My headstand journey

At the end of the hike in South of France. My most courageous headstand. On top of a small hill, with uneven ground and rocks under. I was super focused not to fall :-). Photo by Remi.

In August I went on holidays to South of France where, besides visiting different places and enjoying nice hikes and local camp sites, I also took an opportunity to practice a headstand in the nature. One of the reasons to try a headstand in the nature was to prove myself that I can do it in different places, as well as it looks beautiful when surrounded by beach or mountains . Now looking back to the pictures and videos from my holidays I thought would be nice to share my headstand journey also with you.

How did it all start…

Just before the Corona lock down this year in spring, in the middle of one of our climbing practices my friend Lucia suggested us to try a handstand. So half of our climbing group got into trying handstands against the wall with help from each other. My first attempt was lots of nervous laughing to get on my arms and feeling quite anxious to let my legs go up on the wall. At the end, with some help of my friends, I managed to get my legs above my head and stayed there second or two on my arms.

After that I tried few more times on mattress since that encouraged me more then a wall and, by end of the evening, I managed to do one attempt of the handstand against the wall on my own.

Headstands and handstands….

You probably are wondering why I am speaking about handstand while this post should be about my headstand experience. Well, it started with trying out a handstand and realizing what it means to hold one. After that I learned from my friends about headstands which seamed easier to start with and more appealing to practice also on my own. That’s how my headstand journey begun…

Maybe a short explanation what is what before carrying on with the journey . So there are two things – handstand and headstand, I mentioned so far.

Handstand is holding your body weight on your hands upside down (hands work as two balance points to keep the body straight), while headstand is doing the same but on head and forearms (head and forearms create a sort of triangle on the floor to keep the balance) providing more balance points as well as is closer to the floor (for me it was encouraging factor to give it a try comparing to handstand :-)). There are lots of variations for both. Below I would like to show you an example of head and handstands.

Getting into headstand…

Practicing in the beach. First time trying a variation on the headstand. Photo by Vince.

The handstand tryout after climbing practice inspired me and my friends to pick it up and actually practice it. As handstand felt too scary to start with, a headstand, on the other hand, felt much more achievable so we started to research how to practice it . When we started to do Skype workouts with my friends (since all gyms were closed during Corona time here in spring), at the end of the workout it became a tradition to spend few minutes to learn this new skill. Lucia was practicing splits (and me for a while as well) and after we would do few headstand attempts and watch each other and give comments to help to improve. We would share YouTube videos and articles among us about headstand practices to get an inspiration and ideas to progress.

So step by step every day for several months we did this practice. When practicing against the wall felt comfortable and possible to do, it was time to step back from it and start trying on our own. First we started with 15 cm (5.9 in) away from the wall, so in this way, we could still reach the wall with our legs in case headstand was falling 🙂 and it did happen a lot and still does happen 🙂 .

Once the headstand with a little distance from the wall (15 cm) got comfortable, we increase the distance until it was possible to make a headstand completely away from the wall. Which means also learning to fall when loosing the balance. I must admit that the best places for practicing headstands and falling are parks and beaches. The grass and sand are soft and absorbing falls, therefore also gives more confidence to try again and again. Another benefit of sand is extra support by creating a position for your arms and head in sand to provide more stability while lifting up your legs.

What headstand practice taught me….

I am impressed every time I manage to hold a headstand. Starting from simple position with legs straight up until different variations. Now I’m daring to try different leg positions and discover what else I can learn with the headstand. It’s amazing to look back to my first experience with handstand few months ago and the feelings which I experienced back then and today when I can freely manage a headstand in nature whenever I want. With time and effort you can learn everything. Well, almost everything. It’s logical but often I feel that many things are not possible for me because I cannot imagine how I can learn/do that. The thing is, if I want to learn something, I just need to start and spend some time every day to practice. It is a very simple learning but I had to go through the headstand journey to remind myself that it is true for everything I want to master.

I am very happy that I started this journey and I am very glad to have my friends to keep practicing with and share the learnings and progress with. Thank you ladies, Lucia and Caro! :*

Practicing different variations of headstands during my holidays. Photo collage by Lucia.

Now I am scrolling through Pinterest and getting inspired by beautiful yoga poses with head and handstands on the beach. I decided to practice until the next summer to see what I can learn by then. My goal is to have a professional photo shoot on the beach with beautiful yoga routine, including handstands (hopefully). Curious how will it turn out.

What skills have you picked up in last months or maybe currently are practicing? Please share in the comments bellow, I’d love to read.

P.S. If you would like to start your own headstand journey, please make sure to check how to learn and practice it in a safe way and avoid injuries!

Thank you for joining my journey and I’ll see you next time!

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