Now that my arms are functioning properly again, I can tell you about the handstand training masterclass I attended recently. Led by Felipe Salas, who can pretty much do anything upside down, it was a unique experience.
The workshop was 18 hours long, spread out over three days. That’s right, we’re talking six hours every day, an approximate amount of training Felipe undergoes daily himself.
Let me tell you, handstands are hard work. Felipe shared a vast amount of theoretical knowledge with us – warm ups, conditioning exercises, and a huge variety of drills to teach us get into and stay in handstand, as well as some more advanced variations, such as one-handed stands, or manna handstands. We also learned many ways to spot a handstand partner, depending on what they were trying to achieve.
Of course, theoretical knowledge is only useful in the event you actually carry out the said drills, flowing from one position to another, shifting your weight to the right place, pointing your toes, making every muscle in your body work. Felipe warned us from the very start that we would work hard, and boy did we ever. Handstand press-ups, headstands, thousands of kick-ups into handstands, straddle variations, arm balances, movement sequences, and the ultimate challenge on the last day – a combined twenty-minute handstand hold. As well as doing drills directly related to handstands, we did many gruelling conditioning exercises, with the help of resistance bands and each other, to strengthen our core, our shoulders, our wrists, our hips, and our legs… Is there any bit I haven’t named?
The people attending this training ranged from yoga teachers to professional aerialists to ground-based circus artists which was a great mix of people to work with, everyone bringing their experience to the table yet eager to learn and entirely humble. Several people travelled a long way to come to this masterclass, and I see why. One of the best parts of the whole ordeal was at the end of each day, when we would split into pairs or small groups and performed some massage on each other, attempting to relieve the tension after a hard day’s work.
It wouldn’t be fair to speak of everyone who attended the masterclass without mentioning Felipe. As well as giving us invaluable information, he kept encouraging us, reminding us why we were in it, making us believe we can achieve whatever we set out to do. He works hard, and has a heart of gold, so if ever you get an opportunity to train with him – please do.