First off, props to all the handstanders out there! This sh*t is hard!!
And second, if you don't do them already, start now! Being inverted gives you the best release of natural brain happy-drugs and I feel so great after a small handstand session.
My journey began last fall ( 2013) when I decided I wanted to get the whole "be upside down in the air" thing down. I've practiced some yoga, but in the past I've only done the poses that don't require me to hold my whole body up!
The picture on the left is a gist of my first month or so of attempts. I either A) did a headstand w/ elbows resting on the ground and would end up flipping over like this picture or B) have a friend help me kick up( I was scared & didn't kick hard enough) against a wall but I wouldn't last long. I did these on the turf, so pretty soft landing.
The middle picture is me getting the hang of kicking myself over onto a wall, but usually I would kick too hard & if I didn't have the wall there then....ouch! My body position is not very good here and I still didn't understand the hip tilt/hollow body position. I also found that racquetball courts in the gym are super awesome for handstand practice (warm ups and circuits too)!
The picture on the right is my most recent picture but still about 3 months old. As you can see I can come off the wall and hold a decent position. Since then I've made some improvements by working on my shoulder stability with various exercises to strengthen my shoulder position. Overall, I still need to work on my body position and hollow out more & really push my head through.
Now, as far as being able to do a "classic" handstand on the beach picture ( ya'll know what I'm talking about) I still have not mastered. I need to practice doing them in free space with the help of a spotter and I'm there! It's all a mental game now, trusting myself to kick up with the perfect amount of drive and using my core to make the micro-adjustments to stay in the air without anyone right next to me.