Adho Mukha Vrksasana literally translates to Downward Facing Tree Pose, but is most commonly known as Handstand. This yoga pose registers 10* on BKS Iyengar’s 60* scale of difficulty in Light on Yoga.
It took me years to be able to do Handstand. My fear of being upside down, balancing only on my hands, limited my ability to explore the pose. It was only when I released my fear of being upside down that I finally flipped up against the wall.
Now, the same fear arises as I explore taking this pose away from the wall. While an essential tool of support for beginners to Handstand, the wall can become a security blanket for practitioners who are ready to explore Adho Mukha Vrksasana in the center of the room. Here are a few tips for taking your Handstand practice away from the wall:
1) Active legs! Meredith LeBlanc put it best in her response to my post on Pincha Mayurasana. By activating your legs up towards the sky, you engage the muscle strength necessary to maintain the pose in the center of the room
2) Distribution of weight on your hands. Bring more weight into your fingertips than you think. Dropping weight into your wrists will increase your likelihood of falling out of the pose.
3) Escape plan. If you’re about to fall, don’t freak out! You have to options for falling out of Handstand safely. First option: move one of your hands. This will help change the distribution of weight and allow you to fold back down to Uttanasana. Second option: cartwheel. If your legs begin to fall over your head, bring more weight into one hand and take a cartwheel toward that side. Sadie Nardini has a great video demonstrating this escape route.
Surrendering your fear is the most crucial step in the process. Once you abandon fear in favor of possibility, anything can happen! What are your tricks for Adho Mukha Vrksasana in the center of the room?