(Last Updated on : 29/10/2014)
Adho Mukha Vrksasana is a variant of the Vrksasana, in effect an inverted version of the tree pose. It is described by another name in at least one major yoga text, and is a challenging yoga asana for beginners, owing to its demands on the practitioner's sense of balance.
Meaning of Adho Mukha Vrksasana
Vrksasana is a tree pose in which one stands with the hand raised towards the sky. Adho Mukha Vrksasana can be termed as a tilted tree pose wherein one hand is supporting the entire body weight. It is hence a handstand pose. This asana when done by beginners has to be done very carefully as balancing oneself on one hand is challenging.
Practice of Adho Mukha Vrksasana
Perform Adho Mukha Svanasana with the fingertips an inch or two away from a wall, hands shoulder-width. If the shoulders are tight, turn the index fingers out slightly; otherwise arrange them parallel to each other. To ready oneself for and secure oneself in this inversion, firm the shoulder blades against the back torso and pull them toward the tailbone.
* Rotate the upper arms outward to keep the shoulder blades broad, and hug the outer arms inward.
* Finally spread the palms and press the bases of the index fingers firmly against the floor.
* Now bend one knee and step the foot in, closer to the wall (the left leg), but keep the other (i.e. right) leg active by extending through the heel.
* Then take a few practice hops before trying to launch oneself upside down.
* Sweep the right leg through a wide arc toward the wall and kick the left foot off the floor, immediately pushing through the heel to straighten the left knee. As both legs come off the ground, engage the deep core abdominal muscles to help lift the hips over the shoulders.
* Hop up and down like this several times, each time pushing off the floor a little higher.
* Exhale deeply each time while hopping.
However, do not loose heart to just manage to hop up and down. Regular practice of strengthening poses like Adho Mukha Svanasana will enable to kick all the way into the pose. At first your heels may crash into the wall, but again with more practice one will be able to swing the heels up lightly to the wall.
* If the armpits and groin is tight, the lower back may be deeply arched. To lengthen this area, draw the front ribs into the torso, reach the tailbone toward the heels, and slide the heels higher up the wall.
* Squeeze the outer legs together and roll the thighs in.
* Hang the head from a spot between the shoulder blades and gaze out into the center of the room.
* In the start, stay in the pose 10 to 15 seconds, breathing deeply. Gradually work the duration up to 1 minute.
* When coming down, be sure not to sink onto the shoulders. Keep the shoulder blades lifted and broad, and take one foot down at a time, each time with an exhalation.
Stand in Utthanasana for 30 seconds to 1 minute. We tend to kick up with the same leg all the time: be sure to alternate kicking leg, one day right, next day left. To make it easier it would be better to take the support of a wall, helping one to overcome the fear of falling while doing this asana.
While doing this asana in the beginning one can use a padding which would support the handstand. The hands would not feel the direct coldness from the floor and would help in doing the asana properly. This stabilizes the pose and avoids the strain.
Effects of Adho Mukha Vrksasana
* This asana tests one's strength helps increase one's stamina.
* This balancing act helps one remain calm and cool due to the stability it provides. A sense of balance is achieved in the mind as well as the soul.
There is a calming effect overall in the mind which helps the brain to relax.
* Strengthened shoulders arms and wrists.
* It also stretches the belly.
Precautions in the practice of Adho Mukha Vrksasana
One should take extra care of the back and shoulders while doing this asana. There are chances of neck injury and other problems if it is not done properly. The spine, lungs and pituitary glands are also benefited in this process. With the straight back the spine also gets straightened which helps immensely in the long run.