My first unassisted handstand

This past weekend, I surprised myself by kicking into my first unassisted handstand (Adho Mukha Vrksasana) against the wall. It is probably harder, I believe, to get into handstand (with or without a support) than to actually balance in the pose. Susan Bowen had been leading a class to reach into unexplored poses that we assumed were too difficult for us so it was appropriate that I reached this milestone in the class. We had spent a large segment of the class practicing keeping the core firm and kicking up to the pose, leading with one leg and pushing off with the other. The first couple of rounds I held back; I refrained from attempting the full pose with someone to spot me up for the final push into the pose. But as we were going into the last round of repetitions, I got down into the starter pose and something clicked. I just did the lead leg lift-up and it just kept going. I was in the handstand. My form was lousy: my back over-arched, my shoulders too tight, my legs too loose, but I just held the pose absorbing the sensation of being suspended upside-down on my hands.

I think a key trick was something that Jill Abelson had taught us a week before a Flow Yoga: when using the lead-leg kick-up, make sure that the toes on the lead leg comes all the way down to the ground before kicking it up because it is the full swing that give you momentum to get all the way up to the wall. The tendency after doing a couple of attempts is to bring the kick-up leg midway down, kind of waving it in the air, instead of lowering it completely. I also found that the less I thought about it, the easier it was to get up.