This weekend has something for all levels of flyers so come willing to sweat, play, and let go of some old fears!
Friday Session (7:15-9:15pm): Grow Your Inversions Beginner: This inversions basics workshop is designed to make you comfortable to go upside down. We will discuss the fundamentals of inversions; begin with an inversion specific warm-up followed by core work, headstand A & B, forearm balance, and handstand at the wall.
Saturday Session (2:00-4:30pm): Fly Like a Yogi
Intermediate: This workshop is playful on purpose to get you out of your head and flying with ease. While staying grounded in the essential elements of alignment, we will play with creative ways of balancing away from the wall. Expect a strong Vinyasa warm-up, plenty of core-work, and lots of fun.
Sunday Session (12:00-2:35pm): Fun with Flying
Intermediate & Advanced: For the advanced yogis, this workshop will focus on slowing things down and moving exclusively from the core to control your inversions. We will discover the importance of the abdominals as we play with scorpion in forearm balance and handstand.
In this workshop we will explore inversions with a sense of adventure, curiosity and most of all fun! Inversions are for everyone and are extremely beneficial in strengthening the body and focusing the mind. We will work on the strength and flexibility needed for inversions, develop core awareness and discover proper alignement for floating and flying. We will explore headstand, forearm balance, and handstand. In addition we will explore how different variations and the use of props make inversions approachable to just about anyone! Come expecting to sweat, laugh, play and fly!
Doing Baddha Konasana in handstand sounds ridiculous, but it is actually quite delightful ounce you get the hang of it.
I remember the very first time I tried this. I was just beginning to flirt with the idea that I may indeed be able to do a handstand. This really helped give me the confidence to try handstanding in the middle of the room.
The reason this works so well is because when you bring your feet together it helps to get your hips up over your hands. Also, your center of gravity is lower than it would be in a traditional handstand.
Start by warming up for your handstand with a few Sun Salutations and a seated Baddhha Konasana. The Sun Salutes will warm up your hamstrings, shoulders and the Baddhha Konasana will prepare your hips for this handstand.
Try a few practice hops.
My teacher always says”Remember they are like pancakes, the first few are never that good”.
Remember these key points…
Keep your eyes focused between your index fingers.
Draw your arm bones into the shoulder sockets.
Do not let your elbows bend
Exhale and pull your navel back towards your spine as you go up. It is normal to get nervous and forget about the breath so try a few where you exhale audibly to get the hang of it. Once you are sure that you are breathing properly feel free to go back to silent breathing.
Walk your feet as close as you can to your hands. This should feel a lot like Ardha Uttanasna with your hands flat on the floor and your feet about 18 inches behind your hands. Do this while still keeping your shoulders firmly planted on your upper back and not sliding forward towards your ears. If this happens, slide your shoulders back down and maybe walk your feet back an inch or two.
Lift one leg into the air and straighten it all the way. Think of trying to stretch the skin on the back of your knee.
Turn the lifted foot pinky straight down towards the ground squaring off the hip.
Keeping the lifted leg as straight and firm as possible bend your standing leg and on an exhale kick the straight leg up into the air. (Exhaling as you go up will draw your navel towards your spine and help to engage your core)
Keep your eyes fixed just in front of your index fingers the whole time. Resist the temptation to gaze back at your feet.
Once you find your balance squeeze your inner thighs together (think thigh master!) draw your navel towards your spine and reach your tailbone towards your heels!
You can practice this at the wall and then move away from the wall as you feel more confident.
Practice, practice, PRACTICE! It is 99% effort and 1% theory!
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Website for image http://bodytribal.tumblr.com “Nobody is superior, nobody is inferior, but nobody is equal either. People are simply unique, incomparable.You are you, I am I. I have to contribute my potential to life; you have to contribute your potential to life. I have to discover my own being; you have to discover your own being.”
When it comes to handstand there is no better place to start than your hands!
Sure, it seems pretty obvious. However the hands are sometimes an afterthought for students whose minds are preoccupied with trying to get their bottom to float above their head.
For the frequent flyer however (see inspiring photo to your left of my teacher Krista Cahill by the incredible photographer Jasper Johal) the hands and wrists always come first when attempting handstand!
Like anything, it’s best to start at the bottom and work up. In this case the foundation is your hands and like any good foundation it must be laid properly.
The worst possible news for a house is having cracks in its foundation and the worst news for a handstand are poorly positioned hands. (A close second is a poorly positioned attitude, actually a bad attitude is worse…but I digress)
At any rate you are headed for trouble fast if you don’t get your digits and palms properly set up, so listen close future flyers!
Place your hands shoulders width apart with your hands slightly turned out.
Spread your fingers wide apart. Reach the fingers forward and apart to spread the weight evenly. Uneven weight causes problems for the wrist. Your fingers should spread evenly away from the palm like the spokes on a wagon wheel.
Pay special attention to your index finger and thumb rooting down into the mat.
Then with your hands firmly planted on your sticky mat try to squeeze them towards one another like you are trying to wrinkle your mat between your hands. The mat will not actually wrinkle but this action engages the muscles of the hands, forearms and biceps creating stability.
Push into your hands! Trust that they will hold the weight of your body. (Be mindful however not to push out of your shoulders, keep your collarbones wide and your shoulder blades firmly planted on your upper back! More about that later)
Do not let the wrists lift! As you jump from the back of the mat it’s tough not to let the wrists lift, but do your best. I took a workshop with master ashtangi David Swenson and he kept saying over and over again to “put the weight in your hands”. This is key! Imagine your hands are cemented to the floor, make them super heavy as you practice jumping into handstand!
Grip with your fingertips. Think of them as your emergency brakes. These little guys will help you not to “Go flying over the handlebars” as my teacher Brock Cahill likes to say. (Your primary brakes are your core and serratus anterior muscle. Secondary are your forearms and fingertips.)