Yoga Pose Breakdown: Handstand—Adho Mukha Vrksasana

Find your power in this challenging pose with simple instructions from Briohny Smyth. Learn from Briohny IRL at a Wanderlust event!

Sanskrit Name: Adho Mukha Vrksasana (ah-doh moo-kah vriks-SHAHS-anna)
Adho = Downward
Mukha = Face
Vrksa = Tree
Asana = Pose

Get Started: 

  • Begin in Standing Split pose either by a wall or in the center of the room
  • Ensure that your index fingers are facing the front of the room and the eyes of your elbows are facing one another
  • Press your palms into the mat
  • Firm your shoulder blades against your back and widen your shoulders
  • Maintain straight, strong legs
  • Assuming that your left leg is lifted and your right foot is on the ground, soften your right knee, press into your palms and use your strength to lift your right foot off the ground
  • Engage your core and draw your feet together
  • Aim to have your hips, feet and shoulders stacked or choose a different leg variation
  • Fix your gaze in front of you or at one point

Practice with Briohny Smyth IRL at a Wanderlust event! Just can’t wait? Check out The Journey with Briohny Smyth on Wanderlust TV. Classes available to stream now

Benefits: This pose strengthens the shoulders, arms, and wrists. It stretches the belly, improves sense of balance and calms the brain to help relieve stress and mild depression.

Contradictions: This pose should be avoided if you have a headache, heart condition, high blood pressure or if you are menstrating.

Know Your Asana: This pose is extremely difficult for most people to master. If you do, try playing around with open legs, eagle legs, or even with one hand.