hips and hamstring flexibility

Hips & Hamstrings Flexibility

“The 4 Quadrants of The Hips”

Hip & Hamstrings

Hips And Hamstrings Flexibility

Why Is Hip Mobility Important?

If you practice yoga you are sure to increase your flexibility of the hips and hamstrings. However, that doesn’t mean you will gain greater mobility and functionality, or even be able to access the myriad of hip opening postures. The reason for this is because most of us don’t realize just how many muscles surround the hips. Because it is a ball in socket joint, there are a tone of available movements. That said, most of us only utilize about 2 of the movements on the daily: flexion and extension which allow us to walk, sit and stand.

Because we only make use of two movements, we tend to be over developed in one or two muscle groups and under developed in the others. The problem with this is limited range of motion, but more importantly imbalanced hip alignment which could lead to hip pain, or increased friction in the hip joint over time, potentially damaging the soft tissue. Bottom line, its important to work toward more even strength and flexibility in all the muscles that surround the hips.

Before we dive in, let me be clear – there is no magic place of health and balance where everything is perfect and no pain ever exists. We can however find a place where our body feels good on a regular basis, and we have the awareness to catch ourselves when one muscle group is getting too tight, strong, weak, or flexible. In other words we can build a relationship with our body, and learn what it needs and be able to catch an issue before it becomes a long term problem. 

THE BENEFITS GO BEYOND PAIN RELIEF. Developing awareness of your hips can allow you to move better on a daily basis, AND access more postures within the context of yoga.

yoga backbend techniques: 12 classes [backbend technique to relieve back pain "bowing the spine']

"HIPS & HAMSTRINGS" IMMERSION

  • Increase Range Of Motion Of Your Hips & Hamstrings
  • Learn Techniques like “Fascillitated Stretching”
  • Release Stress Patterns, Discomfort, or Pain in Your Hips, Back and Knees.
  • Twelve 75 min Classes, All Levels Appropriate
  • Learn Postures: Pigeon, Lizard Variations, Lotus, Eagle, Hanuman, Fire Log, Seated Straddle Splits and More!
  • Lifetime Unlimited Access to All

4 Quadrants of The Hips

To simplify development of your hips and hamstrings flexibility we can break down the muscle groups into for basic categories: Front, Back, Inside, Outside. There are muscles that exist in each of these areas that create movements.

  1. Front: Hips Flexors, and Quadriceps
  2. Back: Buttock Muscles such as Gluteus Maximus and Piriformus 
  3. Inside: Adductor Muscle Group 
  4. Outside: Abductor Muscle Group such as Gluteus Minimus, Medius and T.F.L

This is of course a simplified way of looking at the hips, some muscles cross over from the outside to the inside such as the Sartorius, or from the back side to the inside such as the Adductor Magnus. But the simplification is helpful if you aren’t an anatomy nerd and just want to feel better in your hips.

 

the best yoga teacher training for alignment

300 HOUR ONLINE TEACHER TRAINING

GET 500 HOUR CERTIFIED AS A MASTER TEACHER

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

WHAT ARE “The 4 Quadrants of the Hips”?

THE #1 BACKBEND TECHNIQUE TO RELIEVE BACK PAIN AND INCREASE SPINAL FLEXIBILITY

“Bowing the Spine” is a technique that combines a few key elements which I go over in detail in the video below. The dominant action is sliding your intervertebral discs forward which requires a deliberate shifting of your rib cage. The secondary action is lengthening the distance between the upper and lower body.

If you want to try this technique in your practice, and learn how to develop greater strength, range of motion, and body awareness with backbends, join me for May’s 12-class immersion: Heart Openers: Discover the Joy of Backbending

FREE VIDEO PODCAST: STRATEGY FOR HIP AND HAMSTRING FLEXIBILITY

To implement this technique and access your flexibility

 Hips and Hamstrings: 12 Class Immersion

WHAT ARE THE ACTIONS AT THE HIPS?

Each quadrant of muscles groups have actions, meaning movements that we are capable of when we engage one or more muscles. 

  1. Front: Hip Flexion & Anterior Tilt of the Pelvis
  2. Back: Hip Extension & Posterior Tilt of the Pelvis
  3. Inside: Adduction – moving thighbones toward each other
  4. Outside: Abduction – moving thigh bones away from one another
yoga backbend techniques: 12 classes [backbend technique to relieve back pain "bowing the spine']

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How Do We Apply The “4 Qaudrants” to Develop Greater Hips and Hamstrings Flexiblitty?

The easiest way to develop your flexibility is to strengthen each muscles group until it can perform to its potential. The Rule of thumb is to pick a side that you want to increase flexibility on, and strengthen the opposite. That means if you want to increase hamstring flexibility (back quadrant) you would strengthen the front quadrant (hip flexors and quads). It’s actually simple but we make it super complicated. Instead of just trying to stretch of muscle, hoping that gravity will do it for you, just strengthen the muscle that does the action you are intending and flexibilty will be the innevitable result. In this way not only will you gain flexiblity but you will ALSO be building strength.

In the video above I also talk about fascillitated Stretching as another technique. Be sure to watch the video for more details on this method and if you want to develop flexibility, access more postures, and release nagging pain than join me for the Hips and Hamstrings Immersion. I will see you on the mat! 

yoga backbend techniques: 12 classes [backbend technique to relieve back pain "bowing the spine']

"HIPS & HAMSTRINGS" IMMERSION

  • Increase Range Of Motion Of Your Hips & Hamstrings
  • Learn Techniques like “Fascillitated Stretching”
  • Release Stress Patterns, Discomfort, or Pain in Your Hips, Back and Knees.
  • Twelve 75 min Classes, All Levels Appropriate
  • Learn Postures: Pigeon, Lizard Variations, Lotus, Eagle, Hanuman, Fire Log, Seated Straddle Splits and More!
  • Lifetime Unlimited Access to All

Continue Learning

hips and hamstring flexibility

hips and hamstring flexibility

Hips & Hamstrings Flexibility "The 4 Quadrants of The Hips"Hip & Hamstrings Hips And Hamstrings Flexibility Why Is Hip Mobility Important? If you practice yoga you are sure to increase your flexibility of the hips and hamstrings. However, that doesn't mean you will...

read more
Yoga Sequencing: Teaching Technique Reverse Engineering

Yoga Sequencing: Teaching Technique Reverse Engineering

Intelligent Yoga Sequence Technique "REVERSE ENGINEERING"Yoga Sequencing HOW TO DESIGN AN INTELLIGENT YOGA SEQUENCE REVERSE ENGINEERING Designing an intelligent yoga sequence for your at-home practice or for your students can create a massive lifelong impact. Whether...

read more
Best Backbend Technique to relieve back pain

Best Backbend Technique to relieve back pain

Backbend Technique to relieve back pain "BOWING THE SPINE"Bowing The Spine Why are backbends uncomfortable for many people? Can we do anything to change this? Let's dive into my #1 backbend technique to relieve back pain, and provide you with maximum range of motion....

read more
firefly pose titibhasana

firefly pose titibhasana

FIREFLY POSE TITIBHASANA STEP BY STEP TUTORIAL: LEARN TO FLYFIREFLY POSE FIREFLY POSE: TITIBHASANA STEP BY STEP TUTORIAL: 4 KEY ACTIONS Firefly pose (Titibhasana) might have you thinking, “There is no way I’ll ever be able to do THAT pose!” Yes, for sure it requires...

read more
release low back pain in backbends

release low back pain in backbends

YOGA ALIGNMENT: COBRA POSE RELEASE LOW BACK PAIN IN BACKBENDSCOBRA POSE YOGA ALIGNMENT: COBRA POSE HOW TO RELEASE LOW BACK PAIN IN BACKBENDS If you feel back pain in backbends, you are not alone. Many people experience low back pain in backbends. If you're...

read more

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Yoga Sequencing: Teaching Technique Reverse Engineering

Intelligent Yoga Sequence Technique

“REVERSE ENGINEERING”

Yoga Sequencing

HOW TO DESIGN AN INTELLIGENT YOGA SEQUENCE

REVERSE ENGINEERING

Designing an intelligent yoga sequence for your at-home practice or for your students can create a massive lifelong impact. Whether you are an at-home practitioner looking to build your personal practice, an aspiring yoga teacher, or a seasoned teacher looking to increase the efficacy of your classes, this is for you.

Because most of the 200 hour yoga trainings in the west have so much material to cover in a relatively short amount of time, the element most often neglected is anatomy, especially designing yoga sequences that help your students get the most from their time with you.

So today I want to share a yoga technique with you that I teach in my 200 and 300 hour trainings.

Designing a class is much like a puzzle; there is a clear destination in mind, but we need to put one piece together at a time. Or consider sequencing as an instruction manual, a step-by-step, action-oriented guide for what to do and when to do it. In order to design an intelligent yoga sequence, we can use a technique that I call “Reverse Engineering.” What does that mean?

yoga backbend techniques: 12 classes [backbend technique to relieve back pain "bowing the spine']

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First you want to know what your peak posture is.

A peak pose is a yoga pose that is challenging to your student. That challenge may present itself as requiring one of four anatomical elements.

  1. Strength
  2. Flexibility 
  3. Balance 
  4. Proprioception (knowing where your body is in space)

Balance and proprioception can overlap, but they each present their own challenges, so I count those as separate features.

So choose a peak posture. For today, let’s work with Dancer Pose (Natarajasana), because Dancer Pose requires a few different anatomical elements.

After you choose your peak pose, now assess the anatomy of the pose.

In my 200 hour and 300 hour trainings, we go into much more specificity of many yoga poses- covering anatomy, biomechanics, and technique. To clarify, the 200 hour training is designed for yogis looking to deepen their practice and learn the skillsets for teaching yoga. The 300 hour training, on the other hand, is for certified yoga teachers looking to certify at the 500 hour level. In this training, you wish to develop a masterful understanding of the body, as it relates to the yoga practice, and attain highest level skillsets as a teacher (200 hour + 300 Hour = 500 Hour Certified). 

You don’t have to be an anatomy expert to design a yoga sequence that will help your students get the most from your classes and come to know their bodies better. Anatomy is really just a language- names for bones, muscles, joints, etc. These are important, of course, but communication and connection with your students is arguably even more important.

A surgeon might be incredible at her craft but if she doesn’t have a good bedside manner, she won’t make her patient feel comfortable and that can impact how well the surgery goes. A yoga teacher might know a lot about anatomy but if they aren’t connecting with their students, the students may not return and a valuable opportunity is missed.

So let’s think about Dancer Pose. If you’re an anatomy geek like me, you may already be thinking about what makes this posture challenging for some and accessible for others. To assess this, we need to look at which muscles are lengthening and which will require flexibility. If you are a yoga teacher already, this will likely be familiar because typically you learn this at the 200 hour level. In my 300 hour training, we go a step further and consider required strength, as well as actions, techniques and bio mechanics. To keep things simple, I won’t be diving into all these avenues here. My intention is to convey the structure of an intelligent yoga sequence. Once you understand the structure, it can be applied to all aspects of the physical practice. 

 

the best yoga teacher training for alignment

300 HOUR ONLINE TEACHER TRAINING

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

Assessing The Peak Pose

What is a peak pose?

Many people get worked up when I mention a “peak pose” because they feel yoga shouldn’t be destination-oriented. This is not actually the teaching of yoga. Yoga has a very clear goal, or destination, in every ancient text. No sacred teaching instructs us to eliminate the destination. Rather, the teachings reveal that focused attention on actions,  thoughts, breath, etc. cultivate awareness. Some would call this ultimate awareness Samadhi,  or Consiousness, Being, Union, Stillness, Mindfuless….the list goes on. Point is, these are all goals.

So asana practices are what help us move toward the ultimate awareness, BUT there is a caveat. If you are focused solely on that goal while you practice, you will not be aware of the elements of your practice and will miss out on important nuances. Ironically, keeping your focus only on the goal means you’re less likely to achieve it. This applies to a peak pose as well. If you are focused only on the peak pose and rush through the preparatory poses and techniques,  you miss necessary learning and will be less likely to access the peak pose in the most efficient, functional, and even life-changing way.

As a teacher, you use a peak posture as a destination and work backwards. Think of it like using a GPS in your car: you enter the destination from your original point and it delivers step-by-step instructions. If you don’t pay attention to the steps, you don’t arrive.

Let’s assess Dancer Pose and develop a road map for your students so they can step into presence and action. With you as their guide, your students do not necessarily need to know the destination. In this way, you can keep calling their attention to “the now” every step of the way. This method is for you, the designer of an intelligent yoga sequence. 

Let’s think about the shape. You know that in Dancer Pose, you will need to reach your arm back. So what could you do with your students that would prepare their bodies to reach back?

Here’s the question:

What muscles are limiting the ability to reach back?

Answer: pectoralis major (chest), front deltoids (shoulder)

Do you need to know that? NO. Another easy way to assess is to reach back with your arm and feel what area of your body is stretching. To prepare yourself for this action, you would simply do other poses that stretch the same area.

Dancer Pose also requires balance. What pose could you offer that would require balance AND reach arms back? 

If you said Airplane Pose (Dekasana), we’re on the same flight. 😉

Dancer Pose also requires a backbend, so you’d want to prepare your students by including yoga poses that extend the spine, like Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana). 

Bonus: Stretch the front thighs and hip flexors. You could prepare students for this in a low lunge (Anjanay asana), perhaps with bound hands, or reaching for the back foot. (This might be too intense for some with tight quads. Use a strap to make it more accessible.)

All these poses that prepare your students for the peak pose are what I call “layering poses.” In my trainings, I teach my students to prepare 5-7 of these poses. These are the real substance of a good sequence. You can still include other poses to help warm up the body and get your students connecting their movements to breath, but layering poses are the ones you’ve put the most thought into. They are the poses that will transform your time with your students from a class to an experience. 

So let’s review. Here are the steps to design a powerful and effective yoga sequence for your yoga students. 

1.     Choose a peak posture.

2.     Assess the anatomy of that peak pose, or look at the shape.

3.     Teach 5-7 poses that mimic that shape and prepare your students for the peak pose.

FREE VIDEO PODCAST ON CREATING AN INTELLIGENT YOGA SEQUENCE USING THE TECHNIQUE OF “REVERSE ENGINEERING”

LOOKING TO DEVELOP YOUR BACKBENDING PRACTICE? CHECK OUT

 Heart Openers: Discover the Joy of Backbending

MISTAKES TO AVOID

It’s pretty common for a teacher to think of a peak pose, like Dancer Pose, and think hmm…shoulder openers; I need shoulder openers. Then they offer poses like Eagle Pose (Garudasana). True, Eagle opens the shoulder muscles, but the exact opposite shoulder muscles needed for Dancer. If you were using this as a way to shorten opposing muscles before lengthening them, then that could be an intelligent decision. But in terms of preparatory lengthening, Eagle is not the right layering pose for Dancer.  Accuracy is key, which is why the 200 Hour and 300 Hour are so focused on developing refined skills and understanding of the body. 

With the right sequencing, your classes will be more supportive and your students will leave feeling like they’ve learned something. That learning will stay with them throughout their lives. This is what it means to create an impact.

Follow the structure laid out in the video:

1. Choose a peak posture.

2. Assess the challenges: flexibility, strength, balance, proprioception. I suggest starting with flexibility to keep it simple.

3. Choose 5-7 layering postures.

4. Weave these poses through your class.

Ready to go deeper into anatomy, biomechanics, and sequencing? In my 200 and 300 hour trainings, we not only cover those topics, but you will also learn techniques for meditation, pranayama, yoga philosophy, and developing your yoga business. The 200 hour training is suitable for all levels. If you have a burning curiosity to learn and develop your practice, then the 200 hour training is perfect for you. The 300 hour training is only suitable for yoga teachers at the 200 or 500 hour level looking to become more masterful as professional yoga teachers. 

Not sure if the training is right for you at this time? Send me an email and we can set up a time to chat.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
yoga backbend techniques: 12 classes

"HEART OPENERS" IMMERSION

  • Increase Spinal Range Of Motion
  • Master Techniques like “Bowing the Spine”
  • Release Stress Patterns, Discomfort or Pain in your Back
  • Twelve 75 min Classes, All Levels Appropriate
  • Learn Postures: Full Wheel, Bow, Camel, King Pigeon, King Dancer, King Cobra, Scorpion & more!
  • Lifetime Unlimited Access to All

Continue Learning

hips and hamstring flexibility

hips and hamstring flexibility

Hips & Hamstrings Flexibility "The 4 Quadrants of The Hips"Hip & Hamstrings Hips And Hamstrings Flexibility Why Is Hip Mobility Important? If you practice yoga you are sure to increase your flexibility of the hips and hamstrings. However, that doesn't mean you will...

read more
Yoga Sequencing: Teaching Technique Reverse Engineering

Yoga Sequencing: Teaching Technique Reverse Engineering

Intelligent Yoga Sequence Technique "REVERSE ENGINEERING"Yoga Sequencing HOW TO DESIGN AN INTELLIGENT YOGA SEQUENCE REVERSE ENGINEERING Designing an intelligent yoga sequence for your at-home practice or for your students can create a massive lifelong impact. Whether...

read more
Best Backbend Technique to relieve back pain

Best Backbend Technique to relieve back pain

Backbend Technique to relieve back pain "BOWING THE SPINE"Bowing The Spine Why are backbends uncomfortable for many people? Can we do anything to change this? Let's dive into my #1 backbend technique to relieve back pain, and provide you with maximum range of motion....

read more
firefly pose titibhasana

firefly pose titibhasana

FIREFLY POSE TITIBHASANA STEP BY STEP TUTORIAL: LEARN TO FLYFIREFLY POSE FIREFLY POSE: TITIBHASANA STEP BY STEP TUTORIAL: 4 KEY ACTIONS Firefly pose (Titibhasana) might have you thinking, “There is no way I’ll ever be able to do THAT pose!” Yes, for sure it requires...

read more
release low back pain in backbends

release low back pain in backbends

YOGA ALIGNMENT: COBRA POSE RELEASE LOW BACK PAIN IN BACKBENDSCOBRA POSE YOGA ALIGNMENT: COBRA POSE HOW TO RELEASE LOW BACK PAIN IN BACKBENDS If you feel back pain in backbends, you are not alone. Many people experience low back pain in backbends. If you're...

read more

Newsletter

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.

Best Backbend Technique to relieve back pain

Backbend Technique to relieve back pain

“BOWING THE SPINE”

Bowing The Spine

Why are backbends uncomfortable for many people?

Can we do anything to change this?

Let’s dive into my #1 backbend technique to relieve back pain, and provide you with maximum range of motion. Before we do, though, we need to first acknowledge that backbends are not something most of us do every day. Quite the opposite. When is the last time you bent over backwards to type on your computer, eat a meal, or scroll through Instagram? It’s not a typical functional movement, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t serve our health and well-being.

A healthy spine has the capability to move forward and back. The easiest starting point to pain relief is always to figure out what your dominant movement or posture is, and slowly work to reverse it. Simply put, strengthening the back muscles and lengthening the front body muscles is the first step toward feeling great in your back. HOW to do this is the challenge.

Intuitively, we know how to move our bodies but that gets lost due to conditioned, repetitive patterning. Think of babies just about to crawl–they push themselves up into a back-bending low cobra first, and then eventually learn how to coordinate the knees. Somehow they figure out what needs to happen to move. Before your yoga practice, when was the last time your peeled yourself off the floor and did something like that cobra? So give yourself a break. If backbends are uncomfortable, it’s not because you aren’t capable;  your adult body just needs to learn it again.

yoga backbend techniques: 12 classes [backbend technique to relieve back pain "bowing the spine']

"HEART OPENERS" IMMERSION

  • Increase Spinal Range Of Motion
  • Master Techniques like “Bowing the Spine”
  • Release Stress Patterns, Discomfort, or Pain in your Back
  • Twelve 75 min Classes, All Levels Appropriate
  • Learn Postures: Full Wheel, Bow, Camel, King Pigeon, King Dancer, King Cobra, Scorpion & more!
  • Lifetime Unlimited Access to All

RECONNECT TO YOUR BODY WISDOM 

Make no mistake; you have that same inner wisdom that you did as a child, but it takes some retraining. What’s more, your body develops muscle memory from all the physical and emotional contracting you do during the day. Soon, shoulders slump forward, bringing your neck and head along with them. Arms move closer together and your chest caves in.

Yoga brings awareness to the felt sense of your physical potential beyond just basic needs. Back-bending is beyond your basic, functional needs, yet backbends can be so enriching and healing.

Learning anything new requires focused effort, routine, repetitive practice, and failure. The process is no different when it comes to learning postures in your body, except for one important distinction- failing body postures can lead to short or even long-term injury.

To minimize risk, we have to apply smart techniques and step-by-step actions informed by contemporary anatomy education. Rather than repeating the same uncomfortable backbends over and over, hoping for change, you learn and apply new techniques. With time and repetition, you can develop the appropriate strength and flexibility that could lead to joyful backbends.

 

the best yoga teacher training for alignment

300 HOUR ONLINE TEACHER TRAINING

GET 500 HOUR CERTIFIED AS A MASTER TEACHER

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

WHAT IS “BOWING THE SPINE”?

THE #1 BACKBEND TECHNIQUE TO RELIEVE BACK PAIN AND INCREASE SPINAL FLEXIBILITY

“Bowing the Spine” is a technique that combines a few key elements which I go over in detail in the video below. The dominant action is sliding your intervertebral discs forward which requires a deliberate shifting of your rib cage. The secondary action is lengthening the distance between the upper and lower body.

If you want to try this technique in your practice, and learn how to develop greater strength, range of motion, and body awareness with backbends, join me for May’s 12-class immersion: Heart Openers: Discover the Joy of Backbending

FREE VIDEO PODCAST ON BOWING THE SPINE WITH PROFESSOR MATT

To implement this technique and access your spinal potential, check out

 Heart Openers: Discover the Joy of Backbending

WILL THIS WORK FOR EVERYONE?

I personally don’t believe that there exists a practice, pose, or technique that is “one size fits all“. Everybody is different and some techniques will be more appropriate for one body than another. I came to yoga with scoliosis, a super tight Psoas, and daily back pain. Doing any backbend was torture for me. Today, backbends are my go-to pose to reset my spine and get back to feeling great in my body. Did that happen overnight? Absolutely not. It took years of practice and refinement. Bowing the spine is a backbend technique to relieve back pain and help you gain greater range of motion in your spine, but the technique itself cannot do it for you. Remember, you are the one doing the pose; the pose doesn’t do you. In other words, never try to fit yourself into a shape. Allow your body to find its own posture. That said, like any great challenge, we must learn the skills necessary to gracefully dance through it.

release low back pain in backbends with the spinal reset immersion

SPINAL RESET

Reset your spine with 12 classes focused on backbends, side bends, twists and forward folds. This immersion is a great way to learn bio-mechanics of the upper body. Get Lifetime, Unlimited access to all 12 classes today! 

FINAL THOUGHTS ON IMPLEMENTING THE BACKBEND TECHNIQUE TO RELIEVE BACK PAIN “BOWING THE SPINE”

If you want to balance your habitual physical patterns, backbends are an EXCELLENT practice to do so. Be sure that you are not just practicing shapes (that will tend to cause pain). Instead, practice techniques that give you access to the appropriate physical expression for your particular body. To learn how to apply this technique properly in your body, it is best to implement it under the guidance of someone who understands it within their own body. I highly recommend getting the Heart Openers 12 Class immersion in order to take the step-by-step journey that will not only leave you feeling proficient with the technique but also give you access to a wider range of backbend postures.

TOP RELEVANT RECOMMENDATIONS

  1. HEART OPENERS: Discover The Joy of Backbending [12 Class Immersion]
  2. “Journey to Bliss” (includes Full Wheel Workshop + 11 more master classes)
  3. THE SPINAL RESET: Back Bend, Side Bend, Twist [12 Class Immersion]

MORE WAYS TO DEVELOP YOUR PRACTICE

  1. Live Immersions: 3 Classes Per Week
  2. 200 hour training: Get Certified
  3. 300 Hour Online Training: Get 500hr Certified

 

yoga backbend techniques: 12 classes

"HEART OPENERS" IMMERSION

  • Increase Spinal Range Of Motion
  • Master Techniques like “Bowing the Spine”
  • Release Stress Patterns, Discomfort or Pain in your Back
  • Twelve 75 min Classes, All Levels Appropriate
  • Learn Postures: Full Wheel, Bow, Camel, King Pigeon, King Dancer, King Cobra, Scorpion & more!
  • Lifetime Unlimited Access to All

Continue Learning

hips and hamstring flexibility

hips and hamstring flexibility

Hips & Hamstrings Flexibility "The 4 Quadrants of The Hips"Hip & Hamstrings Hips And Hamstrings Flexibility Why Is Hip Mobility Important? If you practice yoga you are sure to increase your flexibility of the hips and hamstrings. However, that doesn't mean you will...

read more
Yoga Sequencing: Teaching Technique Reverse Engineering

Yoga Sequencing: Teaching Technique Reverse Engineering

Intelligent Yoga Sequence Technique "REVERSE ENGINEERING"Yoga Sequencing HOW TO DESIGN AN INTELLIGENT YOGA SEQUENCE REVERSE ENGINEERING Designing an intelligent yoga sequence for your at-home practice or for your students can create a massive lifelong impact. Whether...

read more
Best Backbend Technique to relieve back pain

Best Backbend Technique to relieve back pain

Backbend Technique to relieve back pain "BOWING THE SPINE"Bowing The Spine Why are backbends uncomfortable for many people? Can we do anything to change this? Let's dive into my #1 backbend technique to relieve back pain, and provide you with maximum range of motion....

read more
firefly pose titibhasana

firefly pose titibhasana

FIREFLY POSE TITIBHASANA STEP BY STEP TUTORIAL: LEARN TO FLYFIREFLY POSE FIREFLY POSE: TITIBHASANA STEP BY STEP TUTORIAL: 4 KEY ACTIONS Firefly pose (Titibhasana) might have you thinking, “There is no way I’ll ever be able to do THAT pose!” Yes, for sure it requires...

read more
release low back pain in backbends

release low back pain in backbends

YOGA ALIGNMENT: COBRA POSE RELEASE LOW BACK PAIN IN BACKBENDSCOBRA POSE YOGA ALIGNMENT: COBRA POSE HOW TO RELEASE LOW BACK PAIN IN BACKBENDS If you feel back pain in backbends, you are not alone. Many people experience low back pain in backbends. If you're...

read more

Newsletter

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.

firefly pose titibhasana

FIREFLY POSE TITIBHASANA

STEP BY STEP TUTORIAL: LEARN TO FLY

FIREFLY POSE

FIREFLY POSE: TITIBHASANA

STEP BY STEP TUTORIAL: 4 KEY ACTIONS

Firefly pose (Titibhasana) might have you thinking, “There is no way I’ll ever be able to do THAT pose!” Yes, for sure it requires strength and flexibility, but with the right application of techniques, you will surprise yourself.

Firefly is a pose I teach in many of my workshops and online immersion classes because it brings a lot of laughter and a lot of those “AHA” moments. Just have a couple of yoga blocks (or books), and a nice big couch cushion because you are probably going to find yourself accidentally seated a few times while learning. It’s part of the fun factor!

In the video below, I collected a few clips from online classes & immersions so you could see how I come into Firefly from different angles. Try this with me, and together we will unlock firefly pose – titibhasana.

There are four key actions you can apply to your Firefly pose right now. With consistent practice, your Firefly could take flight.

Arm Balances

ARM BALANCES

Learn 12+ Arm Balances while expanding your knowledge of the body and increasing your body awareness.  All Classes are 75 minutes and ALL levels appropriate 

  • Crow Pose, Side Crow, and Variations
  • Flying Pigeon, Koundenyasana 1 & 2
  • Titibasana, Bujaspidasana
  • Handstand, Forearmstand, and many more!

Firefly Pose • Titibhasana

The following firefly pose (titibhasana) tutorial footage in this video snippet is taken from the March 2021 Immersion titled MOVE•BREATHE•RELEASE

Firefly Pose Titibhasana Prep

To set up for Firefly pose titibhasana, you first want to separate your feet so that they’re wider than your hips. Then bring a set of yoga blocks behind your feet.  

Now, bring your arms to the inside of each leg, fingers facing forward. Bend generously into your knees, as if coming into a squat. Move your hands back behind your legs. Place the palms of your hands firmly on each block with hands wide- fingers/hands turned outward a bit usually provides more ease on the wrists. 

The final prep step is to bend your elbows, creating a sort of table for you to sit on. Be sure to keep your arms wide.

Now you’re ready for Firefly Pose, Titibhasana!

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4 KEY ACTIONS TO MOVE INTO FIREFLY POSE TITBHASANA

  1. Push into your hands and round your back, protracting your shoulder blades. That will activate your serratus anterior (shoulder blade muscles) and your core. You will instantly feel lighter as a result.
  2. Lift your heels and come onto your toes. Squeeze your legs toward each other. Miss this step and you’re likely to fall back. 
  3. Now, keep that squeeze and TURN your legs in. Better yet, try this step one leg at a time to get the feel for the squeeze. This is a really important step! Teachers– here is a key tip if you are demonstrating this for your students: if you’re demonstrating this pose, emphasize the thighs rolling in (if the knees are bent that means the feet will actually go outward – so keep their attention on what your upper thighs are doing to avoid confusion). 
  4. Lastly, and least important, straighten your legs (your knee joints) by activating your quadriceps.
Arm Balances

ARM BALANCES

Learn 12+ Arm Balances while expanding your knowledge of the body and increasing your body awareness.  All Classes are 75 minutes and ALL levels appropriate 

  • Crow Pose, Side Crow, and Variations
  • Flying Pigeon, Koundenyasana 1 & 2
  • Titibasana, Bujaspidasana
  • Handstand, Forearmstand, and many more!

Can’t straighten your legs?

Many people tell me their hamstrings are too tight so they can’t straighten their legs. That may be the case, OR it may be that the quadriceps are too weak against the tightness of the hamstrings. To be honest, approaching from the perspective of what to strengthen is usually far safer and more effective than just stretching.

Sit in a straddle position (don’t worry about how wide). Activate your quads by pulling your knee caps toward your hips and straightening your knees. Now, keep your right knee straight and lift your right thigh off the ground. Crazy how much of a challenge just this can be! You can lean back at first; that might help. Try each side. Even if you can’t get each leg off the ground, you will be developing your quad strength by trying to do this. Over time you will get it!  By strengthening your quads, eventually strength will win over inflexibility.

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TOP RELEVANT RECOMMENDATIONS

1. MOVE•BREATHE•RELEASE (footage in above video)12 Class Immersion 

2. Arm Balance Immersion: 12 Classes – 12 Arm Balances

MORE WAYS TO DEVELOP YOUR PRACTICE

  1. Live Immersions: 3 Classes Per Week
  2. 200 hour training: Get Certified
  3. 300 Hour Online Training: Get 500hr Certified

Continue Learning

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release low back pain in backbends

YOGA ALIGNMENT: COBRA POSE

RELEASE LOW BACK PAIN IN BACKBENDS

COBRA POSE

YOGA ALIGNMENT: COBRA POSE

HOW TO RELEASE LOW BACK PAIN IN BACKBENDS

If you feel back pain in backbends, you are not alone.

Many people experience low back pain in backbends. If you’re experiencing this or just feeling stuck in your yoga poses (or you’re a yoga teacher), then you are in the right place. When done properly, backbends feel like a lengthening of the spine rather than stiff and compressive. With the right actions, backbends also strengthen each segment of the back which weakens after hours of sitting–something most of us do each day.

Cobra (Bhujangasana) is one of the most overlooked backbend poses because it’s not as sexy or challenging as other backbends, but it shouldn’t be because for most people, it’s one of the most effective and accessible postures to increase spinal mobility. While most of the world does upward facing dog – “up dog” – I choose to practice and teach cobra because it’s hands down the best prep for backbends. BUT, there are many ways to get into cobra pose, and most of them will not serve you well.

BENEFITS OF COBRA POSE

Cobra Pose is my top suggested pose to release low back pain in backbends.

Here’s why I think we should give this pose its due props. First, Cobra is done from the mat, so it’s more stable and doesn’t require balance. Why is that important? When balance is involved, the midsection will unconsciously hold tension, much of which happens in the abdominals. So? Too much abdominal engagement decreases spinal extension (back bending), likely causing compression instead of an expansion.

When the body is stable, it relaxes, and this is one of the keys of backbends. You cannot attack a backbend from a place of fear, aggression, frustration, motivation, or any emotional state associated with an overly active sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight). In other words, force does not work when it comes to these postures the way it would when approaching something like an arm balance or heavy weight lifting.

I’m not preaching that there is no effort in cobra, but rather that backbends require softness, surrender, and extremely accurate and well-placed effort. This is best learned in a stable environment, and Cobra Pose is where I suggest you train.

Second, students can take the pose to the level that is right for their bodies, and with consistent practice, progress is apparent fairly quickly. With the alignment I share in cobra pose, your elbows are bent, and rather than pushing your way into a backbend, you pull yourself up. This makes it harder to mistakenly compress the spine as in a posture like upward dog.

Today I want to share with you exactly how to release low back pain in backbends through what I call the “3-part Cobra”.  This approach to Cobra Pose can truly help you and/or your students access a more complete range of motion while building strength, length, and flexibility through the core region of their bodies. Let’s go over this 3-part cobra that I teach in all of my online immersions and online teacher trainings

 

 

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Release Low Back Pain in Backbends with The 3-Part Cobra

The footage in this video snippet is taken from the March 2021 Immersion titled MOVE•BREATHE•RELEASE

3-PART COBRA STEPS

THE SET UP

From prone (on your belly) position, bring your hands wide, bend into your elbows and come onto your fingertips. 

THE STEPS

Part 1. Inhale to raise your chest, shoulders, and upper ribs off the mat, gently rounding through your upper back.

Part 2.  Soften your ribcage forward, letting your shoulder blades come toward each other. This will initiate the bowing effect by relaxing the abdominals. In this step, you have the ability to control placement of the backbend. Moving pressure out of the low back by stretching low ribs forward is relieving for most people. If you want to release low back pain in backbends, focus your attention and practice primarily on this step!

Part 3. If and only if your back feels great in Part 2, then you are ready to move to the next step. Here you re-engage your abdominals BUT NOT the outer abdominals. You’re not trying for a six-pack here. Instead, try drawing your abdomen UPWARD while pressing your low ribs forward. If you feel compression in your low back as a result, this means you pushed with your arms instead of pulling your belly up. Think of the image of a bow that I showed at the beginning of the above video. You have to press the center of a bow forward. Instead of pushing, PULL your low rib cage toward the front of the mat.

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WHY IS THE ALIGNMENT OF COBRA POSE ON FINGER TIPS?

Someone asked me why I don’t suggest doing this pose with the palms of my hands planted on the floor. She said doing it this way gave her a much greater range of motion, pushing her torso higher up.

She is 100% right and I told her THAT’S exactly why I use my fingertips.

When we have palms on the ground, we have a tendency to push. On fingertips, you put less weight, which forces you into using your back muscles (pull muscles). Instead of pushing the upper body into the lower body, causing an L-shape that compresses the lower spine, you will have an easier time pulling your rib cage away from the pelvis, decompressing the spine.

Of course, if you cannot do cobra on your fingertips and this is causing you pain in your joints, then do not force it, but do your best NOT to push.

    release low back pain in backbends with the spinal reset immersion

    SPINAL RESET

    Reset your spine with 12 classes focused on backbends, side bends, twists and forward folds. This immersion is a great way to learn bio-mechanics of the upper body. Get Lifetime, Unlimited access to all 12 classes today! 

    PRO TIP:

    Instead of looking at the backbend from the outside to see if you are getting deeper into it, feel from the inside. When you push yourself up it will certainly look like a deeper backbend, but you are only deepening 1 or 2 joints, and that is the problem. It’s better to appear like you aren’t going deep, and feel the depth within. This requires letting go of instant gratification and embracing true transformation, which always looks to be slow on the outside until one day you are placing your feet on your head in a backbend.

    Let’s review that one more time…
    In a supportive backbend, it’s the center of the body- the ribcage- that bows forward in order to lengthen the spine. So it’s not a push of the hands that moves the body up and back; rather, it’s an engagement of the upper back muscles that pulls the chest forward and through the arms.
    If you are ready to apply the 3-part cobra pose to release low back pain in backbends, then I highly recommend Journey to Bliss and Spinal Reset. Both of these Immersions will share with you these steps and many more toward the goal of increasing spinal mobility and decreasing discomfort.

    To learn more about the proper setup for wheel pose, check out Backbends and The Glutes with a short follow-along video.

    TOP RELEVANT RECOMMENDATIONS

    1. MOVE•BREATHE•RELEASE (footage in above video)12 Class Immersion 

    2. “Journey to Bliss” (includes Full Wheel Workshop + 11 more masterclasses)

    3. THE SPINAL RESET: 12 Class Immersion 

    MORE WAYS TO DEVELOP YOUR PRACTICE

    1. Live Immersions: 3 Classes Per Week
    2. 200 hour training: Get Certified
    3. 300 Hour Online Training: Get 500hr Certified

    Continue Learning

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    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.

    3 Best Yoga Practices for the 5 Layered Self, Asana, Breathwork, & Meditation

    3 BEST YOGA PRACTICES FOR THE 5 LAYERED SELF

    ASANA “YOGA”, PRANAYAMA “BREATHWORK”, MEDITATION

    3 BEST YOGA PRACTICES

    5 LAYERED SELF AND THE 3 BEST YOGA PRACTICES

    What are the 3 best yoga practices and why? You are likely already familiar with Asana, as it is the physical practice of yoga that has been widely popularized across the world. The other two practices are gaining popularity but not necessarily amongst yoga practitioners.

    Imagine if someone came along and said here are the 3 magic herbs you need to take daily in order to heal your mind, body, and balance your energy. Yet instead of taking all 3 herbs, much of the world just got really excited about 1 of them. The recipe would be incomplete, and so would the benefits. This is what has happened with yoga, and we are missing out on massive benefits as a result.

    Asana is for the body

    If you have been reading my blogs, and following my work, you know that I love sharing tips about the physical practice. The human body is something I am particularly passionate about. I am not here to tell you that the physical practice isn’t important; it definitely is. I simply want to support your transition to the next phase so that you not only feel better physically, but you learn to cleanse the mind and balance and optimize your energy, which is what the yogis call prana.

    What is Prana?

    Prana is the word for the relatively unexplainable life force within each of us that causes our hearts to beat and our lungs to inflate and deflate. In its simplest explanation, prana is our energy system. The aspect of prana most asana practitioners are interested in is the energy channels- specifically Ida and Pingala, known in modern science as Parasympathetic and Sympathetic Nervous System. This is your “rest and digest” relaxing energy and your “Go Go” focused, alert energy. Learning to manage, balance, optimize, and utilize energy/prana is one of the major goals of the yoga practitioner. With the right practices, you can become masterful at sleep, wakefulness, alertness, rest, calm, focus, exercise, etc.

     

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    200 Hour Online Teacher Training

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    VIDEO PODCAST: THE 5(6) LAYERED SELF

    + 3 BEST YOGA PRACTICES

     

    What is the Mind or Heart-Mind?

    In a moment, we are going to get into the layers of our Self and the 3 practices for total well-being. But first let’s discuss something that is often ignored- the mind. What is the mind? This is no easy question to answer. Even the mental health industry struggles to define it. How can you establish the health of something you can’t even define?

    It’s one of those interesting points of discussion. We know we have a mind, but the only tangible, physical representation of it is the brain and nervous system. No one has yet to dissect a mind or know for sure what thoughts are and how exactly they are formed. Fortunately, yogis have been contemplating and studying the mind for centuries, so we can turn to them for answers.

    The mind is our way of experiencing the world by using thoughts and emotions to process time, space, physical sensations, and events. The mind is perhaps the most important system to take care of because it governs our entire perception of our existence. This is why yoga is most often defined as the study or science of the mind when we look at sacred texts. You will never see it defined as the study of the body, though that, too, is a part of studying the mind.

    So, as magnificent as the physical practice of yoga is, it is limited- only targeting one layer of our being, called deha, or body. Yes, feeling better physically helps us energetically, mentally, and emotionally but it’s a temporary Bandaid. To get to the root of the challenges our mind present, we need a yoga practice that focuses on all the layers of our being, which include:

    The 5 Layered Self, According to Tantra Yoga 

    1. Deha: The Body
    2. Citta: Heart-Mind, thoughts & emotions
    3. Prana: Energy, life force, autonomic nervous system
    4. Shunya: The Void, calming, peaceful, clear, stillness
    5. Cit: Blissful Awareness

     

    the best yoga teacher training for alignment

    300 HOUR ONLINE TEACHER TRAINING

    GET 500 HOUR CERTIFIED AS A MASTER TEACHER

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

    “THE TRIFECTA” THE 3 BEST YOGA PRACTICES

    Under the umbrella of yoga, there are many amazing approaches to working with the 6 Layers of our Self, but if I am to recommend the top 3 best yoga practices, it would be as follows, not in any particular order:

    1. Asana: (commonly referred to as yoga) Cleanses deha, the body.
    2. Meditation: cleanses the heart-mind first. With practice, allows us to root deeper into Shunya and Cit, pronounced “Chit”. Meditation cultivates our ability to experience Blissful Awareness, even in our day-to-day tasks.
    3. Pranayama: Balances out our energy levels.

    For each of these layers, there are specific yogic practices. Most familiar and most popular is Asana- movement of the body which helps develop awareness, strength, and flexibility. We can think of this as a cleanse for the physical form.

    Then there is Citta, Heart-Mind. It’s unfortunate that many of us are not provided with the proper tools to keep the mind clean. We brush our teeth because plaque builds up daily on the teeth. Similarly, the mind builds up and collects unwanted toxicity but rarely do we learn how to take care of that. To cleanse the mind, we use the practice of meditation, specifically mantra– a repetitive phrase to cultivate the mind’s attention and strengthen our ability to focus.

    For prana (Energy) there are incredible breathwork practices available to us in the yoga lineage, called pranayama. Breathwork helps balance the autonomic nervous system,  so that we can harness the “go go” energy when we need it and cultivate “rest and digest” energy when our bodies and minds are stressed and overworked. Finding balance between the two allows us to live our lives with more intention rather than being driven by emotion.

     

      the best yoga teacher training for alignment

      MOVE•BREATHE•RELEASE

      Yoga, Breathwork, Meditation!

      Expand your yoga practice with asana for the body, breathwork to balance your energy, and meditation for greater peace of mind, focus, and clarity. This is the best way to establish a meditation practice while enjoying the benefits of a routine physical yoga practice.

      THE PROBLEM

      Now that we know these 3 practices help us to feel better physically, mentally, emotionally, AND energetically, why don’t we practice them routinely?

      Well, the answer is simple. We created a habit, or pattern, of brushing our teeth, but haven’t yet created one for meditation and pranayama. Maybe you haven’t created one for yoga yet either?

      THE SOLUTION

      To create a habit, repetition is the only thing needed. However, repetition requires effort and prioritizing your time. Most adults struggle with this. I once read a quote that said something along the lines of “If you have the time, meditate for 20 minutes each morning. If you don’t have time, meditate for an hour each morning.” It’s funny but it’s also the unfortunate truth.The more you fill your day, the more time you need to process and digest everything coming in.

      Let’s acknowledge that routinely showing up for yourself and practicing asana, pranayama and meditation might seem like a lot at first. This is why I have created an online program to make this easy for you. It’s called MOVE•BREATHE•RELEASE, consisting of 3 practices per week, each with all three elements, so you do not need to find time to do them separately. Each class is fully guided so all you have to do is commit. I will take care of the rest. 

      TOP RELEVANT RECOMMENDATIONS

      1. MOVE•BREATHE•RELEASE: 12 CLASS PACKAGE
      2. Journey To Bliss: 12 Class Immersion with 4 Guided Meditations

      TEACHER TRAINING COURSES

      1. 200 Hour training: Get Certified
      2. 300 Hour Online Training: Get 500hr Certified
      THE DANCE: YOGA ALIGNMENT AND FLOW

      MOVE • BREATHE • RELEASE

      Yoga, Breath Work & Guided Meditation 

      1. 12 ALL LEVELS LIVESTREAM CLASSES
      2. WATCH ANYTIME WITH LIFETIME ACCESS
      3. DEVELOP YOUR YOGA PRACTICE, RELEASE TENSION IN THE BODY AND MIND

      $298.00 $128.00

      Continue Learning

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      Hips & Hamstrings Flexibility "The 4 Quadrants of The Hips"Hip & Hamstrings Hips And Hamstrings Flexibility Why Is Hip Mobility Important? If you practice yoga you are sure to increase your flexibility of the hips and hamstrings. However, that doesn't mean you will...

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      Best Backbend Technique to relieve back pain

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      firefly pose titibhasana

      firefly pose titibhasana

      FIREFLY POSE TITIBHASANA STEP BY STEP TUTORIAL: LEARN TO FLYFIREFLY POSE FIREFLY POSE: TITIBHASANA STEP BY STEP TUTORIAL: 4 KEY ACTIONS Firefly pose (Titibhasana) might have you thinking, “There is no way I’ll ever be able to do THAT pose!” Yes, for sure it requires...

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      release low back pain in backbends

      YOGA ALIGNMENT: COBRA POSE RELEASE LOW BACK PAIN IN BACKBENDSCOBRA POSE YOGA ALIGNMENT: COBRA POSE HOW TO RELEASE LOW BACK PAIN IN BACKBENDS If you feel back pain in backbends, you are not alone. Many people experience low back pain in backbends. If you're...

      read more

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