Handstands change more than just our current view. The art of learning a handstand changes our perspectives, help us overcome fears and insecurities, they challenge our beliefs of what we can do with our bodies, and they become a life-long journey.
For yogi Adrian McCavitt, handstands became his passion, his calling, and his profession.
Since he began practicing in 2013, Adrian has come to learn so much about handstands that he’s now able to perform 30 different hand balance positions! Since Adrian is leading a workshop at Awaken this summer, we thought we’d get to know him a little better and experience the passion behind his practice.
What was one of your first most exciting/shape-shifting experiences you discovered with movement?
I’d have to say it was the first time I really started to feel the weightlessness of balancing in a handstand. There really is nothing quite like the feeling. And knowing how much work goes into finding that balance is so rewarding.
What do you love about practicing handstands? How has it changed your life?
I love the ritual of my practice. It keeps me grounded and centered. I always have more to work on so I am always humbled by the experience of practice, yet also fulfilled by the confidence that comes with achieving a new skill that I have spent countless hours working towards. It has changed my life in so many ways, but most notably in my accountability to myself and my practice. Most of my decisions are governed by my love of hand balance and how it will affect my ability to practice. The rest I get from the food I eat, and my personal interactions and relationships with others, all which play a role in my practice.
How did you begin training handstands?
I had just earned my 200 hour yoga teaching certificate and my brother took me to the circus for my birthday. There I saw a hand balancer perform on top of some 9 foot canes where he did a few variations of hollow-backs and one-arm handstands, and I was head over heels in love with it from that moment on.
What will the focus of the Awaken Denver Workshops be?
Alignment alignment alignment! It is the master key that opens all of the hand balance adventure doors. We will go through multiple conditioning techniques to develop the strength for handstands, but without proper alignment, you’ve just built a pretty boat that doesn’t float.
What do you tell people who are afraid of getting upside down?
Good! It means you’re willing to acknowledge that you’re not invincible, which is an important understanding. But you don’t have to be invincible to get upside down. We will focus on acquiring the skills and coordination necessary so the confidence of ability will eradicate the presence of fear.
What’s your best advice for beginners?
Keep it simple. 15 mins a day is better than 2 hours on a Sunday. It’s just about consistency. This is relevant to both the beginners and the advanced student.
Do you think you’ll be balancing on your hands when your 80?
Of course! I’ll actually be 87 in September :)
Does handstand training help with other movement disciplines?
Yes, it absolutely does. I had been climbing for about 5 years before finding hand-balance, but after a little while, handstand training replaced climbing completely. I had a few years hiatus from climbing, but when I tried it again I was similar in skill to before I had stopped. Hand balance is such an amazing conditioning tool. What you learn in handstand training can be applied to most movement disciplines and it will prepare you for so much, especially if it has anything to do with grip strength, core, and coordination.
You’re vegan! What’s your favorite meal?
I like efficiency and simplicity, so pretty much anything in burrito form. Rice and bean burrito, spaghetti burrito, peanut butter and jelly burrito. I do also love Thai food. (Thai leftover burritos are the best!)
What are you working on in your personal practice?
I am going back to basics, cleaning everything up, and focusing on areas I missed the first go around. The more you learn about hand balance the better you can forensically diagnose your own practice and expose any weaknesses. I have some seemingly lofty goals, but I am working on them via the basics. The fundamentals are there for a reason.
How do yoga and hand balance complement each other?
I think hand balance can be considered yoga with the right intention behind it. If the practice is used to improve and elevate your internal environment, quality of mind, and general disposition to the world, I consider that yoga. On a purely physical level, there are plenty of techniques, movements, and stretches that run parallel with hand balance which I found were imperative to get me to where I am now. And certainly the flexibility of yoga has opened the door to more contortion-style hand balance for me. I owe a great deal of my practice to the system of yoga.
We’re so excited and honored to bring Adrian’s knowledge and experience to the next Awaken workshop, August 25-26. Check out our Facebook Group Page to stay up to date!
Spots for the Adrian Workshop in Denver are filling up, so reserve your spot here today and take your own practice to the next level.