How it’s supposed to look:
How it looks when I do it:
I have a long way to go. Even if I never get there, it feels great to try. What I’m doing is trying to learn a front limber. Looking again at this animation of a gymnast doing one, I noticed how her legs go over backward while staying straight. I know that when I’m going over backward, I’m bending my knees to reach toward the ground. And of course, I can’t stand up out of my “bridge.” I’m proud of being able to do this at all, though. Bending that way, along with doing cartwheels and handstands, makes me feel an amazing sense of wellbeing.
Speaking of cartwheels, last night I was able to do a one-handed cartwheel on my bad side (right hand) on about half of my attempts. I can do them easily on the good side now.
To me, this article about an $800 (for one month!) “Detox Cleanse” program only supports the myth that you have to be affluent to eat healthy and exercise. Essentially, what the writer did to lose weight was to substitute healthy food for processed food and sugar (cutting calories at the same time) and to exercise more often than she had been. She lost nine pounds in a month. This might be a little too rapid to maintain if she adds back in some of the draconian cutbacks like chicken and beef. She might regain a few pounds. She didn’t say how hard she was working out–“cardio three days a week and yoga or Pilates at least three” as prescribed by the naturopath. Sounds pretty lackluster. Try combining the cardio with weight training for five or ten minutes a day and spend the rest of the time going for a nice walk outside.
What else was included for $800? Counseling from a naturopath, support meetings, all supplements, mandatory saunas, a long list of foods to eliminate, a handbook, a recipe book, two “spa treatments,” and unlimited exercise classes including yoga and Pilates. To me, the valuable part is the counseling. I think most people who want to accomplish the grindingly difficult task of losing weight need one-on-one help with specific ideas and role-modeling for making changes in their lives. But if a person can find that kind of support, which would not have to come from a professional, that could be half the battle toward long-lasting positive changes. A person with specific ideas and daily tools like a food diary could eat healthy, exercise, and lose weight without supplements and exercise classes.
Besides the colossal amount of money for this program, at least two other things scream Yuppie Trap: “naturopath” and “supplements.” Naturopathic medicine sounds suspiciously vague, and in any case I think a less expensive type of counselor could help just as much. And supplements bug me because they are marketed in two ways that are both dishonest: one, implying that merely eating a healthy diet and exercising isn’t good enough, and two, implying that supplements are a shortcut to health and fitness, the magic pill that lets you avoid the hard work. A third Yuppie Trap Flag is the name “detox cleanse.” Feel guilty… feel very guilty… if you’ve been eating Taco Bell you are not only unclean… you might as well have been freebasing!
After almost every workout I practice some handstands. Over the past year and a half, I’ve gotten slowly better at getting up straight and staying up there for a few seconds, especially since I started intentionally going all the way over into a clumsy backbend. That improved my nerve. I noticed that when I start to tip backwards, I avoid collapse by picking up my right hand, pivoting, and then bringing my feet down. This is a totally reliable safety move. I also used the right hand first in all my futile attempts to take a few steps on my hands. I started to wonder what would happen if I moved the left hand instead. One day a couple of weeks ago when Nancy and I were taking turns practicing our tumbling, I decided my goal was only to take one step with the left hand, or to use the left hand instead of the right in the pivot safety descent.
Taking a step with the left hand was hard at first. It seemed to be glued to the floor. But it turned out to be a major missing ingredient. Many times, taking that first step on the left hand seemed to cause my balance to sort of click into place. The same evening I took five steps on my hands after starting with the left. It was exciting. So now I always start with the left. Two other times, I’ve taken five steps. In turn this seems to help me to hold a handstand more often for three to five seconds.
I need to learn what exactly to do while I’m up there to hold it longer instead of just thinking, Whee, I’m still up, how long can this last? and hoping for a miracle. Meanwhile Nancy is getting good at holding a straight, motionless handstand for a really long time. She is learning to flex her shoulders to adjust the balance, something I haven’t properly attempted yet because it makes me fall. Guess I better work on that.
Megan has some impressive and inspiring handstand-method videos linked off of her March 28 blog post.