Bunny Hops: Prep for Handstand/Adho Mukha Vrksasana
The Bunny Hop is an arm balance pose that requires arm strength, lots of core strength, and balance. The key is to get in the air, even if it’s only a little bit to start with. And, the benefits are endless:
- Helps warm up your body faster
- Prepares you for handstand
- Focuses on the basics of arm balance, which is a key to alignment
- Uses lots of core muscles - Uddiyana and Mula Bandha
Why I Love It
It takes me back to my childhood when I was not scared to hop anywhere! Bunny Hop is definitely an advanced pose that prepares us for Handstand, but that doesn’t mean only advanced practitioners can practice it. It is a prep pose for a reason! It helps beginners to overcome their fears and just have fun with it.
Let go of your ego when all you want to do in your yoga class is a HANDSTAND by pushing your body way beyond its limit and not working within your mind and body alignment. For some reason, there is this belief that if you can do handstand/headstand/or any upside down pose, you would be a bonafide Yogi. Why? Don’t do it to compare yourself to others. Do it only to bring strength to your own body. Everyone’s BODY is different in terms of its basic bone structure. For some people, a lot of poses are easier and quicker to achieve as opposed to others. There is no shame in that. As you practice this-I want you to just trust yourself and learn slowly by working with alignment and mindfulness.
To be very honest, I did not believe in myself the first time I was told to hop in a yoga class. I was so scared to do it and I just laughed at myself for being that scared :) Here are some tips to help get you started:
- Hop + Flow. Try to incorporate hops between your flows so that your body is warm and open. After every downward dog, bring your feet close to the top of the mat so that your hips are over your shoulders, and then take 3 hops.
- Make an "L." As you hop, try to make an “L” with your legs. One leg straight up in the air, and another one parallel to the long edge of the mat.
- Don’t Bend Your Elbows as You Hop. Lots of people do this! I did it too.
- Stay with the Breath. Inhale as you hop, Exhale as you land.
- Be Mindful of Your Landing! Make sure your landing is soft otherwise you are hurting your joints. Soft landing means more strength and balance in the upper body.
- Stay Rooted. Root your hands on the mat, especially your index finger and thumb.
- Pay Attention to the power of your arms, shoulders, and back. Keep your forearms firm and parallel to each other.
- Use your Muscles Wisely! Use your hips (glutes), quads and hamstrings - the same actions we imply in Tadasana (Mountain Pose). Stabilize your legs by using your thighs (internal rotation) to prevent you from moving sideways.
- Wall Support. Use a wall if you need support around you.
- HAVE FUN WITH IT!!
P.S. Want more yoga? Try Chaturanga dandasana next!
Khush-means "happy." I hope I can justify having this beautiful and happy name and bring a smile to your face every time we connect (virtual or in person). Who am I? I am one happy person who loves to learn and explore nature, go on long hikes with my dear husband, and just live life really simple. Good food is my true love and my husband is my inspiration. And Yoga is something that I go back to every day for my "moksha"- liberation and introspection. My Yoga journey started almost 8 years ago in India and it has only grown since then. I recently finished my 200hr RYT from Citizen Yoga, Metro Detroit and I am ready to share my practice with the world. My teaching style is focused on fun, alignment, building core, and being mindful of my students' (and that is my family right now :) needs and limitations. I think it's important to acknowledge that everyone is unique in their own special way and none of us have to have the same physical goals. My hope is that my students will learn to self-reflect and bring mindfulness to their practice. Oh, and asking questions and having fun should be a priority! That's what life is about 😊