Pose of the month - downward facing tree

Adho Mukha Vrksasana

Doesn’t Spring just make you want to jump for joy?! Warmer weather and longer days make for more play time on and off the mat. One of our favorite poses to invigorate and strengthen is Adho Mukha Vrksasana or Handstand. Although this pose may bring up some fears, focusing on our breath and the strength of our bodies will release tension and steady the mind. Invoking the stability and grounding energy trees exude, handstand will have you head over heels for all of the growth and renewal that Spring has to offer.

Step by step instruction:

1.    Facing a wall, position the body in downward facing dog with the fingers about 6 inches from the wall.

2.    Press the shoulders open, gaze forward toward the seam of the wall and floor.

3.    Shift the shoulders over the wrists as one leg steps in.

4.    Extend the other leg up toward standing split or to an L position.

5.    Press down strongly into the hands and lift through the top leg.

6.    Gently and slowly kick the back leg up, activating the core deeply and lifting strongly through the back sit bone so the hips come over the shoulders.

7.    Rest both legs against the wall.

8.    Press the fingertips down to draw the legs away from the wall and breathe.

9.    Lengthen the spine and draw the inner thighs together.

10. Engage the navel and bring the ribcage back into the torso.

11. Reach through the balls of the feet toward the sky.

12. Lower one leg at a time and either come into Child’s Pose or Uttanasana.

To modify or go deeper into the pose:

Modified Varition: Come to the wall, practice Shakti kicks or kicking one leg up at a time. You can also place a strap above the elbows (along the area of the triceps) for shoulder and upper body support.
Advanced Variation: Practice handstand away from the wall as you become more comfortable. Play around with leg variations.

Cautions and Contraindications: 

Back, shoulder or neck injury, headache, insomnia, heart condition, high blood pressure, menstruation


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