Smooth Seated Jump Throughs

Smooth Seated Jump Throughs

Skillful Transition Techniques Simplified

movement

SEATED JUMP THROUGHS

It’s true that seated jump throughs are an example of how to seamlessly create a link between two yoga postures, but they also provide a lot of information about how you move. It’s easy to find yourself more focused on the alignment, shape, and/or position of your body within a specific asana. This is not without good reason, because there is definitely a lot going on in a given posture, especially when you are considering when and how to create the appropriate muscle engagements in order to maximize the posture’s benefits. How you move and transition between each posture, however, also carries a great deal of weight within your yoga practice. In other words, what happens between each posture is extremely important. Moreover, your ability to control your body in order to maintain balance and safely move on your mat translates to how you move when you are off of the mat.

MOVE

  • Access your movement potential
  • Sweat and raise your heart rate
  • Master your breath/movement coordination
  • Increase mobility at all major joints
  • Learn to gracefully transition between postures
  • Improve your flexibility
  • Strengthen your hips, back, shoulders, and core
  • Improve your balance
  • Each class will raise your heart rate, bring you to a sweat, and return you back to a relaxed state of mind and body
  • 12 Classes: All levels appropriate
  • Lifetime unlimited access to all
  • Attend the livestream OR practice the replays any time that's convenient for you

$168.00 $98.00

HOW ARE TRANSITIONS IN YOGA CONNECTED TO HEALTH?

Seated jump throughs are often used in Vinyasa- and Ashtanga-style practices to enter into seated postures more smoothly. Given the nature of these practices, which are more dynamic, this comes as no surprise. The pairing of movement with breath requires you to move with more “flow.” More vigorous practices like these provide benefits like increased strength or coordination and may even offer cardiovascular benefit. The benefits are not limited to the physical; these practices also improve cognitive function. Learning how to execute seated jump throughs offers much more than graceful ease on the mat.

WATCH THE VIDEO

SMOOTH SEATED JUMP THROUGHS: SKILLFUL TRANSITION TECHNIQUES SIMPLIFIED

MOVEMENT & CARDIOVASCULAR EXERCISE

Practicing a skill such as a seated jump through requires more sophisticated movement and repetition. Even if it is a “simple” transition for you, doing it repetitively throughout your practice will definitely build heat in your body and increase your heart rate. If seated jump through is a more ambitious endeavor, then practicing the skills Matt breaks down will both build heat and provide the cardiovascular benefit of this type of movement.

“It is widely accepted that regular physical activity is beneficial for cardiovascular health. Frequent exercise is robustly associated with a decrease in cardiovascular mortality as well as the risk of developing cardiovascular disease.”

Nystoriak MA, Bhatnagar A. Cardiovascular Effects and Benefits of Exercise. Front Cardiovasc Med. 2018 Sep 28;5:135. doi: 10.3389/fcvm.2018.00135. PMID: 30324108; PMCID: PMC6172294.

When you watch the video, you’ll see the layering within the drills Matt offers. The effort involved in practicing the drills for the transition, along with this style of  practice as a whole, will undoubtedly challenge you physically. Consistently practicing this way is the key to unlocking the benefits.

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MOVEMENT & COGNITIVE FUNCTION

The hippocampus is the part of the brain that is largely responsible for memory and learning. The researchers in this study “found the volume of the left hippocampus to be significantly greater among yoga-practitioners compared to age- and sex-matched controls with similar physical activity and fitness levels.”

Gothe, Neha P. et al. ‘Yoga Effects on Brain Health: A Systematic Review of the Current Literature’. 1 Jan. 2019 : 105 – 122.

The study finds that specifically asana has a significant impact in this area. Understanding this confirms the importance of movement and its impact on both the physical and the mental.

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  • Business, branding, marketing, and social media skills

SKILLFUL EXECUTION OF A SEATED JUMP THROUGH

As previously mentioned, Matt layers on each skill in order to make the practice of seated jump throughs more accessible.  

In the video, you’ll see that Matt advises you to start from a “shortened Downward Dog” position, with hands wider than usual. From there, you’ll place one leg in front in order to cross at your shins as you glide your feet forward and then gently drop to a seated position. You have the option to then send both legs forward in order to start imprinting the full pattern of movement into your nervous system. In order to take the drill to the next step, you have the option to jump into the cross-legged seated position (important to note that you should land on the tops of your feet). This undoubtedly makes it more active (increasing your heart rate and the cardiovascular component). What is more, when you come to the tops of your feet, you’ll see how Matt demonstrates a play of buoyancy in the hips. This balance on your hands is also a great preparation for arm balances and for the strength required in the seated jump through when you start sending your legs forward with more fluidity.

Repeatedly practicing the skills required for seated jump throughs will only refine your movement and help you tap into the physical and mental benefits. There is so much more to uncover, as this only skims the surface. 

Register for Matt’s next immersion, called Move, so that you may delve into your ability to move with ease and confidence on and off of the mat.

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Article by Trish Curling

Video Extracted From: Vinyasa Immersion

MOVE

  • Access your movement potential
  • Sweat and raise your heart rate
  • Master your breath/movement coordination
  • Increase mobility at all major joints
  • Learn to gracefully transition between postures
  • Improve your flexibility
  • Strengthen your hips, back, shoulders, and core
  • Improve your balance
  • Each class will raise your heart rate, bring you to a sweat, and return you back to a relaxed state of mind and body
  • 12 Classes: All levels appropriate
  • Lifetime unlimited access to all
  • Attend the livestream OR practice the replays any time that's convenient for you

$168.00 $98.00

Continue Learning

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Seated vs. Standing Dandasana

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Seated vs. Standing Dandasana

Seated vs. Standing Dandasana

Prepare for Seated Forward Fold

staff pose

SEATED VS. STANDING DANDASANA

Seated vs. Standing Dandasana (Staff Pose)—why compare the two? Not only are we going to examine how they differ, but we’re also going to dive in and really look at the parallels between these 2 yoga postures and how they inform one another. There is no way around the foundations of your yoga practice, and in today’s video, Matt demonstrates Seated versus Standing Dandasana. Not only are they substantial enough on their own, but they also serve as an important preparation for Seated Forward Fold. Matt also intricately demonstrates Seated Forward Fold at the end of the video, so that you’ll be able to see the direct correlation among all of these postures. Let’s take a look at how you can level up these foundational postures.

TWISTS & FOLDS

TWISTS & FOLDS

  • Strengthen core muscles of rotation and side bends
  • Improve spinal mobility
  • Improve spinal flexion for seated postures
  • Strengthen your back and deep core
  • Access greater flexibility of the hips for seated postures
  • Classes will bring you to a sweat and back down to a relaxed state
  • 12 Classes: All levels appropriate
  • Lifetime unlimited access to all
  • Attend the livestream OR practice the replays any time that's convenient for you

$168.00 $138.00

PASSIVE VERSUS ACTIVE FLEXIBILITY

Unless you have been exposed to practicing asana in a way that offers a balance between active and passive flexibility, it’s likely that your body is widening the gap between the two. What is the difference between active and passive flexibility?  

Active flexibility happens when a particular joint moves through a range of motion without any external assistance (e.g., a yoga strap, wall, or chair). The opposite is true for passive flexibility, which occurs when you are utilizing an external force (including gravity) to explore a given range of motion.

For example, Standing Forward Fold, when approached more passively, is not necessarily the best preparation for Seated Forward Fold because a greater amount of muscle engagement is imperative to safely and successfully execute the postures.  

However, it’s not just about the postures. In his classes, Matt teaches us about the benefits of learning how to be more conscious of how and when to engage and release muscles. Being more conscious and intentional in this way means that the communication between your nervous system, brain, and body has become more intelligent and capable. Your ability both to move more dynamically and to hold postures/positions on and off the mat has multiplied because you are more proactive, rather than reactive. This also means that you have narrowed the gap between the two, and your body becomes more willing to surrender passively after you have spent time actively engaging muscles. This is where Seated versus Standing Dandasana comes in.

WATCH THE VIDEO

SEATED VERSUS STANDING DANDASANA: PREPARE FOR SEATED FORWARD FOLD

SEATED DANDASANA

As Matt demonstrates in the video, Seated Dandasana (Staff Pose) is a great precursor to Seated Forward Fold because of the muscle engagements involved. 

One of the first steps involved in Seated Dandasana is to sit more upright. This involves lifting your belly in and up to engage your transversus abdominis. Once you’re sitting more upright, you’re also getting your back muscles involved, muscles like the quadratus lumborum (QL), particularly as you bring your pelvis into more of an anterior tilt. This anterior tilt, in conjunction with maintaining a strong lift of your chest and belly while keeping your legs straight, really helps to fire up your hip flexors. When you watch the video, you’ll see that Matt outlines a couple of key actions that also contribute to this hip-flexor firing. Those actions are creating dorsiflexion in your feet and pulling your kneecaps up in order to support the action of drawing your femur bones in towards the hip sockets (this helps to sustain and deepen the engagement of the hip flexors). All of these actions within Seated Dandasana help to create strength in a part of the body, the hip flexors, that is neglected in many. That alone validates the importance of this posture as one to incorporate into your practice on a regular basis. It equally validates why it offers excellent preparation for Seated Forward Fold.

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  • Learn foundational class structures and templates
  • Learn techniques for a wide range of yoga postures
  • Get certified and highly qualified to teach yoga
  • Yoga Alliance Globally Recognized Certification Program

STANDING DANDASANA

In Standing Dandasana, there are wonderful opportunities to work on a great deal of muscle engagement for the hip flexors; this may also allow time for a greater examination of how to engage the lower back muscles. In the video, you’ll see how Matt pushes his heels out isometrically in order to activate the tensor fasciae latae (TFL), which is a hip flexor. Additionally, the placement of your hands really informs how much sensation and strength you can create in the lower back. Lengthening your arms all the way out in front of you increases the effort and dance between keeping your sit bones lifted (which is the same anterior tilt required for Seated Dandasana and Forward Fold) while maintaining the lift of the chest. This is surely a recipe for the firing of the QL and erector spinae muscles.

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300 HOUR ONLINE TEACHER TRAINING

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  • Get 500 hour certified
  • Learn anatomy, biomechanics, asana techniques
  • Expand your teaching skills
  • Masterful sequencing and verbal delivery
  • Learn meditation and breathwork techniques
  • Transformative tools: theming, dharma talks, satsang
  • Business, branding, marketing, and social media skills

HIP FLEXORS & HIP FLEXION

As already explained, one of the most important actions for Seated Forward Fold is hip flexion (the thighs moving closer to the chest, closing the hip joint). We’ve also established that hip flexor strength is essential for Seated Forward Fold. When attempting to gain strength of the hip flexors when it comes to Seated Forward Fold, you need to apply your understanding of the difference between active and passive flexibility. Allowing gravity alone to create the shape of Seated Forward Fold would likely simply create frustration due to the length of time it takes to see the results of going deeper into the posture. With the development of hip flexor strength and the practice of the articulation of the pelvis in postures like Seated and Standing Dandasana, you simply can’t go wrong when it comes to Seated Forward Fold.

SEATED FORWARD FOLD

After exploring Seated and Standing Dandasana from the perspective Matt offers, your body will display its readiness. During the setup in the video, you’ll see where Matt marries the passive and active in this posture. You’ll tap into the strength of your lower back with the same lift of the belly and chest along with the anterior tilt of the pelvis. Just like in Standing Dandasana, you’ll push your heels out isometrically, which will internally rotate your upper thighs, switching on TFL.  Once you’ve performed the actions you practiced in Seated Dandasana, that is, plugging the femur bones into the hip joint and pulling the kneecaps up, you can lean more forward. This is the crucial point at which you may begin to relax your back muscles and transition to a more passive state in the posture. The negotiation that takes place in the body, however, is that while your back relaxes, you’re still maintaining the suctioning of the quadriceps and tensioning of the hip flexors. This creates an exciting conversation within your body. It creates a marriage between active and passive, which Matt describes as the nervous system more fully participating in the experience and improving the health and functionality of your muscular system overall.  

Practicing in this way unleashes the potential functionality of your body. Registering for this month’s immersion will take you on a journey of deeper understanding, and it will help bring new life to foundational postures like the ones examined here. 

You can register for Twists & Folds here.

The 200 Hr. Teacher Training: Click Here to See the Next Start Date

The 300 Hr. Advanced Teacher Training: Click Here to See the Next Start Date

Article by Trish Curling

Video Extracted From: Twists & Folds

MOVE

  • Access your movement potential
  • Sweat and raise your heart rate
  • Master your breath/movement coordination
  • Increase mobility at all major joints
  • Learn to gracefully transition between postures
  • Improve your flexibility
  • Strengthen your hips, back, shoulders, and core
  • Improve your balance
  • Each class will raise your heart rate, bring you to a sweat, and return you back to a relaxed state of mind and body
  • 12 Classes: All levels appropriate
  • Lifetime unlimited access to all
  • Attend the livestream OR practice the replays any time that's convenient for you

$168.00 $98.00

Continue Learning

Seated vs. Standing Dandasana

Seated vs. Standing Dandasana

Seated vs. Standing Dandasana Prepare for Seated Forward Foldstaff poseSEATED VS. STANDING DANDASANA Seated vs. Standing Dandasana (Staff Pose)—why compare the two? Not only are we going to examine how they differ, but we’re also going to dive in and really look at...

read more
Transversus Abdominis

Transversus Abdominis

Transversus Abdominis Connect to Your Core With This Twist Techniquespinal rotationCONNECT TO YOUR CORE Once you are exposed to transformational techniques for your yoga practice, there’s no turning back. In the context of asana, these techniques open you up to a...

read more
Hip Flexor Strength

Hip Flexor Strength

Hip Flexor Strength Access Deeper Forward FoldsuttanasanaHIP FLEXOR STRENGTH OVER HAMSTRING FLEXIBILITY? Hip flexor strength for deeper forward folds over hamstring flexibility? It’s not a matter of one or the other; it’s about how one can inform the other. It’s also...

read more
Spinal Freedom In Revolved Low Lunge

Spinal Freedom In Revolved Low Lunge

Spinal Freedom in Revolved Low Lunge 5-Part Twist TechniqueanjaneyasanaREVOLVED LOW LUNGE TECHNIQUE You’re going to multiply the benefits of twisting postures with this 5-part twist technique. There are already benefits you may knowingly and/or unknowingly receive...

read more
King Pigeon Variations

King Pigeon Variations

King Pigeon Variations Full Body Awareness for Your ShouldersmobilityKING PIGEON If you’ve practiced with Matt before, you’ll be aware of the domino effect or the ripple effect of how a yoga posture unfolds. Matt brilliantly breaks down every pose with care and...

read more
Reverse Plank Pose

Reverse Plank Pose

Reverse Plank Pose Scapular Retraction for Back StrengthPURVOTTANASANAREVERSE PLANK POSE Asymmetry is a common issue when it comes to our asana practice. Opportunities to work on strengthening muscles in the back body are much less frequent than opportunities to...

read more

THE FREE TECHNIQUE PACK

When You Subscribe You Will Get Instant Access To

  • The Technique Pack: 15 Yoga Pose Breakdowns
  • Exclusive Online Course Discounts
  • Exclusive Blogs and Videos
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Transversus Abdominis

Transversus Abdominis

Connect to Your Core With This Twist Technique

spinal rotation

CONNECT TO YOUR CORE

Once you are exposed to transformational techniques for your yoga practice, there’s no turning back. In the context of asana, these techniques open you up to a whole new world and perspective as to what is possible on the mat. Techniques like the one Matt offers in today’s video provide an awakening within your body and help you truly connect to your core while exploring twisting postures. Connecting to some of your deeper core muscles may feel elusive, but it is indeed possible. The transversus abdominis (TVA) is at the deepest layer of the core; when active, it can create spinal rotation, and it also stabilizes the spine. How is it possible to transform your experience and more deeply connect to your core?

TWISTS & FOLDS

TWISTS & FOLDS

  • Strengthen core muscles of rotation and side bends
  • Improve spinal mobility
  • Improve spinal flexion for seated postures
  • Strengthen your back and deep core
  • Access greater flexibility of the hips for seated postures
  • Classes will bring you to a sweat and back down to a relaxed state
  • 12 Classes: All levels appropriate
  • Lifetime unlimited access to all
  • Attend the livestream OR practice the replays any time that's convenient for you

$168.00 $138.00

UDDIYANA BANDHA AND TRANSVERSUS ABDOMINIS

The transversus abdominis can be activated on both the inhale and the exhale. Activation on an exhalation is called Uddiyana Bandha. Bandha means “lock” or “hold” and serves the body by stabilizing it during your practice. Uddiyana Bandha is the abdominal lock. Drawing the belly in and up is the necessary action to create the lock; this is exactly what engages the TVA. Contracting the transversus abdominis compresses the abdomen, and this is the first step in creating a deeper connection to your core. It’s still important to allow prana to flow! A deliberate mind-muscle connection must be established in order to feel and maintain stability while sustaining the flow of breath. As always, setting a foundation for the nervous system will enable you to direct your brain and body to respond to the action you desire—in this case, it’s spinal rotation. How can you continue to prepare your core for twisting postures?

WATCH THE VIDEO

TRANSVERSUS ABDOMINIS:  CONNECT TO YOUR CORE WITH THIS TWIST TECHNIQUE

KAPALABHATI PRANAYAMA AND CONNECTING TO YOUR CORE

One of the most relatable cues to begin to understand Kapalabhati Pranayama is to compare it to coughing, which is also an appropriate cue in order to understand TVA activation. This does not mean that you have to cough in order to activate TVA, but it helps to feel how the belly pulls back and that it’s a quick, firm action.

Today’s clip is extracted from Matt’s current immersion, Twists & Folds. At the beginning of the class, Matt guides you through Kapalabhati, which is the practice of “forcefully” breathing in and out in a repetitive manner. The exhale happens via pulling your belly back. The purpose of starting the practice in this way is to begin to wake up and tone the TVA. It’s these more subtle energetic practices that lay the foundation for you to connect to your core. This connection to your core has the potential for you to increase spinal mobility and go deeper into twisting postures.

200 Hour Online Teacher Training Certification

200 HOUR ONLINE TEACHER TRAINING

GET CERTIFIED & DEEPEN YOUR YOGA PRACTICE

  • Deepen your yoga practice
  • Build confidence speaking in front of groups in person and online
  • Learn foundational class structures and templates
  • Learn techniques for a wide range of yoga postures
  • Get certified and highly qualified to teach yoga
  • Yoga Alliance Globally Recognized Certification Program

TWISTING POSTURES

“The abdominal muscles are the core prime movers in the twisting postures.”

Long, Ray. The Key Muscles of Yoga, Vol. 1 . Bandha Yoga Publications LLC. 2005. Pg.126

Bringing TVA to the forefront of your awareness is important when utilizing the twist technique from today’s video. Connecting to your core, the TVA specifically, also requires an awareness of the erector spinae and quadratus lumborum muscles. These muscles lift the torso and aid in creating an anterior tilt of the pelvis. Without this upright position, it’s impossible to truly access the lifting and pulling back of your belly. This awareness is key to being a full participant when engaging in twisting postures in your yoga practice. You’ll be guiding your body, rather than having your body guide you. For example, if there are vulnerable instabilities in the hips, utilizing the strength in your core muscles will offer a sense of steadiness and safety in any given twisting posture. How is this expressed in Ardha Matsyendrasana (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose)?

300 hour teacher training online

300 HOUR ONLINE TEACHER TRAINING

GET 500 HOUR CERTIFIED AS A MASTER TEACHER

Master your skill set as a teacher through refined techniques, anatomy, biomechanics, sequencing, philosophy, meditation techniques, theming, yoga business, and much more!

  • Get 500 hour certified
  • Learn anatomy, biomechanics, asana techniques
  • Expand your teaching skills
  • Masterful sequencing and verbal delivery
  • Learn meditation and breathwork techniques
  • Transformative tools: theming, dharma talks, satsang
  • Business, branding, marketing, and social media skills

TRANSVERSUS ABDOMINIS (TVA) TWIST TECHNIQUE: ARDHA MATSYENDRASANA

A seated twist like Ardha Matsyendrasana is a great way to explore this technique, although it can be applied to multiple twist postures. A seated twist is a great option because it removes the added challenge of balancing in a standing twist posture. This offers more time to explore your breath within TVA activation.

Here are the steps:

  1. Find a tall spine (place blankets under your seat if it is difficult to find more spinal extension)
  2. Place hands at the low back and encourage the top of your pelvis to push forward to find more anterior tilt (low back muscles are active)
  3. Lift the belly in and up and spiral up as you twist
  4. Inhales are for preparation and length, exhales for twisting (spinal rotation)
  5. Your back arm can be placed down for support
  6. Your front arm can gently grab the thigh as you continue to rotate (minimize usage of front arm as much as possible in order to maintain core connection)
  7.  Continue to rotate your belly button
  8. “Wring out a towel”—right belly towards left side of spine creates the transversus rotation

TRANSFORM THE CONNECTION TO YOUR CORE

If you’ve practiced with Matt before, then you know that strengthening muscles on your mat promotes increased mobility. Contacting your TVA means that you are cultivating strength. Connecting to the TVA, the deepest layer of your core, is going to transform how you experience twisting postures. You will find greater mobility while feeling more stable in your body.

Maya Angelou said, “When you know better, you do better,” and this is so very true on the mat. The education you come away with from Matt’s classes helps you to do exactly that. You will know better and in fact do better beyond your expectations.

You can sign up here for Matt’s Twists & Folds immersion.

See you on the mat!

The 200 Hr. Teacher Training: Click Here to See the Next Start Date

The 300 Hr. Advanced Teacher Training: Click Here to See the Next Start Date

Article by Trish Curling

Video Extracted From: Twists & Folds

UPCOMING TEACHER TRAININGS

NEXT TRAINING BEGINS FEBRUARY 26, 2023 ENROLLMENT NOW OPEN
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Continue Learning

Seated vs. Standing Dandasana

Seated vs. Standing Dandasana

Seated vs. Standing Dandasana Prepare for Seated Forward Foldstaff poseSEATED VS. STANDING DANDASANA Seated vs. Standing Dandasana (Staff Pose)—why compare the two? Not only are we going to examine how they differ, but we’re also going to dive in and really look at...

read more
Transversus Abdominis

Transversus Abdominis

Transversus Abdominis Connect to Your Core With This Twist Techniquespinal rotationCONNECT TO YOUR CORE Once you are exposed to transformational techniques for your yoga practice, there’s no turning back. In the context of asana, these techniques open you up to a...

read more
Hip Flexor Strength

Hip Flexor Strength

Hip Flexor Strength Access Deeper Forward FoldsuttanasanaHIP FLEXOR STRENGTH OVER HAMSTRING FLEXIBILITY? Hip flexor strength for deeper forward folds over hamstring flexibility? It’s not a matter of one or the other; it’s about how one can inform the other. It’s also...

read more
Spinal Freedom In Revolved Low Lunge

Spinal Freedom In Revolved Low Lunge

Spinal Freedom in Revolved Low Lunge 5-Part Twist TechniqueanjaneyasanaREVOLVED LOW LUNGE TECHNIQUE You’re going to multiply the benefits of twisting postures with this 5-part twist technique. There are already benefits you may knowingly and/or unknowingly receive...

read more
King Pigeon Variations

King Pigeon Variations

King Pigeon Variations Full Body Awareness for Your ShouldersmobilityKING PIGEON If you’ve practiced with Matt before, you’ll be aware of the domino effect or the ripple effect of how a yoga posture unfolds. Matt brilliantly breaks down every pose with care and...

read more
Reverse Plank Pose

Reverse Plank Pose

Reverse Plank Pose Scapular Retraction for Back StrengthPURVOTTANASANAREVERSE PLANK POSE Asymmetry is a common issue when it comes to our asana practice. Opportunities to work on strengthening muscles in the back body are much less frequent than opportunities to...

read more

THE FREE TECHNIQUE PACK

When You Subscribe You Will Get Instant Access To

  • The Technique Pack: 15 Yoga Pose Breakdowns
  • Exclusive Online Course Discounts
  • Exclusive Blogs and Videos
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Hip Flexor Strength

Hip Flexor Strength

Access Deeper Forward Folds

uttanasana

HIP FLEXOR STRENGTH OVER HAMSTRING FLEXIBILITY?

Hip flexor strength for deeper forward folds over hamstring flexibility? It’s not a matter of one or the other; it’s about how one can inform the other. It’s also about how, through the process of connecting with developing strength in your hip flexors, you not only learn and discover more about your body, but you also build a deeper, more intimate connection with your body’s potential. In today’s video, you’ll get a glimpse into one of the formulas Matt utilizes to gain access to a deeper forward fold. The method is very specific and intentional. You’ll learn to execute how you have the potential to strengthen and articulate specific movements of the pelvis and spine. Within specific techniques that Matt breaks down, you’ll witness the evolution of your new approach to accessing deeper forward folds.

TWISTS & FOLDS

TWISTS & FOLDS

  • Strengthen core muscles of rotation and side bends
  • Improve spinal mobility
  • Improve spinal flexion for seated postures
  • Strengthen your back and deep core
  • Access greater flexibility of the hips for seated postures
  • Classes will bring you to a sweat and back down to a relaxed state
  • 12 Classes: All levels appropriate
  • Lifetime unlimited access to all
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REVERSE YOUR BACKBEND

Coming into a forward fold position, whether seated or standing, can be an almost “effortless” action if that’s your intention. This may be all that is necessary in a specific scenario, but there is so much more available to you. It’s funny how you would never take this “effortless” approach going backwards into a backbend. It’s easy to conceive and appreciate how calculated and thoughtful you must be to safely execute a backbend like Wheel, for example. Folding forward, however, presents opportunities to be just as deliberate. Matt compares the approach to a forward fold as almost the “reversal of a backbend.” If you’ve practiced with Matt before, then you’ll be familiar with the concept of bowing the spine (lifting the belly in and up while flaring the ribcage forward) in order to reduce spinal compression by creating increased length between each vertebra.

A similar approach is taken in a forward fold. In this case, it’s important to be aware of finding more of an anterior tilt of your pelvis—this may require sitting up on blankets—and then drawing the mid-section back to find more flexion of the spine. There is much more involved in the approach, but reversing a backbend is probably one of the most accessible visuals.

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HIP FLEXOR STRENGTH:  ACCESS DEEPER FORWARD FOLDS

SPINAL FLEXION & DISC INJURIES

It’s extremely important to note that spinal flexion is not advisable if you’re experiencing any disc injuries—a herniated disc, for example. Aggravating this condition with spinal flexion may cause further compression of the nerves or spinal cord, causing more pain and/or dysfunction. When you practice with Matt, however, you’ll learn very quickly that there are always ways and opportunities to transform the experience in your body. Focusing on hip flexor strength for deeper forward folds might be the only aspect you work on, if that is all that’s possible in your body at a given time.

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THE ROLE OF THE HIP FLEXORS

Focusing on hip flexor strength for deeper forward folds is integral to your practice because it both informs the articulation of the pelvis and helps increase flexibility in the hamstrings. This happens via a technique called reciprocal inhibition: activating the muscles that oppose the muscles that are stretching. Yes, hamstring flexibility is necessary, but it can be challenging, and if that is an area of tension for you, it can be extremely vulnerable to injury.  

In today’s video, Matt demonstrates (from an Ardha Uttanasana, or Halfway Lift, position) that when you push your heels out (causing internal rotation of the upper thighs) and lift up through your sit bones, you will activate the tensor fasciae latae (TFL) muscle. In addition, Matt explains that if you lift your kneecaps up, it will also activate the rectus femoris, a quadricep muscle that is also a hip flexor. A bonus effort is to pull your big toes towards one another to activate the pectineus, a deep adductor muscle; as mentioned, it will support bringing the pelvis into anterior tilt. Activating these muscle groups while the hamstrings are lengthening is in fact reciprocal inhibition. These steps offer an essential foundation to help you intelligently move into a forward fold, safely and deeply.

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THE FINAL STEPS

Once you’ve implemented the above steps, and if spinal flexion is a safe shape for you to explore, following these next steps will offer deeper access:

  1. Bow forward
  2. Lean more into your fingers and toes
  3. Pull your front ribs back to round the spine and create more spinal flexion (with a focus on the thoracic region)
  4. Think about the back of your skull reaching towards the ground
  5. Lean more into your toes and fingers once again to support your balance
  6. Pull your front ribs in and look towards your belly button

Finally, stay there to breathe and enjoy the new sensations and patterns you’re creating for your body and your nervous system.

Working on hip flexor strength for deeper forward folds will actually offer a gateway to a vast number of other yoga postures. You can continue to explore the possibilities in Matt’s current Twist & Folds immersion.

See you on the mat!

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Article by Trish Curling

Video Extracted From: Mobility Immersion

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Seated vs. Standing Dandasana

Seated vs. Standing Dandasana

Seated vs. Standing Dandasana Prepare for Seated Forward Foldstaff poseSEATED VS. STANDING DANDASANA Seated vs. Standing Dandasana (Staff Pose)—why compare the two? Not only are we going to examine how they differ, but we’re also going to dive in and really look at...

read more
Transversus Abdominis

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read more
Hip Flexor Strength

Hip Flexor Strength

Hip Flexor Strength Access Deeper Forward FoldsuttanasanaHIP FLEXOR STRENGTH OVER HAMSTRING FLEXIBILITY? Hip flexor strength for deeper forward folds over hamstring flexibility? It’s not a matter of one or the other; it’s about how one can inform the other. It’s also...

read more
Spinal Freedom In Revolved Low Lunge

Spinal Freedom In Revolved Low Lunge

Spinal Freedom in Revolved Low Lunge 5-Part Twist TechniqueanjaneyasanaREVOLVED LOW LUNGE TECHNIQUE You’re going to multiply the benefits of twisting postures with this 5-part twist technique. There are already benefits you may knowingly and/or unknowingly receive...

read more
King Pigeon Variations

King Pigeon Variations

King Pigeon Variations Full Body Awareness for Your ShouldersmobilityKING PIGEON If you’ve practiced with Matt before, you’ll be aware of the domino effect or the ripple effect of how a yoga posture unfolds. Matt brilliantly breaks down every pose with care and...

read more
Reverse Plank Pose

Reverse Plank Pose

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read more

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Spinal Freedom In Revolved Low Lunge

Spinal Freedom in Revolved Low Lunge

5-Part Twist Technique

anjaneyasana

REVOLVED LOW LUNGE TECHNIQUE

You’re going to multiply the benefits of twisting postures with this 5-part twist technique. There are already benefits you may knowingly and/or unknowingly receive from incorporating twist postures into your asana practice, but this is going to take it to a new level. This technique is going to show you how you can strengthen your body and be more intentional about how you execute twist postures. In today’s video, Matt breaks down this technique in Revolved Low Lunge. The technique can be applied to other twisting postures in your yoga practice, but Revolved Low Lunge is a great way to explore the technique with a solid base.

TWISTS & FOLDS

TWISTS & FOLDS

  • Strengthen core muscles of rotation and side bends
  • Improve spinal mobility
  • Improve spinal flexion for seated postures
  • Strengthen your back and deep core
  • Access greater flexibility of the hips for seated postures
  • Classes will bring you to a sweat and back down to a relaxed state
  • 12 Classes: All levels appropriate
  • Lifetime unlimited access to all
  • Attend the livestream OR practice the replays any time that's convenient for you

$168.00 $138.00

THE BENEFITS OF TWIST POSTURES

So, what are some of the benefits of twist postures? At the most basic level, there’s nothing like the “feel good” sensation they provide. Twist postures are often a nice go-to when you are experiencing tension in your back. It’s almost an intuitive response of the body to twist when we want to “get the kinks out,” so to speak. Twists also play a role in increased circulation and mobility. “Twists do affect our mobility (movement of organs in relation to each other) and our motility (movement within an organ),” which also promotes increased circulation. This is not to say that no other factors are involved, but there is a contribution. Twists are an important part of creating a more balanced asana practice.

Kaminoff, Leslie & Matthews, Amy. Yoga Anatomy, Human Kinetics, Champaign, IL 2012

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SPINAL FREEDOM: 5-PART TWIST TECHNIQUE

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SPINAL HEALTH & FREEDOM

“The spine is literally the ‘core’ of the body. It is the deepest, most centrally located structure.” David Keil, in Functional Anatomy of Yoga, goes on to explain that there is a variety of structures in the body that are directly and indirectly attached to the spine. This delineates the importance and weight that the spine carries in your body.  

In order to experience “spinal freedom,” you must have a level of both strength and fluidity in the spine. Your experience on your yoga mat always depends on your intention regarding a particular pose and/or practice. It also depends on what you know about your body. In regard to twists and the 5-part technique he utilizes in Revolved Low Lunge, Matt talks about this approach to the technique. You’ll see in the video (and read in the breakdown) that there are several muscle activations that take place. These activations can be executed to suit your body’s individual needs. Matt details that if you are hypermobile, which he talks about in the full video from which today’s clip is extracted (see below), it may be more appropriate to hold onto each activation as you continue up the ladder of steps. This will help to create more stability. If the opposite is true, then you may perform the activations one at a time, because implementing the activations one at a time helps create more movement. Whether your intention is to stabilize or to create more movement, both are necessary in order to maintain spinal health. 

Keil, David. Functional Anatomy of Yoga: A Guide to Practitioners and Teachers, Lotus Publishing, Chichester, England. 2014

200 Hour Online Teacher Training Certification

200 HOUR ONLINE TEACHER TRAINING

GET CERTIFIED & DEEPEN YOUR YOGA PRACTICE

  • Deepen your yoga practice
  • Build confidence speaking in front of groups in person and online
  • Learn foundational class structures and templates
  • Learn techniques for a wide range of yoga postures
  • Get certified and highly qualified to teach yoga
  • Yoga Alliance Globally Recognized Certification Program

MOVEMENTS OF THE SPINE

Within this twist technique, there is so much more than rotation in order to increase your body’s potential. The technique, demonstrated in Revolved Low Lunge, shows you how to create movement with the strength of the rotators of the spine and the abdominal muscles. Instead of relying on a more passive execution, using the strength and push of the rear deltoids and triceps to deepen the twist, this technique provides an opportunity to create more strength and integrity so as to support spinal stability and freedom of movement. You’ll see in Matt’s demonstration that multiple movements of the spine are implemented in order to fulfill the technique. You’ll also see a degree of axial extension (lifting and lengthening in order to activate the transversus abdominis); spinal flexion (to initiate the twist); a degree of lateral flexion on each side of the body; and lastly, spinal extension in order to create the backbend within the twist. Exploring all of these movements of the spine supports the ambition to create stability, strength, flexibility, and mobility. Let’s break down the steps of this technique in Revolved Low Lunge.

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300 HOUR ONLINE TEACHER TRAINING

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Master your skill set as a teacher through refined techniques, anatomy, biomechanics, sequencing, philosophy, meditation techniques, theming, yoga business, and much more!

  • Get 500 hour certified
  • Learn anatomy, biomechanics, asana techniques
  • Expand your teaching skills
  • Masterful sequencing and verbal delivery
  • Learn meditation and breathwork techniques
  • Transformative tools: theming, dharma talks, satsang
  • Business, branding, marketing, and social media skills

5-PART TWIST TECHNIQUE

In truth, the technique can probably be broken down into 4 parts, but there’s no getting stronger or going deeper in any yoga posture without setting a foundation and becoming more aware of your breath within each step.

In the video, Matt goes through the steps multiple times to offer a focus on the technique itself, the muscle activations taking place, and the breath-pairing alongside the technique.

Steps in Revolved Low Lunge

(Left foot forward)

  1. Set the foundation—pull your knees together and pull your belly up
  2. Round the upper back and twist
  3. Side bend up to the sky (left waistline shortens)
  4. *Pause and wait, breath in, then side bend back towards the thigh (close the gap—right waistline shortens)
  5. Backbend (with option to open the arms)

Breath-Pairing Steps

  1. Take a breath in and pull the belly in and up as in Cobra; as you exhale, round the upper back and initiate the twist
  2. Inhale, side bend the left ribs up to the sky (you can also hold the side bend for some of the twist)
  3. Inhale in the side bend; on the exhale, the right-side body gets short, so side bend towards the ground
  4. Inhale backbend
  5. Twist more on the exhale

REQUIRE MORE FROM YOUR TWISTS

Approaching twists in this way offers you the opportunity to be in more control of your body, both on the mat and in your everyday functional movement and activities. Moving in this way creates more confidence. It may be more challenging to ask more from your body, but the payoff is extraordinary. Not only will you experience a deeper twist, but the sensations you are left with also reveal the strength and integrity you are creating in your body. The advantage of exploring this twist technique in Revolved Low Lunge is that you can remain closer to the ground, which removes the added balance element. You can safely delve into the technique and then later apply it to more complex twisting postures. Take the opportunity to dive deeper into the possibility of twists in Matt’s December 2022 immersion, Twists & Folds.

See you on the mat!

The 200 Hr. Teacher Training: Click Here to See the Next Start Date

The 300 Hr. Advanced Teacher Training: Click Here to See the Next Start Date

Article by Trish Curling

Video Extracted From: Spinal Awakening

UPCOMING TEACHER TRAININGS

NEXT TRAINING BEGINS FEBRUARY 26, 2023 ENROLLMENT NOW OPEN
NEXT TRAINING BEGINS FEBRUARY 18, 2023. ENROLLMENT NOW OPEN

Continue Learning

Seated vs. Standing Dandasana

Seated vs. Standing Dandasana

Seated vs. Standing Dandasana Prepare for Seated Forward Foldstaff poseSEATED VS. STANDING DANDASANA Seated vs. Standing Dandasana (Staff Pose)—why compare the two? Not only are we going to examine how they differ, but we’re also going to dive in and really look at...

read more
Transversus Abdominis

Transversus Abdominis

Transversus Abdominis Connect to Your Core With This Twist Techniquespinal rotationCONNECT TO YOUR CORE Once you are exposed to transformational techniques for your yoga practice, there’s no turning back. In the context of asana, these techniques open you up to a...

read more
Hip Flexor Strength

Hip Flexor Strength

Hip Flexor Strength Access Deeper Forward FoldsuttanasanaHIP FLEXOR STRENGTH OVER HAMSTRING FLEXIBILITY? Hip flexor strength for deeper forward folds over hamstring flexibility? It’s not a matter of one or the other; it’s about how one can inform the other. It’s also...

read more
Spinal Freedom In Revolved Low Lunge

Spinal Freedom In Revolved Low Lunge

Spinal Freedom in Revolved Low Lunge 5-Part Twist TechniqueanjaneyasanaREVOLVED LOW LUNGE TECHNIQUE You’re going to multiply the benefits of twisting postures with this 5-part twist technique. There are already benefits you may knowingly and/or unknowingly receive...

read more
King Pigeon Variations

King Pigeon Variations

King Pigeon Variations Full Body Awareness for Your ShouldersmobilityKING PIGEON If you’ve practiced with Matt before, you’ll be aware of the domino effect or the ripple effect of how a yoga posture unfolds. Matt brilliantly breaks down every pose with care and...

read more
Reverse Plank Pose

Reverse Plank Pose

Reverse Plank Pose Scapular Retraction for Back StrengthPURVOTTANASANAREVERSE PLANK POSE Asymmetry is a common issue when it comes to our asana practice. Opportunities to work on strengthening muscles in the back body are much less frequent than opportunities to...

read more

TWISTS & FOLDS

TWISTS & FOLDS

  • Strengthen core muscles of rotation and side bends
  • Improve spinal mobility
  • Improve spinal flexion for seated postures
  • Strengthen your back and deep core
  • Access greater flexibility of the hips for seated postures
  • Classes will bring you to a sweat and back down to a relaxed state
  • 12 Classes: All levels appropriate
  • Lifetime unlimited access to all
  • Attend the livestream OR practice the replays any time that's convenient for you

$168.00 $138.00

THE FREE TECHNIQUE PACK

When You Subscribe You Will Get Instant Access To

  • The Technique Pack: 15 Yoga Pose Breakdowns
  • Exclusive Online Course Discounts
  • Exclusive Blogs and Videos
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

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