It seems like forever that I've been working on my handstands.
In every single class, I am upside down and trying to remain so. If I happen to be at a class where none are done, I stay after to work on mine.
At one point, I was in a class where we were all helping each other. Pressing down on my mat, I moved my feet as close to my hands as possible.
In my mind’s eye, I press down to go up. I want to pull in my belly and straddle my feet while raising them up to land a handstand.
This press handstand was new to me, and I was visualizing what I saw on YouTube.
Earlier, I was able to watch an incredible yogi demonstrate on a neighboring mat. She even gave me some pointers, like pushing my ponytail against the wall while upside down before lifting my feet.
I could push my ponytail alright, but the effort only resulted in a few, funny looking bunny hops.
A week later, it was my second at bat, and I was once again in my starting position, a very, very short down dog with my ponytail against the wall. I readied myself before trying to hoist my feet into a straddle handstand.
Hippity hop, once. My feet popped up a bit. Hippity hop, twice. They lifted a bit more.
A few more hops, and I got my feet to the point where I felt a momentary hang, but not one that counted for much.
The yogi beside me was jumping into a handstand. She was all over it and very inspiring.
I tried to pretend there was no wall standing guard, and sometimes I could land the handstand without it. I measured my success at the end of class by the number of toe prints left behind.
There was more handstand news that particular day, and it was some advice for the handstand vinyasa. The instructions were to lift lightly off the mat. No scissor kick. No pop. We were told to engage more in the core to find it.
This might sound silly but, for me, it was all very exciting. Anything challenging is a yoga gift, and I am eager to open these new presents.
Can I find some inner meaning in all this? Nope, not yet.
The only inner anything I can figure is that I have to engage more of my core for success in these handstands.
Suck it up! advised a fellow yogi as I looked down at my hands pressed to the mat with my feet inched up close. Mula Bhanda and Uddiyana Bhanda! she explained further.
Bhandas are locks, and she was telling me to lock the pelvic floor (Mula Bhanda) and the abdomen (Uddiyana Bhanda) before lifting off the ground.
I locked in everything and hoisted myself up with a holler of triumph! It worked!
See? Mula Bhanda and Uddiyana Bhanda, my fellow yogi repeated.
I found more meaning in her earlier words: Suck it up!
Sometimes it's simply what you have to do in order to get where you want to go.