Digital Asana Project

Digital Asana Project: Handstand to Chaturanga

After learning how to do Adho Mukha Vrksasana (Handstand) freely in the middle of the room, the next step is to work it into the flow in a way that doesn’t interrupt the flow sequence. One graceful and fun way to do this is to lower from Handstand directly into Chaturanga. The first few times I tried this, it was a little rickety, but after figuring out what to do exactly with my hands, elbows, and legs, things went much smoother.

In this video, I start out in a full Handstand. The first move downwards is to bend my elbows. It is absolutely crucial here to consciously keep the elbows in tight; if the elbows flare out to the sides, you can cause some serious damage to your wrists. I learned this the hard way. Now, as you can see in the video, as I lower down, I start to arch my lower back a little and keep my feet pointing up to the sky as long as I can. I also lean forward more and more as my body gets lower to the ground. These two movement together help me to stay balanced. Otherwise, my weight goes to the back and my legs come crashing down to the mat. This is perfectly safe, but not so graceful. To transition into Chaturanga, I progressively slide my chest foward and down, and try to keep my shoulder blades securely on my back. Finally, the feet should touch down lightly on the mat.

There’s obviously quite a lot going on in this transition. Practice makes perfect with this one, and like many of the other transitions I’ve described on this blog, this one requires subtle adjustments all the way down, in addition to a significant amount of power and control.

Disclaimer: I am not a certified yoga instructor, and the ideas and opinions expressed here are not intended to be formal instruction on yoga poses. If you plan to start up a yoga practice, or if you have one and plan to do any of the yoga poses described in this blog, please seek out an experienced, living, breathing yoga teacher to guide you with hands-on instruction.

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