Handstands, oh handstands!

On the 4th day of YTT-300 Yoga Teacher Training, we did something we’ve all at some point said that we CAN’T do. We all did handstands.

In the yoga world, doing a handstand is (unfairly and falsely) considered some sort of rite of passage that proves that you are a “true yogi”, which I’ve mostly disagreed with, since doing a handstand proves physical strength and not much else. I wanted to be that teacher who dispelled the notion that all yoga teachers have to be able to do handstands and straddle splits.

However, after doing a handstand for the first time (in a yoga class environment), and not kicking up against a wall, I must eat my words and say that I now understand why yogis are kind of obsessed with being able to do handstands. It’s because they’re empowering and inspiring. Even if someone is supporting your legs or spotting you the whole time, it doesn’t matter. When you can do a handstand, you feel like anything is possible. You want to be able to do it again, on your own. And hold it for longer. So you practice and practice and practice until you can smoothly lift yourself up without having to high kick your leg up and fear falling over. And that’s the biggest reason why handstands are so difficult. It’s the mental fear associated with falling over and hurting yourself or not being strong enough to hold yourself up. But when you have encouraging teachers like Matthieu and Annie guiding you every step of the way, you learn the proper way to get into position to hold that handstand. And when you see how easily and beautifully they can do handstands, it inspires you to believe that you can do them one day too and eventually pass along that guidance and inspiration onto your students just as your teachers did for you.

Don’t let your fear of not being good enough, strong enough, flexible enough or not being able to do a handstand hold you back from pursuing your dreams. If you dream of being a yoga teacher, take the first and most difficult step and enroll in a yoga teacher training program. You will learn so much about yourself, your self-imposed limits, your fears and how to overcome them. You’ll be amazed at the progress you make once you set the intention NOT to let fear get inside your head and actually TRY. Sometimes all it takes is a supportive and encouraging environment where CAN’T isn’t an option.