Why do I handstand?
Handstands are a perfect mix of empowering and humbling.
Handstands are a great benchmark of where I am at in my physicality.
I spent a most of my teens and early twenties with wrists so weak and tender that sometimes I couldn’t even hold a heavy skillet without pain, not a helpful or fun thing for a professional modern dancer, fitness professional, yogi (and this was in the time of all chataranga, all the time), and overall athletic person.
Thanks primarily to chiropractic wrist adjustments, I have been mostly pain-free and strong in that area for over a decade.
An 18 year old hamstring injury sometimes prevents me from having the mobility to kick up into an handstand. When I can practice kicking up on each side I know that my hip and hamstring are in a happy, healthy place.
Handstands are the burpee equivalent for dancers/yogis; they require full body strength and coordination, they are hard, they challenge your endurance.
Unlike burpees, which I also love, handstands are playful! The only other activity that brings me the joy of equally feeling kid-like and playful and being very empowered in my own body is mountain biking.
have always been in awe of gymnasts; to me, that type of athleticism is the ultimate in self-assured, confident, mobile (albeit often way imbalanced, extreme mobility), strong, and graceful embodying. It’s always felt ‘otherly’ to me; unattainable and superhuman.
Back flips are not in the cards for me but I can taste a little of the magic by playfully challenging myself in handstands.
This is why I always taught handstands when I was on dance faculty at Piedmont; it is empowering to turn your world upside down and learn how to land on your own two feet.
I would see students go from; “I can’t” “I’m scared” to “wow, that’s fun! I’ve never imaged I would be able to do that”, a little bit of their inner superhuman emerging before my eyes.
I photograph myself in handstands for the same reason; I still surprise myself that I am capable of this feat. Pictures help me see progress in my strength and form while simultaneously bringing me a sense of my own super-humanness; “wow, that’s fun! I never imagined I would be able to do that!”
Do you handstand?