Today I’m reposting an old set of videos demonstrating one of the most fun (but kind of scary!) transitions in yoga: Jumping from Down Dog into Tripod Headstand. Yes, it sounds crazy. No, it’s actually not that hard. However, this is a demo video, so don’t try this at home, kids. Not unless you have the guidance of a yoga instructor nearby. Or a huge pile of pillows to land onto, just in case you go flying over.
I actually haven’t done this transition myself in probably 3+ years, certainly not since I screwed up my shoulder. But now that my practice is coming back slowly but surely, I think I might give this a try sometime soon. The reason I always loved doing this transition is, well, the same reason I like doing a lot of acrobatic transitions — i.e., it requires intense focus and a single-minded concentration on one thing. If my thoughts wander or waver for even a fraction of a second, I’m not going to pull this off. I’ve never actually toppled over doing this, as I am usually overly cautious about not overshooting it. If anything, I’ll come up short, and not have enough “oomph” to get me to land in the sweet spot. In which case, I just try it again and again, until I add just enough momentum to get me upright without falling over.
So here is the entire original post, from way back in 2006, with the broken links finally all fixed up and re-associated:
Jumping into Tripod Headstand (originally posted 9/1/2006):
Jumping into Tripod Headstand, or Mukta Hasta Sirsasana, is really not as difficult as it might look. There is of course an initial fear of flipping over, but if you’ve ever fallen backwards out of any kind of headstand, you know it’s really not that bad. More of a tumble than a fall, really. In the first video, I demonstrate a safer way of jumping into Tripod from Down-Dog. Notice that I first jump into a kind of “L” pose, before taking the legs straight up. The purpose of this is to use the legs as a counterweight or trailer, so as to prevent the momentum of the jump from tossing me over.
In this second video, I demonstrate a fairly quick version of jumping to Tripod Headstand. In this quicker version, I try to be particularly careful not to just bonk my head on the floor when I come down. It’s important, I think, to set the head down softly and with some control. Otherwise, you risk injuring your neck. And it’s also not such an elegant transition to just slam the top of your head onto the floor. Generally speaking, with all of the transitions, soft landings = control, hard landings = out of control. Here, as with most of the “Jumping from Down-Dog to Asana X” transitions, the control comes from the arms and the core.
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.