What makes Adho Mukha Vrksasana, the elusive Handstand so challenging? Well, for one, hanging out on your hands, even supported by the wall, makes it difficult to access that moment of carefree balance sometimes called, the “sweet spot,” and fear sets in, often overwhelming the coolest yogi.
But, do not let the challenge turn your heart cold and prevent you from experiencing the healing of even just attempting this pose. Remember you cannot "master" yoga, and perfecting your Handstand will not give you any greater health advantage than showing up and having a go at it!
Still not convinced? Keep reading to find out five of the enticing benefits of Handstands and how this asana can attract you onto your mat and win all of your affections.
1. Dive headfirst into the unknown.
The root of all suffering begins with attachment. Simply attempting handstands helps you practice non-attachment by navigating the unfamiliar territory of upside down land where anything can happen.
Once you steady yourself, the adventure continues! You will deepen your practice by discovering new ways to transition into other poses such as taking it in for a Bakasana or Titibasana landing, tying a Lotus Bow, or curling your Scorpion's tail. The possibilities are endless!
2. Soothe your weary heart.
When you flip your world around you send a rush of fresh blood and oxygen through your body.
This revitalizes the circulatory system because the heart takes a mini nap while inverted, which also refreshes the nervous system, contributing to that blissful zen state and post-yoga glow that keeps a yogi coming back for more!
3. Get your juices flowing.
You also boost the endocrine system by stimulating the thyroid, adrenals, hypothalamus, pineal, and pituitary glands.
Why would you want to do that? Well, these hormone powerhouses control your moods, energy levels, and sexual drive so when you optimize these functions, your world becomes a shinier, happier place!
4. Strengthen them bones.
Weight-bearing exercises that force you to work against gravity improve bone health by increasing bone density. A muscle gets bigger and stronger by initially breaking down muscle fibers and then repairing themselves stronger to endure the stress exercise places on them.
Bones do the same thing! Bone cells, or osteoclasts, break down during exercise only to heal bigger and better for next time.
Most forms of fitness related exercise, standing yoga poses included, strengthen the lower half of the skeletal system, but the handstand, the perfect complement, takes care of the hands, wrists, arms, and shoulders. Why not have it all?
5. Discover the fountain of youth.
Just like a baby walking for the first time, as you learn to balance on your hands, you’ll fine tune your motor skills and improve overall body awareness and coordination while Handstanding.
You have to release preconceived notions, fears, and expectations and literally be willing to start over. Nothing will age you more than allowing painful and negative experiences to turn you bitter and resistant to exploring new things.
We all have fears of getting hurt, of stumbling, and especially of falling hard, and part of life, not just this scary asana, is learning how to confront, cope with, and eventually overcome the things that frighten us the most.
Beginner’s Mind simply means letting go of the past, and Handstands help you shake loose the old memories, outdated stories, and unrealistic expectations that do nothing but keep you from living life to the fullest! If you feel the same, and have a wild love affair with your Handstands, please share below.