It is one thing to watch a video and understand the actions visually and another to integrate them into your body and become masterful with them. I have designed a 3 step process to develop "Muscle Intelligence" or the awareness of how to create specific actions in your body. These three steps if done consecutively and over time will build a powerful strength that will make chaturanga feel light and free.
If you haven't yet watched Chaturanga Alignment: 3 Necessary Shoulder Actions than best to start there before moving on with this.
Most of us sitting at our computers are not able to get up and start practicing, but if you do have the liberty of doing so, practice along with this video. If not then simply watch and come back to it at another time so you can practice along - this is meant to help you apply the actions not just understand them.
3 Steps to Mastery
Don't Skip to The Last One!
Skipping over these is not beneficial regardless of you level, this is exactly what I do to practice these actions, and if you truly want the fast track than start with step 1.
- Chaturanga at The Wall: Regardless of your level doing chaturanga at the wall and applying the three shoulder actions is huge in helping build masterful proprioception. This is the most important step in my eyes especially since you'll have plenty of time in class to practice step 2 and 3. Taking all the weight off of your body and just applying the actions until it is fully integrated and completely clear in both mind and body will be the best thing you can do. Mastery is not about sort of attaining something but nailing it down so that it will never be forgotten regardless of how long you leave the subject of study. Rock this exercise several times for several days/weeks and you will be so well set up for building strength rapidly. Strength builds rapidly when our actions are precise in our body.
- Chaturanga on Knees: To be honest when I take a vinyasa class I do the first 5-10 chaturangas on my knees to get my body and mind linked together prior to floating back. Chaturanga on the knees is a great way to practice the actions with slightly less body weight. This is where you will begin building muscles appropriately so be as precise and mindful as possible so you are strengthening then muscles required for the 3 shoulder actions.
- Plank To Chaturanga: Same goes here but with more weight so it is easier to compensate and "fake it" and either over engage in muscles that are not efficient for the actions, or simply getting caught up in compression - placing your bones in the way of the movement in order to slow the movement down - SEE FIRST VIDEO when I talk about "Upward Tilt" of the scapula.
Mastering these shoulder actions will not only make your practice of chaturanga easier and more enjoyable but will open up a whole new world of power and strength in your arm balances.
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