Yesterday I did my first ever handstand without a wall!
Can you believe it? I’m so excited about it I was beaming from ear to ear after class.
So first of all, I have to clarify, I did my first ever handstand about 2 years ago. It was against a wall where I faced the wall and I got there by doing almost a cartwheel with the wall preventing me from flipping backwards.
That is, I used momentum to get myself up, the wall as a break and held myself up by sheer will, using my heels to grip the wall so I wouldn’t fall side ways.
I have done handstands since but very rarely because I’ve been such a scaredy-cat about them. I always think I might bust a hole in the wall from kicking too hard so every time I did a handstand against a wall, I’d climb my feet up slowly.
So, I faced away from the wall, touched my toes, put my hands on the ground, then walked my feet up the wall. This too was a rare event because I’d only be confident doing this with someone around, in case I fell.
Also, I’d keep my toes on the wall and never take them off so I was never actually upright, always on an angle.
Yesterday however, we were asked to do handstands with a partner. The partner’s role was simply to touch your legs when you kicked up so you could gauge how far you had to kick to be upright. Once you were up, your partner just had to keep your legs in place (not by holding you but by keeping their hands near your legs, just to give you confidence that they will catch you or stop you from falling over).
I have no idea what happened. I kicked up once, twice and then on the third time, my leg tapped my partner’s hand and the next thing I know, both legs were up and I felt like I was flying.
“You did it!” she said.
“I did it??” I screamed back.
Partner: “Yes, this is all you! You’re doing it!”
Me while upside down in a handstand, getting really excited: “I AM???!!!”
Partner: “Yes! You’re doing great! Are you getting tired? Do you want to come down?”
Me: “Um… no, but yeah, oh… yeah OK I’ll come down.”
It was the strangest thing, when I was back on my feet, my partner told me that she didn’t hold me up, that I was doing it all on my own. It was hard for me to understand.
Here’s the thing. When I’ve done handstands against a wall, it’s HEAVY. My arms and shoulders hurt and tire easily. I feel my entire weight of my body and legs all on my arms, wrists and shoulders.
However, without a wall, I felt no weight… that’s what I meant by I felt like I was flying. I don’t know what happened or how I did it. I can only guess that I stacked my bones up to get the right balance.
I attempted kicking up with the opposite leg. I was having a really hard time with it. The worst part was that the rest of the class has finished theirs and so were watching me and cheering me on.
I think my partner had to collect the kicking leg (ie catch it and pull it up) and put my legs in line with each other. Not as great as my first leg but I still managed to hold myself up there.
I tell you what, I’ve never in my life EVER done a handstand by myself. Not as a kid, not as an adult. But now, for the first time ever, I can see it as a possibility for me.
You know, it’s not the full posture and I didn’t do it by myself but it made my week. I think that’s all you need to be happy in life. Progress, possibility, learning new things and little wins!!