How an Omani athlete is inspiring people to handstand

07 Jun 2018
POSTED BY Y Magazine

With our feet in the air and our hands on the ground, Y catches up with Omani wellness coach and TEDx speaker Fahad Al Abri to explore life through his unique upside-down perspective. Hassan Al Lawati reports.  

“I fell on my back, I fell on my face, I twisted my wrist. It was painful – really painful.” – Fahad Al Abri @cavemangram

Inverting his body, balancing his weight on the palms of his hands, a crowd slowly gathers around Fahad Al Abri. Drawn by his strength, control, and grace they watch. It’s not long before someone calls out – “How do you do that?”

His answer is simple, matter-of-fact: “Practice.”

As the crowd looks on, hoping for more – perhaps a tip or two on how he masters the act of turning his world upside down, the Omani wellness coach and TEDx speaker simply repeats his one-word secret for success: “Practice.”

Al Abri mastered the art of the handstand two years ago; a demonstration of physical fortitude, discipline, and agility.

“It depends on your experience and knowledge. To an average person it takes up to a year to perform a correct handstand, while it might take athletes six months to master it,” he says.

Al Abri has now embarked on a journey of teaching children and youth the art of the handstand. “It changes one’s understanding of how a person stands. As kids, we start crawling and, after countless falls, we learn how to walk,” he says, adding that handstand practice also taught him how to fall. “Pain doesn’t simply change you…it teaches you.”

By turning the world on its head, he says, it gives us a different perspective and pushes us to step outside our comfort zone.

“We don’t know how to use our hands. But when we learn to use our minds to control our core, you can better control your hands and legs,” he explains.

Al Abri travels the world to share his ideas and passion. Currently he’s visited more than 20 cities around the globe performing handstands in scenic and historic locations.

“Whenever I do handstand, a lot of people come and take group photos, [creating] a raw human connection – energy connecting energy,” he describes.

The 31-year-old already has nearly 3,000 followers on Instagram and has been promoting tourism in Oman through his handstand images set against the backdrop of Omani landmarks.

While most of his pictures were taken in Al Mouj, where he works, he has also shared images of him poised vertically at The Royal Opera House Muscat, Muscat International Airport, and Wakan Village.

“After doing a series of outdoor handstands, people were excited to visit Oman and check out the locations,” he adds. So, what’s next for Oman’s resident handstand pro? Well, Al Abri tell us that he’d soon like to use his skill to raise funds for charity.

 Fall guy

Attempting a handstand on solid ground takes time and effort to master – not to mention a tremendous amount of patience. But giving one a go on moving water? Some say you’d have to be crazy! For Fahad Al Abri, his surfing handstand was no easy feat to master. “It took me half an hour and many funny falls to do this one,” he says with a laugh.

Oh and FYI, a four-minute handstand is his record to beat!

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