I did asked myself “why am I so fixated with these bl**^y handstands?!” Would you blame me, they are such charming poses! They look so playful, young, fun and strong!
I must have been trying this mission-impossible asana, since when I didn’t know they were asana. I was only 7 or 8 years old. It was usually in the summer time during my vacation up on the Alps that, with my cousins and friends, I would spend entire afternoons playing handstands, and never being tired of falling and getting up again. It was so much fun!
It was only more than 20 year later that the same game, that I started calling Adho Mukha Vrksasana, came back into my life. It wasn’t on the Alps, but in a yoga city studio. Handstands were back, still not easy and dramatically less amusing. It frustrated me (and still does sometimes!) so much how I need a wall in front of me just for mental support. I’m physically prepared. I can easily and effortlessly nail a perfect headstand, or smoothly make my way into a pincha mayurasana, but why does it have to be so difficult to do a handstand? I often think Asana are there to represent something of our everyday life. They hold something like hidden philosophical gems. For me, handstands embody my fear of falling and my fear of failure. I want to conquer it so badly but at the same time I’m so terrified to fall on the other side.
When I try to deconstruct the process, I logically see the real challenge is actually sticking to a disciplined practice, maintaining calm when anxiety kicks in, letting go of my control freakiness to unleash the inner child and just have fun. Like everything else, to face your fears you need to start a dialogue, to add knowledge and persevere, until the unfamiliar becomes familiar, the frustration becomes excitement for a little step towards your goal, and eventually you beat your fear and feel a exhilarating sense of freedom. That’s why handstand has become an important journey which may be my bl**^y fixation, but I want to fully embrace it all.
“The challenges of the pose are precisely what make it so valuable. Since Handstand brings you face to face with your insecurities and fears, it provides a wonderful laboratory where you can observe and work on overcoming all such emotions” – Linda Sparrowe on YogaJournal