Posture of the month: Adho Mukha Vrksasana (Handstand)

Continuing on our July theme of Forearm Balances, now it's time for the handstand. It is one of the most challenging balancing asanas in yoga, and yet incredibly rewarding once you master it.

Adho Mukha Vrksasana is also known in Sanskrit as the 'Downward Facing Tree' (from adho: downward, mukha: face, vrksa: tree and asana: posture), because it is the exact inversion of the regular tree posture.

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Practicing handstand has a myriad of health benefits, including improved circulation and heart health, strengthening the spine, shoulders, hands and wrists and calming the mind. It improves clarity of thought by increasing the energy flow to the brain, which relieves stress, anxiety and fear, and leads to more emotional balance and stability. So many benefits from a little change in perspective ...

The seat of enlightenment

Adho mukha vrksasana also activates the crown chakra (sahasrara), which is considered the seat of enlightenment. It is located on top of your head and the energy flow that a handstand channels to the sahasrara promotes awareness and spiritual connection.

And yet, many yogis shy away from giving handstands a proper go. The fear of falling, which we so readily put aside in our childhood and youth, takes over and prevents us from taking our practice to new, rewarding heights. “What if I fall?” our rational mind chimes in as we consider throwing our feet up in the air. So we hold ourselves back and try it half-heartedly, or never try at all.

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The Irish novelist Oliver Goldsmith put it this way: “Success consists of getting up just one more time than you fall.” So the secret to handstands lies in:

  • Good preparation - strengthen your muscles and train your body by practicing the preliminary postures

  • Good alignment - know which muscles to engage and how to hold yourself (watch Darius’ video below, he shares some fantastic insights)

  • Good faith - trust yourself and your body that with regular practice and following the process, anything can be done.

If you can let go of your own expectations (the ego voice that wants you to perform) and be in the moment, enjoy the path and not only the result, then you will love this month of handstand practice! Join us at Flex for daily progress - we’ll see you on the mat!!

Accelerate your progress

If you want to improve your skills fast and learn from the best, join Darius Wright at Flex on 21 July, 9-11am, for his sought after ‘Handstand Blueprint’ workshop. In this 2-hour masterclass, he will share little known secrets to get off the wall and into a free standing handstand faster, and help you build the strength and skill to master Adho Mukha Vrksasana for good …

Henrike Schreer