So you want to jump back, do you? Well then, this is your pose. Lolasana, or Pendant Pose, is the gateway to those floaty, effortless Ashtanga jump backs that you so desperately desire. This pose strengthens the wrists, arms, shoulders, upper back, chest, and abs, developing all the muscles that are recruited in the jump back vinyasa.
Begin by sitting on your knees in Virasana (Hero Pose). With the knees together, plant the hands beside your thighs, fingertips flush with the knees. Lean forward to align your shoulders directly over your wrists then, with straight arms, lift your knees into your chest. At first, allow the feet to remain in contact with the floor. You might stay here, breathing and squeezing the knees in toward the chest, or if you feel strong, lift your heels toward the buttocks to balance on the hands alone. Though the image above shows my legs uncrossed, some find it easier to practice with the ankles crossed (pictured below).
Use your abdominals to curl your body into a compact little ball. Keep squeezing the knees in and up and hug the heels toward your sit bones. The body is a heavy weight for the arms to bear in this position. Remember to grip with the fingertips in order to protect your wrists. You may find that you begin to swing or sway with your breathing as you balance, hence the name: Pendant pose. The body swings like a pendant between the arms. This motion may be chaotic and uncontrolled at first. Work toward swinging lightly back and forth in a controlled manner. This will develop the strength and precision needed for those jump backs. Eventually, you will be able to swing your feet forward to come to seated, or swing them back to Chaturanga.
Once you are able to practice this pose comfortably, try starting from Sukhasana (Easy Seat). Cross the legs at the ankles, then lift up and try to swing the feet back through the arms. This is your jump back. All you need do from here is shoot the feet back and you've got it!