we are excited to announce that our sixth issue, Growing Pains, has just come hot off the press and is shipping to subscribers as we speak!
We are nearing the end of our third year of publishing, and you would think by now we would have all the strategies in place to make the process of going to print smoother: proofreading last articles, searching for photography credits, finalising the layout… Well, while we have gotten more streamlined, there is still a lot to learn and optimise. I suppose it is like any other project or vocation: As soon as you believe you have it all figured out, the goal posts move, the undertaking grows in scope, and suddenly you are faced with having to rethink all of your strategies, to strip away what doesn’t work anymore and to make space for what might. For this difficult phenomenon I like the term growing pains.
That is exactly what this issue is about, too. The practice of handstands is a rough ride. Very few people would say it is easily learnt. Hours spent, years spent, staring at the floor, drilling the same exercises on repeat. And just when you have reached a point where you can do one thing, you move on to the next, harder goal. In that sense, it never gets easier. That is also what keeps many people engaged in the practice: The endless opportunities for growth can be hugely rewarding if you stick with it. But to do so, you need strategies. Some people will experience frustration more than others, and we experience it in different ways. But most handbalancers have strategies to combat the monotony, the repetitive ups and downs, and the general difficulty of learning handstands.
In short, this issue’s theme is: How can we deal with growing pains in handstands?
Colm O’Shea investigates the relationship between boredom and creativity, reminding us that the grind is essential in any worthwhile undertaking. Similarly, Elina Vessonen identifies diligence as the basis of creativity, using mathematics as an example. Isaac Lucksted shares an approach of daily handstands, in an attempt to keep the inner critic at bay, while Filippo Garofalo embarks on a scientific investigation of the ups and downs of the use of motivation in handstand training. Our editor Meret Meier writes about the use of rhythm in her practice, and our readers have the last word, in a summary of strategies shared with us through a survey about taming frustration.
Also in the issue, we have a portrait of Stefanie Millinger, an extreme athlete who invites us into her world. Paul Berry shares his story of swapping hangovers for handstands, and in the Wall segment, Meret Meier takes us on a road trip to the La Convention d’Équilibre in France. Also in the Wall, we have a second survey all about the limiting factors in training and how to overcome them, and of course we have our trusted Dr. Balance in a new iteration.
Jan Jirak takes us on a journey detailing how he arrived at his show The IIII (4th) Dimension, and Sarah Repond shares her research on how the menstrual cycle impacts training performance.
In Musings, we have handstand poetry from Christelle Dubois and Doug Kretz, each with their own unique voices, and we learn about a handstand comic exhibition by Galaad Sanson. A collection of handbalancers in the woods round the section off nicely!
A final note on the topic of growing pains: As noted above, projects tend to shift, change shape, and vary in scale. With Handstand Press it is no different. As we come to our 6th issue, we have had to face some uncomfortable facts about the financial sustainability of our current set-up, and to make some hard decisions going forward. As we want to continue to grow, we are in the process of finding new strategies to do so while also continuing to bring paper-based handstand goodness to you! So keep an eye out for some major changes, and be part of Handstand Press’ exciting new chapter, starting with issue 07.
You can find this issue as a single copy or subscription on our website here.
Until then, happy handstanding,
Elise and the Handstand Press Team