The first video I’m reposting is the transition from Bakasana into Handstand (and then back down into Bakasana). This has always been one of my favorite transitions. In a strange way, it feels like tight-rope walking to me, in terms of the focus and precision you need in order to pull it off. There’s very little room for error in this transition, both on the way up and on the way down.
Below is the original post, from way back in 2006, in its entirety:
Bakasana to Handstand
Going from Bakasana directly into a Handstand is pretty much one of the most fun things you can do in yoga. Once you get that move down, lots of other fun transitions follow almost immediately. The control, balance, and focus needed to do Bakasana to Handstand translates into, most obviously, Handstand to Bakasana, as well as Handstand to Astavakrasana, Handstand to Eka Pada Bakasana, and so on.
This time around, I’m posting two videos. In the first one, I simply demonstrate a slow, step-by-step version of Bakasana to Handstand. To do this successfully, I try to think about (at least) three different things during the transition. First, my main focus is to get the hips balanced directly over my shoulders. I find that the two most common reasons for crashing and burning in this transition are (1) not taking the hips high enough over the shoulders, and (2) firing the hips up too rapidly and overshooting, so to speak, which takes the weight over the top and causes the balance to go out of whack. In addition to thinking about the hips, it’s important to really engage the arms. As you can see in the video, I do a kind of inverted push-up in order to staighten the arms. The safest way to do this is to wait until you have the hips balanced before doing anything with the arms. Lastly, and this is probably the easiest part, I straighten the legs and try to elongate the entire pose, coming into a full Handstand. One way I like to think about this transition is that it’s really a three part movement: Bakasana to Gorilla Jump Position to Handstand. (If you don’t know what the Gorilla Jump is, see my previous Digital Asana Project posting on 10/07/06.)
In the second video, I demonstrate a slighly quicker version of Bakasana to Handstand, and then finish with Handstand to Bakasana. The lower-down from Handstand to Bakasana is in some ways much easier than the lift up from Bakasana to Handstand. In lowering down, there is no explosive movement, and, as a result, there seems to be less risk of falling down or losing your balance.
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.