Grounded Joy Artwork
Season 2 - Episode 4

Advanced Hand Balance

35 min - Practice


Lydia guides us in a challenging hand balance sequence that requires strength, precision, and ease. We gracefully explore variations of Vashistasana (Side Plank Pose), building towards Dwi Hasta Bhujagasana (Two Hands and Arm Pose) and Kapinjalasana (Partridge Pose). We close with inversions, playing with variations of headstand and handstand. You will be right on your edge.
What You'll Need: Mat

About This Video


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So nice to see you. This next pretty short sequence focuses almost entirely on hand balances. So before we start, let's just do a little rolling around of the wrists. So one way. And then the other.

Shake out your arms. And then just squeeze your fingers in and out quite quickly. And feel a little bit of strength coming into your forearms. Little bit faster. Breathe.

And then release. One finger back then the other then the other. Thumb back. Switch. And then come to the top of the mat.

Root your heels, spread your toes, root all your toe pads. Let your hands come together at the front of the heart. And start to feel the Ujjayi breath. You might close your eyes. And allow the pubic bone and the tail bone to drop away from the spine, away from the skull.

And the skull to feel like it lengthens a little bit away from the feet. Exhale your hands down by your sides. Inhale, slide your arms up without moving the shape of your spine. Exhale your hands down by your sides. Inhale again, move your arms up.

Soften your knees. Let your organs hang from their ligaments so there's a feeling of softness in the belly. Come back to center. Ground it. Inhale, take your arms up.

Exhale, fall forwards. Inhale, lengthen your spine. Exhale. Step. Hop.

Or lift your weight back. To feet together downward facing dog. Inhale, roll towards a plank pose. Exhale to a Chaturanga or maybe all the way down on to your belly for the warm up one. Take your knees down top so the feet down press even weight in both of your feet.

And inhale, come into a knee upward dog. Exhale. Hips come back like a rounded cat. Slide your hands a little bit back. Separate your feet.

Downward dog. That's always an option of sun salutations if you get a little bit tired. Exhale fully. Bend your knees. Find the shock absorbing feeling in your legs.

Step, hop or float forwards. Inhale, lengthen the arms and the spine. Exhale, fold. Press into the feet. Keep the head soft.

Keep the neck light. Come all the way up. Exhale, Samastitihi. Again. Inhale.

Rise, feeling grounded. Exhale, fold. Deepening the hip creases. Inhale, lengthen. Exhale, feet together downward dog.

Inhale. Plank pose. Slide the shoulder blades down the back a little bit. Exhale, Chaturanga. Push the toes back.

Maybe inhale upward dog. If it's not nice with your feet together, keep your feet apart in the next one. Be mindful of the feeling in the sacrum. Exhale, downward dog. Fidget around.

And then be still for a few breaths. We're working with our hands a lot today so as you press each finger pad into the mat, feel like there's a doming upwards of the center point of your palm. Like there's a little rose petal in the center point of each palm and you don't want to squash it. Bend your knees. Step, hop or float forwards.

Inhale, exhale. Inhale, come all the way up. Exhale. Inhale the arms up again. Fold.

Feel there's some fluidity in your spine. Exhale. You might try in the float... Coming up into a handstand. One leg will make a bit of a softer descent.

Upward dog. Two ways to do it. Feet together or feet apart. Downward dog. Breathe.

Let the breath each exhale shed off, (mumbles) off any feelings of frustration, anger, or fear. Bend your knees. If your handstand or you might try finding the hips over the shoulders, and then coming down. Sometimes bending the knees might make the floor a little softer. Inhale, lengthen.

Exhale, fold. Inhale, come all the way up. Exhale. Vasisthasana one. Inhale your arms up.

Exhale, hold the belly and fold. Inhale, lengthen. Feel some fluidity in your spine. Exhale. Dog pose.

Feet together if you wanna feel that kind of lifting up into your pelvic floor or apart if you need more space in your sacrum. For me it always changes. Inhale to plank pose. Exhale elbows in. Chaturanga.

Collarbones super wide. Inhale, upward dog. Sacrum dips, in and up. Exhale, downward dog. Shift into your left hand.

Take your right hand one hand distance forwards. Make a big arc with your hips. Roll your hips over to the side. Come on to the outer edge of your right foot. Stack your feet and if you can, try to get your right big toe down into the floor.

So there's a flexibility that's needed in the foot for that. Let your left arm come up. I'm not stacking shoulder over the wrist so I have a bit more wedge support from underneath the shoulder here. Try not to dip the hips too much. It's also a little bit more work on the shoulder.

So exhale. Downward dog. Shift into the right. Take the left hand one hand distance forwards. Really root your finger pads into the floor and get the sensation of lifting the center point of your hand that don't move your hand.

Find the big toe. And come up. Instead of straightening the legs and moving all the weight into the shoulders, kind of bend into the legs and feel that you can shift the weight into your legs. Exhale, downward dog. Good job.

Bend the knees. Step, hop or float forwards. Inhale, exhale. Inhale, come up. Exhale.

Inhale, Vasisthasana two. Exhale, fold. Lengthen. Dog pose. Round into plank.

And then, soften and widen the chest. Exhale, Chaturanga. Upward dog. Downward dog. Pubic bone goes way back.

Shift lay into the left. Take the right hand one hand distance forwards. Arch the hips all the way over to the other side. Same shape. Vasisthasana.

See if you can get a sense of lifting the left leg. If you can bend in, maybe you can just hold on to the knee, if you can move the knee away, take the toe. If it's there in the hamstring, start to lengthen upwards. Instead of straightening your legs and hardening it, kind of shift some more weight into your legs. Exhale, downward dog.

If you do anything slow motion, (inhales) you're getting stronger a little bit. So it's nice to avoid quick movements. Shift into the right. Take the left hand one hand distance forwards. Make it a transfer of weight.

Vasisthasana. Hovering Vasisthasana. Bend the legs. (exhales) Widen the space behind the back of the heart. Slow motion.

Dog pose. Step, hop or float forwards. Inhale, exhale, fold. Inhale, come up. (inhales) Exhale.

(exhales) Kash Upasana, you have to be able to do half bound lotus for this one. But you could try getting into downward dog and doing tree pose here. So inhale. (inhales) Exhale, fold. I'll show tree pose first.

Inhale, lengthen. Exhale, dog pose. Shift into the left. Take the right hand forwards. Arch the hips.

Hover. Place the sole of the foot on the inner thigh. Lean the foot and the thigh together. Keep the front ribs connected down and connecting together but maybe open the top three ribs. Exhale, slow motion.

It's kind of like you're coming up and over a huge ball. It feels nice. Downward dog. The other side, we'll do full Kash Upasana. Inhale, exhale.

Inhale, come up. Exhale. So right leg into half bound lotus. Roll from the hips, seal the knee joint. Inhale, let the arms come up.

Exhale, fold in this position. Coming up and over your heel. Inhale, lengthen. Exhale. Downward dog like this.

Shift your weight into your right. Take your left hand one hand distance forwards. Arch your hips up and when you're high like this, if you can balance, it's a little bit easier with your hips high to clasp your foot. It's okay if the clasp doesn't happen. Roll a little bit over to the side and I need to open up space here.

'Cause I am too short. I can feel it between the foot and the hand. And then the right knee, it doesn't have to go straight out. But maybe it starts to elongate. Unwind.

Slow motion. Come in a little bit. This might be a couple of hops or one big hop forwards. Inhale. Exhale, fold.

Inhale, come all the way up. If you're curious about that, doing that on the other side, you can pause the video and try the other side. So two options. Exhale. Feet together.

Variation of Kapinjalasana. Inhale the arms up. Exhale, fold. Lengthen. Dog pose.

Plank pose. Inhaling. Exhale, Chaturanga. Upward dog. Downward dog.

Shift left. Right hand one hand distance forwards. Come all the way over with your hips. Right big toe down. Float.

Bend your legs, bring your knee in. If you can clasp the top of the ankle or maybe more towards the foot. Take the leg behind you. Minimize the arching in your lower back. Maybe you just open up a little bit through your upper back.

A little bit of a crazier posture still would be to lift the knee up. See if you can take your thumb on the inner toes. This is the Kapinjalasana full posture. And wrap your elbow forwards and up. Slow motion.

Unwind. Over the ball. Exhale. That's a big one. Over to the right.

Left hand forwards. Arch your hips. Hover. Breathe. Catch a hold.

The more your knee comes up, the shorter you are in the lower back and a little bit more dense in the lower back so bring the knee down if possible. If you wanna see that on this side, thumb catches the toes, there starts to be a little bit of a back bend in the upper chest without hyper extending the grounded arm. Not recommended to talk through that one. Exhale, downward dog. Come forwards.

Inhale, exhale, fold. Inhale, come up. Exhale. Dwi Hasta Bhujasana. Inhale the arms up.

Exhale, fold. Inhale, lengthen. Roll your wrists. Plant your hands. Exhale, fingertip press.

Downward dog. Inhale, roll towards the plank pose. Widen and soften the chest. Chaturanga. Upward dog.

Stretch the belly. Downward dog. So for this one, find the bounciness in your legs and if your wrists are feeling it, really claw your fingertips down into the floor with strength or take a break. And see if you can hop your feet around your hands. Like that.

Or you can walk them forwards. And then kind of toe-heel wiggle wiggle little further forwards. And take your fingertips as far back as you can. And then slowly as your fingertips stay strong and you lower your wrists to the floor, see you can sit on the backs of your arms. With a little bit of a pressurization from your inner thighs into your arms, is it possible just to let the legs lift or maybe even one at a time.

If I don't shift a bit forwards, I'd fall on my bum in this positioon. So shifting a little bit forwards. And then to move into Titibasana which you might think this actually is but this is Dwi Hasta with a little bit of a softness. And Titibasana is extending through the legs a little bit more. There's two ways of doing this posture.

It can be a little bit more like this. Down. Or it can start to come up which is more demanding on the wrists. And then if you're okay there, cross on ankle over the other. Keep pressing into your fingertips and switch.

And then take your feet down and take your arms up. Good job. Exhale. Into standing. Take the backs of your wrists together and press them together lightly.

Check in with how you feel. Just a few more. Exhale. Inhale, the arms come up. Exhale, fold.

Lengthen. Fingertips are strong. Downward dog. Roll into plank pose. Chaturanga.

Upward dog. Downward dog. Eka Hasta Bhujasana. So we're gonna take a jump through and if you can, if it's possible, take your right leg over top of your right arm and slide your left leg through. Like that.

So if that doesn't work out so well, just jump through and end up in this position. So we're gonna try to take the back of the right hamstring as far back towards the shoulder as possible. And then the shoulder has this tendency to roll forward so take the back of the shoulder back into the leg so that you're not compressing the front of the right shoulder joint. Hands forwards, pressing to your fingertips. Just lift your bum off the floor.

Maybe bending this leg a little bit so you can have some heel perches on the floor. Shoulder blades a little bit down and then maybe you just lift this leg a little bit off the floor and breathe. And then right away cross this ankle over this one. Left ankle over the right. Shift into a Chaturanga, elbows together.

And see if it's possible to sort of clear your bum off the floor. And then just come up and release. And we'll try the other side without a Vinyasa in between. Roll your wrists. And bring your left leg back.

It might be easier to see this way. Take the back upper the lower hamstring as far back on to the shoulder as you can. And then connect the shoulder back into the leg. This is a nice opening. Just to stay here, root down through sit bones and get longer in your spine.

Hand's a little bit forward so that there's this leaning forwards. Lift your hips. Maybe lift your leg. One full breath. Pleasantly soft and strong in your legs.

Right ankle over and there's a inner thigh squeeze here as you move into a Chaturanga. Try to align your shoulders. And exhale if it's possible. Sweep this leg back. You can get a little rest there.

Back into dog pose. (exhales) Let that one go. Step or hop forwards. Think about this like a rest as you come up. Exhale.

Inhale. Exhale. So last one looking at Adho Mukha Vrksasana, the hand stand. With maybe a lotus play in it. But we're gonna try that first from headstand, Sirsasana.

Inhale the arms up. Exhale, fold. Lengthen. Dog pose. Plank pose.

Chaturanga. Tail bone, down. Sacrum, in and up. Downward dog. Come to the knees.

Interlock the outer elbows and if you need a wall in your inversion, be a little bit away from the wall. Like your head is here and the wall is at the short edge of the mat. Because you'll need a little bit of room for your legs to move around in this one. And you don't want the wall to inhibit that free range of movement. And it's good to kinda come away from the wall a bit.

I think. (laughs) Interlock your fingers. You might tuck the bottom pinky finger under or kind of let it be a loose weave of your hands but really feel the ulnar point of your wrist down. Take your head down. Roll a little bit through your skull.

Find the center point. Not on the crown, not on the hairline. You should see your elbows in your peripheral vision come up. Walk your toes forwards. Come up however you do.

One leg at a time. Both legs at the same time. Now once you're up, separate your legs wide and stay steady and your shoulders blades up away from the floor, forearms down into the floor and just play with this and see if you can swing one leg forwards and the other one back. And then the other leg forwards and the the other one back. See if you can even go beyond.

Like the Sirsasana split pose to a little bit of a twist. So with that feeling of soft hip joints, swing one leg into half lotus. Snuggle the foot down towards the groin. Move the knee as away from you as you can. And take the other leg in front of the knee.

Snuggle. And then see if you can elongate. So let's try it again. Just release. And just start to get that helicopter movement through your legs.

You could try the other leg first so for me it's now the left. Snuggle. Move the knee away. And hook the right heel in front. And slide down.

It helps to have slippery pants in this. Release. And exhale, come down. It's always nice to roll straight on to your hairline after you do a headstand. To relax your neck and your arms.

And come on up. So if that felt manageable and you have a handstand practice, you can stay on handstand for a few breaths. You could try that leg movement in the handstand position. There might be some falling over in that one. So make sure that you're relaxed when you fall.

And it's such a good practice to fall over a little bit. So let's just try finding that handstand. One foot forwards. So once you find it, you feel steady in your cylinder of your torso. Helicopter the legs with soft hip joints.

Snuggle. And sometimes you can even try the other side. Minimize the backbend. And just fall over. And out of it.

Child's pose. Notice what comes up for you after all of those hand balances. Maybe there is some joy. Maybe there's some frustration. It's my thoughts that-- these practices are meant to bring stuff up.

So take your time to come towards a forward fold. Shift your legs out in front of you. Move your pubic bone back. Lengthen your spine. Lengthen your lower belly just above your pubic bone.

Exhale, fold. Five breaths. Let this be grounding. Like think there's a planet underneath you. (inhales) Take your time to roll up.

Savasana. Where you can relax. Maybe it's with your feet planted, knees together. You could do legs up the wall. Or just slide your legs out here.

Checking if there's a little bit of tension around your head so close your eyes and just roll your head to one side 'til it's comfortable. Edge of twist in the neck. And take a few breaths into your neck, your throat, your upper chest. Notice what you feel there. Inhale, roll into the center.

Roll over to the other side. Notice what you feel there. Come into the center. Set your head carefully. So that your neck feels super relaxed.

Breathe down into your hands with your eyes closed. And energetically release any congestion or density from your heart all the way into your fingertips. Letting go all of the hanging on. And instead of feeling the front of the heart open, feel the back of the heart open to the earth. As if the heart was a flower.

And the back of the heart opens and the stem of the back of the heart reaches down into the earth for nourishment. And there is... A very... Bold feeling of grounding. So you might want to stay here a little longer.

But if you feel... That the energy wants you to come out, wiggle your fingers and your toes. Stretch your arms over your head. Roll over onto one side. And come up.

It was super sweet to practice with you. Namaste.


Meaghan S
1 person likes this.
what a sweet yoga fairy you are Lydia! i appreciate the softness you bring to the more energized poses. what a beautiful visual of the back of the heart opening you offered. many thanks*
Lydia Zamorano
Meaghan. Thanks for your kindness! I'm so glad you got something out of this one and you found your 360 degree heart. Love!

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