How did you get started doing handstands?
Most frequently asked question! I taught myself at home, after having two kids and at 30 years old. I love to tell people this story because I believe it will give your mind the wings it needs to make your body fly. Yes, I had to work hard and learn a lot, there is no shortcut, just a lot of sweat, persistence and patience. Eventually I began seeking out workshops and any information I could get my hands on. I took Yoga Teacher Training with Yoga Medicine and applied everything I learned to the world of teaching handstands.
Where should I begin?
Begin with Vinyasa flows or the Ashtanga Primary Series. Find where your starting point, perhaps it is just a small portion of the Ashtanga Primary Series and when you find you've grown a little stronger and can endure a little more: Build. I encourage people respect the process and build the strength and flexibility before you spend too much time on your hands. Most likely you have not spent much or any time weight bearing your entire body on your arms. If you don't have the strength you will be prone to injury. If you have the strength but not the flexibility you will be prone to injury. Shortcuts are limiting and injuries are counter productive. It is a building blocks process to stack your joints, engage your muscles and hold your body upside-down.
What tools and resources do you suggest?
A good mat is pretty crucial. I stand by the Manduka Yoga eco pro mat. I also suggest Yoga Paws because I like to spend a lot of time outdoors but also for practices heavy on the hands or that incorporate handstands and arm balances the Elite design is more than a mat replacement but also encourages proper technique. The thickness of the cushion on the base of the palm not only provides a subtle lift to decrease the pressure at the crease of the wrists but also encourages the proper pressure points away from the base of the Palm. Regardless if you are doing a backhanding shape in your handstand or not, you need back flexibility to get in and out of handstands. That flexibility door swings both ways and you need to be flexible folding forward as well as bending backwards. I use a Yoga Wheel on a daily basis (use code: upsidedownmama for Yoga Pro Wheel) for a well rounded back opener as far as the bending backwards flexibility goes. Part of hardstanding aside from the strength and flexibility is getting used to being upside-down. Yoga Hammocks are so amazing. Just to rest inverted in them does miracles for the spine and opening of the hips not to mention gets you prepared to spend more time inverted.
How long did it take you to get to where you are at?
It does not matter. Try not to measure yourself by me or anyone else. Yes, be inspired, but never expect to follow the same path as someone else. We are all so different and have different strong and weak points. We have different stories that make up our past that help us in some ways and inhibit us in others. I know it is hard and I try daily to practice what I preach.
How do you find time to practice with kids?
If you want it bad enough, you will find time. It is not whether we have time or not, it is what we spend our time doing. I run a company, watch my two kids full time - my husband works beyond full time and I have managed to maintain a home yoga practice and teach myself handstands. It helps that I have created a job that requires me to maintain that practice now. But if you want to make time for it you will. Granted your kids will become a part of it. They will crawl all over you, interrupt you and want to be a part of what you are doing. Say goodbye to soft music and candle light flows and say hello to your new chaotic jungle gym practice. Get rid of the expectations of a certain kind of practice and you will stop feeling resentment and frustration.