Chin Stand (Ganda Bherundasana)

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Chin Stand, Ganda Bherundasana, (gun-da bee-ru-dasana)

Ganda (cheek or face) + Bherunda (intense/powerful) + asana (pose)

Also Known as: Formidable Face Pose

Pose Type: Balancing, Strengthening, Inversion

Difficulty: Advanced

a woman wearing black yoga clothes doing chin stand pose

Awaken your inner acrobat and work on your discipline and patience with this intense arm balance.

Chin Stand Fundamentals

Literally translated to “formidable face pose”, Chin Stand is one of the most challenging arm balance asanas in yoga.

At the first glance, this asana seems impossible to achieve, and it’s difficult to comprehend that you could ever enter it.

Still, once you build patience, discipline, and consistency in your practice and learn to release fear, you’ll be surprised how quickly you’re progressing.

Although we encourage home practice, intense poses such as Chin pose may be best learned under the supervision of a teacher. A teacher can help support your body and encourage you, which will make you progress much faster.

As an arm balance, this is, of course, a strengthening pose, but it is also a fantastic stretch for your shoulders. It places them in a deep stretch, which will release all the pent-up tension from sitting in a wrong position for long periods of time.

Note that this pose is suited only for advanced practitioners – you should already have Headstand, Forearm Stand, and Handstand in your practice.

This pose is traditionally connected with a powerful eagle with two heads who has magical power – it mimics the eagle in flight. This bird can be seen in many flags and palaces in India – and you can use it as a symbol of your own inner strength and power.

Although you need to have a strong body in this asana, using sheer strength alone might get you injured. What you need is a balance of physical ability and mental stability and focus.

Chin Pose & Energetics

In fact, this pose is seen as a fantastic opportunity to practice Pratyahara (sense witdrawal), Dharana (single-pointed concentration), and Dhyana (mediation), as its challenging nature diminishes overthinking and forces you to become more aware and focused.

Of course, deep meditation in such challenging asanas is something you’ll need some time to attain, but it’s worth making an effort even from your first try – you’ll immediately feel your mind is more at ease.

Energetically, this asana activates the Crown, Throat, and Third Eye chakras, helping you to move your energy from the lower to the higher energy centers, which will help in your spiritual and personal growth.

Chin Stand Benefits

  • Strengthens the back, neck, arms, shoulders, and wrists. It also builds the abs and hip muscles (glutes, psoas, adductors).
  • Opens and lengthens the front of the neck and shoulders, chest, abs, hip flexors and thighs.
  • By opening the chest and throat, it removes any blockages in these areas and allows you to breathe deeper. With time, this increases lung capacity.
  • Chin Stand will improve your focus and awareness, which will consequently also calm your mind and release overthinking.
  • The deep opening of the upper body can counteract slouching and help you work on building a better posture.
  • Boosts energy and confidence.
  • Stimulates the digestive and reproductive systems, improving their function.
an annotated image of a woman wearing black yoga clothes doing chin stand pose

How To Do Chin Stand: Step-By-Step

How To Get There:

  1. Begin in Plank Pose and slowly move down into Chaturanga.
  2. From there, lower your chin to the mat and keep your arms at a 90-degree angle.
  3. Move your hands closer to your torso and push the ground firmly with your hands. Keep the elbows close to the ribs.
  4. Place your torso on the back of the arms to shift the weight to the arms.
  5. Then lift your right leg into the air. Once you find your balance, lift the other legs.
  6. Activate the legs and bring them together to help you with stability and balance.
  7. Hold for 3 to 5 breaths.
  8. Release slowly and with control.

Tips And Tricks:

  • The chin is touching the ground, but you should hold all of your weight with your arms and chest.
  • Point the toes up and energize the legs to help you find stability in the asana.
  • Don’t practice the asana if you cannot confidently practice the headstand, as you need to already have developed strength in the upper body. Otherwise, it can easily happen that you collapse your weight into the neck.
  • Always warm up before practicing this asana – perform it at a later portion of your yoga class.
  • Push your hands firmly into the floor to elongate the torso and find strength in the pose.
  • Engage your core and bring your shoulders back and away from the ears.

Chin Stand Variations:

With Blocks

a woman wearing black yoga clothes doing chin stand pose with blocks

Blocks are a fantastic prop for learning any arm balance – and they can help you with Chin Stand as well. You can use them in two ways – placing them under the chest, or under the shoulders.

Pick the option that feels better for you, in both cases, you will feel it’s easier to lift off as the block will take some weight off your shoulders. It will also lessen the chest and shoulder stretch, and take some pressure off the chin. 

Chin Stand Variation: Next To Wall

You can practice this asana against a wall. However, you should still enter the pose carefully, just like you would if there’s no wall behind you.

If you just jump into the pose knowing the wall will catch your fall, you will learn the pose in the wrong way. 

Only use the wall as a safety precaution, to help you gain courage to enter the pose. 

One Legged Chin Stand

a woman wearing black yoga clothes doing chin stand pose with one leg down

This alternative is one of the best things you can do to learn Chin Sose even if you’re not an advanced student.

You will gain most of the benefits of the pose and get accustomed to the awkward positioning of the upper body without needing to include the arm balance right away.

For this variation, simply lift only one leg up in the air, instead of both legs. Keep the bottom leg active, as it would be in Chaturanga or Plank Pose. Hold for a couple of breaths, then repeat the pose on the other side.

Precautions & Contraindications:

Common misalignments

Compressing the neck. The most common (and dangerous) mistake in this pose is compressing the neck and placing too much pressure on the chin. Remember – the chin is only lightly touching the ground, your shoulders, arms, core, and legs are doing all of the strength work. 

Injuries and Conditions

Avoid this asana if you have injuries in the chin, neck, back, arms, shoulders, ribs, spine, knees, ankles, and hips. Also, avoid with injuries in the abdomen or if you are pregnant. Refrain from the asana if you have weak joints or unstable shoulders, and any issues or infections in the eyes, ears, and nose. Finally, all inversions and arm balances should be practiced with great care if you have any condition that leads to vertigo and dizziness or completely avoided.

Related Poses

Locust Pose

Head Stand

Elbow Stand

Preparatory Poses:

Camel Pose

Fish Pose

Three-Legged Dog Pose

Counter Poses:

Seated Forward Bend

Child’s Pose

Downward Facing Dog

yogajala break 1000 × 40 px 1

For more in-depth asana resources, check out our free Yoga Pose Library. Here you’ll find complete guides to each and every yoga asana to deepen your yoga knowledge.

Each pose page features high-quality photos, anatomy insights, tips and tricks, pose instructions and queues, asana variations, and preparatory and counter poses.

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Sara lives in Croatia, near the sea, with her dog. She enjoys exploring nature, and making art. She is currently developing a series of children’s/YA stories and comics in her native language, which she feels complements her work and allows her to live her dream life – having yoga, writing, art, and nature in her every day.

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