Learning to handstand is, therefore, an exercise in humility. In the fast-paced 21st century world where we expect to be able to do almost anything with a little help from instructional videos on YouTube, handstands require dedication, failure, and above all, time.
A handstand class is just what it sounds like – an hour, sometimes two, spent practicing handstands. You usually start by warming up your wrists and fingers before moving on to some conditioning drills borrowed from calisthenics, an exercise protocol that relies on bodyweight movements to train your body. These help because you need strength, flexibility, and balance to attain and maintain a good handstand.
The challenge of a handstand is to keep your shoulders stacked below your hips and both positioned in straight line above your hands. You need to have flexible shoulders to get your body into that straight line, and strong shoulders and a solid core to keep your body in the required alignment.
In a handstand class, therefore, you need to spend a bit of time building strength and developing endurance. This often just means spending longer and longer stretches on your hands – ten, twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, sixty seconds at a time. If you’re me, you do this against a wall or supported by a person.
However – and this is where handstand classes begin to differ from so many of the mirror-obsessed classes that are to be found in most gyms these days – learning to stand on your hands doesn't promise an overnight body transformation.
No one goes to handstand classes to get fitter or get slimmer. Yes, they are hard work – but while my endurance for standing upside-down has improved over the past two years, one doesn’t look much different to how she did when she started. But it is, nonetheless, a joy. Rather than focusing on pounds lost and muscle tone gained, one must spend all time thinking about hip positions and wrist strength.
It possibly helps that there is no grand philosophy underpinning handstands – no grating spiritualism or escalating levels of understanding.
People do handstands because they look cool and they feel fun. Classes are in no way intimidating; we know what we're doing is inherently a bit funny. And the fact that the skill in question is largely without purpose makes it all the more enjoyable.
Source: The Teleghaph