Monday, November 16, 2009

Handstand is so Cool




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.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

6 comments:

svasti said...

Generally, I have a similar issue with all balance poses. I am not yet at the point where I feel safe to do a handstand or headstand away from the wall. But I'm working on it!

And then there's all the upright balance poses. Which I can totally nail, or do but with lots of wobbles and falling out, or completely fail at (sometimes, but not often).

There's a marked difference in my experience that I've noticed. Same as you, when I'm feeling solid, relaxed and my mind is not racing, I have no troubles. Or greatly reduced troubles.

So I look to these postures as a measure of my state of mind. Sometimes I'm able to calm myself during the asana practice enough to improve my balance. Sometimes not.

This is just one of the many ways that yoga demonstrates the mind-body connection and how important medidation and a steady mind really is!

yoga said...

Working up to handstand away from the wall myself. So I know where you are coming from. I just keep trying to content with myself and where I am and sometimes it works sometimes not.

Not super stable when it does but I am OK with where I am.

Laura Hegfield said...

I love the change in perspective handstand brings to our lives!

Hello my fellow blog travelers, inspirers, angels, artists, writers, gentle good HUMANS,

Yesterday I had this wonderful Idea! To create a special blog for American Thanksgiving with gratitude quotes from many people I know...some of you received the request below....My Blogging Co-ConSpiritor Deb Whaley asked me a great question-would I mind if she did the same thing on her blog? OMG...this was the best idea ever! So now I am asking all of you on my blog roll to consider joining in to make this a worldwide BLOGGING GRATITUDE EVENT...I LIKE THE IDEA OF MOBIUS...BECAUSE IT NEVER ENDS...LIKE LOVE...I LIKE THE IDEA OF QUILT BECAUSE IT'S A PATCHWORK OF COLORS AND WORDS STITCHED TOGETHER...AGAIN WITH LOVE... A BLANKET OF GRATITUDE TO WRAP AROUND THE WORLD!

I know that some of you are in other countries and do not celebrate Thanksgiving on Thursday November 26 like in the US, but I figure every day is an opportunity to share our gratitude so why not just all do it on the same day?!!!

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IF THIS FEELS TOO BIG, TOO OVERWHELMING ...FORGET ABOUT IT...THAT IS NOT MY INTENTION FOR ANYONE...BUT IF IT FEELS LIKE A GOOD HEALTHY CHOICE FOR YOU...THEN PLEASE JOIN ME IN THIS QUEST FOR MORE GRATITUDE, MORE JOY, MORE AWARENESS OF THE GOODNESS INFUSED IN THE WORLD!


LOVE TO ALL,
LAURA

AS most of you know you know by now..I have trouble with language...I worry about my blog...it very important to me...I'm thinking ahead to Thanksgiving...I would like it if all of you special earth angels would right a sentence or two about what you are grateful for in your life...in the moment you recieve this message...or the minute you have time to get to it...but be present in that exact moment when you write. don't think too much...just close eyes...breathe into the moment and allow feeling of gratitude to arise...then write words that flow from you deep well of truth. OK?

then send to me...I publish for thanksgiving blog...I was hoping for interview with cami walker...but not sure that will happen...that ok...life all about changes.

some of you are very present voices online, in books, as teachers, coaches...also just my friends...all voices important...please do this for me, for us for all the world...we all have much to be grateful for....

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if you too shy or busy, I understand...but i think this be amazing outpouring of gratitude for world

love to you all

Laura
http://www.shinethedivine.com
Reveal Your Sacred Spark & Realize Your Creative Dreams
...breath by breath...moment by moment...step by step.

Darling Nicki said...

The handstand is one asana I fear and avoid. I took a handstand class at the last yoga conference I went to and was amazed at what other yogi's could do! I admit, it makes me feel insecure. But it's good to know I'm not the only challenged one. And you're right, it just takes practice. Thanks for inspiring me not to give up.
Namaste

YogaSpy said...

My first teacher would tell students not to focus on the legs swinging up, but on the hips rising above the shoulders. If your hips are up, your legs will follow.

I added to this idea by focusing on my back muscles (quadratus lumborum): I imagine that muscle contracting as I kick up. Then the movement is coming from my core and not only from my legs. More stable.

I agree that this is an exhilarating pose that requires a leap--of energy, faith, confidence, all that good stuff.

RB said...

Brooks!

Thanks so much for this wonderful, real and inspiring post. I'm glad you brought up the twisting of the back. My teacher just told me that I have a tightness in my hips which causes my back to torque in handstand, on the way up.

But I think it connects to your post about wanting to hide or disappear. As tall women, we grow up trying to make our bodies smaller--we're twisting and torquing and shifting. When it comes time to produce the reach required for handstand, it's almost like we don't have the muscle memory to do it.

But it's nice to hear that someone else struggles, I thought I was going to be the only teacher in the world who had a hard time with it.