Barb has practiced with me since summer 2007, when we first moved to Portland. Her handstand has come a long way since then!
She’s a mother of two and I can only confidently say she is over 40. She teaches at PSU and travels overseas frequently to teach classes on conflict resolution. However, when she’s in town she’s in class every damn day! In fact, she often shows up before 5:30, which is when I get to the studio.
I had Barb perform this handstand at the end of her practice, so she wasn’t as sharp as normal. But she’s learned to kick to the wall and use her midsection to pull her feet from the wall. Finally, she’s also now able to use her hands and wrists to balance in this position.
Barb practices her handstands in between navasana. For her, they’re fun and challenging. At this time we are not focused on moving off the wall --- in my opinion, at this time for Barb the risk/downside/exposure to injury is currently not worth the reward/upside/benefits.
(More on the appropriateness, utility, and inclusion of handstands and splits later.)An obvious takeaway is that the the “perfect” performance of an asana, or asana sequence, is not a predictor or sign of yoga, as I consider Barb a beyond accomplished Ashtanga yogini.
Often my job is to merely remind people: you are already doing it!
Jason owns and directs Portland Ashtanga Yoga.