Learning to Balance in Handstand

Learning to Balance in Handstand

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This pictures was taken about four years ago and yes, it has been photoshopped.  Well, at least the wall where my foot is balancing has been “erased” for presentation purposes.  It’s a nice picture, but I always feel like a little bit of a “phony” because I can’t hold this pose in mid-air for than a few seconds.

It’s not for lack of trying, believe me!  I have spent the last three years in earnest pursuit of the elusive handstand balance.  Learning to hug in comes naturally but opening in the shoulders has been my biggest challenge.  It’s true.  If your shoulders are too tight to allow full mobility of your arms, you can’t achieve a truly balanced handstand, only one that relies on muscle rather than form and balance.

For me, I lack the brawn to muscle a handstand (a fact that dogged me during my martial arts career, as well), which means that  I have had to learn precise alignment while developing strength and opening, a tall order in any regard.

As I have travelled the path to freedom of flight and balance in this pose, I have spent many mental and physical hours chasing it.  I have strengthened my arms and shoulders with kettlebells.  I have practiced handstand in a doorway.  I have watched nearly every YouTube video that purports to have knowledge for holding the “key” to handstand.  Mostly, I have practiced again and again against a wall.

Finally, three years later, I am GETTING IT!  Somehow it’s about strength in between the shoulder blades (keeping them flat on my back), strength in the arms and pulling into my core.  The biggest thing that I notice, though, is that I now LIFT my a** and core instead of kicking my legs up.

A few times I have lifted my core and a** and have stopped at directly vertical.  I was able to remain there in this steady place of ease, and time seemed to sort of stand still.  It was amazing!  And now I know that I am within weeks (maybe a couple of months at most) of really nailing it!   From there, it’s build, baby, build the time I can hold it!

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