On the days you wish you could turn the world upside down, why not invert into Adho Mukha Vrksasana instead? The body is vertically flipped in this intermediate-to-advance yoga posture. Take to Handstand Pose when you are ready for a full reversal of your attitude, your spirit, and your mind. 

Unlike many yoga positions that rely on a quarter or half inversion, Handstand Pose uses the hands to connect to the earth while the feet reach for the stars. Engaging in Adho Mukha Vrksasana will allow you to find focus in even the most trying of times.

Benefits of Handstand Pose

Handstand Pose is best for discovering your centre of balance when upside down. If you've been feeling disconnected from your yoga practice, an inversion can help change your perspective. Adho Mukha Vrksasana uses a solid back body, abdomen, and obliques that extends to all four limbs. 

The more you practice your handstand, the firmer your glutes and quads will become. You'll also quickly see your triceps, forearms, and shoulders transform into rock-hard versions of themselves. You're also forcing the blood to flow in the opposite direction, which helps boost a slower circulation.

Chakras involved in Adho Mukha Vrksasana

Your energy will concentrate on the crown chakra, or Sahasrara, as you take to Handstand Pose. Going upside down will force blood and prana alike to flow to the head, stimulating the Sahasrara. 

As the wheel within your mind begins to spin a stilted chakra, you will reach transcendence and balance within all seven major chakras. Take to Adho Mukha Vrksasana when you need a burst of energy in your chakras. If you have been feeling lackluster lately, Handstand Pose can stimulate your prana.

How to practise Handstand Pose

How you enter the handstand will greatly depend on your physical strength and level of balance. One way to enter Handstand Pose is from Crow, which draws upon the power located within the arms, chest, and core. 

Kicking or walking the legs into position is an option, but it is not favoured as it can be potentially dangerous if you lost your balance and fell backward. Kicking the legs into Handstand pose could cause damage to the neck or spine.

If you choose to kick the legs up, you can start from step two. with your bottom raised in the air and instead of pushing the legs over your head, simply "kick" them into position. Exit Handstand the same way as in step six. Practice with a wall or spotter until you are familiar with your exact position of balance.

Handstand from Crow Pose

1. Begin in the position you would place yourself in preparation for Crow Pose. This will likely be in the form of a yoga squat with the feet placed on your yoga mat and the arms stretched before you for balance. With bent legs and your core tucked between your thighs, bring your arms to the side of the body, but between your legs.

Feel free to bend them somewhat as you bring the palms of your hands to your mat. Depending on your flexibility, the knees should be just above the elbows.

2. Lean forward to enter into Crow. Your buttocks will rise and your knees and thighs will squeeze your triceps. Try to find your centre of balance by keeping the core as tight as possible. Avoid slouching the lower back as this could cause you to drop backward.

Try not to look down as you will go where your sight takes you. Instead, gently look forward without cranking the neck too much.

3. Once you have found your most ideal Crow position, prepare the body to come into Handstand. Squeeze the abdomen and straighten your back as you begin to lift one leg upwards. Find power in the quadricep by imagining your foot pushing against something heavy, such as a mattress or table.

4. Bend the second leg up and allow it to follow the first leg. Consider your legs are on a journey as you discover the best way to hold yourself in place without falling.

5. Embrace the prana shaking throughout your body. Know that falling is your only fear, and to fall is not a terrible thing. Breathe into the post by visualizing your breath and stabilizing your handstand.

6. Be careful to not stay in Adho Mukha Vrksasana past your limits. When you feel the muscles are growing weaker, use a controlled motion to lower one leg down towards the front side body and let the other follow. Once both legs reach the ground, take time to roll into Child's Pose to let the blood slowly leave the head and find its way back to its natural flow.

Tips for Beginners

1. Don't avoid Handstand Pose because you're new to yoga! Invite inversion practice by doing handstands against a wall with a friend or instructor.

2. If you use a wall to help keep the body upside down, make sure your legs come down towards the front side body (the stomach and pelvis) to avoid hurting your back.

3. Prep the wrists. Roll them about five to ten times in both directions. Don't forget your shoulders – roll them forward ten times, then match that number by rolling them back. These movements will help loosen and warm these joints to prevent strain during the pose.

4. If you're worried you're not strong enough, consider other poses to prepare for Adho Mukha Vrksasana. If you need a stronger core, Plank Pose (Phalakasana) is great for building strength in the core, arms, and shoulders. When you're ready, move on to Dolphin Plank for a harder workout.

Optional Props to help you practice Adho Mukha Vrksasana

1. Surrounding yourself with extra mats, blankets, or pillows can help break a fall if you topple over during Handstand Pose.

2. Invite a friend to practice yoga with you and ask them to be your spotter.

3. A stack of blocks under the shoulders can help give you an extra boost of strength. Test your stack by leaning into Downward-Facing Dog more forward than you usually would. Let the shoulders rest so the arms can still bend a little. Make sure there is room for your head to come through between each shoulder stack.

When to Avoid the practise of Handstand Pose

Adho Mukha Vrksasana draws upon energy from the shoulders to keep the body lifted. If you are prone to shoulder injury, check with a medical professional before attempting any handstand variation.

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