Handstand, or Adho Mukha Vrksasana the Tilted Tree Pose, this asana is an arm-balancing pose that entails carrying the entire weight of the body on the hands. It is an advanced pose, and it takes regular practice to master this asana. This asana resembles a strongly rooted tree, and since our body faces downwards as you get into this asana, it is named so.
What You Should Know Before You Do The Asana
This asana must be performed on an empty stomach. You must have your meals at least four to six hours before you practice yoga. You must also make sure that your bowels are empty. Avoid this asana if you have the following conditions.
b. Back injuries
c. Neck injuries
d. Shoulder injuries
e. Heart conditions
f. High blood pressure
How To Do The Adho Mukha Vrksasana : Step-by-Step Instructions
- To begin this asana, you must start with the Adho Mukha Svanasana or the Downward Facing Dog Pose. If you are a beginner and are practicing with the support of a wall, make sure your hands are placed about six inches away from the wall.
- Walk towards your hands, making sure your shoulders are placed exactly over your wrists.
- Bend the knee of any one leg, and lift the foot of the other leg off the floor. Straighten the leg once you are comfortable.
- Then, as the vertical leg takes the support of the wall, gently lift up the other leg. Hold until you are comfortable.
- While you do this, you must make sure your head is between your upper arms.
- Now, try and take your feet off the wall. Engage your legs. Setting your gaze on a certain point on the floor will also help.
- Hold the pose for a minute or more. Breathe deep and slow.
- To release this asana, bring your legs down, one at a time. Relax!
Many beginners find it difficult to keep their elbows straight in this pose. Buckle a strap and loop it over your upper arms, just above your elbows. Extend your arms straight out in front of you at shoulder width and adjust the strap so that it is snug against your outer arms. Then use the strap in the pose, but think of pushing the arms slightly in, away from the strap, rather than letting them bulge out into the strap.
Modifications & Variations
- One way to modify Handstand is to brace the crown of your head against a padded support placed on the floor between your hands.
- A supported head stabilizes your position and is a great confidence booster. But getting exactly the right height can be tricky: if the height is too low, your head won’t be braced; if it’s too high, your neck will get scrunched.
- Use a yoga block for a base, then pile two or more folded blankets (or a bolster) on top. How high you build the support will depend on the height and the length of your arms.
- Experiment with different heights until you feel like you have the right one, then position your hands on the floor to either side of it.
- Walk in from Adho Mukha Svanasana until you can brace your crown on the support and the back of your head against the wall. Then follow the instructions above for moving into the pose.
Benefits Of The Adho Mukha Vrksasana
- It makes the wrists, arms, and shoulders strong.
- The belly is given a good stretch.
- Practicing this asana improves your sense of balance.
- Blood circulation is enhanced all over the body.
- The brain is calmed and relaxed.
- This asana helps relieve stress and mild depression.
Now that you know how to do a Handstand pose, what are you waiting for? A handstand really makes you aware of your entire being. It seems tough, but when your body is topsy-turvy, lots of bits of your mind, body, and soul are straightened out. Engage and unwind!