On January 1st, I started a 356-day handstand challenge. I’ll write more about that another time. But it’s not complicated – I do a handstand a day, every day, for a year. I am nowhere near being able to do a handstand without the support of a wall – but that’s what time and practice are for. Lots and lots of practice. Sometimes I worry that it might be getting monotonous for my many Instagram followers – all 369 of them – so I mix it up by layering another challenge on top. This month I went with the Mother May I Handstand Challenge.
Day one asked for Stag Legs – where each leg is bent, like a deer jumping, I suppose. I can sometimes find a moment or two of hangtime in this version. Day two was the exact opposite – I had a hard enough time making a diamond shape with support from the wall. I honestly can’t picture doing this in the middle of the room!
And then day three asked for something that floors me every time I see it done – it’s called a toe tap and it is supposed to look a little bit like this. But on my hands, not my head. One of my favorite things about Instagram is that you get to see many different ways to completing the challenge. It never would have occurred to me to try a toe tap on my head. So this was a big accomplishment and I was pretty proud of it.
Day four was a tuck handstand and day five was this strange combination of a straddle and scorpion pose. Both poses challenged my (lack of) stomach muscles. Tuck I love because it provides a way for me to practice lowering slowly. The straddle/scorpion pose showed me just how tenuous my balance is. Even in headstand. The posture is asking for such different things from each leg. I need to keep practicing.
Days six and seven asked for pike and lady legs respectively. Again with the lack of stomach muscles standing in my way of the pike entrance into and/or exit from handstand. But I can go with a drill that has me pressing my feet against the wall. Great way to really focus on pulling up and out of my shoulders without the entire weight of my body pressing down onto my wrists.
And day eight, today – pictured above, was a split handstand. I have to say this is maybe my favorite of the challenge. I love the stretch the split provides. I like trying one side and then the other to really understand how different they are. And I feel like the split provides me with the best chance to find balance. There is also something in the simplicity of the split that I don’t have to focus on as much – which frees up my mind to really think about the proper alignment of the rest of my body.
All this to say I need to practice. I need to focus on pulling up from my shoulders. I REALLY need to work on those stomach muscles. And I need to be OK with the fact that at the end of the 365 days, I may still need the wall. And there’s nothing wrong with that.