with Danielle De La Wonk



To achieve a handstand, one must engage all, and I mean all of the muscles at once from top to bottom; toes pointed, calves stretched, knees together, thighs tensed, bumcheeks clenched, pelvis tiled in, abs tucked behind belly button, ribs drawn together, shoulders pushing away from the ears whilst the neck keeps them tucked inside your outstretched arms onto your flexed wrists that your ever so sightly raised palms and spread fingers tilt you gently one way or another so you don’t fall over.

If I manage for even half a second to achieve all of this (that half a second in which the above photo was snapped) I am not actually allowed to revel in it. The moment my cheeky ego goes, ‘oh my god I’m actually doing it’, my concentration is removed from my muscles and I’ve wobbled too far to get it back. I have come to the conclusion that you can’t get more zen than a handstand, driven by my ego to achieve something that I must be completely present and correct and totally ego-less to experience.

I have over the past year been doing my press ups every morning, starting with one I have steadily built up to 30! Alongside a morning routine and of course the performing, I am now performing physical activity like never before in my life. My body shape is changing, I don’t want to loose any more weight as I am tiptoeing towards having a bum that is uncomfortable to sit on (I’ve been there before, I had to sit on a cushion my poor derriere got so bony) but I do want to improve my muscular strength and my endurance, as this is only the beginning and I want to go for many miles.

So, here I was thinking that I had these push -ups nailed, proudly bragging that I could now do 30 and it was time to take it up a notch and look for some variations when I stumbled across this site NerdFitness. Reading the post about push-ups had me realise I had been doing them completely wrong all this time! When I actually had a go at a technically correct push up I found I couldn’t even do one. Further down the rabbit hole I goes then because 2017 is my year to nail a handstand! Nerd fitness took me onto the 100pushups page where I found another great video on how to do a correct push-up and here I am currently, re-writing my morning fitness regime. Now, it still feels like a miracle at all that I have become a person with a morning fitness regime, and it is only because I’m actually getting serious about all this clowning that there has been a general increase of a healthier lifestyle without making too much of a fuss about it. If you remember, this all started with a hula hoop fitness class. You might assume that someone like me must have no problem with motivation (as often comes as a surprise when I talk to friends about it) but each knows their own and knows when they are lacking in the umpf department. Let me tell you, this is the first time I am actually brave enough to call myself an artist and committing to making my life that way, it requires 100% of my effort and I am the only boss who can get on my back about it. After reading through the posts on Nerd Fitness I felt inspired by the comradery, the honesty in the posts, it talks about ‘levelling up’ and it’s becoming more and more apparent that if I want to keep performing and improving, that’s exactly what I need to do. So I signed up, after all, my ringmaster is more of an earringmaster, I’ve got to crack the whip from somewhere.


It started me off simple, a 10 minute walk in the morning. Valparaíso is the most beautiful place I have ever lived, to feel it at 8am in the morning for ten minutes is bliss. The following morning I opened my email to see what wisdom would be shared, there was the option of yoga exercises or the 10 minute walk. I decided to go ten minute walk again, yoga can be done anytime any where, I might not always be living in Valparaíso. This morning there were many more people about it seemed, so I decided a customary ‘Hola’ to each would be the done thing. When walking up one particular street I was greeted with the most beautiful sight of a man on one of the high wrought iron balconies waving a plastic bag at some birds. It made me smile so deeply right from the corners of my mouth to the tips of my toes that I decided to give him a big full outstretched arm wave, to which he then waved the bag at me and and greeted me with a broad ‘Buenas dias’, a good day indeed this was going to be. As I felt inspired by the man to take a left instead of a right I turned the corner to be at the top of the sloped street funnelling me back to my house, a full view of the sea over the tops of the houses and a morning clear enough to see the coastal mountain range beyond the curve of Valparaíso. If that shouldn’t be gift enough, imagine my joy when I was met with unloading trucks with fresh fruit and veg! Turns out this small market is here 4 times a week and equally priced to what I’d been paying trudging down to the market by bus every week. A zen old act indeed learning to do a handstand.



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