What is Adho Mukha Vrikshasana or Downward Facing Tree? How to perform and what are the Benefits?

Read Here What is Adho Mukha Vrikshasana or Downward Facing Tree Pose. How to Perform Adho Mukha Vrikshasana and what are the benefits of Adho Mukha Vrikshasana?

What is Adho Mukha Vrikshasana or Downward Facing Tree?

Adho Mukha Vrikshasana or Downward Facing Tree is also called as Handstand, or the Tilted Tree Pose, this Asana is an arm-balancing pose that entails carrying the entire weight of the body on the hands. It is an advanced pose, and it takes regular practice to master this Asana. This Asana resembles a strongly rooted tree, and since our body faces downwards as you get into this Asana, it is named so.

There are many variations of handstands, but in all cases, a handstand performer must possess adequate balance and upper body strength.


How to Perform Adho Mukha Vrikshasana or Downward Facing Tree?

Adho Mukha Vrikshasana must be done only on an empty stomach. You need to make sure to have your meals four to six hours before your practice. Ideally, there needs to be a 10-12 hour gap between your meals and practice, which is why it is best advised to practice this Asana early in the morning. Your bowels also must be clean while you practice this Asana.

Step 1

Start in Adho Mukha Syanasana. Bring your feet together at the midline; spread your palms and press them into the floor. Stretch through the sides of the waist and fortify your legs. Start to lift the heels, shifting some of your weight into the balls of the feet.

Step 2

Step your right foot forward halfway to your hands and bring your shoulders over your wrists. Allow your right knee to bend. Keep the ball of the right foot on the floor but lift the heel. Press down firmly through your hands and lift your left leg into Standing Splits. Remember to lift your left inner thigh toward the ceiling and make your leg straight, like an arrow. Wrap your biceps forward. Push firmly down into your hands and make your arms completely straight, like pillars. Find a focal point, or Drishti, on the ground, a few inches in front of your hands.

Step 3

Keep your arms firm. Bend the right knee deeply and take a small hop off the right foot. It is paramount that as you transition weight onto your hands, you lift up through the inner left thigh (as opposed to reaching the left leg behind you). Draw the low belly in to support the pelvis. Do not aim to get your legs overhead; instead, aim to place your pelvis over your chest and shoulders. When you lead with your legs and not your pelvis, you will often backbend and find balance elusive. Eventually, you will be able to bring the right leg parallel to the floor into an inverted Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana. At this stage, don’t lift the right leg higher—it will serve as an anchor and keep you from flipping over. Once you have the right leg parallel to the floor, internally rotate the thighs, drawing them energetically into the midline. Your legs should feel like scissor blades: bolted firmly into their common point (the pelvis) and moving along, but not away from, the midline.

Step 4

Once you have found balance, draw your legs together. Push down into the hands and actively reach up through the feet and legs. As you hug your legs into the midline, move the tailbone and the tops of the buttocks toward your heels. This will introduce length to the lumbar spine. Draw your low ribs toward the frontal hipbones to prevent any back bending. Make your body feel like an inverted Urdhva Hastasana. Grow even taller by reaching your legs strongly up and away from your rooted and stable palms. Hold for 5 to 8 breaths. To release, step your right foot down, then your left, and take Pada Hastasana (Foot-to-Hand Pose) to stretch the wrists.

Benefits of Adho Mukha Vrikshasana or Downward Facing Tree

This Asana focuses on the shoulders, arms, wrists, legs, brain, pituitary, spine, and lungs. This is a full arm-balancing pose, which helps to open up the shoulders and develop the wrists and arms.

  • It makes the wrists, arms, and shoulders strong.
  • The belly is given a good stretch.
  • Practicing this Asana improves your sense of balance.
  • Blood circulation is enhanced all over the body.
  • The brain is calmed and relaxed.
  • This Asana helps in relieving stress and mild depression.