Handstand Balance - Adho Mukha Vrksasana

Adho Mukha Vrksasana
(Handstand Balance Posture)

This yoga asana builds the strength of the arms, shoulders, and wrists as this becomes the base, or foundation, of the balance. Your yoga breath is a key to attaining this level of body awareness and consistency. When incorporating into yoga practice, try first by using a prop or wall to assist!




Calms the brain and helps relieve stress and mild depression

Stimulates the pituitary and pineal glands

Strengthens the arms, legs, and spine

Strengthens the lungs

Tones the abdominal organs

Improves digestion

Helps relieve the symptoms of menopause .


Back injury


Heart condition

High blood pressure


Neck injury

Low blood pressure: Don't start practice with this pose

Pregnancy: If you are experienced with this pose, you can continue to practice it late into pregnancy. However, don't begin initial practice of this pose during pregnancy.

Performing the Asana

Use a folded blanket or sticky mat to pad your head and forearms. Kneel on the floor. Set your palms on the floor at shoulder width. Roll the upper arms slightly outward, but press the inner wrists firmly into the floor.

Inhale and lift your knees off the floor. Carefully walk your feet closer to your elbows, heels elevated. Actively lift through the top thighs, forming an inverted "V." Firm the shoulder blades against your back and lift them toward the tailbone so the front torso stays as long as possible.

Exhale and lift your feet away from the floor. Take both feet up at the same time, even if it means bending your knees and hopping lightly off the floor. As the legs (or thighs, if your knees are bent) rise to perpendicular to the floor, firm the tailbone against the back of the pelvis. Turn the upper thighs in slightly, and actively press the heels toward the ceiling (straightening the knees if you bent them to come up). The center of the arches should align over the center of the pelvis, which in turn should align over the crown of the head. Balance the weight between each palm of the hands.

Continue to press the shoulder blades against the back, widen them, and draw them toward the tailbone. Keep the weight evenly balanced on the two forearms. It's also essential that your tailbone continues to lift upward toward the heels. Once the backs of the legs are fully lengthened through the heels, maintain that length and press up through the balls of the big toes so the inner legs are slightly longer than the outer.

As a beginning practitioner stay for 10 seconds. Gradually add 5 to 10 seconds onto your stay every day or so until you can comfortably hold the pose for 3 minutes. Then continue for 3 minutes each day for a week or two, until you feel relatively comfortable in the pose. Again gradually add 5 to 10 seconds onto your stay every day or so until you can comfortably hold the pose for 5 minutes. Come down with an exhalation, without losing the lift of the shoulder blades, with both feet touching the floor at the same time.

Anatomical Focus

Therapeutic Applications





Improves Circulation

Immune System Boost

Half and Full Handstands improve Concentration and Memory.

This pose also brings nourishment to the face and hair.

Half and Full Headstand Stimulates the Crown Chakra

Relieves Stress of the Heart and Lower Back

Modify Your Practice

Balance in this pose is difficult at first. Perform this yoga pose against a wall. Bring the fingers close to the wall. If possible, do the pose in the corner of a room, so that the right-angled walls touch your shoulders, hips, and outer heels.


Try basic leg extensions to strengthen the hips and core. Begin with one leg, holding in extension for a count of 10. Press up and away from the hip behind. Practice on both sides of the body. Soon, the hips will strengthen and your leg will voluntarily lift towards the wall, bringing the other leg upwards as well.

Complimentary Yoga Poses

Adho Mukha Svanasana -Downwards Facing Dog Asana
Sarvangasana - Shoulderstand Posture
Uttanasana -Standing Forward Bend Position
Virasana - Hero Pose