Headstand, here I come

I am in love with headstands – I can’t stop trying to perfect mine. It’s funny because I only tried my first one a few months ago, but now I end every practice with some headstand work.

I am nowhere near coming off the wall, but I am noticing some serious progress.

I get all the way up and then place just my heels on the wall for balance. I’m not gracelessly whacking my heels and hips up there just to get it over with, like when I started. It helped when I started walking my feet in closer to my head than I had been, making the top half of my body almost vertical before I even try to get up there.

I had another “aha” moment when I learned how to really engage my arms and use my elbows as part of the tripod.

Every once in a while, I have a moment of enlightenment (mainly, core engagement) that gives me a glimpse of what it will feel like when I don’t need the wall. But I know it would be foolish to take away the wall right now. At the moment, I focus on balancing for five breaths with one heel off and one heel delicately on the wall, then I switch. Then I try to come all the way off for a few breaths.

I’m in a delicate and humbling place right now. I just did a level two class on yogaglo where the guy “in front of me” did a handstand flow between poses like it was nothing. It will be years before I get to that point (if it’s even attainable!). I try to ignore my competitive nature in yoga, but at times like that it’s very challenging! It’s tempting to just rush into things with false confidence (kind of like I did with crow a few posts back).

At the same time, I know moving too quickly here will set me back a few steps. If I get ahead of myself, I could end up falling or even injuring myself. It would severely damage the fledgling confidence I’ve built. So I need to take it nice and slowly and enjoy the ride.

I hope you’re enjoying your ride too! What poses did you have a long love affair with before you felt confident in them?



7 responses to “Headstand, here I come

  1. Hey Jaimie!
    This is so timely as last weekend I found myself in conversation with several teachers comparing different handstand handgrip notes. General consensus is to “karate chop” the edges of the hands (plus forearms) into the ground…
    but I also came away with a different handposition I’ve been experimenting with: after clasping the hands, some were working with palms together (a tighter clasp), but there was another variation where the fingers remain interlaced and the palms separate so that the back of the hands continues the line of the forearm.
    now with fingers clasped, “unclasp” the pinkies so that the the pinkies stick out above the hand. The pinkies are straight and the pinky fingerpads come to touch. The edges of the entire pinky is now pressing into the mat. You now have one long line from elbow to pinky tip. (Does this make sense??) I’ve been playing around with this variation. Haven’t decided yet if I like it, but thought I’d share for you to play with too.
    My long love affair is with handstand and it’s still long and still love.
    Warmly in upsidedowness,

    • Hmmm, I will have to try the pinkie extension thing. As it is, I have kind of a good grasp going with my thumbs on top of (so, on the bottom of!) my ponytail. Thanks for the suggestion!

  2. Hi Jamie,
    Sounds like you have it all under control. Take it slow. You see how far you’ve come, and in a few months you may look back and be amazed at where you are. Headstand is wonderful and the fact that you are gracefully getting yourself into it shows you’ve both learned a lot and built the strength to do it!

  3. Handstands are for gymnasts! They seriously take so much strength. I only try them in the pool.

  4. Do we have a pool in the hotel? : )

  5. Hi Jamie

    I just found your blog and absolutely love it. Thank you for sharing your accomplishments. I am also a newbie and trying to get this headstand also. My teacher recently switched me to doing straight leg (pike) position going up to headstand and I now I am whacking the wall and feeling utterly frustrated!

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