The posture on the hands, or Adho Mukha Vrkasana is one of the most difficult and challenging of the practice of yoga.
In Sanskrit, adho means “down,” mukha means “who faces,” and Vrkasana means “the posture of the tree.” Adho Mukha Vrkasana’s meaning is “the posture of the tree facing the bottom” is the posture of the inverted tree.
It is a posture of balance and an inversion that has multiple benefits. Here we will explore the posture approach and its symbolism, as well as the benefits of adho mukha vrkasana on the body and mind.
Taking the posture
The idea is to approach posture on the hands in lightness and control, not in simple muscle strength. For this, we recommend to perform a good warm-up upstream, and to use Uddyana bandha (return the abdomen and pull up).
Here we will present the posture as if you were realizing it against a wall. There are different schools on this subject; some teachers forebe how to take adho mukha vrkasana against the wall and advise you to connect with your own balance rather than use a medium. Others think this is a good way to start and become aware of how each part of the body is solicited.
First, stand on all fours on your carpet facing the wall, not far from the wall.
The wrists are under the shoulders and the knees are below the hips. The hands are spread out in the ground and push the floor away from the ears.
Then climb the pool towards the sky and position yourself as a dog upside down (adho mukha svanasana).
Stretch your arms and legs with your heels towards the ground. The head is released. Take a few breaths and exhale here.
Then transfer your body weight forward until your back aligns with your shoulders. The abdominal strap is engaged.
Advance one foot (for example right) towards the middle of the yoga mat.
Lift the other leg and stretch it backwards, with your toes pointed to the ground. Look forward at the junction between the wall and the ground.
Fold your leg “from the ground” (here the right). Push the floor of your hands with a little more firmness.
Make small jumps out of the ground several times with the ground leg. Find that the muscular engagement of the belly and the leg lifted out of the ground lighten the posture. Try to use as little momentum as possible though. Thus the strength balances between the abdominal strap and the arms/shoulders.
Your heels can join the wall. Be careful not to arch your back too much to avoid hitting your lower back.
Once in the posture, the feet are flex in order to engage your legs.
The benefits of posture on the hands
The benefits of this posture come both physically, mentally and spiritually.
The pear or handstand is a powerful posture that strains the muscles of the arms and the whole body. Like any physical practice, this releases endorphins, also called wellness hormones. In the posture on the hands, since the body is reversed, there is an increase in blood flow to the brain and an increase in heart rate.
In this position, tissues regenerate due to the reversal of blood flow in the legs and viscera. The abdominal organs apply pressure to the diaphragm, which promotes deeper exhalation and increases the amount of carbon dioxide extracted from the lungs. In addition, the handstand stretches the abdomen, and strengthens the body, including the shoulders, arms and wrists.
In the posture on the hands, we notice that the blood flow is increased and is reversed, which has the effects of energizing the mind and altering our internal perspective.
It is thought that the handstand strengthens self-confidence and increases our ability to concentrate, as well as the adaptive abilities of the body and mind. This posture releases stress and reduces depression provided you breathe deeply when you realize it.
Thus, adho mukha vrkasana regenerates the body and refocuses the mind.
From a spiritual point of view, it is thought that energy comes from the hands when they are connected to the earth. In this position, the coronal chakra and the root chakra are reversed, which purifies mental clarity and consciousness.