Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Handstands - not just for 7year olds!

So, true to my word I am getting out there and doing it... practising and learning and  growing my yogic self! 
Last week I was whizzing through the websites of two great London yoga studios Triyoga and The Life Centre looking to see what they had on offer in the way of workshops and courses. I really want to do a pregnancy yoga teacher training but they seem to be few and far between and always sold out when I find one!
Anyway, on my quest for said course, I found some fantastic workshops from such yoga bigwigs as Jason Crandell, Richard Freeman, Max Strom, David Swenson and Shiva Rea but they all seemed to fall on a Saturday and I work all day on a Saturday...Bugger! Then I saw a workshop for inversions which looked right up my street and I could make the day so I read on. "Must have a practice of unassisted handstand". 
OK then!
When I was between the ages of 7 and 12 I had an amazing handstand. I used to do them all over the place, dress overhead, knickers on full view to all and sundry, not  a care in the world! But it seems as you get older life doesn't really call for a handstand much! Plus, you could get arrested for indecent exposure!
The thing with a yoga handstand is, you don't wind your arms up, take a big breath shout "Watch me, watch me, Mummy!" and fling your legs up letting them fall down immediately, jump up from a heap and say "No, I can do it much better honest!"
In yoga you actually have to have control and alignment and balance and once in a perfect straight, strong position you then start to float your legs into different positions!
So simple...it's no wonder we aren't all doing it!!!!
Now, the lovely Julie Bealey lent me a Shiva Rea DVD when I told her that I couldn't make it to her workshop this summer. Shiva is a really inspirational yogi who although has an annoyingly calm voice, has wonderful explanations and really builds great sequences. I actually found a small space between the sitting room and dining room in this tiny cottage to lay out my mat and practice with her DVD. Despite two annoying phone calls from random Delhi based people trying to sell me computer software and a new phone package I was uninterrupted for 90 minutes of challenging flowing asana and lo and behold, there was a whole section on handstand! Yay!
So you guessed it, I am on a mission! I have been practising with my new best friend, Shiva Rea and I have been going mad on YouTube trying to find every video I can on different approaches to this allusive inversion.  I am determined to get a free-standing, unassisted, strong and most of all grown up handstand by the end of the summer.
Anyone want to join me? We could start a handstand revolution. After all the benefits are vast, working to strengthen your core, arms, shoulders and wrists. It also calms the brain, stretches through the abdomen, can help to relieve mild depression, improve sense of balance, and give a good workout to the lungs, pituitary and spine. Plus, you get to feel 7 again, what can be better than that?!

Check out Mike Taylor for total inspiration and to see the control that can be acieved with a little hard work and a positive attitude!


  1. It's useful blog for yoga beginners.I am also beginner,Thanks for sharing...
    Yoga Teacher Training

  2. Pleasure Janet! I don't know how many beginners will be able to make a handstand look this easy but it is something to aim for right! Namaste