Handstand Success!


When I was a kid, I was terrified of doing handstands. Whenever I tried to get my feet over my head, I freaked out because it felt like my stomach was plummeting and that I was going to fall. I don’t like falling. At all. In fact, I hate it.

In the Fall of 2014, Cassey Ho came out with her How to do a Headstand video. She made it seem so doable, so easy. Just balance on your head and forearms and flip your legs up. You have a wall right there to lean against so you won’t fall backwards. I thought, okay, I’ll try it. Try to overcome that fear of being upside down and falling backward.

headstand (2)

I did it! I did the headstand against the wall and every time I did it, it got easier. Then I tried a tripod headstand, freaked at one point while I was lifting my legs (I was doing so well too, totally using my core and thigh muscles to lift them rather than just kicking them up), and toppled over. My neck bent wrong, I heard a crack and there was a lot of pain. No numbness though, I stayed still and waited while I calmed my breathing and checked everything. Nothing was broken, nothing was numb. Just my neck hurt and was really stiff and achy for over a week later.

Tripod Headstand Pose 2

My husband was so scared so I promised him I would never try that pose again. Honestly, I wasn’t too fond of it either. I loved that I was getting my legs up all by strength but all that pressure on the top of my head really hurt. I stopped doing inversions after that, first to allow my neck to heal, then because I had no desire to be upside down and have all that pressure on my head.

Lately, however, I’ve gotten back into it due to a yoga challenge. It called for a hollow back inversion and I knew I could do the headstand so I bucked up and did it. It took awhile because I was out of practice and because the tree was farther behind me than I thought so my legs couldn’t seem to find it and I was, again, terrified of falling backwards. I wanted to try an actual handstand but when the time came to, I was too scared to even try.

Hollow Back Headstand

My back isn’t that hollow but it was my first time doing this against a tree. I actually surprised myself by keeping my head off the ground. My shoulders and arms took all the weight. After more practice, I managed a better one at home the other day.

Hollow Back Headstand

I needed the added stability of having my head on the floor for that one. But since I managed to actually get that hollow back positioning, I decided to step up my game and go for the big fear that I couldn’t manage before – the actual handstand. I started with small kicks and worked my way up to big kicks. In the end, I got it! My toe strength is nothing to laugh at either because there were times when I’d catch the ceiling with my toes to keep myself from falling.


When I felt comfortable enough with that, I went the extra mile and added a hollow back.

Hollow Back Handstand

By this time my wrists and back wanted to kill me so I stopped. I am SO proud of what I accomplished! True, it’s all against a wall so I didn’t use my core, like, at all except for those times when I’d latch onto the ceiling with my toes. I did try to get my legs into positions that required some heavy duty core power to keep from falling, but mostly I just practiced getting up against the wall and staying there. My core’s not strong enough yet for much else.

Yay for facing my fears, overcoming them, and achieving success! It’s all about the baby steps. And never tell yourself you can’t do something. Rather say, “Why not?” and go for it!


About Katie St. John-Shin

I believe in living life and not letting it pass you by. I mean, come on, if you really want to do something but don't have the courage to do it so you let the opportunity disappear, you may regret it for the rest of your life. How can you know what you're capable of unless you go for it? Like every writer, I naturally plan on becoming world-famous (not really). I love reading, writing, fitness, coffee, watching my favorite movies/shows, listening to music, and trying new things even if they're sometimes terrifying. I'm a writer, a group fitness instructor, a personal trainer, and a nutter for doing all of the above.

Posted on February 25, 2016, in Personal and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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