Real People Share The Side Of Yoga You Never See

Photo by Magnus Unnar

On Instagram, the #handstand looks effortless, sweat-less, and much of the time, unattainable. Seldom, if ever, do we ever get to witness the struggle, the fear, the kicking, and the falls that it inevitably takes to master the inversion.

Max Vallot and Tom Daly, the guys behind District Vision, a New York–based company that makes tools for sports and well-being (starting with performance eyewear), are interested in—quite literally—the blood, sweat, and tears along the way.

Lono Brazil, Runner, Black Roses NYC

Photo by Magnus Unnar

“It’s easy to feel intimidated when you see a perfect handstand on the beach, and that’s the last thing we want,” Max told mindbodygreen. “We want people to feel inspired to go try it. It’s not about the final result—it’s about the process of getting there.”

So, with the help of Icelandic photographer Magnus Unnar, they gathered some of their friends and documented their painful—but also beautiful—handstand journeys. The result has become the “Upside Down Series,” an ongoing project into which we have an exclusive sneak peek.

Mariah Ernst, Writer and Journalist

Photo by Magnus Unnar

But Max and Tom weren’t always so centered. They had the typical move-to-New-York-in-your-20s experience: constantly going out, clubbing, drinking, and eventually, hitting a wall. Tom got into running, and Max got into transcendental meditation and yoga, eventually getting certified as a yoga teacher.

“Yoga changed my life,” said Max.

And it changed Magnus’, too. He had a similar journey to them, not exactly finding fulfillment from long nights drinking in bars. And now he’s been doing yoga for quite some time.

Grace Fuller, Accessories Editor, W Magazine

Photo by Magnus Unnar

“The hardest part is just showing up to class,” Magnus told us. “But when I go, I feel amazing.”

In fact, he actually prefers to be upside down. The conversation for this project started because Tom and Max saw that he was shooting himself in handstands around the world.

“I just think it is a really beautiful thing to do with your body, and it’s such hard work to get one and hold it.”

The proof? Well, that’s in the pictures.

Lono Brazil

Photo by Magnus Unnar

Hannah Overlock, Yoga Teacher, Yoga Shanti

Photo by Magnus Unnar

Brian Saint Hilaire, Runner, Black Roses NYC

Photo by Magnus Unnar

Elsa Hosk, Model

Photo by Magnus Unnar

Mariah Ernst

Photo by Magnus Unnar

Knox Robinson, Running Captain, Black Roses NYC

Photo by Magnus Unnar

Brian Saint Hilare

Photo by Magnus Unnar

Vanessa Packer, Co-Founder, modelFit

Photo by Magnus Unnar

Elsa Hosk

Photo by Magnus Unnar

Knox Robinson

Photo by Magnus Unnar

Hannah Overlock

Photo by Magnus Unnar

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