Yoga For Balance – Perfecting The Handstand

Welcome to the last asana in the “Yoga with Prajakta” series. Today’s asana is something that most people have dreamed of being able to do – The Handstand.

In Sanskrit, the handstand is known as Adho Mukha Vrksasana. The literal translation is Downward Facing Tree. When you perform this asana, your body resembles a solidly rooted tree with your body facing downwards as you attempt this pose, hence the name.

In this pose, your whole body is supported only by your hands. While it is not an easy asana for beginners, with daily practice, it can definitely be mastered.

Adho Mukha Vrksasana mainly focuses on the brain, shoulders, legs, arms, wrists, and spine.

Steps:

To begin with, you can take the support of a wall. Once your hands become strong enough, you can start performing the asana without support.

  • Bend forward and place your hands flat on the floor. Keep your hands slightly away from the wall.
  • Bend your knees and raise one leg up. Try touching it to the wall while simultaneously taking the other leg up.
  • Keep your spine and neck neutral or else you could sprain them.
  • If you’re still not comfortable, keep a spotter who can help you get into position.
  • Remain in this position for as long as it is comfortable.
  • To release the pose, come back to the starting position one leg at a time and relax.

There is no particular number of repetitions that must be performed. The aim should be to gradually increase the amount of time for which you can hold the pose.

The key is practice. The more you try, the better you will get at performing the handstand with grace.

Benefits:

  1. Adho Mukha Vrksasana improves your sense of balance.
  2. It relieves stress & anxiety and calms your mind.
  3. The Handstand strengthens your shoulders, wrists, and arms.
  4. It increases your stability and stamina.

You can also try the following variations by placing your legs at different angles for better balance:

Variation # 1:

Variation # 2:

Caution:

  1. Handstand is an advanced pose so beginners need to exercise caution while attempting it. For practice, start with the headstand pose and then graduate to the handstand. Better still, perform the asana in the presence of a Yoga teacher.
  2. Avoid doing the handstand if you suffer from any of the following conditions:
    1. Back injuries
    2. Neck injuries
    3. Headache
    4. Shoulder injuries
    5. High blood pressure
  3. During menstruation, do not perform this asana.

Tip Of The Day:

The most important thing for learning the handstand is to leave your comfort zone behind. When I started learning this asana, it was a long time before I felt secure enough to stop taking the support of a wall. But once I got out of my comfort zone, it freed my body and mind and I felt as if nothing was impossible anymore!

Approaching things in a different manner or doing something for the first time can be scary, but if you overcome your own limitations and push the boundaries, it will open avenues for you that had earlier seemed unachievable.

Author: Dr. Prajakta Jawalkar

(Thank you to everyone who stayed with us all the way through this Yoga series. We hope you enjoyed this journey and learned something of value – Team FITMAG).