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Try this lighter more fluid exit from Tripod Headstand to Chaturanga, keeping a sense of humor and connecting your breath with the transition.
I just taught one of my favorite workshops at the Yoga Journal LIVE! San Francisco called, “I Like the Way You Move.” It’s all about dissecting our yoga transitions—from stepping or hopping forward in our Sun Salutations to dropping with grace from a Tripod Headstand into Chaturanga. I’ve taught you how to drop into Chaturanga from Sirasana II before. That option is great when you want drama, to really make a point, or are just in the mood to yell “timber.” But I wanted to offer you a less aggressive version. This is how I like to exit the pose when I’m looking to stay light and keep my flow fluid. Test this out, keep a sense of humor, and remember to connect your breath with the transition!
New to Sirsasana II? Start with Kathryn Budig’s Challenge Pose: Tripod Headstand
Step One: Tripod Headstand
Start on all fours. Come onto the crown of your head with all four sides of your neck even. Place your palms flat shoulder-width apart and directly underneath your elbows (you’ll be able to see them easily from the crown of your head). Curl your toes under, straighten your legs and either pike up or bring both knees to the backs of your arms and suck your legs up from there. Take a good 5 breaths before you make the transition. Shoulders lift, lower ribs in, legs active and hugging together.
NOTE If you’re practicing this pose against the wall, please measure your Chaturanga facing the wall first to prevent smacking your head on the way down! Your head will need to clear the wall in Chaturanga, and that’s how you’ll know where to set your hands.
See also 4 Steps to Lotus in Tripod Headstand
Step Two: Pike your Legs
Continue to hug your legs inward (fire up those adductors) as you lower them, together as a team, toward the ground. You’ll feel the hinge in your hips, but keep your legs straight. Let your straight legs drop slightly below your 90-degree angle. Do all of this lowering on your inhale. Remember the entire time—shoulders up toward your hips!!
Step Three: Flick!
On your exhale, we flick! Throw your legs back and flick your gaze and heart forward as you press the ground away with your hands. Look way forward the same way that you would jumping back into Chaturanga. As you throw your legs back you’ll feel your hips descend towards the ground to land into>>
See also Bakasana to Chaturanga
Step four: Chaturanga Dandasana
Four-Limbed Staff Pose
You made it! Chaturanga! You’ll be tempted to straighten your arms when you land. Don’t! Keep your arms in the tripod position—arms bent at a 90-degree angle, shoulders lift, elbows in. Keep your lower belly engaged and ribcage knitting inward to prevent dumping in your lower back. Take a vinyasa to release.
About Kathryn Budig
Kathryn Budig is the yoga teacher behind AIM TRUE, a regular writer for Yoga Journal, and a presenter at YogaJournal LIVE!