Inversions Open Discussion

I always give my students the opportunity to request things they'd like to work on, because hey, it's their class and I want to make them happy! Finally someone took me up on it.  One of my students wants to work on handstand.  Handstand, I think is special, because it represents a mile-marker in strength and also in overcoming fear.  Perhaps only I say that because it is definitely the scariest inversion for me personally!  I've been playing with inversions a lot in my practice lately, doing prep poses to build strength and mobility around my shoulder girdle and upper back, as well as core-strengthening poses for stability.  As for full-on inversions, I've been mixing it up between pincha mayurasana, headstand, and handstand.  I've been playing with different ways to move into them to see what feels good to me and which way might be most appropriate approach for this group of students.  After taking an inexplicable hiatus from inversions a while ago, I am having tons of fun exploring this area of my practice again.  This is making me curious about how other people practice!

Some teachers and traditions teach inversions at the wall.  This is how I learned.  It is all about kicking up and using the wall for support and then learning to shift away from the wall for balance.  Other instructors teach inversions in the middle of the room, building strength and balance by practicing the actions required for the inversion, and not necessarily going all the way.

Which way did you learn? How do you practice now? Do you prefer one way over the other?