Handstands – the one asana everyone desperately wants to achieve. It most definitely is one of my personal goals, and it’s not been an easy journey. Back in gymnastics training, we were taught to kick up and use our hips to get into handstand; this eventually led to my bad habit of arching my back and ending up in a front walkover instead. I would practice by kicking up against the wall for support, but it only resulted in a ‘banana back’ handstand as I relied on the wall to hold my weight.
Achieving a handstand seemed so elusive; my banana back, weak arms, and lack of balance seemed to prevent me from getting it right. So when Master Paalu said we were going to do handstands, I thought I wouldn’t be able to do it given my failed attempts in the past. But under Master Paalu’s guidance and instructions, I realized that I had been using the wrong techniques in the past.
The correct way to get into handstand is to lock your shoulders in Downward Dog and slowly walk your feet closer to your hands with your quads engaged. From there, you can either lightly hop up into a handstand or ‘float’ into it depending on your flexibility. I was genuinely surprised when I managed to ‘float’ into a handstand and hold it during a practice session. It was a huge step and I am really grateful to have learnt the proper technique. I will work on my handstands and hopefully, be able to ‘fly’ without the wall one day!
200hr YTT January 2017