Handstand Love

My handstand love started innocently enough.  A crush that’s turned into true love and still going strong.

Fitness was my first love - harder, faster, better, stronger…that’s the path to greatness right? I didn’t know it at the time but this was somewhat of a dysfunctional relationship. The kind filled with conditions and expectations, love and hate. I just needed something that wasn’t so…crazy. I was training a lot of high intensity work back then but everyday on the outskirts of my training or between training clients, I started adding in some handstand attempts.  Very slowly, I got better.  As I improved, I started to adopt new challenges - a straighter line, a longer hold, walking for greater distance. The point came where I just decided to make the leap and really invest myself in handstand training to take my skills to the next level.  And down the rabbit hole I went…

Almost 2 years later, handstands have carved out a big place in my heart, accounting for 6-8 training hours a week. I had no idea just how much work would go into building this practice, but at the same time it’s never felt like a chore.  Some would call that true love. A few years ago I wouldn’t have had the patience for spending hours at a time practicing a single skill, but to let the love slowly build has been a very cool process.  Some people approach new love with reckless abandon, others with cautiousness - I’m definitely the latter. After all, there were still barbells, and kettlebells, and sandbags, and sprinting, and all these other loves to pay attention to. Rather than going all in and fizzling out, me and handstands agreed to casual dating and have been getting more serious ever since.  Seems to be working, instead of looking around for the next novel thing I want to stay with this practice for a lifetime.

photo credit: Matthew Anderson Photography

As the love grows it becomes very apparent that there are elements of both work and play.  The work is necessary and on-going, it makes the love valuable, even precious. Make no mistake this shit is hard and at time maddening. But in time, the fleeting seconds of balance start to add up. The seconds comprise minutes, the minutes lead to hours, and through this repetition strength and balance are the rewards of this work. The play keeps the faith and keeps the fire ignited. Play is an opportunity to be spontaneous, to be free, to loosen your grip on the reigns and enjoy the ride. And for me, finding this balance has been essential to a long-lasting relationship.  There is no one path or a purely linear progression. There is no need to document every step of the path, there is no keeping score. You take love as it comes, one day at a time.

This isn’t a perfect metaphor, but at the end of the day love is love, regardless of the form. Handstand love is just my chosen expression, but it could take on any shape.  Through my practice I have learned acceptance, patience and compromise.  Handstands have taught me to chill on some of overly perfectionist tendencies and experience love unconditionally.  When we allow ourselves plenty of room to screw up and experience imperfection we can begin to let go of the fear holds us back from our greatness.  Approach not only the people, but the practices you love with a mindset of gratitude and appreciation. Don't be surprised when that love overflows into your life.

It’s more than just exercise.