My Handstand Journey

My Handstand Journey

Published February 13th, 2019 By Rane Bowen

Rane shares the tale of his handstand journey and why he loves it so much.

So I know that there is a lot of debate in the yoga community about arm balances and handstands or even asana in general as not being the real core of what yoga is. I tend to agree! Far be it for me to disparage anyone else's practice, however - we all have our own path to stillness.

But personally, I love handstands - I love that feeling you get in your body when everything lines up and everything is in balance is just incredible, even if just for a few moments!

I understand that it is not a practice for everyone, and not accessible for many, but I just wanted to take a moment to explain myself, for you see the path to my handstand has been a real journey for me. A really long journey.

I remember when I first decided I wanted to find my handstand, probably at least 8 or 9 years ago. Yup that long. I was certainly not a natural. I remember practising in Yoga classes at the end of class - going up to the wall (in hindsight this probably kept me back a few years). But the thrill of going upside down really kept me going.

I managed to meet some amazing teachers along the way as well - inspirations like Alex Mizzen, Yuri Mammerstein, Davy Handstands, and all the folks from Power and Posture really powered up my handstand. It was a long, slow and sometimes tedious path to get to freestanding, and even then it was a bit wobbly and banana-shaped.

Along the way you learn so much - about how you hold and sense your body in space - how you need to engage your core, all the micro adjustments you need to make to keep balance, how you need to push, push and push some more! You also learn a lot about how your mind works and how to concentrate and feel into every centimeter of your body.

Then I got stomach cancer. That taught me a lot.

Suffice it to say my practice turned to crap during the time of my treatment and recovery - it was energy draining enough to even walk for a while after the surgery. But gradually my strength came back, and in some ways, I think it even made me stronger. I feel very fortunate about the fact that I can invert. Some other folks without stomachs have trouble lying on a flat surface even due to the reflux, so I am super grateful.

So really, this post is about gratitude. Gratitude to my teachers, to my wife and to being alive and still being able to do the things I love.

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