Tripod Headstand To Crow Pose

Tripod Headstand to Crow for Controlled Access



When exploring an inversion like Tripod Headstand, the shoulder muscles become part of the primary focus. Tripod Headstand on its own can be challenging enough, but adding a controlled and safe transition into an arm balance like Crow Pose creates a whole new layer of understanding that must be taken into consideration. 

The rotator cuff muscles are great stabilizers of the shoulder girdle, so activating these muscles is key in the setup for both postures. Both a deeper grasp of the biomechanics of each posture on its own and an understanding of the specific movements, particularly in the area of the shoulders, help us maintain balance when exploring how to move between the two poses. In today’s video, Matt provides the details and step-by-step cues to master the transition from Tripod Headstand to Crow Pose.

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    First, it’s simply about understanding what in our bodies we need to target in order to create the required stability for the setup in Tripod Headstand. At the beginning of the video, Matt offers an explanation for why the shoulders are important and how to effectively activate the appropriate muscles. When practicing with Matt, we understand that any time the hands are making contact with our mats, particularly in an inversion or arm balance, “gripping the ground” begins to send the correct channel of energy into the rest of the body. With this understanding, we can begin to see how this action affects what’s required in the shoulders: To activate the rotator cuff muscles, we take that grip of the ground and dial it outwards. This encourages the biceps to turn outwards and the elbows to turn inwards. Once these steps are in place, we can feel the rotator cuff muscles.




    Before the legs go upright in Tripod Headstand, we can explore Tripod Crow, which Matt demonstrates. Although there is no wall behind him in the demonstration, he recommends using a wall in the early stages of exploration.

    Tripod Crow allows us to get comfortable with the hand and head placement. This is important because of the adjustments that are necessary regarding the neck muscles.  

    The hands are roughly shoulder-width apart, and the head is placed down just shy of an equilateral triangle. This way, when we roll onto our heads, it becomes more of that equilateral setup. From here, we switch on the rotator cuff muscles (as described above), and then instead of sending the legs all the way up, we bring the knees onto the outer arms. Sending our gaze towards the floor then turns on the rear neck muscles for additional stability.

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    In this next stage, Matt demonstrates the entry into Tripod Headstand along with how to begin transitioning into Crow Pose. First, we can add onto Tripod Crow by hugging the knees in and creating an anterior tilt of the pelvis to then send the legs upwards. The next step allows us to explore the movement towards Crow Pose with some momentum. Instead of pausing, activating, and holding Crow Pose, we can practice “sitting the bum down” on the way out of Headstand and then leaning back to move more quickly towards taking our feet to the ground. Slowly progressing with more “hang time” and a bigger push into Crow will help us master this transition. A new shoulder action is also layered on in order to press into Crow Pose.

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    Finally, the shoulder action that brings the final pieces of the puzzle together is the protraction of the scapulae. Once we’ve leaned back and practiced hanging in the longer balances between Tripod Headstand and the initial stages of Crow, we push the floor away, which encourages the protraction. Coupled with the external rotation of the upper arm bones, this action assists in realizing the safe, controlled access and stabilization of Crow. The shoulder actions ultimately dictate the experience we’ll have when working on this transition between the two postures. Moving from Tripod Headstand to Crow Pose requires a steadiness but also involves precise movement.  

    In Matt’s 3-part workshop, Shoulder Mastery, he broke down the vital steps for the shoulders when it comes to arm balances. In the upcoming final phase of the workshop, Matt will focus on inversions and binds. Register here for lifetime access!

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    Article by Trish Curling

    Videos Extracted From: Shoulder Mastery

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