I’ve always wanted to do that!

Every four years with the Olympics, there are two events I am interested in – athletics and gymnastics. I started handstandwatching the gymnastics event when Nadia Comaneci became the first female gymnast to score a perfect 10.

I recalled the awe watching Nadia Comaneci and though I didn’t know her, she instantly became my hero. She was an inspiration to many people.

It was a dream to have that kind of physical strength and power and to be the center of attention. I believe most of us, if not all, has this emotional need to be significant – feeling unique, important or special. We express it differently though.

For me, it was my corporate career because I didn’t have the talent to pursue a sports-related career. By the way, I didn’t win any races when I was in school.

I continued to be active physically and over the years took up a variety of activities – running, hiking, aerobics, and step classes. In early 2000’s, I discovered Pilates and chose to become a Pilates teacher.

It is a fulfilling path for me – it challenges and allows me to grow both physically and mentally. It was tough to learn Pilates because I didn’t have any prior training, except being a student in group classes in the gyms.

Over the years, I enjoy making discoveries of how I can move better and feeling good about myself. Sometimes, it is hard to describe this feeling. My friend Jay calls it freedom. It is freedom of expression, of who I am and being confident of how I live my life – and yes, I want to be an inspiration to others. Don’t you?

Although practicing Pilates made me a lot stronger and mobile, I am always looking for what other people are practicing and teaching in the fitness and movement fields. I believe there are always practices and/or new discoveries that will add to my knowledge and growth. I am not limited to what I know and am comfortable with. I’d like to push and maybe feel uncomfortable once in a while.

Which is why I wanted to learn the handstand.

But I didn’t have much success in learning the skill, until about a year ago. Initially, I was learning it from a yoga class setting and I was asked to just kick up to the wall. Unfortunately, I couldn’t do it all. I didn’t know how. I was envious when I see other students being able to kick up to the wall. In big class settings, it was not feasible to receive appropriate coaching.

Then I realised it wasn’t enough to hold a handstand against a wall, it is being able to do a freestanding handstand. I become even more inspired. But how am I going to get there?

A year ago, I discovered GST, gymnastic strength training by Coach Sommer, the founder of GymnasticBodies.com and a long time National Team coach for the US Men’s gymnastics team.

The handstand is an amazing skill and is not just available to the gymnasts. This skill is possible to learn with proper progression training, time commitment, and, most importantly, consistency. One of the reason why I started BodyTree GST – a studio for adults to learn handstands and other gymnastics skills.

At BodyTree GST, we follow the progressions developed by Christopher Sommer – a proven method to learn this skill with quality, precision and without injuries. Read this article published on Shape – How to do Handstand without injuring yourself.

What are the benefits of acquiring this skill?

  • Build strength in the shoulders, upper back and core
  • Improve spatial awareness
  • Improve balance
  • A skill which will transfer over to other training, making you a better athlete and enhancing your physique.20160329_190836

As for me (right photo), I am still in my foundation work, and even with my years of fitness training, they are tough. The work exposes my weak areas especially my joints, tendons and ligaments in my shoulders – and reveals to me I will need to be patient. I am very confident the techniques will get me to where I want – a Free Standing Handstand.




LayYong is the co-founder and MD of BodyTreeGST, an affiliate of GymnasticBodies.

GymnasticBodies Singapore offers gymnastic strength training and we specialise in helping high achievers to have them looking and performing at their peak.

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