A few weeks ago, I was in a yoga class and the (very experienced) teacher told the class that there are no benefits to practicing handstand. She went on to say that it was only useful as a way to impress followers on Instagram. I respectfully call bullshit.
Certainly, I wholeheartedly believe that a person can live a full and complete life without ever having done a handstand. However, as someone for whom handstands didn’t come easily, a person who has consistently and diligently worked on handstands for the past 4 years, I can tell you that I have learned more about myself from the journey to handstand than from all the other yoga poses combined.
On the physical level, it’s easy to fake good posture and proper muscular engagement when you’re standing on your feet but when you’re on your hands, there’s no hiding anything. My posture, my weightlifting, and my running form have all improved significantly from learning what parts of my body I tend to overuse and which I tend to disengage when trying to support myself in handstand.
All that aside, I believe the best thing about handstand is that it reminds us to stop taking everything so seriously — including ourselves. As we get older we start to lose our drive to play and lighten up in favor of more work and lots of overthinking. Cartwheels in the yard and jumping into piles of leaves are replaced with long commutes and loading the dishwasher. Somewhere along the way the work/play balance became decidedly unbalanced.
But there is only one certainty in this life and that’s that it will someday end. So I plan to enjoy the time I’m blessed with while I’m here. And every once in a while go upside down 🤸🏻♀️