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Handstands and poledance?

How handstands can help with pole….
I meet so many students who absolutely hate even attempting a handstand. And I get it, we’re so used to having our feet on the ground so being told to go upside down and hold your weight in your hands feels completely alien! πŸ‘½
Unfortunately, in my opinion I think it’s a pretty important move to be able to do when being an aerialist. 

Handstands are great for conditioning your body, they engage every muscle and help to you to gain awareness of yourself. Handstands work the abs, the hip flexors and the spinal muscles for balance, which all lead to having a strong and stable core. 

Obviously holding a handstand position means having good upper body strength, which of course all us polers need. I recommend trying to do one handstand a day (holding the position for as long as you can, you could even challenge yourself and try to beat your previous time) and you’ll soon notice your shoulders, chest and back becoming stronger! 

Don’t worry if you aren’t a confident hand-stander (yet!!) I will give you some more options below 😊 

Great news though ladies and gents… according to Amy Cooper, an lyengar-trained yoga teacher, if you can hold a downward facing dog or plank position for more than 30 seconds without discomfort in the elbows or shoulders then you should be able to hold a handstand position! Plank pose is also great for familiarising your body with which muscles you need to engage to hold yourself in a handstand πŸ™‚ so get practicing those planks!! 
So what are the other benefits to handstands? 
Well, not only are handstands super for your body, they can also be great for your mind!! 

In yoga inversions play an important role; they can help to elevate moods, relieve headaches and even reduce minor depressions! This is because of gravity allowing blood and therefore more oxygen to flow to the head, this can in turn create an energising and calming effect, as well as reducing the production of the stress hormone cortisol! 

If you’re not quite sold on handstands yet then here’s one more reason you should start practicing them, many yoga teachers say that inversions are like having a mini face lift!!! πŸ’
This is because being upside down helps stimulate blood flow to the face and increased circulation to the skin in the cheeks and forehead means oxygenation and therefore potential sustained youth of facial cells!! Do you even need any more reasons!? Just be careful not to hold your inversion for too long, I’d recommend no more than a minute if you are just beginning your handstand journey! 

So how will this help you as a poler, well for me the obvious reasons are your improved balance and strength, especially as you progress onto hands only moves such as handsprings and straight edges. 
I also feel that if you are not comfortable being upside down with your hands on the floor then how can you truly feel comfortable going upside down in the air!! Practicing your handstands can really help with inverting on the pole as you need to allow you head to come lower than the rest of your body, and this is true for not just basic inverts but also for handsprings, brass monkeys and cross ankle releases! 



Finally for us polers, not only can handstands be beautiful as pole moves and help us to link moves together ( πŸ“Ή Handstand pickup 1 πŸ“Ή Handstand footlock pick up 2)  but they are also really helpful for when you need to get off the pole promptly! We’ve all done it, you go into a move pretty confidently and then you just don’t have the grip or you’ve totally forgotten what you were doing, you want to dismount quickly, if you have your handstand, getting yourself low enough to touch the floor means you should be able to handstand out, this can be from a variety of moves including inverts and cross ankle/knee releases! 

πŸ“ΉπŸ“Ή Handstand dismount
If you’re new to handstands as well as practicing your down dog and plank, the first way you should try getting into a handstand is by facing away from the wall, placing your hands on the floor and then walking your feet up the wall. For some people this may be enough so just keep practising walking your feet up and then back down the wall. 
If your happy here you are now going to walk your hands in towards the wall, as you do you will need to take your feet higher, keep doing this until you can hold yourself in an upright position. 

πŸ“ΉπŸ“Ή Handstand walk up wall

Remembering to keep your core tight and your arms locked, you want to spread your fingers as wide as you can to spread the weight across your hands, use your fingers to gain balance. 

Next have ago at hand-standing against the wall so that your back is now resting on the wall.

πŸ“ΉπŸ“ΉHandstand against wall
Challenge yourself to hold this for about a minute, once you can do that have a go at pushing your feet slightly away from the wall so that you are in a free standing handstand! Be careful not to arch your back, keep in mind that plank positions and use your finger tips to control your balance! 

From here you can start practicing your free standing handstand, make sure you have enough space around you, and I’d recommend trying this on a soft ground your first few times! 

My personal goal is to now enter my handstands with more control and eventually be able to lift instead of stepping into a handstand! 

Let me know how you get on with your handstands! And if you found any of this information useful! 

Happy poling and handstands! 
Peace & Pole everyone πŸ¦„βœŒπŸΌ

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I don’t sweat… I sparkle βœ¨

Budapest Liza Szabo Pole Studio Hungary
So my orginal plan was to also do a class in Cluj, unfortunately I just couldn’t get to the instructor at the times she was available 😒

But this did push me to do a class in Budapest! (Pronounced Budapesht, it makes the Hungarians happy 😊)
So I went back to my list of pole schools and contacted a few in the area we were staying.
I had replies from a couple of Studio’s, but the one that had a class at a time I could make and stood out from the others was Liza Szabo ( here’s the website for her studio, there’s also the option to change the language to English which is very useful for us none Hungarian speakers http://www.polestudio.hu/eng/)
After doing a quick Facebook stalk of her profile and studio page I was excited to try out her class.
This was a mixed ability class, at 6pm and she gave me all the details for the studio.

To get there from our hostel I had to take the tram from the bottom of our road, my sense of direction and map reading is terrible so I popped Szabo Liza pole studio address into my trustee (or not so much) maps.

I got off at the stop my phone told me to and headed in the direction of the studio, or so I thought, now I had set off with plenty of time but by now it was about 5.54 so I had 6 minutes to find the studio, my blue dot was hovering over exactly where google thought the studio should be, but there was no signs for any studios.
I looked back at what Liza had messaged me , the addresses are not the same as back home but I worked out that the building number should be 10, I was at something like 26. By now it was 5.55, I put the street and number into google and it popped up 7 mins away, I only had 5! So it was time to get running! Not really something you see in Budapest, they have a more chilled out kind of vibe so me sprinting down the street did attract a little attention. As I got to a crossing I saw a girl in a red dress start running too, at least I’m not the only one late for something I thought, and she was fast!

So eventually I got to building number 10 absolutely dripping with sweat, red faced and panting, I forgot to mention this was the 2nd hottest day we had in Budapest and at 6pm it was about 37c!!

Now to climb the stairs, Liza had already told me it was the top floor! As I started up the steps I could here someone on the flight above me, I looked up and it was the red dress girl from the crossing!
As I reached the top floor the door to the studio was open, I said hi and apologised to Liza as she had already began the warm up and this was just not good class etiquette. But she was lovely and said Rose (red dress) would show me the changing rooms and to just come in as soon as I was ready.
I followed Rose to the changing rooms where they had baby wipes (thank god!) I gave my face a wipe and tried to get a few deeps breaths in before heading into the warm up.

As I entered Rose told me to grab a yoga Matt and to my relief we were up to part of the warm up where you are sat on the floor warming up the legs and hips. We finished the warm up and Liza told me they would usually do conditioning but as it was so hot we wouldn’t be doing it today (conditioning is important but in this heat, this was music to my ears!)

Now this was a mixed ability class so I wasn’t sure what to expect, we did a couple of spins to warm up our shoulders and then Liza began teaching, she would demonstrate first, talk it through and then translate it for me πŸ™‚

Our first move was a very splitty one, and this is certainly not my strong point but I did my best, managed the first move and then completely melted down the pole to the floor for the second one! I was sweating in spots I didn’t even know could sweat πŸ˜“πŸ˜·

I have never poled in heat like this before so I really had to keep reminding myself that the moves would feel completely different had it not been so hot!

Liza was a great teacher and she could see straight away these particular moves were just not working for a lot of the girls and this was simply because of the conditions!
So after a couple of goes she moved us onto a combo that seemed a bit more achievable and could be done from the floor, for me personally I felt much safer trying moves near the ground!

Here’s the combo below πŸ‘‡πŸ‘‡

Floor-Genie-Butterfy
You can still see how much I’m sliding and I’m so thankful the studio had some grip that was for everyone’s use otherwise I wouldn’t have had a chance!
The last move we tried, I’m not sure of the name so please comment if you know it.
For now I’m going to call it an outside jade. I’ve never tried one of these before and my attempt wasn’t great but I am going to re-film these moves at home and see if I can get them a little better!

Here’s my attempt πŸ™ˆπŸ™ˆ
Outside Jade Split
Even though the class was insanely difficult I still left feeling great! The atmosphere at the studio reminded me of home! All the girls were really supportive and Liza is a fantastic teacher! If you are in Budapest I would highly recommend sending her a message and checking out their timetable! Just try a day when it’s not like taking a vacation on the beaches of hell! πŸŒ‹β˜€οΈπŸ”₯
Oh but I did achieve this….

Peace & Pole everyone πŸ¦„βœŒπŸΌ