Handstand Every Day

I (Martine) try to do a handstand every single day. At least once. In fact, it’s the first pose I do after I unroll my mat, tight hamstrings and all. It’s my favorite way to check in with how I’m feeling at that moment -- physically, mentally -- and handstand, for me, has a way of immediately dropping me into my body, bypassing my brain’s to-do lists and other jibber-jabber.

I start by doing a luxurious, strongly-aligned downward-facing dog away from the wall, and then… hop! I spring up into handstand. Certain sensations let me know what’s going on:

• Sound: does my heel crash into the wall, or does it land softly like cat’s paw?

• Sight: is my gaze sharp between my hands or is it soft?

• Touch: are my hands gripping the mat or are they just bearing the weight without engagement? Do my feet go floppy between kick-up and landing?

There are many little things to remember when you’re kicking up into handstand, just as there are when you’re balancing in handstand. I find it best to get into the pose quickly at the wall, without drama, in order to let the pose tell me what’s going on.

Do you have a “check-in” pose, one that you use to assess your body’s and mind’s state?

(Are you familiar with Andrew Bennett’s Global Handstands? His album of international handstands is very cool.)