Yoga Handstand: Its Benefits for the Whole Body

4 min read

Yoga Handstand, Adho Mukha Vrksasana or Downward Facing Tree Pose (Adho – downward, Mukha – face, Vrksa – tree), is one of the more challenging-looking arm balances. It requires strength, stability, and daringness to root through the hands to support the body.

The health benefits of Yoga Handstand are worth the risk and challenge of falling when learning to fly!

How to Do It

You can do a handstand in a number of ways. For example, you can use a wall as a safety measure or practice in the middle of the room so that you don’t kick or fall onto anything.

Start in Downward facing dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana), about six inches from the wall. The feet should be brought closer to the hands. Shoulders over wrists, middle fingers facing forward, and palms with equal weight distribution are aligned.

Then, lift one leg. Bend the other leg (if necessary) and jump/hop off the bent leg that is supported. As the legs rest on the wall, squeeze the heels, thighs, and shoulder blades. Strengthen your arms by extending them. If needed, use a strap that is looped around the upper arms (above elbows) to straighten the elbows.

Yogi tip: Over time, if you slowly decrease the bend of the knees and hope from Downward-Facing Dog while keeping both legs together, your body will be forced to use more muscle strength than leg momentum.

Main Muscles Utilized

When you are on a handstand, your entire body is engaged and active. Here’s a list of muscles that are used to perform this pose.

Trapezius, deltoids and spinal extensors.

Concentrating on the Breath

Handstand poses are difficult to breathe in because deep breathing can disrupt balance and stability. It is common for beginners to handstand to hold their breath instinctively.

The practitioner can hold the pose longer if they use efficient breaths that stabilize the spine and do not disturb the delicate balance.

Safety Tips

It is essential to stretch your wrists during inversion training. Falling, tucking your head, and rolling are all good ways to learn how to lose safely.

Avoid this pose if you are pregnant, have a shoulder, neck, or back injury, or suffer from headaches, high blood pressure, or heart problems.


Physical: Rooting your hands into the mat will challenge the equilibrium of the body and reverse the effects of gravity. Compression and shortening of the spine. The neck is also activated, increasing blood flow and activating the head.

The reversed blood flow in the visceral and leg regions also helps in tissue regeneration. The abdominal organs pressing on the diaphragm encourage a deeper breath, which in turn increases the amount of carbon dioxide removed from the lungs. Yoga Handstand stretches and strengthens your abdomen, shoulders, wrists, and arms.

Mental This pose encourages blood flow to be increased and reversed, which in turn energizes and changes the perspective of the mind. It boosts confidence and the ability to focus on the body and the mind.

The increased blood flow during Yoga Handstand has also been linked to reduced stress and depression. The hands ground the mind and body, while efficient breathing reduces anxiety and worry. It not only renews the body but also centers the mind.

Spiritual: The hands are the source of energy. Yoga Handstands ground energy through the hands and build confidence.

Inverted handstands require that the chest is opened, which sends energy up from the root chakra towards the crown chakra. This pose is specifically associated with the crown chakra (Sahasrara), which influences mental clarity and awareness.

Yoga handstands are a great way to connect with your “higher” self, the energy of the entire universe, and every living being on earth.

Share any tips you may have for yoga handstands or other benefits with the community.

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