Chin Stand

Chin Stand

ganda bherundasana

CHIN STAND

Without a doubt, Chin Stand requires preparation. This posture must be approached with the utmost humility, essential in order to respect the potential risk. If this pose is not explored regularly in our physical practice, it may be quite challenging. At the same time, it’s a rewarding journey! Chin Stand requires an exceptional amount of back and upper body strength, along with a generous amount of front body flexibility. That being said, this posture provides us an opportunity to go more deeply into those areas of the body. We can examine what requires development and attention.  

Taking that approach covers the physical, but what is often lacking is the mental fortitude to let go of the outcomes and simply delight in the process. We are capable of taking actions to develop while challenging ourselves.

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POSTERIOR CHAIN FOCUS

Establishing a strong base is the key to preparation, especially when approaching a posture like Chin Stand. We need to be confident while progressing through each step on the roadmap towards the pose. As Matt says in today’s video, the posture is “all about the posterior chain.”  

While prone on his mat, Matt demonstrates a drill for Chin Stand that strengthens the hamstrings, buttocks, and lower back. The drill is designed to teach us how to isolate the strength of these areas of the body on each side. Exploring in this way provides the opportunity to find where there may be gaps we need to fill in terms of strength. If we notice that it is more challenging on one side, we can devote more time to that particular area.

What also happens is that we begin to play with the shape that’s created in Chin Stand.

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CHIN STAND: TAKE FLIGHT FROM THESE FOUNDATIONS

PREPARE YOUR NECK LIKE A BACKBEND

Clearly, the neck muscles are in the spotlight in Chin Stand. Flexibility is required along with strength and stability to reduce the risk of injury. 

When stretching the neck, the approach is similar to what we’ve learned about backbends with Matt. In backbends, we first send the rib cage forward. In Chin Stand preparation, Matt demonstrates how to send the chin forward, after creating a support under the occiput (the back part of the skull). We then lift the chin to stretch the muscles in the front of the neck. This mimics the lift of the lower ribs up in order to stretch the abdominals in backbends. One of the last similarities is the exit. Just like in backbends, we take care to maintain the shape we’ve created in the neck while we slowly lower the chin. Keep the jaw closed in order to feel the stretch.

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CHIN STAND VARIATIONS

Matt sets himself up with a wall, yoga blocks, a bolster, and a chair. With these props, he delves into various positions with the legs. He offers “stag” positions with either a foot or a knee on the chair. A knee, he suggests, is far more accessible, but placing the foot on a chair more closely resembles the experience in Chin Stand.  

Another variation is placing the arms back behind us. We can still explore the same stag options of the legs with this change in the arms.

Matt emphasizes that one of the key points, as we continue with our quest, is that we use our hand grip along with more of our upper body strength in order to keep the neck safe.  

When selecting the option in which we turn away from the wall, we MUST have a partner educated in how to support us.

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YOU’RE ALLOWED TO CHEAT

If we do go to the point of doing Chin Stand without any props, we can view “cheating” as part of the humility previously mentioned. Matt discusses rolling the elbows more inward as a way of protecting the shoulder girdle and providing stability. Cheating or not, we are better off keeping safety as our first priority rather than attempting to achieve some “aesthetic.” This is an example of choosing to embrace the process and value our discernment when attempting a posture as complex as this one. It’s not about the outcome as much as it is about the experience and journey. It’s the learning that is most valuable.

Matt’s online course The Pose Factory is the perfect platform to expand our learning. The course offers the keys to creating the foundations we desire in our asana practice. Register today to access the building blocks of maximum potential.

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Article by Trish Curling

Video Extracted From: Inversion Immersion 

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