Sometimes you need to turn the world upside down to get a better perspective.
We’ve all seen them at one time or another. Maybe you’re even one of them; one of those people that make handstands look easy, flipping upside down with reckless abandon, no matter where they are or who they’re with. But if you’re among the majority of people who have never tried a handstand before, they can be pretty intimidating. There are many reasons why people get scared when it comes to learning handstands; the fear of falling, the fear of failure, the fear of imperfection, the fear of injury—just plain fear.
Scared of falling on your head or back? Falling down is all part of the learning process! If you aren’t taking a tumble now and then, you’re doing something wrong. Practicing with a friend will help ease your worries, as will practicing up against a wall. There are also plenty of ways to learn how to fall or cartwheel out of a handstand that will keep you injury-free. Any of our instructors would be happy to show you how. Try placing pillows or blankets underneath your body and in front of your head for a little peace of mind and extra protection when practicing. As you get more comfortable going upside down you can always remove them.
Handstands & Yoga Practice
Now, there are those who claim to know the “secret to handstands” or have “tricks” that will make handstands easy to master, but don’t let them fool you. There is no shortcut or easy way to learning handstand, it’s going to take a lot of practice. That being said, there is a basic formula for success. You’ve got to overcome your fears, build up strength, and realize that some day you are going to handstand. Take those three parts, add a TON of practice and hard work, and you’ll be there.
As many reasons as there are to be afraid of handstands, there are just as many reasons to keep practicing them. Handstand is a boss. It’s a powerful tool that, when added to your repertoire, will illuminate your whole body’s alignment and balance no matter what you’re doing. Plus, when you correct your form in handstand, it allows proper posture to show up in all of your other poses. Another reason to keep practicing handstand is that once you’ve gotten the hang of it, you’ll feel empowered in other areas of your life.
If you’ve dabbled in handstands then you already know how addictive they can be, but the hardest part is getting over your fear and giving them a shot in the first place. Perhaps it will help to know that you probably already have enough strength for a handstand; getting your body up and upside down isn’t necessarily the hardest part. It takes hard work and practice, yes, but the hardest part when it comes to handstand is overcoming fear. That’s why you’ve got to practice, practice, practice.
Each time you practice your donkey kicks or kick ups against a wall, you’re facing your fears little by little. Acknowledge your progress and keep setting realistic goals for yourself. Remember, it’s the little wins! Maybe your victory is kicking your feet up to hip-height, or getting both feet up in the air and floating there for a second. Know that your body is different from every other body and never compare your progress to someone else’s. Know that some days are just not handstand days. Sometimes, no matter how experienced you are or how much you’ve been practicing, your body will just not do a handstand, so don’t get discouraged.
Give yourself and your practice a little credit here and trust that if you put in the work, you’ll be able to hit and stick a handstand. Like all good things in life, handstands take time and practice! But if you’re willing to put in both, learning handstand will give you a whole new perspective—on your practice and in your life.