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Aug 23, 2015
Handstand Clinic at Surya Nanda Yoga Studio
A detailed pose-by-pose articulation of a 2-hour handstand workshop
Subbing for Mechele and Steve
Handstand class: Lambert, Gee Co, Ryan Suedo, myself and Jessica
Class Instruction Begins Here
I LIGHT WARM UP STRETCHChild's Pose (Balasana)
Let's all find ourselves in Child's Pose, knees wide to accommodate the shoulders. Reach out forward with your fingers and sink the shoulders down keeping the arms straight, elbows straight. Feel the stretch on the shoulders. Inhale lift a inch looking forward and reach out some more. Drop down deeper.
Cat and Cow Pose (Bitilasana | Marjaryasana)
Bring your body up on Table Top, shoulders above the wrist, hips above the knees. Inhale, sink the belly down, tailbone out, face slightly lifted. Exhale, round the back, tuck the tailbone in, neck remains neutral. Repeat.
Downward Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
Let's all find ourselves in Downward Dog, but be easy, we're starting cold here. Just acclimatize into the pose, pedal your heals up and down, bending the knees and moving the hips from side to side. Maybe the heels are still not touching the mat...that's ok. We'll sink slowly into the pose.
Relaxed Standing Forward Bend, Hanging
Let's slowly walk our hands back towards our toes...and let's fold our arms into our elbows, upper body hingeing from the hips. Knees could be slightly bent and we simply do nothing for now...just allowing gravity to do its work. As we stay here, feel the back of the legs loosening up, feel the lower back muscles letting go. Breathe! still mindful of the Bandhas....pulling up the perineal muscle and engaging our abdominals 2 inches below our navel.
Hand Walking ()
Drop your hands onto the floor and begin to walk your hands to your left, twisting the body in the process. Where you reach your edge, stop, hold and breathe. Release the hands and do the other side.
Spine Roll Up
release the arms and on one long inhale, with a rounded back, vertebrae by vertebrae, roll up into standing (Samasthitihi)
II SHOULDER OPENERS
Clasp the hands behind back, inhale lengthen, and on the exhale, forward bend, windmilling the arms towards the floor. Hold and breathe.
Reverse Prayer (Pashchima Namaskarasana)
Place your palms together behind you and see how far you can move the hands up your back. Hold and breathe.
Cow Face Arms (Gomukhasana)
Left hand extends back and bends at the elbow, top of the hand against the back. Right hand extends forward, windmilling its way to the top, then to the back, bending by the elbow until the two hands or fingers meet. Clasp. Hold and breathe. Other side.
Eagle Arms (Garudasana)
Inhale strething your arms wide to the sides and get them crossed together in front of you, left arm below the right arm. Bend both elbows and see if you can clasp your hands together, fingers interlaced. Inhale and lift your elbows as high up while trying to stretch your arms forward. Feel the front of the shoulders being pulled together. Hold and breathe. Other side.
LYING DOWNBow (Dhanurasana)
Lie flat on your mat belly down. Bend your knees and hold on to your ankles. Inhale lift the chest up and try to stretch your legs, pulling the arms, pulling the shoulders back. Hold and breathe. Other side.
Lie flat on your mat belly down. Lift your chest up and try to reach out your left arm as far to the right as possible. Right arm over the left, reaches as far left. Inhale lengthen, exhale sink. Hold and breathe. Other side.
Thread the Needle ()
Get into Child's Pose and lift the pelvis up. With a straight right arm, twist the should with the left arm passing its way under the right arm. Reach as far to the side with the left hand. Hold and breathe. Other side.
Eight Point Shoulder Opener ()
Lie on your left side, head supported by a block. Clasp your hands behind you and lift the hands up, keeping the arms straight. With the left shoulder on the mat, twist the pelvis to the right so that it rests on the buttocks. Feet flat on the mat with knees bent. Hold and breathe. Other side.
Elbows on Blocks ()
Place two blocks on top of the other in front of your mat. Kneel down with wide knees, toes tucked-in, hands clasped together and rest your elbows on the blocks. Try to sink your chest and your head below your upper arms. The blocks should be in front of the top of your head. Inhale lengthen, and on the exhale, sink your chest down, pulling on the shoulder. Feel the shoulder stretch. Hold and continue breathing.
(Vinyasa until upper plank): put your full body weight on the left hand and roll-up the side shoulder, right hand reaching up, keeping the body straight and linear. Look at your right hand and breathe. Other side.
Boat Pose (Navasana)
Vinyasa until Downward Dog, jump through or step through your hands for a seated pose. Bend both your knees and grab behind the thighs, keeping the back straight. Inhale lengthen, and release the legs on the exhale, extending the arms forward, straightening the legs pointed 45 degrees to the corner of the ceiling. Breathe for 5 counts. Cross your legs supporting your body by putting your hands beside you, inhale lengthen, and lift on the exhale. Hold for a few breaths. And release, back into Boat. 3x. From crossed legs, see if you can snap your legs back into into plank.
Locust Pose (Salabhasana)
From plank, lower yourself down completely, extending your arms forward. Inhale lengthen, on the exhale, lift your chest, lift your arms, lift your knees and thigh. Breathe. Spread your wings like a jet plane, lifting your chest ever higher. Breathe. Back to Superman or Superwoman...lift...breathe...5...4...3...2...1....Child's Pose everyone. You did well. Finish off with a Vinyasa.
IV WRIST CONDITIONING
Clasp your hands in front of your chest with elbows resting on the rib cage. Rotate your hands in a figure 8 motion (or infinity motion). Other side.
Tabletop Roll with Hands Facing Forward ()
On Tabletop, with hands facing forward, try to move your body clockwise in a circular motion. Widen the circle as you progress. Back to center. Otherside.
Finger Flexion ()
On Tabletop, with hands facing forward, put your left hand on the center, and use your right hand to pull the individual fingers of the left hand while the upper palm is pressed against the mat. Otherside.
Tabletop Roll with Fingers Facing Back ()
On Tabletop, with fingers facing back, try to move your body clockwise in a circular motion. Widen the circle as you progress. Back to center. Otherside.
Tabletop SideRoll with Fingers Facing Back Palms Up ()
On Tabletop, with fingers facing back and palms facing up, try to move your body back until you feel the writst stretch and start moving your pelvis from left to right. Ensure that the arms are straight to isolate the stretch on the wrists.
V HANDSTAND ELEMENT FOCUS
Fingers should be as spread out as much as possible to widen the base for greater control. The index finger should be pointed forward. The body weight should be centered on the upper palm area where the base of the fingers are. This serves as your fulcrum. If you overbalance, you can push against the fingers to tip you back. If you underbalance, you can push against the palm-base to make the correction. 30 secs.
Shoulder and Arm Focus ()
Handstand on the wall, so our backs are facing the wall. Straighten the arms. Rotate the arms out, elbow crease faces to the front - this opens up the shoulder. Focus on the shoulders and the arms. 30 secs.
Head Focus ()
Best to keep the head within your shoulders than to lift it up to look at the floor. The spine follows the curvature of the head. So if the head is pulled out, the spine follows and you end up in a banana shape. Best to tilt the head minimally and just look 'upwards' with the eyes to see the floor - your head is still in and your back remains straight. 30 secs.
Torso Focus ()
Handstand on the wall, so our backs are facing the wall. Focus on the torso and engage the abs, rib cage reaching down to the pelvis as the lower back is straightened. Without this engagement, the legs tend to fall back behind creating a circular curvature on the spine. Breathe and isolate the focus there. 30 secs.
Feet and Legs Focus ()
Handstand on the wall, so our backs are facing the wall. Focus on the feet pointed up. Focus on the legs being straight and together. Engage the feet and the legs into a singularity. 30 seconds.
Handstand Integration on a Wall ()
Take a full one minute on the wall and integrate all the elements into a unified singularity, being mindful of the feet direction, legs being together and straight, abs engaged straightening the lower back, arms rotated out to open the shoulder, head minimally tilted, etc. It helps to see the full body as one engaged muscle (think of your entire body as one phallic erection!).
Freestanding Handstand Integration ()
Take a full one minute by the wall but not resting on it, and integrate all the elements into a unified singularity. If the feet leans on the wall, tap against it and try to regain balance by using the finger controls. Repeat until too tired to go on. At this point, the finer muscle strands needed for a balanced handstand is already too fatigued to do anything anymore. So we shift into brute force conditioning.
VI HANDSTAND CONDITIONING EXERCISES
Handstand on the wall facing the wall. Walk the hands along to the other side of the wall and then come back.
Handstand Up and Down Wall Walk ()
Downward Dog with feet near the wall. Slowly walk you feet up the wall as you walk your hands closer to the wall. When vertical, come back and repeat.
Block Rotation ()
With 2 hands on each block, handstand with back facing the wall. Lift the right hand, put it on floor and lift the left hand and put it on the floor. Now, put the right hand back on the block and do the same thing for the left hand. You will essentially be doing a one-hand push up as you transfer your weight to the other hand on the block. Repeat.
Handstand Hold on a Wall ()
Do a wall handstand facing the wall and hold it there for a minute. Release and rest for 30 secs. Repeat and hold for 30 secs. Release and rest for 30 secs. Repeat but do the handstand with the back facing the wall.
Freestyle Handstand ()
Use the remaining time to do your own freestyle practice.
VII WINDING DOWNCorpse Pose (Savasana)
Lie flat on your mat, feet dangling on its side, palms facing up. Let go of everything. Dissolve. Relax completely.
Class Instruction Ends Here
The following people like this:
Reader Comments:Rica Hernandez Gomez
(24 August, 2015) Good job Gigit! Can I join?
(24 August, 2015) Awesome and interesting blog. Wanna join ur class one day!
(24 August, 2015) Making this my homework
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