You're in your yoga class having a perfectly lovely time and then your yoga teacher casually says that you're going to move to the wall for adho mukha vrksasana. Handstand.
You may well ask yourself why, as a grown man/woman, might it be necessary to stand on one's hands? We do, after all, have two perfectly good feet specifically designed for the purpose, and generally speaking our bodies are orientated with a head-up alignment.
Firstly, it's not necessary at all. Yoga is so varied and extensive it is possible to have a magnificently rewarding practice without such poses. I for one accept that I will probably never be able to execute a free-standing handstand away from the wall. And I'm ok with that. I'm still the same me. No worse for it.
However, I still like to play with handstands. And this is where the answer to 'why' comes in for me. I play with handstands again and again, knowing perfectly well that it's probably never going to result in the full pose, because yoga isn't about achieving, or about completion. It is not about making a certain shape with my body. For me it is about the process, the journey, and what that brings to me, and where it takes me.
I get many many benefits from practicing - I build strength in my shoulders and core, which serve almost every other pose in my practice. I build balance and stability - a tiny piece at a time. I build courage - by building the stable base and physical strength over time I know that my body is better equipped and is less likely to let me fall. Despite the physical effort this involves, it stills my mind - when I'm prepping for handstands I'm 100% present to the task in hand. It is rare that my mind will wander to my to-do list at these times. And I have fun - it's playful! I hop, I hop, I hop, I hover for a moment... I'm down again. I hop, I hop....
When we step away from the desire to achieve a certain goal it allows us to have fun with the process and enjoy the path as much as, if not more than, the destination.