Start your journey to handstand.
A yoga teacher once told me me that our legs evolved to bring us out into the world and our arms evolved to bring the world into us. Agreed, but I’ve never been one to follow the rules so I think our arms can and should, also, bring us out into the world. One great way to do this? Adho Mukha Vrksasana (downward facing tree) also known as handstand.
Handstand is a favorite of the instagram yogis, it makes for a beautiful shot and you can do it anytime and anywhere. Legs can be split, back can be arched and anytime your feet are above your head, your badass level instantly raises by 5 points. Handstand is a misleading name because although the goal is to stand, it takes a while to get there. A baby doesn’t pop out and begin to stand and walk around right away. It takes about two years for a developing child to learn to balance on their feet. Even though you might have a bigger vocabulary and a somewhat more rational thought process, don’t expect to learn a handstand any faster than a child learns to walk. It will take a while, but once you get there, it will completely change your practice.
Two years can feel like a long time and it might not take you this long at all. But the benefits of the pose makes it worth the wait. Handstand has all the benefits of other inversions. It helps to drain lymphatic fluid from the legs, sends oxygenated blood to the head, reduces stress and promotes healthy skin. But because it completely raises the feet directly above the head it can extend the body in a way that is inaccessible in other inversions.
Handstand lets us explore what’s it’s like to flip our perspective and use the fingers as roots, arms as a trunk and our legs and toes as branches and leaves reaching up towards the sky.
When I have writer’s block or feel stuck, I’ll go up into handstand for a few breaths. When I release the pose, life feels just a little bit easier.
Little disclaimer here: if you have problems with hyper/hypo tension take your time and be careful. Any inversion should be taken carefully and make sure you take a childs pose before returning to a standing position.