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What’s The Big Deal with Handstands, Anyway?

Yoga | Yoga Poses

We all know that girl—the one who always posts awesome handstand photos taken in scenic locations. Sure, it looks cool, but what’s really the big deal with handstands? Here’s a short overview of why so many people are head over heels for Adho Mukha Vrksasana.

Physical Benefits

Handstands require balance to stay upright against the forces of gravity—you can’t get a more ‘full body workout’ than that. Handstands will:

  • Strengthen core muscles –Sounds crazy, but you can get ultra-toned abs by standing on your hands. Core strength is essential to staying upright.
  • Strengthen wrists and arms – Handstands use your body as a ‘weight.’ Strong wrists and arms can help prevent future injuries and arthritis.
  • Decompress the spine – Handstands combat the effects of poor posture and feel great after a long day on your feet or slouched at a desk.

Mental and Spiritual Benefits

Handstands go totally against our instinctive fear of falling. But the greatest obstacle can be a fear of failure and a sense of self-doubt. Handstands take practice, but anyone can learn to do them, and the intangible benefits are profound.

  • Child-like wonder – Remember walking on your hands as a kid, just for fun? Seeing the world upside-down can renew a sense of joy and wonder.
  • Greater Mindfulness – Practice against a wall before trying it freestanding. Notice how different the experience is without the security of the wall, and the mindfulness you need to stay upright.
  • Open Flow of Energy – Handstands fully open the chest and allow energy to flow freely from your heart to your head. This provides greater mental clarity and calms the mind for meditation.

Handstands are challenging, but perfecting Adho Mukha Vrksasana is worth it (and not just for the photo ops). This video by Esther Eckhart will help you get started towards the perfect handstand. Soon you may be that handstand girl, too.

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