I follow a lot of yogis on Instagram who post videos of themselves in headstands and handstands and I have gotten it in my head that I will conquer the skill as well.
I began with headstands, and have all but mastered that. I started by balancing like a tripod with my hands on either side of my head, moving them if necessary to avoid toppling over. As you might guess, based on our history of competition with one another, Patrick decided shortly after I did, to take up this challenge. He sent me a video of himself in a headstand, and instead of using his hands, he was balancing on his forearms. I thought maybe I had been doing it the hard way the whole time (wouldn't surprise me), but upon attempting this form I found it much more difficult than my way. Strangely enough, Patrick maintains the opposite is true, which brings up a very important fact regarding physical movement and ability:
What is challenging for one individual may come naturally to another.
Try as I may, I cannot seem to understand where the difference in our bodies lies. What am I lacking that Patrick is not? Is this to do with core strength, or simply with balance. Really... what is it? Try as I may, I have not found anything that sheds any light on these questions.
Whatever the case may be, both elements along with arm strength (obviously more so in handstands), are essential in this skill development. I have continued my regular workout regimen which includes work on all muscle groups, but like other yoga poses, headstands and handstands will work to sort of fine tune the related muscles. I was able to find a comprehensive tutorial on performing these moves. The author is Ryan Hurst, GMB program director and the star of the videos in the tutorials. This shall be my sacred text as I continue this practice, and if interested the website features gymnastic training programs. I'll be honest, I haven't tried them... but being the nerd I am, I have perused the website (thoroughly) and recognize the plethora of very good information.
At present, I use the cool down portion of my workout to focus on headstands. Since I have progressed to a point where I can comfortably balance upside-down for several minutes, I have begun working on moving my legs while in the pose, to different positions and taking them from pointing straight upward, slowly down to a 90 degree angle... which kills my abs, but hurts so good.
I finish each day, by attempted 6-7 handstands, using a wall as a spotter. I am getting better at cartwheeling out, so as not to tip over backwards, but just in case (I am 28... no broken hips please). On a good day I have hold the handstand, without touching the wall, for a few seconds but it is getting better every week.
If you're like me, and hope to someday accomplish the poses you watch yoga_girl post check back for progress updates. While she makes it look effortless, it may not come so naturally to all of us, and it will take baby-steps to get there. As always, let me know how your practice is coming along!
*I'm sure yoga_girl has practiced a whole lot too ;)