Two months ago, I was hanging around the gym that Paisley takes gymnastics at waiting for her to finish up. I was eavesdropping on a conversation between the owner and a group of ladies who were discussing a recent Facebook post that was circulating about the benefits of handstands. They were all commenting on how they used to be able to do handstands but alas motherhood had robbed them of that skill just like it had robbed them of sleeping through the night and a consistent bra size. As one who has never had the balance or upper-body strength to hold myself up while inverted, I didn't think much else of this conversation until a few days later.

My girls had a couple of friends over. A handstand competition began as they each said, "Watch this. Watch how good I am!" and then would proceed to attempt a handstand that in most cases barely got their legs off the floor. One after another they each built up their ability, each willing tried, and each came up smiling at their success (no matter how unsuccessful they actually were). 

I sat there and thought, "When do we stop attempting handstands?" 

At what age does it make it only acceptable for hardcore yogis and ex-cheerleaders to be the only ones doing handstands? The only people my age (or older) who I see doing handstands are those that can pull it off beautifully. 

But why is that? 

Why aren't we willing to do them even if we still need the wall for support, or can't get both legs up, or will never have perfectly pointed toes? Why do we stop attempting it just because our attempts aren't perfect?

So I decided right there that I would start doing handstands. And can I tell you how frightening it is trying to flip yourself 180 degrees after not doing it for 20 years!

My first attempts were as you could only imagine pathetic. My arms buckled - my legs flailed - but my face smiled. There is something about doing (and I am using that term very loosely here) handstands that just makes you feel like a rockstar. I then moved to a wall and after a few tries was able to do a headstand with bent knees.

So it became my new thing - each day I would do a handstand. I have done handstands in my living room, at the park, at the hotel on my sister's weekend (with all my sister's laughing and trying beside me), in my bedroom, anytime I am near a trampoline, and even on the side of a mountain during Blake and I's backpacking trip. And the thing you need to know about these handstands is that, unlike most people who do handstands in somewhat public places, my handstands are lousy.

After two months of consistent practice, I am up to being able to hold the pose for all of 2 seconds. My takeoffs and landings are never graceful. And some days I am just weak and need the wall for balance or use my head when my arms feel like noodles.

But that is not what matters - what matters is that I am trying.


Jo said...

I think you rock!

Jana Weaver said...

Quite impressive! It's funny you bring this up...just a couple Sundays ago Christopher and I were having handstand and headstand contests with Kate. I love that it's a great form of exercise.

Crystal said...

Awesome! Ironically, last night we cleared all the furniture from our living room to clean the carpet. We haven't actually gotten around to cleaning the carpet, but it's been fun to play in such a big open room today. And I couldn't resist trying to do a cartwheel. I used to do awesome cartwheels, but haven't tried since I had kids. I did a lot of stretching first and even after I did it, still felt things pulling that I didn't realize pulled before. lol BUT! My second one was better and I just loved that I was actually able to pull it off no matter how ungraceful it was. And my kids loved seeing me do it and trying it, too : )

The Thompson Family said...

You are so inspiring and I love your pants :-) There should be a hand stand challenge.