How Flexibility + MoveGB Yoga classes have been helping my handstands

Today I was invited to a photo shoot in South Bristol with lots of other athletes.
There were martial artists, dancers, and me! Mike Martin and Tony Cooney were two of the photographers organising the day and Mike got many fantastic photos of my Handstands.

My Bristol handstand classes are listed on MoveGB here

This was the first time I had managed to hold such good piked handstands and I was pleased I was able to perform under pressure with limited time. The flexibility that I have gained from regular yoga and stretch classes is starting to show in the shapes I can hold.

Relatively recently I started attending several yoga classes per week as well as dedicated stretch classes which are more intensely focused on performance flexibility such as splits and back bends. Jude Whitburn at The Big Act (MoveGB) and Kitty at Pink Kitten are two of the classes I’ve been attending.

Handstands, acrobatics, dance, gymnastics are as reliant on flexibility as they are on anything else. Without flexibility it’s not possible to get to the desired positions with ease. 

The difficulty of many movements get attributed to lack of core strength when actually it’s a lack of flexibility not allowing the body’s centre of gravity to be comfortably positioned over the hands. 

Levering up into a handstand without jumping is a movement which lots of people wish to perform. There are two important factors, hamstring length for a good forward bend to get the bum high and weight over the hands. The other factor is front deltoid (shoulder) strength to support the lift. Core is not a primary factor in this, in other words it’s not a limiting factor. 

My intuition had been telling me for a long time that flexibility (not strength) is what I need to work on to progress towards my goals. Having flexibility allows you to balance more easily with a greater range of motion available to control and adjust balance whilst in handstand. 

Also elegant flowing dance movements are largely reliant on good flexibility, since this gives you a brauder range of movements available to you, as you transition from one position to the next. 

If you would like to attend any of my weekly Bristol handstand classes on MoveGB then you can find more details here 

Ben Lowrey

Handstand teacher. Bristol.

Handstand Classes in Bristol

Buddhafield Festival 2016 – Culmhead TauntonĀ 

This was the fist time I taught a handstand workshop at a festival. It was very well attended with between 30 – 50 people attending each day.

This is the 4th time I’ve attended Buddhafield festival. As usual I was part of the Triban crew erecting the Word Up tent which is a marquee used as a space for workshops and open mic.

I enjoy being part of the team, it’s nice to have a group of people who feel like a family at a festival. We hang out together and eat together every day.

Apart from errecting the marquee and running he handstand workshops I also enjoyed another activity which is being body painted. Debbie Payne was the artist this year and it’s always good to work with her since she understands me and she know the glamourous striking style I like to be painted with.

Painted by Debbie Payne

The weather was good and we enjoyed many sunny days. I took the opportunity to get some handstand photos with the sun setting.

Christian is in charge of the Triban tent and he leads the team. He has a wicked sense of humour and sings and play saxophone and guitar.

Buddhafield is known for being drunk and drug free which makes it a very nice atmosphere. There is no lack of energy since everybody is sober and connecting on an equal footing. There’s plenty of music, workshops, yoga, dance, saunas, and of course Buddhism.

Pachamama is a great hangout which people enjoy late into the night. There is a fire inside the Tipi and musicians jam around the fire whilst people chat into the early hours.

The handstand workshop is something I was very happy to deliver, I greatly enjoy teaching handstands and it boosted my confidence to take my workshop to yoga studios around the country.

Sunday night as the Sun sets is my favourite time outside of Small World. There is a sense that the festival is almost over and now is the time to have the conversations and make any connections wanting to be made before everybody goes their separate ways.

Ben Lowrey

Handstand teacher Bristol United Kindgom