Why I Couldn't Master Handstands - 3 lessons I learnt

This year, one of my new years resolution is to master my forearm stands and handstands. As I have been practicing on my mat, I have learnt many lessons. Our practice on our mat is often a reflection of our habits off the mat, so if you have been struggling the get into a pose, evaluate what you need to work on and ask yourself - Do I do this in my day to day life as well? Mat time is a great time to reevaluate your habits. Knowing why you may be stuck in a space for a long time. Today I want to share 3 lessons I have come to realise which has stunt my growth while practicing handstands. 

1. Let go of your ego - seek guidance
My biggest problem was that I often want to work it out myself. I grew up refusing to look at the instruction book when I built anything. I always thought that I could work it out myself, not only that, but manuals BORE me to death. Sure enough, sometimes I could work it out, but often I would take a lot longer than it should have taken. Why put myself through so much trouble when there is guidance? For the longest time I refused to look online for tips or find a teacher who could give me tips on practicing handstands, I insisted on trying to figure it all out myself. I saw that this was a reflection of my habits off the mat as well. My progress is always stunt because my ego got in the way. So lesson number one, let go of your ego and seek guidance!

 

2. Be flexible in your way of practicing
They say that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. It's true. We are all quite stubborn in our own ways and many people like myself like to stick to what we know. I know I need to work on core strength to do a press handstand, so I keep doing all the things I've learnt to strengthen my core. I keep doing the same type of training over and over again and wonder why I am not getting anywhere. It's okay to change up your training, in fact it is good to change it up. Your body becomes accustomed to the same exercises and sometimes you just need to be flexible with change to get your body one step further ahead. I found that my inability to be flexible and stubborn ways of training have slowed down not only my growth in training for handstands, but in many things I do in life. I have a tendency to be fixed on a set way of doing things that I am familiar with and always prefer to stick to what is familiar. So second lesson - be flexible and accept change as part of the progress.

 

3. Learn to enjoy the process
If you are like myself and you are more of a visionary kinda person, then you would understand how much I dislike doing the mundane day to day things to get to where I want to be. I love visualising the end goal (which is great!) yet I forget to enjoy the process. The process is where the gold's at. Truly that is exactly where all your lessons are learnt. I struggle with this so much while learning different inversions on the mat. Each time, I am frustrated at my inability to come into a pose and I stop training (sometimes even for months). My inability to find joy in the process slowed down my progress dramatically. Don't just fall in love with the end goal, fall in love with the process. As you embrace and enjoy the process, you will invest a lot more time and effort into it. Not only that, one of the biggest problems I had was my lack of attention when all I had in mind was to achieve my handstand. I became very frustrated and just wanted to take short cuts to master it, I wasn't focused on the present (on my mat) and therefore I wasn't able to see what I wasn't doing correctly and solve the issue at hand. So last lesson I learnt, fall in love with the process, not the end goal.

Alyssa Mak