my "leg" includes my low belly--that helps. Or sometimes, when I kick I think of bringing my navel back towards the wall behind me--that really helps. It's almost like I can get disjointed around my mid-section. My back can feel weak when I try to kick up with just my legs below the buttocks, but when I include my low belly to navel in my kick it works much better.
After years of practice, my body continues to stabilize, strengthen, and open in new ways so I'm just excited to continue. It's cool to see where yoga practice takes my body and mind over time.
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