Categories
Movement & Fitness Popular

I Learned How to Handstand in One Week

I’ve been practicing yoga for about 10 years now and I absolutely love it for both the physical and mental challenge it offers. For me, yoga is like therapy, and it’s been the most consistent part of my life for the past decade.

Yoga has continued to nurture my mind, body, and soul, but recently I was feeling like I hit a plateau in my practice. I decided I needed to take on a challenge to help me push past it.

An advanced posture taught in yoga is the handstand. I’ve been able to land a handstand for a few seconds for the past few years, but I haven’t practiced it enough consistently to go beyond that. I have no problem doing a handstand up against a wall, but when I try and do one in open space I get stuck. I am petrified of falling forward and breaking my neck and it’s really just the fear that is stopping me from learning how to do it.

So, I decided to try and learn how to do a handstand in just one week, to level up my yoga practice and help me push past some mental blockages that have been holding me back.

Finding a coach

In order to succeed, I needed a great handstand coach. So I asked my friend Andrew Sealy, a world-renowned yoga teacher and a handstand wizard, to be my coach and help me learn the physical and mental mechanics of the handstand posture. 

My goal was to land a handstand for a full 10 seconds at the end of the week. 

My first handstand class

To kick-off the challenge, Andrew guided me through a handstand specific yoga class. We started with wrist and shoulder mobility to warm up, then moved into core strength and shoulder strength. Next, Andrew prepped me with some poses for proper handstand alignment.

Learning to fall

Once my body was fully prepped for handstands, there was one more thing I needed to learn before moving forward: how to fall out of a handstand. 

One of my biggest barriers to learning a handstand in the past was the fear of falling forward onto my neck. I would use my hands as breaks and walk on them. Andrew advised against this habit in order to truly learn how to handstand. 

Andrew taught me two ways to fall out of a handstand – either from side to side or the tuck in roll, which would be the way to fall if I was falling forward. 

I learned three ways to get into a handstand – the “scissor lift”, the “tuck hop”, and the “straddle kick”.

After the class, I felt like I had learned so much in such a short amount about proper handstand alignment and preparation, and I was ready to start practicing on my own for the next week.

My training schedule

If I had all the time in the world, I would be able to spend a long amount of time every day working on my handstand, but since I have to keep a business running, I would only have about one hour every day for handstand practice. I would need to really focus and make the most of this time each day.

Although I always thought core strength was the most important element of being able to handstand, Andrew made me realize how many other factors are equally important, including proper alignment, breath, and preparing the body.

Throughout my handstand training, I ended up falling… a lot. But I had to be okay with challenging myself and falling in order to learn. 

How did it go?

After a few days of practice on my own, I was still feeling stuck. So I went to go practice on the green in Santa Monica and somehow stumbled upon a handstand class that I joined in on. We did a lot of wrist, hand, and shoulder prep and I learned a few new tricks that were really helpful. It was also just really fun being with other people and learning together, rather than being alone in my living room. 

By the end of the week, I had successfully landed a handstand for 10 seconds, several times. I had finally proved to myself that I could do it, but being able to do this on command was another story.

I went to go meet up with Andrew at the end of the week to show him my progress and found it challenging to handstand on command. I ended up being able to do it for 10 seconds though, and I was really proud of myself for actually being able to do it!

By the end of the week, I had by no means mastered the handstand, but I had proven to myself that I can do anything I set my mind to. Like anything in life, practice, focus, and dedication are required to master any skill.

Taking on any kind of challenge isn’t necessarily about the result or the outcome, it’s about the journey and the process you go through and everything you learn along the way. If you are feeling stuck or stagnant in any area of your life, taking on some kind of challenge is a great way to break out of your habitual routine and learn something new! 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4CKyQvBRYTE

Categories
Health & Nutrition Popular

5 Health Trends That Actually Work

With so many new health and wellness trends popping up everyday, it’s hard to know what actually works and what is complete BS! Luckily, I’ve made it my job (literally) to try all of these trends and report back to you what I learn along the way.

I’ve been at this now for more than two years! So don’t worry, I got you covered.

In this post, I am going to share my top five health trends I’ve tried, that I believe are actually worth it! 

But before I reveal my top five wellness picks, I need to make something clear:

If we truly want to be healthy, it is super important to be prioritizing the fundamentals and basics of wellbeing first and foremost. It’s the simple stuff we hear all the time: eating real, whole foods, exercising, stretching, drinking plenty of water, getting enough sleep, meditating, and spending time with the people you love. Basic stuff, but super important for overall health. 

Now on the flip side, sometimes it can be really overwhelming to feel like you need to get all of these things right all the time. It’s nearly impossible! So in no way am I suggesting that we all need to be perfect in every single part of our health. But, if we can try to make better choices every day in all of these different areas, we are on the right track.

A lot of people hate on health “trends” or “fads,” and I would agree there is a danger in just hopping on the bandwagon of the latest diet or health trend and always searching for a “magic pill.” Because it does not exist. We even know through plenty of research now, that most diets fail and are not sustainable. However, from my experience trying out a lot of these different “trends,” some are actually quite useful and are a trend for a reason.

If something is “trending,” usually that means it’s working for a lot of people and gaining hype because of it. So if something is working for so many people, then maybe it could be of use to us. If anything, getting people to think more about their wellbeing and get excited about it, is a major win for the world! 

So here ya go! These are my top five favorite wellness trends I’ve tried so far: 

  1. Intermittent Fasting

When I first tried this out, I had a hard time adjusting to it, but I noticed so many benefits from doing it consistently and it’s become way easier over time.

Intermittent fasting is a pattern of eating where you fast for a prolonged period of time each day and shorten the window of time you are actually eating. Intermittent fasting is a great way to manage blood sugar levels, increase energy, and overall it’s a huge benefit for your body to take a break from digesting food so your cells can focus on clearing out toxic waste and rebuild themselves.

I generally fast every day for about 12-14 hours, and as an active female with a delicate hormonal system, this is perfect for me. I am not strict or rigid about it and the times that I start and stop eating generally fluctuate, but now it’s sort of just part of my lifestyle and works really well for me. It’s actually allowed me to feel a lot of freedom with food, which is something I struggled with for a while. 

All of our bodies are so different and respond differently to various ways of eating, but I truly think intermittent fasting is universally beneficial for most humans, and it’s not that hard to implement. 

  1. Celery Juice

People have all sorts of opinions about this trend, but from my experience I absolutely love it! I noticed a lot of benefits from drinking it consistently, especially for my skin and digestion. Celery juice also seems to be helping people with all sorts of issues, everything from eczema to gut problems, and autoimmune disorders.

I don’t drink celery juice every single day anymore because it’s a bit expensive to do that and it’s a little tedious juicing it, but I have it about 3-4 times per week. One really cool thing it does is help me curb cravings. I notice when I drink it that I tend to reduce my cravings for sugar.

  1.  The Wim Hof Method

Ever since I trained with Wim Hof this past winter, people ask me all the time if I still practice the Wim Hof Method… and the answer is overwhelming YES! This method has truly changed my life in so many ways and completely changed my relationship with both the cold and my own inner power and mental strength. Before this experience, I honestly hated the cold so much.

But after overcoming it, I actually sort of crave it now. I still take cold showers every day and get in an ice bath whenever I can. Luckily I have some friends in LA who have ice bath setups in their backyard and we will have little breathwork and ice bath parties with friends and this is one of my favorite things to do. Both the breathing and the ice baths allow me to release a lot of stress and anxiety and it brings me right back to my own strength and inner power. It’s a total endorphin rush and I love it. 

  1. Digital Detoxes 

I’ve made a lot of videos about digital wellness and how we can develop a healthier relationship with our phones and social media. One way that I do this, is by taking a digital detox at least every 3-6 months. During this time, I turn my phone off, put it away, and usually I go without any technology at all, not even my camera.

I’ll go somewhere in nature and spend anywhere from 24 to 72 hours or more disconnecting with the digital world to reconnect with my inner world. The amount of presence that I feel when doing this is so beautiful and taking these digital detoxes has become a game-changer for my mental and spiritual well being. 

  1.  Cacao

In its purest form, ceremonial grade cacao is one of the most powerful superfoods on the planet. Cacao is extremely high in hundreds of nutrients including iron, magnesium, and calcium. It’s been amazing for my gut health and has helped me eliminate pretty much all stomach issues and sensitivities I was having. It’s also fantastic for the brain, so it allows me to feel calm but energized while I’m working. 

Preparing and drinking cacao involves a very meditative, mindful practice that comes from thousands of years of Mayan tradition, so implementing this ritual in my life every morning changes my entire day. Cacao is also considered a “heart-opening” plant medicine, which sounds a bit spiritual, but actually it contains a chemical called anandamide, which is the “bliss molecule,” named after the Sanskrit word “Ananda”, which means “bliss.” This molecule binds to the same receptors in the brain as THC and creates a blissful, joyful feeling. 

The one thing to be aware of when it comes to cacao is making sure you are getting a really high quality one. Many on the market are non pure-grade or ceremonial. My absolute favorite is Legacy Cacao, which comes from an indigienocus tribe in Guatemala who use an ancient Mayan recipe. The cacao is sustainably farmed, stone ground, and blessed by the priestess of the tribe. It’s a bit pricey, but it’s so worth it! 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ak7MtYVFHKQ&t=80s

So there you have it! Those are my five favorite wellness trends so far. Again, always remember to prioritize the basics of wellbeing before going overboard with all the trendy stuff, but if you feel called to try any of these trends, I urge you to go for it! You never know what might have a huge impact on your life.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4_QjJ6ZfFEY&t=135s