Yoga Asanas

Adho Mukha Vrksasana - Handstand

Posted on 2018-10-22

How to do handstand pose - step by step

To be able to do a handstand can be a challenging goal for a lot of people. Just to be able to stand there and exist in an upside down world without even having your feet on the wall is liberating once you get there!  Just your palms on the ground for one of the best yoga poses that will guide you to the sense of balance. In this yoga pose, you will put your weight entirely on your palms and shoulders to carry your body. Yoga can't be more fun than this!

Adho Mukha Vrksasana - Handstand

A step by step guide to an upside-down experience

Before we get started: remember that this is one of the most advanced and challenging asanas in your yoga practice, so don't be too hard on yourself.

1. The easiest way to get started is by staring in your adho mukha svanasana (downward-facing dog pose) with a wall behind your back, that will catch you if you lose your balance. Place your hands about 10 centimeters from the wall to create space. Remember to have strong arms,  spread your fingers so you can feel your palms against the ground and push the floor away from you to elevate your shoulders up towards your ears.

2. From here: walk your feet towards your hands as much as you can and your hamstrings allow it. It doesn't have to be perfect, but the closer you get to your hands the easier it will be.

3. When you feel ready, lift one leg up towards the ceiling, bend your bottom leg and start to kick up towards the ceiling. Or jump with both legs at the same time, whatever feels easier.

4. Your tailbone and torse should be extended upwards, as your body is lifting from the ground. This is a perfect time to dig deeper into your core and muscles. If you kick too hard, the wall will catch you until you find your balance again.

5. Stay strong and try to focus your glance on one spot in the middle of your hands. It will help you when you engage your legs. As in all poses where you’re working with your entire body and balance, a focused glance on one spot is helpful.

6. Have as a goal to stand still for a minute and don't forget to breathe!

7. To finish your asana, slowly bring your legs down, one at the time, and try again when you feel ready.

Exercise to help you on the way

Step by step you will get more comfortable and safe in your handstand. People often say that you have to fall off a horse a hundred times before you are a good rider. It's just the same with a handstand. It takes time and practice to find your balance and to get grounded. So before or meanwhile practicing, you should also try to strengthen your core muscles, work on your upper arms and arms wrists, to prepare yourself.

Plank pose:

Facedown to the floor and place your palms on the ground and your forearms with a 90-degree angle. Flex your toes and raise your core till your body is on a straight line, just like a plank. You can do this pose in many different ways, either with straight arms or with your forearms on the ground. This exercise helps you find your stability, balance and work on your core muscles. If this is to easy, try a side plank or work dynamically with a low plank to high plank, there's no limit in variations!

Tree pose:

The name adho mukha vrksasana means downward facing tree pose in Sanskrit because of the inversion of a tree pose. Start by standing with your feet together on your matt. Slowly put your weight on one leg. Let's start with your left leg. When you've put your weight on your left leg, place your right foot on the inside of your left thigh. Press your inner foot sole to your thigh without collapsing on your hip. Either press your palms together in front of your chest or try to strengthen your body by raising your hand to the ceiling.  This is a great way to find your balance. Try to stay in your tree pose for 30 seconds and then switch leg.

Downward-facing dog (adho mukha svanasana) 

One of the most fundamental yoga poses is our favorite downward-facing dog! This exercise will not only strengthen your balance but will also help you work on your core, shoulders, and wrists. Your downward-facing dog will lengthen your muscles on the back of your thighs and calves. It doesn't matter if you're doing hatha yoga or vinyasa yoga, this is an all-time favorite!

Beginners tips that will help you on the way!

1. Don't forget to breathe!

Working on your handstand can be both frustrating and hard. But remember to inhale and exhale even in your adho Mukha Vrksasana.

2. Go inside yourself.

Focus on what you're trying to achieve. The way you are strengthening your body, lengthen and connecting. Because you will activate all the muscles in your body, you have to be mentally prepared for an upside-down world.

3. Watch yoga teachers handstand.

Look closely on what other yogis are doing. Learning by doing is, of course, a good way to go, but to observe a good handstand and try to mimic is a good way to get started!

4. Regularly practice!

Try to get your handstand to be a part of your yoga practice by doing it often. I promise you, it will become easier with time!

5. Home practice.

Do you have a wall at home without any posters or paintings where you can practice? Have fun at home with your handstand and see it as something you can do at home.

6. Watch a handstand tutorial and use our guidance on Yogateket.

If your practicing your handstand at home and wants to get started, there's nothing more inspirational than a handstand tutorial guide for motivation and tips.

Why should I try adho mukha vrksasana?

This asana is a great way to strengthen your shoulders, your wrists and work on your core. It will also give your body good blood circulation and work your balance in a way you never thought would be possible. If this is not enough, a handstand is a way for your body to release stress and tension. As you can imagine you feel relaxed after working your way through your entire body. Some people even say that this asana can help you with mild depression. Because this is a challenging asana you will feel pretty good about yourself once you managing carrying your body only on your hands.

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