A few weekends ago I signed up for an arm balance/inversion workshop at the DCR Village. (Led by Gracie--if you are in the area and get a chance to take one of her classes, do it. She is sparkle and sunshine in human form. So warm and welcoming, and such a great teacher.) It ended up be mostly a focus on inversions, which introduced me to a new discomfort zone I didn't even know I had in me.
I was not one of those kids who could throw themselves around into cartwheels and back handsprings. I never made the dance or cheerleading team and I remember one ill-fated gymnastics class where I think my cousin Drew and I mostly screwed around and didn't listen to instructions. So, I've reached the ripe old age of 31 without ever really getting used to the sensation of flinging my head and feet up in the air and propping myself up by my hands or arms. And even with the knowledge that there's a wall right behind me, it makes me terrified to try.
We warmed up in an inverted L-shape handstand and...I could barely hold that bad boy. A little embarrassing, to say the least.
(Picture me doing this, but falling after 3 seconds. Also, I was wearing a shirt.)
The rest of the workshop made me realize inverting isn't just throwing myself into the air and praying something sticks. I've had to really start working on my upper-body training and core strengthening. Which I HATE. I have always hated core exercises, but now I'm regretting putting them on the back-burner for all these years. These poses use that strength so much, and I'm so dang weak.
One thing Gracie told us that has helped me was to visualize ourselves mastering our inversions in the middle of an empty room. No wall to balance off of, but perfectly holding a headstand or handstand. And to mentally feel what we'd feel once we accomplish getting there. Just holding that feeling in my mind has helped tremendously.
So, I recruited a personal trainer to help me out a few times a week. We've been really focusing on pushing myself to the point of exhaustion using pushups, core exercises, and different upper-body moves he's learned in his years of being a professional strong-man
(It's not Easter until someone takes a sneak-pic of you)
He's one of the most VIP trainers in the Valley. I repay him back in breakfasts out in exchange for him working me to not be able to lift up my arms.
AND...in the few weeks I've been focusing on these areas, I've seen progress! This morning I mastered tripod headstand on my own in the middle of the floor during class! And yes, held it there for more than half a second. I just need to keep up with it. "Nothing changes if nothing changes."