You get to do a lot of Sury's in Full Vinyasa Ashtanga, forty something of the ruddy things in Primary a few less in Intermediate.
I've noticed improvement in my float back up to standing, starting to get some nice soft landings. I tried to catch it on video but for some reason the best ones seem to come half way through the practice when I'm not recording. This is the best one I managed to catch.
And below in slow motion
At first I thought it was all to do with jumping up to a kind of pike position and then leaning forward to a point of balance and lowering down. However watching the John Scott video I noticed he doesn't jump that high, more like picture three below.
If you look at the first three pictures my hips stay pretty much in the same position and I think that's the key, it's not so much that you want to get your legs high but rather your hips as high as you can and try to keep them high throughout. The shoulders are forward almost over your fingertips to work as a counter weight then it's a case of engaging the bandhas, especially Uddiyana, and trying to bring your thighs in towards your chest which will also bring your legs in between your hands. As you get stronger you can keep the hips higher and allow you feet to hover above the floor for a moment before you lower them down. That's the best way I can explain what's going on.
I forgot to mention breathing and yet this probably makes all the difference. I was practicing a little while ago and noticed that the best float ups came when I got the breath right.
Anyway this is how I do it and it seems to be working.
So your in down dog and preparing to come back up. I inhale and move my body forward bringing my shoulders over my hands and then exhale pushing back and bending my knees ready to jump/float. I push out the last drop of breath and engage Mulabandha (actually I would have been engaging MB for the last third of the exhale, kind of bouncing the breath off MB as part of the exhale but this is a bit weird and tricky to explain here, the usual tightening/contracting will do for now). Following on from engaging moola bandha engage Uddiyana and start to inhale into the chest, give the inhale a bit of a head start and then start pushing through the bent legs I start to allow my legs to lift as my shoulders start to come over my hands. Your still inhaling and it's as if the Breath is carrying you up. I get to the end of the inhale as I get to the top of my lift/jump up and then it's a long slow exhale as I lower.
It's as if the slowing of the exhale is slowing the descent. It's actually here, a little in to the exhale that I start to draw up mulabandha, pressing the breath against the it and kind of squeezing the breath out. The lifting effect of mulabandha helps to slow the descent and keep some control especially when it comes to holding your feet off the ground for a fraction of a second as you come to rest......Going to have to do a mulabandha post huh.
As well as the float up there's lots of chances to work on you float to Handstand. The one in the video is still more of a jump up but what's new is that I'm able to keep my hands closer to my feet, before, I was moving my hands a few inches in frount. Again the bringing of the thighs to the chest seems to be key, as well as getting the hips/pelvis high. A couple of times in the middle of the practice it's felt like I've got it just right and it's more of a float up than a lift. It's coming, it's definitely coming.
Why do these? apart from the fun factor and the nice floating in space Calder mobile feeling, it builds strength. And starts preparing you for all those arm balances in 3rd as well as tick tocks. I've started lifting up to handstand a couple of times and just staying there for as long as I can, working on balance and control, really nice when you start focusing on the breath and elongating the inhale and exhale. Will add a video of that to this post sometime soon.
Another thing that struck me about full vinyasa and throwing in the occasional handstand is that it helps keep the strength up when you move on from Primary. All those jump backs in Primary, you get pretty strong and then move on to five days a week of Intermediate and while you still have your Bakasana and Karandavasana it's just not the same. So you lose some strength in Intermediate but then have Advanced series to come up against which has lots of strength poses. You might not want to do Full Vinyasa in primary, does take a long time but you might want to consider Full vinyasa Intermediate once or twice a week.