What is Adho mukha Vrksasana?
The Adho Mukha Vrkasana or downward facing tree, Vrk meaning tree in Sanskrit, is meant for highly skilled practitioners of Yoga.The word comes from the Sanskrit word ‘adho’ meaning ‘downward’ , ‘mukha’ meaning ‘face’ , ‘vrksa’ meaning ‘tree’ and ‘asana’ meaning ‘posture’.
An inverted pose, it supplies fresh, oxygen-rich blood to the brain and relieves the heart as it does not have to pump against the gravity. A great reliever of stress, this asana stretches and strengthens your arms, shoulders and wrists. It is perfect to build stamina, a sense of balance and coordination. Your spine, lungs and pituitary glands also benefit; improves immunity.
Caution: Pregnant women, those with high blood pressure and complaints of headaches should not perform this asana. There are chances of neck injury.
Here’s a step-by-step guide:
Place the mat parallel to the wall. Place palms about 1.5 feet away from the wall and spread as wide as your shoulders.
Bring your legs in until hips are lifted as high as possible with shoulders are directly above the hands. Steady your shoulders, keep forearms vertical, lift upper arms and straighten elbows.
One at a time, raise legs as high up as possible. Then repeat with the other leg. Keep knees steady while performing this. The movement must be smooth, not fast.
Feel the weight and steady yourself by pressing palms and fingers on the floor; keep elbows straight, support weight with shoulders while opening the collar bones. Lift your legs with the torso; straighten your spine and tighten your knees as you stand parallel to the wall.
Hold the pose for 10 to 15 seconds initially. As you attain mastery over it, try to hold it for up to a minute.
To come out of the pose, keep body steady and lower one leg at a time, bent. Over a period of time, try to bring both legs down together, bent or straight.
Adho mukha Vrksasana Steps
1. Come into adho mukha svanasana (Downward facing dog) with the hands about a foot away from the wall.
2. Walk the feet in closer to the hands. The wall should be close to the shoulders.
3. Bend one knee and kick up with the other leg.
4. Try to practice taking the heels away from the wall and balancing.
5. Try to remain in this posture from 15-30 seconds. Try to bring one leg down one at a time and take maximum rest before trying to kick up with the opposite leg so you stay balanced.
Adho Mukha Vrksasana Benefits
1. It decompresses the spine.
2. It strengthens the wrists, arms and shoulders.
3. It is therapeutic for headaches and mild depression.
4. It improves sense of balance.
Adho Mukha Vrksasana Dos and Don’ts
Don’t do this asana if you suffer from back, shoulder or neck injury.Also,don’t perform this asana if you suffer from Carpel Tunnel Syndrome or high blood pressure.Also,avoid this asana if you have glaucoma or pregnant with a child.