Down Dog: Avoid Shoulder Impingement

3 Steps to Avoid Shoulder Impingement

in Downward-Facing Dog

Should You “Relax Your Shoulders” Away From Your Ears?

In my previous blog, “The Yoga Cue That Could Be Destroying Your Shoulders,” I explained how taking the arms up overhead while dropping our shoulders down our back could be a recipe for shoulder impingement. Many teachers use Downward Dog as a “resting pose.”  In my experience, I have found that “relaxing” in Downward Dog is quite often the reason for most shoulder issues but can easily be rectified with the 3 cues I provide in the video and photo breakdown below: 

  1. Externally Rotate the Humerus
  2. Pronate the Forearms (not directly related to the shoulder but balances out Step 1)
  3. Elevate the Scapula 

Elevation of the scapula happens when you lift your shoulder blades upward, which is like “shrugging” your shoulders, or when you excitedly reach your arms up to the sky. We naturally let our shoulders lift when our arms go up, but since many instructors cue the opposite, it is easy develop a pattern that does not serve the health of our shoulders. In addition to the verbal cue of “soften your shoulders,” gravity also causes issues if we don’t actively resist when we are in postures like Downward Dog, Forearm Stand, Handstand, or in a jump forward. My suggestion is to strengthen the muscles that elevate the scapula (upper trapezius and serratus anterior being the primary ones) in order to develop the pattern that can help to avoid shoulder impingement.

Many people cringe when I suggest strengthening the muscles that lift the shoulders up, saying something like “but my shoulders are stuck up by my ears, shouldn’t I relax them down?” The short answer is yes, but the longer answer is that muscles hold tension when they are weak. Your shoulders are likely up by your ears because of stress, rather than excess strength . . . unless you are a world champion bodybuilder . . . then ignore this. We also have muscle-holding patterns, which means that when we hold our neck, head, and arms in one position for most of the day, it will cause the muscles to become accustomed to holding those positions, and as a result you will be somewhat stuck in that shape. Simply pulling your shoulders back down will not relax the trapezius; rather, it could cause more stress, and the muscle could become more aggravated.

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BUT ISN’T IT IMPORTANT TO RELAX MY NECK?

Relaxing is undoubtedly important, and it will help release tension in your mind and body. At the same time, muscles relax from being activated properly and then released. You have certainly experienced this after engaging your muscles in a good workout or yoga class and then the incredible relaxation afterwards. Stretching a muscle can help release tension at times, but more often than not, I find active engagement or passive shortening of a muscle is far more effective. When a muscle is healthy and strong, it is better able to relax.

Follow the 3 easy steps in the video below to avoid shoulder impingement, and you will grow stronger in your trapezius muscles and rotator cuff.

Maintaining Joint Space

Research indicates that externally rotating the humerus helps to move the supraspinatus tendon away from the impingement area under the acromion process. Essentially this means that by rotating your arm bones outward (biceps turn forward) you are less likely to pinch the the soft tissues that run between your arm bone and the shoulder socket. 

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Other Helpful Muscle Engagements

Research also shows that activating both the biceps and triceps at the same time  can actually support creating more space in the glenohumeral joint  (where the arm meets the shoulder socket). You can do this by actively pushing the arms straight, and then try to squeeze your hands toward each other like a bull dog.   It is challenging to do oppositional muscle engagements so this takes a bit of exploring. First work on straightening the elbows and activating the triceps. When you squeeze your arms toward each other you will also get the added benefit of activating the adductor muscles which can also support more space in the shoulder joint.

DOES THIS APPLY TO HANDSTAND AS WELL?

Your shoulder joints do not know the difference between downward dog and handstand – aside from the gravitational pull, the shoulders are in the same alignment in downward dog as they are in handstand, this is called flexion. When the arms are flexed over head, you are at risk of impingement. The only difference is that in handstand you have to compete with gravity and so you will need to increase your efforts. You will find much more on this subject in the online course titled Handstand Part 2: Balance.

Step 1 - Externally Rotate the Arm Upper Arm Bone

Rotating the humerus externally when the arm goes up over head can help to avoid the impingement interval in the joint. One of your rotator cuff muscles, the supraspinatus, runs through the glenohumeral joint (under the acromion process and above the head of the humerus). This muscle helps to lift the arms up from tadasana, but because of its location it is easily pinched if the arms go over head but the shoulder blades don’t follow the movement. Downward dog is often the culprit- the weight of the body on the shoulders requires that we put effort into the posture to push the ground away, however with cues like “relax your shoulders” and “soften” we often release the appropriate muscular action required to maintain space resulting in shoulder impingement. In plain English – Externally rotate your arms (triceps rotate toward your face) and you will maintain more space in the joint and less potential for impingement. 

Step 3: Upward Rotation of The Scapula

From the outer line of your shoulder blades press through your hands into the earth. When you elevate your shoulder blades toward the ears from the outside line of the arm, the bottom wingtip of the scapula begins to rotate out and up – this is known as upward rotation of the scapula. As a result of upward rotation your shoulder blades rotates and angles itself to allow the arm bone to be overhead without a collision of bones in the joint, creating less possibility of impingement. 

Step 2: Pronate the Forearm

When externally rotating the upper arm bone you will notice that the lower arm (forearm) will go along for the ride and rotate as well. This results in an increased pressure in the outside of the hand and wrist. To evenly distribute the weight to the whole hand, simply pronate your forearm, by rotating the inner forearm and hand down toward the ground. Many teachers will stress this by asking you to press your index finger and thumb down. Depending on your range of motion in your radial ulnar joint,  you may not be able to press the inside edge of your hand down and maintain external rotation of the shoulder. My suggestion is to turn the hands slightly outward if this is the case. Learning to rotate the forearm in opposition of the upper arm bone can be challenging, but through mindful repetition you will be able to do it, and you will feel an increased strength and stability from it. To Strengthen your wrist, I highly recommend Handstand Training

The 3 Actions

While I have broken this down into 3 steps, with time and practice it can be 1 step and the 3 actions can happen all at once. To build muscle coordination it is useful to separate the actions and practice them individually. Though I created a definitive order to follow, know that it is beneficial to mix up the 3 steps and put them out of order. You may find another combination to work better for your body! The dotted red line above is to indicate the path of the bottom wing tip of the scapula. If you do not do push the bottom wing tip will wind up closer to the spine, it is helpful to video yourself to see where your shoulder blades are on your back. 

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Depression of the Scapula

Pulling your shoulders down away from the ears is the opposite of everything I have mentioned in this post, however it is an important action to work on especially for arm balances like side plank because depression creates stability when the arms are at or below shoulder height.

When Can I Relax My Shoulders?

One of the best parts about getting stronger with shoulder elevation (upward rotation) is that the muscles of your upper trapezius will become more supple and be able to relax more easily. Just like after working really hard in a yoga class you feel that complete relaxation in your body, each of your muscles experience that after being strengthened. There are plenty of opportunities to relax your shoulders down your back – just not when you reach your arms overhead. So when you are sitting at your chair you can think shoulders move slightly back and shoulder blades relax downward. When you are in a strong posture like crow pose and your upper arms are not over head, you can even work on strengthening the muscles of depression of the scapula. My philosophy on the body is that there are no wrong actions or muscle engagements, there are just appropriate and inappropriate times to use them.

A great rule of thumb you can take with you: when in doubt just let your shoulders follow your hands – if the hands go up, let your shoulders go up, if they go down let them go down, if you reach forward let them go forward, etc. Enjoy your exploration, thank you for stopping by!

-Matt

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We’re all aware about the importance of taking baby steps when we have a bigger goal we’d like to achieve. L Pose Handstand Training falls under that very category when it comes to taking steps towards Handstand.  Matt refers to L Pose as the “first entrance to handstand.”  Before you take flight, practicing L Pose in different planes is one of the best ways to really prepare and understand the biomechanics involved in the posture.  Practicing L Pose on your back provides a more controlled opportunity to learn how to really engage the hip flexors and core muscles.

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THE MYTH OF THE CORE

Core strength might be the first thing you believe you need to develop while preparing for handstand.  There’s no doubt that this is a necessary part of the equation, but if you’ve conquered the action of the “push” in the shoulders (shoulders up towards your ears), Matt explains that the use of the core is a refinement only when the shoulders are out of alignment.  If this is the case, you’ll have to utilize your core a lot more to keep your back straight and possibly pull the legs from behind you.

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CORE MUSCLES & HIP FLEXOR ACTIVATION

What is the core?  The core muscles are a great deal more than the superficial muscles of the rectus abdominis.  When it comes to handstand, a large part of the focus are the deeper core muscles (the psoas major and the iliacus, also referred to as the iliopsoas).  These muscles are a key component when it comes to stabilizing the pelvis and thighs in a handstand. With L Pose as the first entrance to handstand, an awareness of the importance of the activation of the hip flexors is paramount.

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IMPLEMENT THESE ACTIONS: L POSE ON YOUR BACK 

Here are the cues for L Pose handstand on your back:

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  3. The opposite leg stays close to the floor with your heel only about 1 cm from the ground
  4. Pull your front ribs down (this will engage your abdominals).
  5. Continue to pull the top leg close to your chest without lifting the bottom leg up 

The desired outcome is to maintain all of these actions simultaneously.  L Pose handstand training on your back lays the foundation for when you’re ready to explore the shape in other planes (including other postures like Warrior III). It also helps you to feel the alignment in your body.  Drawing your rib cage into the floor for example, creates the pattern of the stacking required above your pelvis.

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THE GROUNDWORK

Groundwork?  In this case, the pun is intended.  L Pose handstand training literally has you on the ground in order to lay a solid foundation.  Essentially, it can take the fear out of the equation.  Going upside down can be quite intimidating.  Approaching the “bigger goal” of having a handstand practice by utilizing bite size drills and techniques can give you the confidence to progress to the next level.  You have to crawl before you can walk and this is essentially the chromatic way.  When you take this approach, you gradually build upon each layer and strengthen the neuromuscular connection. Handstand training becomes more approachable when you prepare your body via time, patience, and effort.  If you’d like to build on this foundation, take action by registering for Matt’s current immersion Handstand & Meditation.

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What Is The Importance of Serratus Anterior Push-Ups?

When you hear the term “boxer muscles,” you most likely know that it’s referring to the serratus anterior. However you refer to it, it’s an important part of creating both stability and strength for your shoulders. A great way to strengthen the serratus anterior is by doing “serratus push-ups.” There is a variety of different ways in which to approach them. In today’s serratus push-ups tutorial video, Matt demonstrates 4 variations that help you tap into the strength required for greater access to postures that require the use of these “push” muscles. 

Why Are They Relevant To Your Yoga Practice?

Serratus push-ups are also commonly referred to as scapula push-ups.  They are a wonderful and necessary part of your toolkit for both increased strength of your shoulders and mobility of the scapulae. The serratus anterior facilitates upward rotation of the scapula whenever you take your arms into a position over your head. Upward rotation of the scapulae is necessary to take some of the work away from the trapezius.  It also helps reduce the possibility of hypermobility in the glenohumeral joint.

In your physical yoga practice, this is relevant in postures like Downward-Facing Dog, Chair Pose, Crescent Lunge, and Handstand (just to name a few). Upward rotation of the scapulae is also helpful in your everyday life. Having the awareness to utilize the movement of the shoulder blades when reaching for objects overhead, offers the same result. You maintain greater health and movement of the shoulder because you are recruiting the use of the serratus anterior muscles to create movement of the scapula.

 

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SERRATUS ANTERIOR MUSCLES

These muscles run underneath your scapula, then around to the ribcage: “The serratus anterior is ‘multi-headed’ and forms the lateral part of the chest wall, giving it a ‘serrated’ appearance.” Contracting these muscles creates the movement of the scapula around your ribs (protraction). 

Long, Ray. The Key Muscles of Yoga. Bandha Yoga Publications, 2005. Pg. 162

WATCH THE VIDEO: SERRATUS PUSH UPS TUTORIAL

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2 MAIN ACTIONS

In a serratus push-up, the 2 main actions are retraction and protraction of the scapulae.  

Retraction of the Scapulae

When you are performing one of the serratus push-up variations, it’s really your torso that moves towards the surface beneath you in order to create the retraction. In this case, the scapulae are not creating the movement. The focus here is the “push,” when you actually “push the floor away” in order to move into the next action in the movement (protraction).

Protraction of the Scapulae

Protraction creates a great deal of stability in your shoulder joint. When you take your arms overhead in your yoga practice, it’s likely that you will default into retraction (drawing your shoulder blades towards one another). If this is your intention, that’s fine, but let’s consider what that means in the context of Handstand. If the goal is to be straight up and down and stable in the posture, of course it requires a great deal of strength. It’s important then to be extremely intentional about creating protraction of the scapulae (pushing your shoulder blades away from one another). It’s in this “push” action that you recruit and rely on the serratus anterior muscles to support and align your body for the greatest amount of stability.

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SERRATUS PUSH-UPS: 4 VARIATIONS FOR STRENGTH

There are specific cues for each scapular push-up variation that help you to maximize your potential to create strength.

Variation (Level 1)

  1. Place the forearms on the floor with your knees stacked under your hips
  2. Let the chest sink into the retracted scapulae
  3. Push the elbows into the ground until scapulae push apart (creating the 2nd phase of the push-up)

Variation (Level 2)

  1. Take your knees further away (more into a plank-like position)
  2. Execute the serratus push-ups 

Variation (Level 3)

  1. Plank on forearms with toes tucked
  2. Execute serratus push-ups

Variation 4 (Level 4)

  1. Plank on forearms with toes pointed
  2. Round your back
  3. Bring ankle bones together
  4. Execute serratus push-ups

A SIMPLE FORMULA FOR STRENGTH

Consistency and progression are the winners here. It’s important to explore all 4 of these serratus push-up variations to find out what is most suitable for you. Matt suggests a conservative number of repetitions while you maintain integrity in your form. Once you feel like you are able to increase the number of repetitions, you may progress to the next level or variation (doing only a conservative amount) in order to become aware of whether or not you wish to return to the previous level, possibly increasing the number of repetitions. Exploring in this way over time is a recipe for increased strength in the serratus anterior and increased stability of the scapulae.

There is still time to explore more of this in Matt’s current immersion, Handstand & Meditation.

See you on the mat!

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Article by Trish Curling

Video Extracted From: Handstand & Meditation Immersion

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NEXT TRAINING BEGINS NOVEMBER 5th 2022 ENROLLMENT NOW OPEN
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SHORTEN TO LENGTHEN YOUR STANDING SPLITS

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INCREASE FLEXIBILITY WITH THIS TECHNIQUE

HANUMANASANA

SHORTEN TO LENGTHEN

What does shorten to lengthen your standing splits even mean? Does that even make sense? At first thought it may seem counterintuitive that if you want to increase your flexibility, you need to shorten. What we’re talking about is shortening muscles in order to find greater length in your hamstrings for this posture. There is a specific technique that supports your ability to increase your flexibility, all while building strength and integrity in standing splits.

PASSIVE VS. ACTIVE STRETCHING

Any variation of splits requires a great deal of flexibility, and because lengthening muscles is non-negotiable to execute this posture, a common go-to strategy in your yoga practice may be to select postures and techniques that passively assist you in this endeavor. This passive assistance might involve using a yoga strap, a wall, and/or the floor to sink into the forces of gravity. These can be effective stretching methods at various times, but if you’re interested not only in lengthening but in the overall health of the muscles that are lengthening, then please introduce yourself to the concept of a Facilitated Stretch (more on this in a bit). This technique asks you to shorten in order to lengthen. A facilitated stretch requires you to be a more active participant in creating stronger and healthier flexibility in your body.

 

Handstand and meditation online yoga classes

HANDSTAND & MEDITATION

ONLINE YOGA IMMERSION

BREAK THROUGH MENTAL & PHYSICAL BLOCKS

  • Learn the most effective drills to safely build your Handstand
  • Practice essential meditation techniques to break through mental barriers and build confidence
  • Improve focus and breath support right side up and upside down
  • Build strength and the necessary skills for balancing Handstand
  • 12 classes: All levels appropriate
  • Lifetime unlimited access to all
  • Attend livestream OR practice the replays any time that’s convenient for you

SALE PRICE: $168.00

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FLEXIBILITY? STRENGTH? or BOTH?

In order to achieve standing splits, there must be a level of flexibility in your hamstrings, adductor magnus, and the hip flexors. There must also be an awareness around the movement of your pelvis. However, an element that often gets overlooked is the fact that a great deal of strength is required for the posture. 

When preparing for standing splits, Matt explains that the goal is to keep the hamstrings engaged through the entire range of motion. How is this possible? This is where the awareness of the articulation of your pelvis is key. In the video, Matt demonstrates the importance of slowing the tipping of the pelvis on the way down and also tucking the sit bone of the standing leg downwards (this will create more of a posterior tilt of the pelvis).

The rest of the body should stay in one piece to ensure that the movement is occurring from the hamstrings of the standing leg—everywhere else is stable and immobile. This may take some time, due to the patterns you may have created in your body.

WATCH THE VIDEO: SHORTEN TO LENGTHEN YOUR STANDING SPLITS

NEXT TRAINING BEGINS NOVEMBER 5th 2022 ENROLLMENT NOW OPEN
NEXT TRAINING BEGINS NOVEMBER 5th 2022 ENROLLMENT NOW OPEN

YOUR BODY’S TENDENCIES

Our bodies just love the familiar, so it will take an incredible amount of focus and awareness in order to go into the places in your body that require more length and strength. This is in fact how you will unlock the posture. You will not only achieve the aesthetic of the posture but also move in the direction of better balance in your body. This also means a reduced risk of injury. Matt always encourages a more intelligent and methodical approach to your practice as a whole, but this method must also be applied as you approach each posture. 

No matter your approach, Splits, Standing Splits, Hanumanasana are very demanding and deep postures that may put you at a higher risk, so the activation of muscles is key. This brings us back to the concept of a Facilitated Stretch. What is it, and how is it implemented?

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MOBILITY

ONLINE YOGA IMMERSION

  • Key techniques to increase flexibility
  • Strength development for mobility and range of motion
  • Learn postures: Hanumanasana (Splits), Extended Side Plank
  • Active and passive mobility for shoulders, hips, and spine
  • Improve spinal twists, heart openers, shoulder openers, and hip openers
  • Find greater ease in seated postures
  • Improve mobility and posture off the mat
  • When and how to do active, passive, and isometric stretching

$148.00

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FACILITATED STRETCH

If you’re just starting your journey of practicing with Matt, please believe me when I say that you will become the best of pals with this concept. Is it challenging at times? YES, YES, and YES I said that multiple times, but is it effective? YES, YES, and YES again!

A facilitated stretch is when a muscle is engaged while it is in a lengthened position. We have something called Golgi tendon organs which communicate muscle tension back to the brain. When a muscle is both engaged and lengthened, the brain will receive that information and will in turn send a signal back to the muscle that it is safe, therefore allowing it to lengthen more. This is in fact the key to the development of increased flexibility. This is also in fact extremely effective for those of you who may be hypermobile. It creates a sense of control and awareness around your end ranges in a particular posture. We have the ability to facilitate this tension by the articulations we might create with, for example, an action of the pelvis and/or the directional pull of a particular joint against a surface, prop, or other part of our body. Staying closer to a safer amount of activation usually means placing roughly about 20% of effort (or less) into the activation. At the root of it all is your breath, so keep this in mind as we look at the steps Matt provides in order to set up Standing Splits at the wall.  

STANDING SPLITS AT THE WALL

  1. Use hands as a base of support
  2. Look towards the wall
  3. Lift right heel (shortens the back line)
  4. Turn pelvis closed and turn inner heel of the lifted leg to the sky
  5. Straighten through inner heel of the lifted leg to the sky
  6. Lower heel of the standing leg back down
  7. Lean more into fingers and toes as top leg is straightened

*Here’s the opportunity to tap into the facilitated stretch of the standing leg:

8.  Standing leg (in this case the right leg) is not passive—microtuck the sit bone down towards your heel so that the hamstrings are engaged

If it feels like you’re strengthening rather than stretching, then you’re on the right track. This is in fact the sensation of a facilitated stretch and what actually increases your flexibility. Rather than causing alarm to your body, it will feel safe to release and lengthen.

A DIRECT LINK TO HANDSTAND

Safety breeds confidence, and the beautiful thing about incorporating techniques like a facilitated stretch into your yoga practice is that you feel both prepared and confident to explore a variety of postures. This exploration allows space for you to work towards postures that may feel “intimidating” or even “inaccessible.”  

The specific techniques that Matt has demonstrated for Standing Splits create a direct link to Handstand. The direct link comes from what is required in regard to the setup. Getting into Handstand from the ground up requires a great deal of flexibility and strength. You can find out more about the crossover between these two postures in Matt’s current immersion, Handstand & Meditation.

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: Mobility Immersion

CHOOSE YOUR PATH

NEXT TRAINING BEGINS NOVEMBER 5th 2022 ENROLLMENT NOW OPEN
NEXT TRAINING BEGINS NOVEMBER 5th 2022 ENROLLMENT NOW OPEN

Continue Learning

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OPEN YOUR HEART IN CAMEL POSE  Layer These TechniquesustrasanaOPEN YOUR HEARTThere's such a majestic and robust quality when it comes to heart openers in a physical yoga practice. In order to open your heart and gain greater access to a backbend such as Camel Pose,...

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KICK UP INTO HANDSTAND

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KICK UP INTO HANDSTAND  Master 3 Key Actions alignmentHANDSTAND—3 KEY ACTIONS “Squeeze in, turn in, tuck the tail.” These are the 3 key actions for handstands that Matt explains are a must. These may sound like simple cues, and they may even be easy to execute if...

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Open Your Heart in Camel Pose

OPEN YOUR HEART IN

CAMEL POSE 

Layer These Techniques

ustrasana

OPEN YOUR HEART

There’s such a majestic and robust quality when it comes to heart openers in a physical yoga practice. In order to open your heart and gain greater access to a backbend such as Camel Pose, there are specific techniques you can use. Even with their majestic qualities, your experience with heart openers can vary. They can be wonderfully satisfying or extremely difficult. It’s important to be aware of your individual circumstances at the time of moving in and/or out of any posture that calls for extension of the spine. In opening your heart in Camel Pose, there is potential to shift your experience with the posture. The techniques that Matt offers create this possibility to re-pattern what takes place in your body.  

    back bending online yoga and anatomy

    ANATOMY OF THE HEART

    JUNE 2022 Immersion

    • Technique to expand and deepen your backbends
    • Foundations and preparatory postures to set you up for success
    • Anatomy education to prime the nervous system
    • Themes to cultivate the appropriate mindset for heart opening
    • 12 Classes: 6 focused on anatomy, 6 themed for the heart
    • Unlock a wide range of postures including: Bow Pose, Camel, Full Wheel, King Dancer, King Cobra, King Pigeon, and more
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    BOWING THE SPINE

    If you’ve practiced with Matt before, then you’re very familiar with the terminology “bowing the spine” when discussing backbends, or heart openers. Bowing the spine provides an immediate visual that most people can resonate with, and it is helpful in developing an awareness of the experience of what a backbend looks and feels like. You can just imagine the ease of flexibility in the spine, all while maintaining a strength and integrity of the spine during execution.

    Bowing the spine teaches you to move everything forward first, which leads to opening up.

    Matt explains that in a backbend, instead of just leaning back or arching the spine, you want to think about opening the front of the spine. When you learn how to do this accurately, the discs of the spine slide forward, which is really important. If they don’t slide forward, then you’re just pushing the discs down on the back side of the spine, which will put too much pressure on the discs. Adding this pressure can cause many problems, including pain due to the discs bulging and possibly hitting a nerve, which can radiate in multiple directions of the body and cause issues in other areas. Layering on techniques both provides a better awareness of what is actually taking place in your body and promotes safer execution in heart openers.

    WATCH THE VIDEO: CAMEL POSE: SHOULDER TECHNIQUE

    NEXT TRAINING BEGINS NOVEMBER 5th 2022 ENROLLMENT NOW OPEN
    NEXT TRAINING BEGINS NOVEMBER 5th 2022 ENROLLMENT NOW OPEN

    THE CHROMATIC WAY

    Matt’s development of the Chromatic approach in yoga involves not just the layering on of postures in a sequence but indeed the layering on of techniques within each posture in order to maximize benefit and to minimize injury and pain. When you start to approach your yoga practice with this methodical mindset, the body eventually becomes free and aware to create these actions with less thought.

    LAYERING POSTURES TO PREPARE

    Matt frequently uses postures like Cobra Pose, where he teaches the fundamentals of how to “bow the spine.” You will also find that he uses Chair Pose in this layering process.  

    Within these postures, we build the pattern in the body of actions such as retracting the shoulder blades while not only taking the chest/heart forward but also lifting the rib cage upwards. Getting comfortable with these actions activates muscles like the rhomboids (during the retraction) and the abdominals (when lifting the rib cage) and also develops the neuromuscular patterning in your body so that these actions feel more natural and become a more automatic response when preparing for and executing backbends.

    back bending online yoga and anatomy

    ANATOMY OF THE HEART

    JUNE 2022 Immersion

    • Technique to expand and deepen your backbends
    • Foundations and preparatory postures to set you up for success
    • Anatomy education to prime the nervous system
    • Themes to cultivate the appropriate mindset for heart opening
    • 12 Classes: 6 focused on anatomy, 6 themed for the heart
    • Unlock a wide range of postures including: Bow Pose, Camel, Full Wheel, King Dancer, King Cobra, King Pigeon, and more
    • Lifetime unlimited access to all
    • Attend livestream OR practice the replays any time that’s convenient for you

    $168.00 $148.00

    MORE INFORMATION

     

    KEY ACTIONS FOR CAMEL POSE ENTRY

    Even before considering the traditional execution of Camel Pose, Matt takes you through what he often refers to as “Camel Pose Preparation” or “Half Camel Pose.” When preparing, it’s not just about entry into the pose; the “exiting” of the posture is also extremely important.

    In today’s video, Matt provides the key steps and layering process when entering Camel Pose Preparation from the left side:

    1. Tuck your toes onto your mat with feet wider than your hips, so that when you sit back, you can access your heel with your left hand
    2. Retract your left shoulder (*Pay close attention here, as you will not just be drawing your left shoulder blade in towards your midline. You first lift your shoulder up, then draw it in towards the midline, and finally, send the bottom tip of your shoulder blade up towards the sky)
    3. Next in the layering process, after this action of retraction, place your left palm on your heel with the thumb facing out
    4. Push the right rib cage forward and up 
    5. Place your right hand behind your head. Alternatively, Matt advises using your right hand to pick up your right ribs (*this will encourage an arched position in your low back, which is the desired positioning)
    6. Layer on a push downward into your left heel with your hand, encouraging that lift of the right side rib cage further up to the sky
    7. Finally, look down towards your left foot

    A SAFE EXIT FROM CAMEL POSE

    As I mentioned before, Matt emphasizes the exit just as much as the entrance. It’s important to note that we don’t change anything. We try to maintain the arch in the spine for as long as possible in order the spine time to adjust to the new shape (relengthening once out of the posture).

    Here are the steps:

    1.  Your hips slowly go back towards your heels, all while keeping the chest lifted
    2.  As you sit back down onto your feet, you can slowly reduce the arch in your spine until it is in a more lengthened position
    3. Take the steps to enter into “Camel Pose Preparation” on the other side.

    Taking this Chromatic approach keeps you in the physical practice: You are steered more towards awareness of your individual experience within each posture. Exploring Camel Pose Preparation also allows you to experience what is happening on each side of your body. This helps you step closer to what your body actually needs. Do you need to draw more awareness to the retraction? The arch of the spine? Sending your rib cage forward and up? You are simultaneously the student and the teacher within your own body. Matt guides your yoga practice with the layering of actions so that you can be fully within the experience of your own body.

    Taking this approach means that you will broaden your knowledge, expand your practice, and most definitely open your heart!

    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: Heart Openers: Yoga Backbends Immersion

    CHOOSE YOUR PATH

    NEXT TRAINING BEGINS NOVEMBER 5th 2022 ENROLLMENT NOW OPEN
    NEXT TRAINING BEGINS NOVEMBER 5th 2022 ENROLLMENT NOW OPEN

    Continue Learning

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    TAKE FLIGHT IN CROW POSE Strengthen Your WristsKAKASANAWHAT IS THE SECRET TO TAKING FLIGHT IN CROW POSE?In order to take flight in Crow Pose, it may seem obvious that a great deal of emphasis needs to be placed on your hands, but what often happens is that a great...

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    KICK UP INTO HANDSTAND

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    read more

    THE FREE TECHNIQUE PACK

    When You Subscribe You Will Get Instant Access To

    • The Technique Pack: 15 Yoga Pose Breakdowns
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    • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

    Take Flight in Crow Pose

    TAKE FLIGHT IN CROW POSE

    Strengthen Your Wrists

    KAKASANA

    WHAT IS THE SECRET TO TAKING FLIGHT IN CROW POSE?

    In order to take flight in Crow Pose, it may seem obvious that a great deal of emphasis needs to be placed on your hands, but what often happens is that a great deal of attention is placed elsewhere.

    When you think about Crow Pose—Bakasana—you may first think about what you need to do to either strengthen and/or activate the core. This is true, but how often do you think about what is necessary for your hands, wrists, and forearms? This part of your body plays a vital role not only in whether you will find enough strength to sustain the posture for any length of time but also in protecting your wrists overall.  

    A great deal of time is spent in wrist extension in yoga. Most commonly, you see varying degrees of this in postures like the following: 

    • Variations of Plank/Vasisthasana 
    • Chaturanga Dandasana 
    • Fallen Angel (Devaduuta Panna Asana)
    • Variations of Crow (Bakasana) 

    Matt talks a lot about starting postures from the ground up, and in Bakasana, this couldn’t be more true. You are balancing your entire body weight on your hands/wrists, so creating a solid foundation with your hands/wrists/forearms is non-negotiable. There are also actions in the hands that are mimicked/duplicated in the rest of your body as you layer on each action in the posture. You will see how everything is so closely related in Matt’s demonstration.

      Handstand and meditation online yoga classes

      HANDSTAND & MEDITATION

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      BREAK THROUGH MENTAL & PHYSICAL BLOCKS

      • Learn the most effective drills to safely build your Handstand
      • Practice essential meditation techniques to break through mental barriers and build confidence
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      THE BALANCE BETWEEN WRIST FLEXORS AND EXTENSORS

      When you understand how your body is working in each posture, it becomes a lot easier to see exactly how much everything is connected and how that both influences and supports the rest of your body parts in activating and responding the way you would like and need them to for stronger execution.

      Because you spend a lot of time in wrist extension in yoga, the wrist extensors (which are located on the back side of the forearms) are often shortened, and the flexors of the wrist (located on the front of the forearms) are in a more lengthened position. It’s imperative that these muscles be strong enough to, as Matt puts it, “apply the brakes” in arm balances. 

      Sending your weight forward is required in Crow Pose, so the strength of the “opposing action,” or creating an eccentric contraction of the flexors of the wrist to almost pull you back (that “application of the brakes” if you will), is in essence doing the work of keeping you balanced in the pose. Without this opposition or strength of the wrist flexors, you would just continue to go forward and then downward with gravity and eventually fall.

      So how do you activate and strengthen the flexors of the wrist? If you’ve practiced with Matt before, you’ll know that he often refers to creating a “suction cupping” of space, or a Hasta Bandha in the hands (an energetic hollow-like quality in the center of the palms). 

      “Hasta Bandha (Hand Lock) assists energy up through the soft center of your palms to bring strength and stability to your arms and upper body.”

      Ekhar, Esther, The Bandha Approach You Haven’t Tried—That Could Change Everything, Yoga Journal, February 28, 2018

      FOCUS ON YOUR HANDS

      In Crow Pose and other arm balances like it, the more you lean forward, the more you are required to grip the fingers into the ground in order to achieve the appropriate activation.

      Let’s look at some of the anatomy first.

      Your carpals are all of the tiny bones at the wrist (base of the palm), and the carpal tunnels are the space for the nerves to go through.

      When it comes to the hands in Crow Pose and other arm balances, we want to be lighter in the carpals (with less pressure, pulled away from the ground, due to the nerve lines that are present). In opposition to this, we want to get stronger and push into the ground at the head of the metacarpals (this is the surface/place you might describe as the knuckles or where the fingers [phalanges] meet the upper portion of the palm.)

      You achieve this action by drawing the pinky and the thumb towards each other and down into the ground at the same time. This action can also be described as adduction (pulling in towards the midline of the palm). At the same time, the 3 fingers (pad of the index, middle, and pinky) are also pulling towards the palm of the hand.

      This is creating a generous amount of activation and therefore strengthening of the flexors of the wrist (flexor digitorum profundus and superficialis). Although there are many other muscles involved (both flexors and extensors) that are co-activating, these are 2 that are great to keep in mind because the flexor digitorum profundus attaches all the way down to the fingers. This muscle also works in conjunction with the flexor carpi radialis and the flexor digitorum superficialis (as previously mentioned).  

      This fact demonstrates how essential it is, for your practice, to get into deeper awareness and connection with your body in an anatomical sense. This reinforces that nothing works in isolation and that one part of the body, one action, creates a domino effect for other activations, movements, and strengthening to occur.

      WATCH THE VIDEO: STRENGTHEN YOUR WRISTS FOR CROW POSE

      NEXT TRAINING BEGINS NOVEMBER 5th 2022 ENROLLMENT NOW OPEN
      NEXT TRAINING BEGINS NOVEMBER 5th 2022 ENROLLMENT NOW OPEN

      STRENGTHEN YOUR WRISTS IN CROW POSE WITH BLOCKS

      Let’s now take the deeper awareness and solid foundation of the hands and create the domino effect with the rest of the body in Crow Pose. In today’s video, Matt demonstrates how helpful blocks are when it comes to strengthening the flexors of the wrist. If flying is not your thing, or it’s just not your thing within a specific practice, you can still work on strengthening the flexors of the wrist by using a set of yoga blocks under your feet and leaning your bodyweight for more extension in the wrists.

      Here are the steps Matt outlines in today’s video:

      1. Place your feet up on the blocks
      2. Take your hands out in front, grip the ground with fingers (using all of the actions previously outlined) 
      3. Place knees outside of the arms and squeeze into arms (mimicking the action of the pinky and thumb drawing towards one another)
      4. Lift bum up to sky
      5. Lean bodyweight forward (increased wrist extension and eccentric contraction of the flexors)
      6. *Now bring your awareness back to the hands; play with the fingers—grip the ground, press through metacarpals, lean forward, and keep strong in the flexors of the wrist 
      7. Bonus is to lift the heels of feet towards bum to fly
      Online yoga to improve mobility

      MOBILITY

      ONLINE YOGA IMMERSION

      • Key techniques to increase flexibility
      • Strength development for mobility and range of motion
      • Learn postures: Hanumanasana (Splits), Extended Side Plank
      • Active and passive mobility for shoulders, hips, and spine
      • Improve spinal twists, heart openers, shoulder openers, and hip openers
      • Find greater ease in seated postures
      • Improve mobility and posture off the mat
      • When and how to do active, passive, and isometric stretching

      $148.00

      MORE INFORMATION

      THE BIG PICTURE—TAKE FLIGHT IN CROW POSE

      1.  Squeeze knees into the arms
      2.  Protract the shoulder blades 
      3.  Grip fingers into the ground

      Inviting in what may be some new actions to this posture, or to any other posture where the wrists are in extension in your physical yoga practice, helps to create a new muscular pattern. Repeating these actions will help your brain allow you to more easily default to these actions and therefore find the strength, ease, and lightness that’s desired in any arm balance.

        PARALLELS BETWEEN CROW POSE & HANDSTAND

        The beautiful thing about creating these patterns in your body and practicing the proper mechanics in Crow Pose is that these same mechanics translate quite well into other arm balances. 

        If you take a look at my previous article,  Kick Up Into Handstand, you’ll see exactly how Matt guides you through the same preparation for the wrists and forearms. You’ll see the importance of gripping the ground, the same alignment for the forearms, and the negotiation of the shift in weight required to balance (the balance of strength between the wrist flexors and extensors)—the same actions and techniques that help you to take flight in Crow Pose are the same fundamentals that help you see success and that assist with the crossover from one arm balance to another.

        Matt’s next Immersion, Handstand and Meditation, offers you an incredible opportunity to work on these fundamentals time and time again. You can also dive deeper into these teachings in his next 200 & 300 Hour Teacher Trainings.

          CHOOSE YOUR PATH

          NEXT TRAINING BEGINS NOVEMBER 5th 2022 ENROLLMENT NOW OPEN
          NEXT TRAINING BEGINS NOVEMBER 5th 2022 ENROLLMENT NOW OPEN

          Continue Learning

          L Pose Handstand Training

          L Pose Handstand Training

          L Pose Handstand Training Activate Core & Hip Flexorshandstand prepL POSE HANDSTAND TRAINING We’re all aware about the importance of taking baby steps when we have a bigger goal we’d like to achieve. L Pose Handstand Training falls under that very category when it...

          read more
          Serratus Push Ups Tutorial

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          Serratus Push-Ups Tutorial 4 Variations For StrengthstrengthWhat Is The Importance of Serratus Anterior Push-Ups? When you hear the term “boxer muscles,” you most likely know that it’s referring to the serratus anterior. However you refer to it, it's an important part...

          read more
          SHORTEN TO LENGTHEN YOUR STANDING SPLITS

          SHORTEN TO LENGTHEN YOUR STANDING SPLITS

          SHORTEN TO LENGTHEN YOUR STANDING SPLITS  INCREASE FLEXIBILITY WITH THIS TECHNIQUEHANUMANASANASHORTEN TO LENGTHEN What does shorten to lengthen your standing splits even mean? Does that even make sense? At first thought it may seem counterintuitive that if you want to...

          read more
          Open Your Heart in Camel Pose

          Open Your Heart in Camel Pose

          OPEN YOUR HEART IN CAMEL POSE  Layer These TechniquesustrasanaOPEN YOUR HEARTThere's such a majestic and robust quality when it comes to heart openers in a physical yoga practice. In order to open your heart and gain greater access to a backbend such as Camel Pose,...

          read more
          Take Flight in Crow Pose

          Take Flight in Crow Pose

          TAKE FLIGHT IN CROW POSE Strengthen Your WristsKAKASANAWHAT IS THE SECRET TO TAKING FLIGHT IN CROW POSE?In order to take flight in Crow Pose, it may seem obvious that a great deal of emphasis needs to be placed on your hands, but what often happens is that a great...

          read more
          KICK UP INTO HANDSTAND

          KICK UP INTO HANDSTAND

          KICK UP INTO HANDSTAND  Master 3 Key Actions alignmentHANDSTAND—3 KEY ACTIONS “Squeeze in, turn in, tuck the tail.” These are the 3 key actions for handstands that Matt explains are a must. These may sound like simple cues, and they may even be easy to execute if...

          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.

          KICK UP INTO HANDSTAND

          KICK UP INTO

          HANDSTAND 

          Master 3 Key Actions 

          alignment

          HANDSTAND—3 KEY ACTIONS

          “Squeeze in, turn in, tuck the tail.” These are the 3 key actions for handstands that Matt explains are a must. These may sound like simple cues, and they may even be easy to execute if you’ve already mastered kicking up into a handstand; however, if the pose is brand new and/or you’ve been working at it but still can’t “crack the code,” doing these 3 key actions in addition to all the other steps to prepare yourself may be what you’re missing. Layering on the specific techniques and muscle activations that Matt lays out for you is an essential part of your journey to kicking up into Handstand.  

          It’s impossible to skip the steps required when the intent is to kick up into a handstand position. This actually pertains to any posture, but if you’ve practiced with Matt before, you’ll know how much he stresses that it’s the foundations and the repetition of those foundations that really prepare the body for the desired outcomes. When you repeat these actions over and over again, you build the patterns into your body so that when it comes time for more robust movements and shapes, your body will respond.

           

          Handstand and meditation online yoga classes

          HANDSTAND & MEDITATION

          ONLINE YOGA IMMERSION

          BREAK THROUGH MENTAL & PHYSICAL BLOCKS

          • Learn the most effective drills to safely build your Handstand
          • Practice essential meditation techniques to break through mental barriers and build confidence
          • Improve focus and breath support right side up and upside down
          • Build strength and the necessary skills for balancing Handstand
          • 12 classes: All levels appropriate
          • Lifetime unlimited access to all
          • Attend livestream OR practice the replays any time that’s convenient for you

          SALE PRICE: $168.00

          MORE INFORMATION

          HANDSTAND PREPARATION 1 & 2

          Here are the steps for Handstand Preparation 1: 

          1. Place your hands on the ground
          2. Set up your blocks behind your forearms
          3. Straighten your elbows 
          4. Elevate the scapulae (push the floor away and bring your shoulders up to your ears)
          5. Lift your heels as high as you can

          Handstand Preparation 2 is a continuation of the process and includes lifting one leg up.

          Here are the steps:

          1. Inner leg lifts up to the sky as high as you can
          2. Look up to the lifted leg; when you do this, it’s common for your weight to shift back. Your weight needs to go forward
          3. Lean forward into your fingers (or more specifically, into the metacarpals)
          4. Lift the bottom heel as high as you can 
          5. Push through the arms (lifting the shoulders up)

          What muscle engagements are happening? The gripping of the ground leads to activations in the muscles in the forearms. The elevation of the scapulae leads not only to the activation of the muscles of the shoulders (deltoids) but also to the contraction and use of the trapezius muscles. 

          This action of elevating the scapulae also helps you avoid shoulder impingement.

          As you lift the shoulders up, you are getting longer through the sides of your body, which creates length and stretch through the latissimus dorsi; however, it’s the upper fibers of the trapezius that you want to strengthen in order for you to rely on the strength there rather than on the stretch in the latissimus dorsi. Additionally, contracting the abdominals will assist in bringing the ribcage back and into better alignment, reducing excessive spinal extension. The action here is to contract the abdominals while expanding. You can do this by pulling your front ribs down as you continue to push strongly through your hands.

          WATCH THE VIDEO: KICK UP INTO HANDSTAND

          NEXT TRAINING BEGINS NOVEMBER 5th 2022 ENROLLMENT NOW OPEN
          NEXT TRAINING BEGINS NOVEMBER 5th 2022 ENROLLMENT NOW OPEN

          HANDSTAND PREPARATION 2 WITH A CHAIR

          Before we dive in, be sure to use a chair that is stable and steady on the ground. Matt can use a rolling chair due to his many years of experience in the posture. This is important, because once you set your hands on the ground, you place 1 foot on the chair prior to the required muscle engagements. The chair should be secure for you.

          Once you have 1 leg on the chair, Matt walks you through the same steps as in Handstand Preparation 1 & 2. However, there are some slight differences when you use the chair. Matt cues you to feel as though you are pulling the chair towards you, while the top leg stays away from the wall.

          online classes for anatomy of arm balances

          ANATOMY OF ARM BALANCES

          MAY 2022 Immersion

          • Anatomy of 12+ arm balances
          • Foundational and advanced arm balance techniques
          • Visualize your movements internally
          • Improve balance and proprioception
          • Sensation-based practices
          • Learn empowering modifications
          • Access appropriate variations for your level of practice
          • Active, passive, and isomentric Stretching
          • Improve wrist, core, and shoulder strength
          • ALL LEVELS APPROPRIATE

          $168.00

          MORE INFORMATION

           

          KICKING UP INTO L-POSE HANDSTAND

          When your foot returns to the ground, it’s easy to feel very heavy towards your foot, so leaning forward into the hands is imperative.

          Now, Matt stresses that the ability to balance in “L-Pose Handstand” is a must. This means keeping 1 leg low. If you can balance there, this can translate into sending both legs up to the sky. Remember those 3 Key Actions for Handstand from the beginning? 

          1. Squeeze in
          2. Turn in
          3. Tuck the tail

          What do these actions mean, and why are they important?

          Once you’re in a handstand position, you have to stop the movement of your hips; otherwise, you will be thrown off balance. In this stage of maintaining your balance, squeeze in means squeezing your legs together (activating the adductor and abductor muscles). Turn in means to internally rotate the thighs (activating TFL, pectineus, and hip flexors). Finally, tuck the tail (posterior tilt of the pelvis) helps to activate the hamstrings, the glute muscles, and hip extensors). Doing all of these things will help to stabilize the legs in Handstand.

          With all of this, there is still so much more to this posture. Matt’s next immersion, Handstand and Meditation, begins September 7th. Gain deeper insights into what is required of both mind and body by registering for the 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: Anatomy Of Arm Balances

          CHOOSE YOUR PATH

          NEXT TRAINING BEGINS NOVEMBER 5th 2022 ENROLLMENT NOW OPEN
          NEXT TRAINING BEGINS NOVEMBER 5th 2022 ENROLLMENT NOW OPEN

          Continue Learning

          L Pose Handstand Training

          L Pose Handstand Training

          L Pose Handstand Training Activate Core & Hip Flexorshandstand prepL POSE HANDSTAND TRAINING We’re all aware about the importance of taking baby steps when we have a bigger goal we’d like to achieve. L Pose Handstand Training falls under that very category when it...

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          Take Flight in Crow Pose

          Take Flight in Crow Pose

          TAKE FLIGHT IN CROW POSE Strengthen Your WristsKAKASANAWHAT IS THE SECRET TO TAKING FLIGHT IN CROW POSE?In order to take flight in Crow Pose, it may seem obvious that a great deal of emphasis needs to be placed on your hands, but what often happens is that a great...

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          KICK UP INTO HANDSTAND

          KICK UP INTO HANDSTAND

          KICK UP INTO HANDSTAND  Master 3 Key Actions alignmentHANDSTAND—3 KEY ACTIONS “Squeeze in, turn in, tuck the tail.” These are the 3 key actions for handstands that Matt explains are a must. These may sound like simple cues, and they may even be easy to execute if...

          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.

          EKA PADA BAKASANA II

          EKA PADA BAKASANA II

          The Essence of Push & Pull

          THE GUNAS

          THE GUNASThe essence of push & pull

          We’ve all experienced the essence of push and pull in one way or another. Its presence is evident all around and within us. We all experience the rise and fall, the movement of our thoughts in our minds (the vritti). These forces are present during our various emotions, when we’re making decisions, during conflict, when we are challenging ourselves physically and emotionally. Push and pull is undeniable in nature and the environment all around us… You get it. It’s really everywhere. We also experience it in our yoga practice. In the Yoga Sutras, these forces are explained as the Gunas. 

          To be more specific, Alan Finger, in Tantra of the Yoga Sutras, explains Yoga Sutra 1.16 (Tat param purusa khyater gunavaitrsnyam) in the following way: 

          “The three gunas are rajas, tamas, and sattva. They are considered to be the primary sources of nature that are responsible for all of the change and movement that we experience in life.” 

          Finger, Alan. Tantra of the Yoga Sutras, Shambhala Publications, 2018. (pg. 26)

          What’s incredible is that we will see how this also applies to our physical yoga practice. Matt breaks down the biomechanics of Eka Pada Bakasana II and shows us how the essence of push and pull exists in both the mind and the body.

            Handstand and meditation online yoga classes

            HANDSTAND & MEDITATION

            ONLINE YOGA IMMERSION

            BREAK THROUGH MENTAL & PHYSICAL BLOCKS

            • Learn the most effective drills to safely build your Handstand
            • Practice essential meditation techniques to break through mental barriers and build confidence
            • Improve focus and breath support right side up and upside down
            • Build strength and the necessary skills for balancing Handstand
            • 12 classes: All levels appropriate
            • Lifetime unlimited access to all
            • Attend livestream OR practice the replays any time that’s convenient for you

            SALE PRICE: $168.00

            MORE INFORMATION

            RAJAS, TAMAS, & SATTVA

            Finger explains how rajas is a more outward, vigorous force, while tamas is a more inward, softer, more restful force. While these 2 energies sit at opposite ends from one another, it’s sattva that sits in the middle and/or is considered the balance between the two. Alan Finger explains that sattva is where we find stillness.

            Being that these forces are ever present and that the circumstances of our lives are constantly shifting, it’s easy to find ourselves leaning more towards one side of the spectrum than the other. It’s our awareness that helps us to recognize when we have gone “too far” over to one side. Now, it’s super important to understand that if we adopt the more contemporary interpretation of the three gunas, then we understand that all of these forces are necessary and very human parts of life. It’s not “bad” to experience one or the other, but it’s your awareness and deeper connection, or knowing of yourself, that helps you experience these states of being without any attachment. 

            When in a more rajasic state, we are in a place of taking action; we are “handling our business,” so to speak. There is no struggle to get out of bed, we might engage in a regular asana practice, we eagerly run through tasks at home and/or at work, etc. On the other side, in a more tamasic state, we surrender to rest, and we tend to go more inward. In this state, we allow ourselves time to replenish and renew.

            If we adopt this more contemporary point of view, there seems to be a comfort and safety present. There is no need to reject what already exists within and around us. Noticing, without judgment, these forces of nature may help us move and flow more freely between each state when necessary. This may be viewed as actually being in a more sattvic state because we are actually experiencing flow, a steady mind, and therefore stillness and balance.  

            HOW DOES THIS APPLY TO YOUR PHYSICAL YOGA PRACTICE?

            Matt teaches a class in the Heart Module in his 300 Hr. Teacher Training called “Push & Pull: Rajas and Tamas. Crow/Half Crow Half Titibhasana” (Eka Bakasana II). There he says, “Sattva is how we feel when the push and pull of rajas and tamas come into a state of equanimity. This leads quite nicely into how we can understand the push and pull in our asana practice as well. In this sense, it’s the actions and activations we take in our bodies.”

            Before we explore this, it’s also essential to understand that even though the gunas are natural forces of nature, we can still find ourselves spending too much time on one end of the spectrum. In this class, Matt explains that when we are way out of balance, a more rajasic state can produce feelings of anger, impatience, even anxiety. If we’re spending too much time in a tamasic state, this is where we may not be attending to necessary tasks and there is loss of energy and lack of motivation.

            Just like our yoga practice, these emotions, actions, or lack of actions are not who we are; they are actually opportunities. They are messages telling us something. They’re sending us messages that something needs to shift. This can be recognized as the development of our discernment. Now this is key, this is actually the juicy part! This collision of philosophy and physical practice is where we really unleash both our emotional and physical potential.

            In today’s video, Matt demonstrates the required push and pull in Eka Pada Bakasana II (Half Crow / Half Titibhasana). We witness the importance of what Matt says: “harnessing the activity of the mind (rajas) to move toward sattva.” This is done with focus and intention. There can only be well-placed effort, continuous well-placed effort, in order to achieve this.

            WATCH THE VIDEO: EKA PADA BAKASANA II

            NEXT TRAINING BEGINS NOVEMBER 5th 2022 ENROLLMENT NOW OPEN
            NEXT TRAINING BEGINS NOVEMBER 5th 2022 ENROLLMENT NOW OPEN

            EKA PADA BAKASANA II (HALF CROW, HALF TITIBHASANA)

            When it comes to the execution of Eka Pada Bakasana II, the push comes from the upper body, while the pull is in the lower body. There must be equal effort within these opposite actions. This can be interpreted as a “sattvic state in the body.” What I mean by opportunities is that when we feel something “off”  in these actions, we must utilize our discernment. Maybe there is not enough pull/adduction of the legs and/or not enough rounding (protraction) of the upper back due to lack of push with the hands/upper body. Even neglecting the internal rotation of the extended leg can throw things off. This may lead to a loss of stability in the posture, taking us out of balance. 

            We can see more deeply how this is the practice; this is yoga. The process of harnessing the mind to focus and find balance and equanimity in Eka Pada Bakasana II (Half Crow/Half Titibhasana) is completely aligned with our process to move towards sattva in our emotional body. There can be moments of frustration, of uncertainty, but again, these are all beautiful messages for us to receive. They are exquisite opportunities for us to explore and experience without attachment.

            online classes for anatomy of arm balances

            ANATOMY OF ARM BALANCES

            MAY 2022 Immersion

            • Anatomy of 12+ arm balances
            • Foundational and advanced arm balance techniques
            • Visualize your movements internally
            • Improve balance and proprioception
            • Sensation-based practices
            • Learn empowering modifications
            • Access appropriate variations for your level of practice
            • Active, passive, and isomentric Stretching
            • Improve wrist, core, and shoulder strength
            • ALL LEVELS APPROPRIATE

            $168.00

            MORE INFORMATION

             

              Take the opportunity to dive deeper into these teachings and the potential of your physical body in Matt’s upcoming 200 & 300 Hr. Teacher Trainings.
              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: 300 Hr. Training

            CHOOSE YOUR PATH

            NEXT TRAINING BEGINS NOVEMBER 5th 2022 ENROLLMENT NOW OPEN
            NEXT TRAINING BEGINS NOVEMBER 5th 2022 ENROLLMENT NOW OPEN

            Continue Learning

            L Pose Handstand Training

            L Pose Handstand Training

            L Pose Handstand Training Activate Core & Hip Flexorshandstand prepL POSE HANDSTAND TRAINING We’re all aware about the importance of taking baby steps when we have a bigger goal we’d like to achieve. L Pose Handstand Training falls under that very category when it...

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            Serratus Push Ups Tutorial

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            Take Flight in Crow Pose

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            TAKE FLIGHT IN CROW POSE Strengthen Your WristsKAKASANAWHAT IS THE SECRET TO TAKING FLIGHT IN CROW POSE?In order to take flight in Crow Pose, it may seem obvious that a great deal of emphasis needs to be placed on your hands, but what often happens is that a great...

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            KICK UP INTO HANDSTAND

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            KICK UP INTO HANDSTAND  Master 3 Key Actions alignmentHANDSTAND—3 KEY ACTIONS “Squeeze in, turn in, tuck the tail.” These are the 3 key actions for handstands that Matt explains are a must. These may sound like simple cues, and they may even be easy to execute if...

            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.

            Downward Dog Shoulder Alignment

            DOWNWARD DOG

            SHOULDER ALIGNMENT 

            How Yoga Props Enhance Your Downward Dog

            ADHO MUKHA

            ALIGNMENT QUESTIONS IN DOWNWARD-FACING DOG

            How many times have you done Downward-Facing Dog in your yoga practice? I can’t answer that either. It’s a posture that shows up in a yoga class quite often. It just becomes part of the foundation of a physical practice after a while. When you started your practice, you may have been told that it’s a resting posture, but it doesn’t always feel like that, does it? It takes some time for it to feel “right” or even “comfortable.” You’ve most likely navigated through things like the following:

            Should my heels touch the mat?

            How far apart should my hands be from one another?

            What about the direction of my hands?

            How far apart should my hands be from my feet?

            Should my wrists feel this way?

            Is it ok to bend my knees?

            This list goes on. 

            Over time, you start to develop a deeper understanding of the pose and to develop and integrate patterns in your body that feel “right.”

            As you continue to learn and grow in your practice, you may also reach a point where you begin to wonder if these patterns are actually serving you. This wondering may come from pain and/or injuries that arise, or simply from exposure to different practices and/or teachers. What often happens is that once you get comfortable with “the way you’ve always done it,” the challenge may be to consider a different way and/or to add on some new actions to actually improve not only the posture but also the health of your joint placement/alignment in the posture.  

            It is important, however, to be open to the process of “unlearning” and the process of developing new patterns. The important perspective to take when you encounter times like this in your yoga practice is to understand that it is all a part of growth and your specific journey to learn more about your own body. It’s actually an opportunity. Approaching your practice with an openness to opportunity often leads to the unraveling and to access to new breakthroughs in your practice. 

            SHOULDER REVELATION

            Strength•Mobility•Biomechanics

            • Increase strength and flexibility
            • Decrease risk of injury
            • Release shoulder tension
            • Learn anatomy and biomechanics
            • Access a wider range of postures
            • Stabilize the rotator cuff muscles
            • Learn binds, heart openers, and arm balances
            • 12 all-levels, 75-minute online classes
            • Lifetime unlimited access to all

            $198.00 $138.00

            WHAT IS SHOULDER IMPINGEMENT?

            “Shoulder impingement is a common condition believed to contribute to the development or progression of rotator cuff disease.” 

            Ludewig, Paula M, and Jonathan P Braman. “Shoulder impingement: biomechanical considerations in rehabilitation.” Manual therapy vol. 16,1 (2011): 33-9. doi:10.1016/j.math.2010.08.004

            Shoulder impingement and/or a pinching sensation in the shoulders is a common complaint when it comes to the execution of Downward-Facing Dog. You might feel this in early attempts to do the posture or after repeating patterns like drawing your shoulders away from your ears, which may cause pain or irritation in the posture.

            In the video, Matt explains quite nicely by saying that when you draw the scapulae (shoulder blades) away from your ears, the upper arm bone (humerus) collides with the acromion process. This action and collision is what creates the impingement, or “pinching.” This pinching can create pain or discomfort or may even lead to injury. From a visual standpoint, how do you know this is happening? Matt explains that you can see what looks like a “dimple” in the shoulder when the humerus is pulling down away from your ears. For further information for proper alignment in Downward Dog, you can also check out Matt’s blog 3 STEPS TO AVOID SHOULDER IMPINGEMENT IN DOWNWARD-FACING DOG.

            WATCH THE VIDEO: DOWNWARD-DOG SHOULDER ALIGNMENT

            NEXT TRAINING BEGINS NOVEMBER 5th 2022 ENROLLMENT NOW OPEN
            NEXT TRAINING BEGINS NOVEMBER 5th 2022 ENROLLMENT NOW OPEN

            USING A ROLLED UP YOGA MAT FOR DOWNWARD-FACING DOG

            Rolling up a yoga mat and using it as an additional prop provides excellent feedback and even assists you in the execution of the steps to set up Downward-Facing Dog. It helps to create new patterns in your body to avoid shoulder impingement in this foundational posture.

             Matt details exactly how to use your mat by following these steps:

            1. Place a rolled-up mat horizontally across the top of your mat.
            2. Place your hands in front of the rolled-up mat.
            3. Move backward into Downward Dog (bend your knees and send your tailbone to the sky).
            4. Lifting them up, move your armpits forward toward your hands. 

            What’s happening here is that this action will activate the rhomboids, and the upper trapezius will activate from the lift of the armpits. This will also support the movement of the top of the shoulder blades going inward while the bottom of the scapula are protracting.

            This step also provides a great opportunity to check in and get some feedback within your body. If you’re putting a lot of pressure into the yoga mat, then you know you’re dropping the armpits down and are causing the sub-acromion pinch. Matt offers the cue here of reaching through the outer lines of the arms so that the scapulae upwardly rotate.

             “During normal motion, the scapulae will upwardly rotate and posteriorly tilt on the thorax during elevation of the arm in flexion, abduction, scapular plane abduction, or unrestricted overhead reaching.”

             Ludewig, Paula M, and Jonathan P Braman. “Shoulder impingement: biomechanical considerations in rehabilitation.” Manual therapy vol. 16,1 (2011): 33-9. doi:10.1016/j.math.2010.08.004

            5. Externally rotate the humerus (biceps face forward, and pinky edge of the hand pulls bottom portion of scapula around).

            After these actions are put into place, you may feel like the inside edge of your hand is pulling up, so articulating the next step is important.

            6. Turn your palms down (the radioulnar joint pronates the forearm, and this is a separate action that happens specifically at the forearm, separately from the action of the external rotation of the humerus).

            7. Turn hands out a little more and wider (this also helps to create less chance of shoulder impingement).

            8. Heels of the hands are lifted (again, creating that lightness and less touch against the yoga mat). 

            Not only will this create less impingement, it will also strengthen the flexors of the wrist, which will feel better and allow you to feel more safe.

            12 Online Yoga classes to Learn Anatomy

            ANATOMY IN MOTION

            APRIL 2022 Immersion

            • Embody anatomy
            • Learn key muscles, bones, and joints
            • Visualize your movements internally
            • Improve proprioception
            • Sensation-based practices
            • Unlock and strengthen major muscle groups
            • Active, passive, and isometric stretching
            • Improve mobility and stability
            • Get VERY geeky

            $168.00

             

            SIMPLIFY THE STEPS FOR MASTERING DOWNWARD-DOG SHOULDER ALIGNMENT

            In the video, Matt offers what’s called a “Mock” or “Modified” Downward Dog on your knees. Here are the steps:

            1. Lift armpits 
            2. Lengthen — shoulders to the ears 
            3. Go up and back
            4. Externally rotate the arm bones (biceps face forward)
            5. Lift heels of the hands (carpal tunnels)

            Integrating these new actions may feel quite awkward once you start to gradually implement them. They may not feel quite “right.” This is that process of “unlearning” and creating new neuromuscular patterns in your body.  Eventually they will start to feel more “comfortable,” and you will notice the change in the development of your strength. Setting this foundation will help to support your journey in other postures in which it is necessary to utilize strength and balance from your shoulders, forearms, and hands.

            If you enjoy diving deeper into the potential of your body and of the yoga practice as a whole, you can deepen your studies in Matt’s 200 and 300 Hr. Trainings.  

            CLICK ON THE LINKS BELOW FOR MORE DETAILS.

            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: 300 Hr. Training

            CHOOSE YOUR PATH

            NEXT TRAINING BEGINS NOVEMBER 5th 2022 ENROLLMENT NOW OPEN
            NEXT TRAINING BEGINS NOVEMBER 5th 2022 ENROLLMENT NOW OPEN

            Continue Learning

            L Pose Handstand Training

            L Pose Handstand Training

            L Pose Handstand Training Activate Core & Hip Flexorshandstand prepL POSE HANDSTAND TRAINING We’re all aware about the importance of taking baby steps when we have a bigger goal we’d like to achieve. L Pose Handstand Training falls under that very category when it...

            read more
            Serratus Push Ups Tutorial

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            read more
            SHORTEN TO LENGTHEN YOUR STANDING SPLITS

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            read more
            Open Your Heart in Camel Pose

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            read more
            Take Flight in Crow Pose

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            TAKE FLIGHT IN CROW POSE Strengthen Your WristsKAKASANAWHAT IS THE SECRET TO TAKING FLIGHT IN CROW POSE?In order to take flight in Crow Pose, it may seem obvious that a great deal of emphasis needs to be placed on your hands, but what often happens is that a great...

            read more
            KICK UP INTO HANDSTAND

            KICK UP INTO HANDSTAND

            KICK UP INTO HANDSTAND  Master 3 Key Actions alignmentHANDSTAND—3 KEY ACTIONS “Squeeze in, turn in, tuck the tail.” These are the 3 key actions for handstands that Matt explains are a must. These may sound like simple cues, and they may even be easy to execute if...

            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.

            Calm The Mind with Meditation

            CALM THE MIND 

            GO BENEATH THE SURFACE

            SUTRA 1.2

            CALM THE MIND

            “If restraint of the mental modifications is achieved, one has reached the goal of yoga.” This is taken directly from The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali (pg. 3).

            “Yoga is the experience we have when all vritti (fluctuations of the mind), the movement arising in our consciousness, is stilled.” This is the breakdown/interpretation from Tantra of The Yoga Sutras by Alan Finger (pg. 21).

            Both explanations of  Yoga Sutra 1.2 “Yoga citta vritti nirodhah” help us to understand what we seek in our practice and in our lives. What we seek is stillness, the decluttering and calming of the mind in order to exist and take action from a place of steadiness and discernment rather than from a place of reactivity, being steered by our emotions.

              YOGA AND THE YOGA SUTRAS

              YOGA & THE SUTRAS

              ONLINE YOGA IMMERSION

              • Refine your yoga practice
              • Move, sweat, breathe, flow
              • Themes inspired by the Yoga Sutras
              • Full 75-min. practices
              • Full-spectrum immersion: All pose categories
              • Arm balances, heart openers, shoulder mobility
              • Hip openers, single-legged balances, strength building
              • Lifetime unlimited access to all

              $148.00 $118.00

              THE 5 LAYERS OF THE MIND

              The Tantric point of view seems to provide more space for the allowance of our natural human experience, which includes the 5 Layers of the Mind. These are explained in Tantra of the Yoga Sutras as follows:

              • Undistorted Knowledge occurs when the mind creates an image from direct perception; for example, what you experience from your senses and/or intuition, deductions form partial information, and/or credible testimony from text, a teacher, or parent
              • Misconception happens when the mind directly perceives something through the senses or intuition but creates a distorted image of what it is perceiving. 

              *This distortion may come from our samskaras, which are our underlying, deep-rooted patterns and beliefs, which are deeply connected to our ego and how we define ourselves by specific identities and experiences.

              • Imagination is when we hear about something, and the mind creates an image that is based on anything other than words.
              • Sleep—here, the mind experiences inertia. This is its own form of vritti, which helps the mind to reset and recharge. To calm the mind, mastering sleep habits is essential. 
              • Memory is when a previously perceived object, form, or idea comes back into consciousness.

              From the Tantric perspective, these are natural occurrences of which we are not trying to “rid ourselves” but simply (or not so simply) trying to harness. These layers exist, and they are valuable to our human experience in this life.  It is my opinion that whatever language we resonate with, both perspectives do offer us the ability to understand that we have the potential and competence to go beneath the surface of these fluctuations. “Going beneath the surface” can essentially be interpreted as calming the mind. When the fluctuations create chaos and/or anxiety, we become off balance, and the mind feels cluttered and busy. This is when and why we go to our yoga practice, meditation, and pranayama: in order to soften these layers.

              How is this achieved? This is achieved through focus with intention. This can also be interpreted as well-placed effort, or abhyasa, which means “making your best effort to focus all the vritti on one single point, whether it is an action, object, thought, or image.” Finger, Alan. Tantra of the Yoga Sutras. Pg. 26.

               Matt has this ability to effortlessly weave this into every class. Each breath, transition, and biomechanical setup is methodical and very intentionally expressed so that we have no choice but to move in a way that harnesses our attention within. We are focused on not only the movements but the sensations we experience throughout. These are the “aha moments,” if you will. Matt explains that it is when we go deeper, to the level of awareness of the sensations, that we actually experience stillness. This is when we go below the layers of the fluctuations of the mind. This is when we find more calm and presence in the moment.

              At the end of today’s video, you’ll see how even what may appear to be a “simple movement” is executed with such precision and awareness that we have no choice but to surrender to the sensations and to the release of the “fluttering” of the mind.

              In this particular class, Matt is preparing us for Side Crow. He talks about this harnessing of the mind within the movement, and he explains how we focus the body and breath in order to go deeper within. He then proceeds to the next actions in the physical body that will lead us toward what is necessary for Side Crow, but in the moment, we are fully engrossed in the stillness of the mind in the present moment and present actions. Now, as our muscles activate, building heat and tension, the fluctuations may want to rise and fall with more intensity again, but please note that all vritti are motivated by either pain or pleasure; whether the experience is difficult and challenging or easy and delightful, we can still place our efforts in a way that helps us maintain a sense of tranquility. Maybe when the vritti intensify due to challenge, the tranquility can come from an understanding that any particular challenge is ultimately happening for us and not to us and that by letting go of the outcomes (vairagya), we will come to see just exactly how they serve us in the end. On the other hand, when there is excitement, joy, and happiness, and the mind is wild with elation, we can enjoy it for what it is and yet recognize that these are the energies of life—the ups and the downs don’t determine our value; they simply reveal an opportunity to stay present.

              WATCH THE VIDEO

              “Calm the Mind with Meditation”

              The 5 KOSHAS OF OUR EXISTENCE

              But, what are these deeper layers?  What lies beneath the surface of the vrittis?  Where do we actually find/experience stillness? How do we find more calm in the mind?

              In Eastern philosophy we come to understand the Koshas (or the energetic layers of our body that encapsulate one another).

              In the context of the yoga practice, the 5 Koshas are:

              1. PhysicalAnnamaya Kosha – This is our physical body. This is where we bring awareness to the biomechanics and techniques in our practice.  We become more skilled at the awareness of our bodies in space (proprioception).  Matt explains that we develop more discernment when it comes to knowing the difference between our mind being uncomfortable and our bodies being uncomfortable.  There is a difference between pain and discomfort.  We learn to decipher between the two in order to honour our bodies within our practice. 
              2. EnergeticPranamaya Kosha – This is the vibrancy of our energy (i.e. when we wake up after a good night’s sleep, we feel rested and vibrant.  We feel the exact opposite after a poor night’s rest. Also, when we are working on this layer we are working on pranayama.
              3. MindManamaya Kosha – Here we are getting closer to the awareness of who we are.  We are more self aware of our mental and emotional patterns by way of our physical practice.  We come to understand the lens through which we look and how we perceive life.
              4. AwarenessVijnanamaya Kosha – This is our intuitive body and/or our insight.
              5. BlissAnandamaya Kosha – The inevitable result of becoming more self aware – strengthening connection to the 3 outer layers, our ability to become aware and then the inevitable bliss

              Surrendering to the sensations and awareness of the first 3 layers help to unlock the deeper inner layers of awareness and bliss.  Matt explains that bliss is the inevitable result of becoming more in tune with our ability to become aware.  This is actually the practice of svadhyaya (self-reflection/awareness).  

              In Chromatic yoga, Matt guides us to understand that this is exactly what is taking place.  He provides continued opportunities in our asana practice to become more aware within the first 3 layers and that this is how we access the stillness, we go beneath the fluctuations of the mind and more inward towards awareness and bliss. As described above, we do this by paying attention to techniques and the biomechanics of the body.  Matt shows us how to become more aware of how to engage and arrange our joints to feel better in our bodies on and off of the yoga mat. The goal is to become self aware in the asana practice. To then become in all areas of our lives.

              October Livestream Yoga Classes

              MOVE • BREATHE • RELEASE

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              • Unwind physical & Emotional Tension
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              • 12 All levels classes
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              $128.00

              THE ROLE OF MEDITATION TO GO BENEATH THE SURFACE

              At the beginning of the Heart Module in Matt’s 300 Hr. Yoga Teacher Training, he describes Meditation as a way to help ourselves to “clean out the dirt and dust” within our minds.  Again, it is a process of self-inquiry that helps us understand where the dirt came from and why we didn’t clean it sooner. Meditation keeps the dirt from building, self inquiry inspires us to keep meditating.  We also come to understand that meditation is not the removal of our thoughts, but again where we place our attention.  This is exactly what the Tantric perspective provides for us.  There is the understanding that the 5 layers of the mind are not to be removed (they are natural), but where do we place our attention? Yes, you’re right…beneath the surface. 

              In the 2015 study, Meditation: Process & Effects, by: Hari Sharma, it explains that:

              “During the process of meditation, accumulated stresses are removed, energy is increased, and health is positively affected overall.”

              This directly reveals the value of meditation and its ability to settle the fluctuations of the mind.  It’s focused attention and the well placed effort (Abhyasa) of our awareness that supports the removal of certain stressors. This supports our ability to quiet and calm the mind.  With increased energy, we can go to our mats for asana in order to build on our awareness of the 3 outer layers of the koshas.  

              The study also says:

              “In ancient Vedic texts, it is said that the meditation process takes the mind from the outer realm of the objective world to the inner realm of the inner faculty (which includes the mind, intellect, ego, and Chitta – the storehouse of all memories and impressions of life), and finally goes beyond both the outer and inner realms to reach the deep inner Self.”

              Sharma, Hari. “Meditation: Process and effects.” Ayu vol. 36,3 (2015): 233-7. doi:10.4103/0974-8520.182756

              This is it, it describes the process of going from the external to the internal and finally going to the inner realm to the deeper self.  This is just another way of describing the shift from sitting within the crashing waves of the mind, to going beneath the surface and into the stillness.  

              There is clearly a lot to uncover and unpack here, but this is the beauty of stepping into our awareness.  All we have to do is take the first step. 

              “Yoga citta vritti nirodhah” can happen at any time you want.  You don’t just go to the yoga mat to find this.  You go to life to find this. Funneling attention into awareness itself at any time helps you to find more opportunities and moments to remain in the realm of stillness.

              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: 300 Hr. Training

              12 Online Yoga classes to Learn Anatomy

              ANATOMY IN MOTION

              APRIL 2022 Immersion

              • Embody anatomy
              • Learn key muscles, bones, and joints
              • Visualize your movements internally
              • Improve proprioception
              • Sensation-based practices
              • Unlock and strengthen major muscle groups
              • Active, passive, and isometric stretching
              • Improve mobility and stability
              • Get VERY geeky

              $168.00

               

              CHOOSE YOUR PATH

              NEXT TRAINING BEGINS NOVEMBER 5th 2022 ENROLLMENT NOW OPEN
              NEXT TRAINING BEGINS NOVEMBER 5th 2022 ENROLLMENT NOW OPEN

              Continue Learning

              L Pose Handstand Training

              L Pose Handstand Training

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              SHORTEN TO LENGTHEN YOUR STANDING SPLITS

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              Open Your Heart in Camel Pose

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              OPEN YOUR HEART IN CAMEL POSE  Layer These TechniquesustrasanaOPEN YOUR HEARTThere's such a majestic and robust quality when it comes to heart openers in a physical yoga practice. In order to open your heart and gain greater access to a backbend such as Camel Pose,...

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              Take Flight in Crow Pose

              Take Flight in Crow Pose

              TAKE FLIGHT IN CROW POSE Strengthen Your WristsKAKASANAWHAT IS THE SECRET TO TAKING FLIGHT IN CROW POSE?In order to take flight in Crow Pose, it may seem obvious that a great deal of emphasis needs to be placed on your hands, but what often happens is that a great...

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              KICK UP INTO HANDSTAND

              KICK UP INTO HANDSTAND

              KICK UP INTO HANDSTAND  Master 3 Key Actions alignmentHANDSTAND—3 KEY ACTIONS “Squeeze in, turn in, tuck the tail.” These are the 3 key actions for handstands that Matt explains are a must. These may sound like simple cues, and they may even be easy to execute if...

              read more

              THE FREE TECHNIQUE PACK

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              • The Technique Pack: 15 Yoga Pose Breakdowns
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              hamstring stretch technique for wide legged forward fold

              WIDE-LEGGED FORWARD FOLD 

              INCREASE YOUR FLEXIBILITY WITH RECIPROCAL INHIBITION

              PRASARITA

              a safe approach to increasing flexibility

              It’s not unusual to feel “stuck” in our yoga practice at times. We may come to a place in our physical practice where we are not experiencing our full potential. One of the common areas we may feel this way is with our flexibility.  

              In one of my  previous articles, Healthy Hamstrings, I discuss how Matt demonstrates how to create more flexibility utilizing a facilitated stretch technique. There are, however, more ways than one to create more flexibility within our bodies. We can also achieve greater flexibility with reciprocal inhibition.

              Reciprocal inhibition does the opposite of what a facilitated stretch asks us to do. It’s true that we are still activating muscles in order to achieve greater flexibility, but we are now activating the muscles that oppose the muscles that are stretching. 

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

                HIPS & HAMSTRINGS

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                • Improve mobility and stability
                • So much more!

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                EFFECTIVE STRETCH TECHNIQUE

                In today’s video, Matt demonstrates how to explore these actions in Prasarita Padottanasana: Wide-Legged Forward Fold.

                In Prasarita Padottanasana (an open hip posture), our legs are in abduction while we are flexing at the hip. Placing our bodies in this position requires us to find flexibility in our adductors and hamstrings. There are also key areas both for potential strength in this posture and where we can explore activation at different times. These areas include adductors, abductors, quads (including the rectus femoris, which is also a hip flexor), and hamstrings.

                Activating the adductors and hamstrings would support the facilitated stretch technique, while activating the abductors and quadriceps generates the reciprocal inhibition technique. In this segment of the video, Matt demonstrates how and why to activate the quadriceps.

                BOW POSE ON A BOLSTER

                Doing Bow Pose on a bolster can be very helpful because it relieves much effort in the back muscles, allowing you to focus on the various aspects of the posture without being overwhelmed. The key points are the following:

                • Pull your belly inward and lengthen it before placing your low ribs/upper belly on the bolster. This will keep you from getting stuck on the mat when you start to lift.
                • Adjust your shoulders by lifting them up first, then retracting them (pulling your shoulder blades toward each other).
                • Follow the movement of your breath. On inhales, kick your feet back and up to rise; on exhales, soften and relax some of your effort.
                • IMPORTANT: Try to keep the middle of your spine moving forward — press your middle back toward the bolster, especially when you kick your feet back. Otherwise you will feel spinal compression or discomfort.
                back bending online yoga and anatomy

                ANATOMY OF THE HEART

                JUNE 2022 Immersion

                • Technique to expand and deepen your backbends
                • Foundations and preparatory postures to set you up for success
                • Anatomy education to prime the nervous system
                • Themes to cultivate the appropriate mindset for heart opening
                • 12 Classes: 6 focused on anatomy, 6 themed for the heart
                • Unlock a wide range of postures including: Bow Pose, Camel, Full Wheel, King Dancer, King Cobra, King Pigeon, and more
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                BREATHING IN OTHER BACKBENDS

                While Bow Pose might be more challenging due to the fact that the belly is on the ground, it can be a great posture to work with because you dont have to worry about balance or the host of other challenges presented by something like Full Wheel. That said, I recommend this same type of breathing in all heart openers. There is both a learning curve involved in this type of breathing and repetition that is required until your muscles (transversus abdominis, intercostals, erector spinae) develop the necessary strength, endurance, and flexibility for this approach to yield the best results.

                In the Anatomy of the Heart immersion, you will learn breathing exercises and postural drills that will strengthen these muscles and help you become proficient in this breathing technique. Additionally, we will be working on the HEART of heart openers—the emotional correlation and mindset that helps release unnecessary tension and provides you with the freedom and ease that is possible in these postures. Lastly, you will learn energy management in order to upregulate or downregulate your nervous system. This means you will be able to relax or calm your system down if you become too lifted, light-headed, nervous, or anxious, or you can ramp your energy up if you are feeling lethargic, unmotivated, or not attentive enough for heart openers.

                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 Matt Giordano

                Video Extracted From: Anatomy in Motion

                Continue Learning

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                read more
                Take Flight in Crow Pose

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                TAKE FLIGHT IN CROW POSE Strengthen Your WristsKAKASANAWHAT IS THE SECRET TO TAKING FLIGHT IN CROW POSE?In order to take flight in Crow Pose, it may seem obvious that a great deal of emphasis needs to be placed on your hands, but what often happens is that a great...

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                KICK UP INTO HANDSTAND

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                KICK UP INTO HANDSTAND  Master 3 Key Actions alignmentHANDSTAND—3 KEY ACTIONS “Squeeze in, turn in, tuck the tail.” These are the 3 key actions for handstands that Matt explains are a must. These may sound like simple cues, and they may even be easy to execute if...

                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.

                side plank variations

                Side Plank Variations

                VASHISTASANA • MODIFICATIONS • TUTORIAL

                SIDE PLANK

                Extended Side plank variations

                 [Click Below to listen to the Audio Version of “Extended Side Plank”]

                There are definitely more ways than one to access a yoga posture. Not only that, but Matt is explicit about technique in order to unlock access. In an all-encompassing pose like Extended Side Plank—Vashistasana—there is a lot going on all at once. There are so many things that need to be digested when breaking it down. Even though this posture may be a physically challenging one, Matt breaks down how you can approach it both physically and intellectually. He shows you specifically what muscles to activate and what parts of the body to articulate. Extended Side Angle is one of those postures that recruits and demands so much of your effort and attention.   

                When exploring the various entry points and different ways to execute the posture, it’s important to pay attention to the specifics of each variation. Matt outlines 2 variations in today’s tutorial. You’ll explore Extended Side Plank by utilizing a wall and another variation with a strap.

                Within these explorations, you’ll see just how much body awareness is involved and how connected you need to be to your anatomy. Much more than just knowing your muscles and bones, it’s about understanding how to move and articulate each part of your body.

                  12 Online Yoga classes to Learn Anatomy

                  ANATOMY IN MOTION

                  APRIL 2022 Immersion

                  • Embody anatomy
                  • Learn key muscles, bones, and joints
                  • Visualize your movements internally
                  • Improve proprioception
                  • Sensation-based practices
                  • Unlock and strengthen major muscle groups
                  • Active, passive, and isometric stretching
                  • Improve mobility and stability
                  • Get VERY geeky

                  $168.00

                   

                  The Actions for Extended Side Plank, Variation at the Wall

                  As always, it’s imperative to start your awareness from the ground up.

                  Step 1 – Matt explains that the gripping of your hand into the mat activates the flexors of your wrist. This is important because now you are utilizing technique to activate strength and set a solid base for the posture.

                  Step 2 – Next, we have spinal extension as a result of the shoulder blade moving into the spine. Matt emphasizes how necessary these actions are so that the rest of the posture can actually be expressed.

                  Step 3 – This step is really connected to Step 2, as it’s important to take the steps of lifting your shoulder up, back, and around. We also see this in Matt’s Shoulder Alignment Tutorial for Wild Thing.

                  Step 4 – Move your pelvis and weight in towards the wall.

                  Step 5 – You can then bend your knee and bring your foot onto the wall.

                  Step 6 – This step can take you to another level.
                  Grab your knee and pull it in as tightly towards the chest as possible. If this is the final step in the journey at this time for you, Matt explains that the only thing missing is the extension of the leg, removing the quadricep engagement.

                  How does this differ from the next variation?

                  The Actions for Extended Side Plank, Variation with a Strap

                  This one might actually be a bit more challenging, as the actions for entry are slightly different. You’ll see how Matt turns his body open before actually going into the backbend.

                  Step 1 – Strap goes around your foot. 

                  Step 2 – Come into Side Plank with kickstand.

                  Step 3 – Lift your hips up and pull your knee into your chest as you turn 

                  *Here he highlights the difference between the experience of this variation and of choosing to kick your leg out first and then kicking it upwards, which may make the hips feel too heavy.

                  Step 4 – Once you have completed Step 3, the turn is done with a bent knee, with an option to now extend your leg fully.

                  This order of entry may be far more accessible.

                  Matt describes Extended Side Plank as the “full spectrum of body awareness.” This is evident from the actions that are taken in these variations.  

                  Anatomy and actions involved:

                  • strengthening of the wrists
                  • rotator cuff muscles engaged due to the external rotation of the upper arm bone
                  • depression and retraction of the scapula to mobilize the spine (bowing of the spine)
                  • eversion of the ankle 
                  • gluteus muscles engaged to press the feet down and get the hips lifted
                  • extension of the knee joint to activate quadriceps

                  There is the evidence of just how much focus, attention, and awareness is involved.

                  Learn how to MASTER actions and awareness like this, not to mention the sharpening of your knowledge with anatomy, in Matt’s current immersion:

                  Anatomy In Motion

                  See you on the mat!

                  Online yoga to improve mobility

                  MOBILITY

                  ONLINE YOGA IMMERSION

                  • Key techniques to increase flexibility
                  • Strength development for mobility and range of motion
                  • Learn postures: Hanumanasana (Splits), Extended Side Plank
                  • Active and passive mobility for shoulders, hips, and spine
                  • Improve spinal twists, heart openers, shoulder openers, and hip openers
                  • Find greater ease in seated postures
                  • Improve mobility and posture off the mat
                  • When and how to do active, passive, and isometric stretching

                  $148.00

                  MORE INFORMATION

                  12 Online Yoga classes to Learn Anatomy

                  ANATOMY IN MOTION

                  APRIL 2022 Immersion

                  • Embody anatomy
                  • Learn key muscles, bones, and joints
                  • Visualize your movements internally
                  • Improve proprioception
                  • Sensation-based practices
                  • Unlock and strengthen major muscle groups
                  • Active, passive, and isometric stretching
                  • Improve mobility and stability
                  • Get VERY geeky

                  $168.00

                   

                  Continue Learning

                  L Pose Handstand Training

                  L Pose Handstand Training

                  L Pose Handstand Training Activate Core & Hip Flexorshandstand prepL POSE HANDSTAND TRAINING We’re all aware about the importance of taking baby steps when we have a bigger goal we’d like to achieve. L Pose Handstand Training falls under that very category when it...

                  read more
                  Serratus Push Ups Tutorial

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                  read more
                  SHORTEN TO LENGTHEN YOUR STANDING SPLITS

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                  read more
                  Open Your Heart in Camel Pose

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                  Take Flight in Crow Pose

                  Take Flight in Crow Pose

                  TAKE FLIGHT IN CROW POSE Strengthen Your WristsKAKASANAWHAT IS THE SECRET TO TAKING FLIGHT IN CROW POSE?In order to take flight in Crow Pose, it may seem obvious that a great deal of emphasis needs to be placed on your hands, but what often happens is that a great...

                  read more
                  KICK UP INTO HANDSTAND

                  KICK UP INTO HANDSTAND

                  KICK UP INTO HANDSTAND  Master 3 Key Actions alignmentHANDSTAND—3 KEY ACTIONS “Squeeze in, turn in, tuck the tail.” These are the 3 key actions for handstands that Matt explains are a must. These may sound like simple cues, and they may even be easy to execute if...

                  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.

                  King Cobra Pose Tutorial

                  KING COBRA POSE 

                  YOGA ANATOMY • BIOMECHANICS • TECHNIQUE

                  KING COBRA

                  5 Key Actions to Decompress Your Spine in King Cobra Pose

                  Not all that glitters is gold, and without the right approach, this glorious backbend may not be a shining example of spinal health.

                  King Cobra is no doubt a visually stunning yoga posture. When we see the outward execution of the pose, we see strength and confidence, and the pose may even appear to express maximum spinal mobility. It’s important, however, to understand that there are key actions to take in order for all of these things to be true.

                  In this King Cobra tutorial, Matt provides a step-by-step process of these actions in order to emphasize the process and the development of the body to prepare for the posture, rather than emphasizing the “achievement” of the pose purely for the aesthetics.

                    12 Online Yoga classes to Learn Anatomy

                    ANATOMY IN MOTION

                    APRIL 2022 Immersion

                    • Embody anatomy
                    • Learn key muscles, bones, and joints
                    • Visualize your movements internally
                    • Improve proprioception
                    • Sensation-based practices
                    • Unlock and strengthen major muscle groups
                    • Active, passive, and isometric stretching
                    • Improve mobility and stability
                    • Get VERY geeky

                    $168.00

                     

                    ANATOMY

                    The awareness of your anatomy is vital for you to understand each step. Understanding your anatomy helps you more clearly and intentionally connect with the sensations in your body, therefore cultivating a more direct line of communication from your brain to your body and from your body to your brain. The development of these signals will promote a more sophisticated body awareness that will help you activate the appropriate muscles (without overdoing it) and know exactly what directions not only to take but also to maintain in a particular part of your body as you layer on each action.

                    5 KEY ACTIONS FOR KING COBRA POSE

                    You might think that it’s all about your spine and how flexible and/or mobile it is. How we involve our entire body is key, and Matt provides the roadmap with the following 5 key actions to set up King Cobra.

                      1. Bring the chest forward. In the first few attempts, it may feel as though not much is happening, but this is where the mind-body connection is developed.
                      2. The second action, which may be overlooked, is pressing back through your heels while the feet are in dorsiflexion (this is also important later). Press your heels away from the direction of the chest. What does this do, and why is it important? This is the first step in both the awareness and the action of decompressing the spine. Creating this length is crucial as Matt guides us through the next steps:
                        *But let’s pause for a moment and check in with your abdominals–if you are engaging too much here, then this will reduce the amount of expansion in your extension for your backbend, so leaning into a stretch sensation in your front body is helpful.
                      3. Next on board are your hamstrings–once you bend your knees, you’ll be firing up and activating your hamstrings. This is how the dorsiflexion of your feet can be a great action to take as you build a relationship with how much and/or how little your hamstrings do activate. In the video, Matt explains that pointing the feet (plantar flexion) may cramp your hamstrings because you are shortening the posterior chain too much. He also notes that once your body has enough mobility to point your feet, there is absolutely nothing wrong with doing it.
                      4. In this step, we understand why the layering is important. As the knees are bent and you’re potentially trying to get your feet closer to your head, Matt again emphasizes pulling your spine forward. Your body may feel the need to compress here and shorten. You might feel the desire to actually send your chest and head back to “achieve the desired result.” It’s most important here to come back to the development and preparation for the spine.
                      5. This step really goes hand in hand with #4, but pulling your belly up not only makes a significant impact on the experience within you body but also actually brings your head back slightly. (You can see the visual change when Matt layers on this action in the video.) This action is initiated by engaging the deep core muscle called transverse abdominis.
                    Online yoga to improve mobility

                    MOBILITY

                    ONLINE YOGA IMMERSION

                    • Key techniques to increase flexibility
                    • Strength development for mobility and range of motion
                    • Learn postures: Hanumanasana (Splits), Extended Side Plank
                    • Active and passive mobility for shoulders, hips, and spine
                    • Improve spinal twists, heart openers, shoulder openers, and hip openers
                    • Find greater ease in seated postures
                    • Improve mobility and posture off the mat
                    • When and how to do active, passive, and isometric stretching

                    $148.00

                    MORE INFORMATION

                    TRANSITIONING FROM THE GROUND TO WILD THING

                    After all of this, it is now your time to bask in the shine of this delightful backbend. Now there is the expansion, the extension, the confidence that you are safe in this posture, and most importantly, the desired health of your spine in this pose.

                    If King Cobra is not quite on the menu yet, click here to build the foundation with Matt’s 3-Part Cobra. Keep in mind that you will also explore 3-Part Cobra in Matt’s next immersion, Anatomy in Motion.

                    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: Mobility Immersion

                    12 Online Yoga classes to Learn Anatomy

                    ANATOMY IN MOTION

                    APRIL 2022 Immersion

                    • Embody anatomy
                    • Learn key muscles, bones, and joints
                    • Visualize your movements internally
                    • Improve proprioception
                    • Sensation-based practices
                    • Unlock and strengthen major muscle groups
                    • Active, passive, and isometric stretching
                    • Improve mobility and stability
                    • Get VERY geeky

                    $168.00

                     

                    Continue Learning

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                    KICK UP INTO HANDSTAND  Master 3 Key Actions alignmentHANDSTAND—3 KEY ACTIONS “Squeeze in, turn in, tuck the tail.” These are the 3 key actions for handstands that Matt explains are a must. These may sound like simple cues, and they may even be easy to execute if...

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                    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.

                    Wild Thing Shoulder Alignment

                    WILD THING SHOULDER ALIGNMENT

                    ANATOMY • BIOMECHANICS • TECHNIQUE

                    Shoulder Alignment

                    WILD THING SHOULDER ALIGNMENT

                    What is the correct shoulder alignment for the pose we call Wild Thing? To answer this, we would first have to define the guidelines for “right” and “wrong.” The fact is there are many ways you can align the shoulder, and you will be able to find at least one yoga teacher who would validate each alignment as “correct.” We need context and agreed objectives.

                    For this discussion, the objective is to access greater mobility by utilizing the strength of the rhomboids. Our context for what is correct is based on two questions:

                    1. What will provide us with the greatest access to the pose we call Wild Thing?
                    2. How can we minimize the risk of injury in our pursuits of the posture?

                    12 Online Yoga classes to Learn Anatomy

                    ANATOMY IN MOTION

                    APRIL 2022 Immersion

                    • Embody anatomy
                    • Learn key muscles, bones, and joints
                    • Visualize your movements internally
                    • Improve proprioception
                    • Sensation-based practices
                    • Unlock and strengthen major muscle groups
                    • Active, passive, and isometric stretching
                    • Improve mobility and stability
                    • Get VERY geeky

                    $168.00

                     

                    THE BIOMECHANICS 

                    In the video below, you will notice two key points. First is the rotation of the arm bone (external), which pairs with retraction of the shoulder blade. Second, you will see that in Wild Thing, my shoulder is NOT stacked directly above the wrist.

                    There are two reasons we focus on external rotation. First, it helps stabilize the arm bone in the shoulder socket (glenohumeral joint), which tends to be challenging for most people — it’s safe to say that most humans are chronically internally rotated at the shoulder. The second reason is that external rotation in this position helps to retract and depress the shoulder blade. As a result of these actions, you will feel your spine move into a backbend so long as you don’t do anything to counteract the movement.

                    Wild Thing shoulder alignment is not just about the shoulder; it also helps to prepare your spine for the deep backbend that Wild Thing requires.

                    The Risk: If you skip these steps, you will likely wind up with pressure, strain, or pain at the front of the shoulder joint. Additionally, your posture will feel more like a 3-Legged Tabletop than an expansive heart opener.

                    THE 3 ACTIONS TO ACHIEVE THIS “WILD THING SHOULDER ALIGNMENT”

                    Essentially, the objective is to get the shoulder back behind you. The primary muscles that will do that are called the rhomboids. The muscles that restrict this movement are called the pectorals. Action 1 helps to unlock the pectorals. The following 3 actions should be done PRIOR to rising up, not after. Additionally, do not stack your shoulder over the wrist.

                    THE ACTIONS

                    Action 1: Shoulder elevation

                    Relax and allow the shoulder to rise up toward your ear. This will turn off your pectoralis major and minor, which will provide greater mobility when you attempt to do Actions 2 and 3.

                    Action 2: Retract your shoulder blade

                    With the shoulder up toward the ear, pull your shoulder blade toward your spine, this will move the head of the arm bone back, lengthening your chest muscles.

                    Action 3: Rotate the arm externally

                    Rotate the arm bone outward until you feel your rib cage press forward and your spine move into a back bend. This step will also bring the shoulder blade back down your back (away from the ears). 

                    wild thing shoulder alignment
                    Online yoga to improve mobility

                    MOBILITY

                    ONLINE YOGA IMMERSION

                    • Key techniques to increase flexibility
                    • Strength development for mobility and range of motion
                    • Learn postures: Hanumanasana (Splits), Extended Side Plank
                    • Active and passive mobility for shoulders, hips, and spine
                    • Improve spinal twists, heart openers, shoulder openers, and hip openers
                    • Find greater ease in seated postures
                    • Improve mobility and posture off the mat
                    • When and how to do active, passive, and isometric stretching

                    $148.00

                    MORE INFORMATION

                    TRANSITIONING FROM THE GROUND TO WILD THING

                    As you rise up from the ground, you will notice that you will be tempted to undo the shoulder alignment. I suggest filming yourself so you can observe with your eyes, as it can be easy to feel like you are doing one thing while the body is doing another. Rewatch the above video and you will see that as I rise up I am deliberately rotating the arm bone outward and the moving the shoulder blade backward.

                    KEY POINT: THE SHOULDER IS NOT STACKED OVER THE WRIST

                    Notice that as I rise up, I keep moving my weight into my legs and using the strength of my legs, buttocks, and back to press my body to the sky. This is to take the stress off of the shoulder and minimize the risk of shoulder injury. Using your legs and back muscles will also help you deepen the posture. 

                    To learn more about the anatomy, biomechanics, and techniques you can apply to advance your asana practice, join the Anatomy in Motion immersion. This immersion is unique in that each class begins with a visual anatomy tutorial, helping you see how your muscles create movements. Following the tutorial, you learn how to incorporate this knowledge into your practice, and most importantly, you learn to FEEL your anatomy.

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

                    This is for you if you are interested in deepening your yoga practice, building your confidence, learning how to create a class, and sharing this practice with friends, family, or beyond. Yes, it’s for all levels, ages, etc.

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

                    This training is definitely for you if you are already certified at the 200 or 500 hour level but want to take your teaching career and practice to the next level. In this training, you will learn Anatomy, Biomechanics, Postural Techniques, Intelligent Sequencing, Breathwork, Meditation, Heart-Centered Philosophy, Theming, Business Structure, Marketing, Social Media, Branding, and how to build a sustainable and successful career!

                    Article by Matt Giordano

                    Video Extracted From: Mobility Immersion

                    12 Online Yoga classes to Learn Anatomy

                    ANATOMY IN MOTION

                    APRIL 2022 Immersion

                    • Embody anatomy
                    • Learn key muscles, bones, and joints
                    • Visualize your movements internally
                    • Improve proprioception
                    • Sensation-based practices
                    • Unlock and strengthen major muscle groups
                    • Active, passive, and isometric stretching
                    • Improve mobility and stability
                    • Get VERY geeky

                    $168.00

                     

                    Continue Learning

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                    TAKE FLIGHT IN CROW POSE Strengthen Your WristsKAKASANAWHAT IS THE SECRET TO TAKING FLIGHT IN CROW POSE?In order to take flight in Crow Pose, it may seem obvious that a great deal of emphasis needs to be placed on your hands, but what often happens is that a great...

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                    KICK UP INTO HANDSTAND

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                    KICK UP INTO HANDSTAND  Master 3 Key Actions alignmentHANDSTAND—3 KEY ACTIONS “Squeeze in, turn in, tuck the tail.” These are the 3 key actions for handstands that Matt explains are a must. These may sound like simple cues, and they may even be easy to execute if...

                    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.

                    hyperextension of the knee in pyramid pose

                    KNEE HYPEREXTENSION

                    HOW TO SOLVE HYPERMOBILITY IN PYRAMID POSE

                    KNEE HYPEREXTENSION

                    KNEE HYPEREXTENSION: PROTECT YOUR KNEES IN PARSVOTTANASANA, PYRAMID POSE

                    When it comes to our asana practice, more often than not, the subject of our knees is a hot topic. Typically, we’re looking for ways to minimize pain and/or strengthen the knees in order to feel stable when holding certain joint alignments or while bending and straightening our legs during transitions from one posture to the next.  

                    It’s not unusual to utilize props like blankets or an extra roll of a yoga mat under our knees in an effort to minimize painful sensations in postures where our knees are making direct contact with the floor or our yoga mats.  

                    In regard to creating more stability or feeling stronger in a particular posture, we may utilize yoga blocks, a wall, and/or a chair to help us maintain better alignment in order to hold ourselves up for a longer period of time without concern for our balance.

                    Online yoga to improve mobility

                    MOBILITY

                    ONLINE YOGA IMMERSION

                    • Key techniques to increase flexibility
                    • Strength development for mobility and range of motion
                    • Learn postures: Hanumanasana (Splits), Extended Side Plank
                    • Active and passive mobility for shoulders, hips, and spine
                    • Improve spinal twists, heart openers, shoulder openers, and hip openers
                    • Find greater ease in seated postures
                    • Improve mobility and posture off the mat
                    • When and how to do active, passive, and isometric stretching

                    $148.00

                    MORE INFORMATION

                    PARSVOTTANASANA/PYRAMID POSE

                    Pyramid Pose is a single-legged forward fold that requires a reasonable amount of hamstring flexibility. This can affect us in a couple of different ways.

                    As practitioners, we may fall under two different categories. When exploring a posture like Parsvottanasana, or Pyramid Pose, we may be the type to either hyperextend in the knee (due to overflexibility in the hamstrings), or we may overbend in the knee to compensate for the lack of flexibility we are experiencing in the hamstrings. In both scenarios, be mindful to straighten the leg to the degree that’s possible without overdoing either end of the spectrum. So, what category do you fall under, and how can you support your practice in a way that provides you with the tools you need to stay safe?  

                    In today’s video, Matt provides thorough examples of ways we can take action to level up our capacity for strength and flexibility in Pyramid Pose.

                    HYPEREXTENSION OF THE KNEE

                    How does this happen?

                    Hyperextension of the knee may develop over time for those of us who have spent a great deal of time creating flexibility in our hamstrings and are arguably “overflexible” in this area. This often means we lack strength and/or have neglected to put effort into activating the hamstrings.

                    Matt explains that if we are hyperextending through the knee joint, we are creating pressure there and that this is the key point. If there is evidence of pressure, this is cause for concern. The pressure comes from overly straightening the knee. It’s actually not about the angle of the knee but about whether or not we are placing pressure there.

                    ACTIONS TO CREATE STRENGTH

                    Action 1

                    In the video, Matt shows us how to press the big toe and pinky toe down while lifting up through the heel, which activates the gastrocnemius (calf muscle that attaches to the back of the femur bone), causing the knee to bend.

                    Action 2

                    He adds on the action of activating the hamstring by pulling the ball mound of the foot towards the back of your mat while the heel is lifted. This will contribute greatly to the strength of the hamstrings. Engaging the muscles helps us hold the joints in better alignment, therefore also addressing our need for better stability and balance.

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

                    HIPS & HAMSTRINGS

                    ONLINE YOGA IMMERSION

                    • 12 classes to increase flexibility of the hips and hamstrings
                    • Maximize your strength through range of motion
                    • Access your pose potential
                    • Release tension of hips and back
                    • Sensation-based practices
                    • Unlock and strengthen major muscle groups
                    • Active, passive, and isometric stretching
                    • Improve mobility and stability
                    • So much more!

                    $148.00 $128.00

                    MORE INFORMATION

                    OVERBENDING THE KNEE

                    While some people struggle with hypermobility, others struggle to straighten the leg. In the latter case, the hamstrings are caught in a shortened holding pattern. Just stretching over and over again will not teach the body to release tension. There is, however, a solution to gain range of motion, and it too involves activating our muscles — in this case, it’s the quadriceps, the 4 muscles of the thigh. Their primary role is to straighten the knee. Matt demonstrates how we can achieve this by pulling the kneecap up. This action of “reciprocal inhibition” contributes to our ability to find better range of motion and improved flexibility in the hamstrings over time. 

                    Understanding our bodies and getting in tune with our tendencies unlocks opportunities for a fuller experience in our postures.
                    Once we tap in and take the necessary actions, what we uncover is limitless potential.

                    This potential is waiting for you in Matt’s current 12-class immersion, titled Mobility. You get lifetime access to this immersion, in which Matt takes you on a journey through the major areas of the body, exploring how to increase mobility while simultaneously developing greater muscular strength and integrity. Instead of sacrificing your joints for the sake of achieving a posture, you will learn how to keep your joints safe by developing the necessary strength in each area of the body.

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

                    This is for you if you are interested in deepening your yoga practice, building your confidence, learning how to create a class, and sharing this practice with friends, family, or beyond. Yes, it’s for all levels, ages, etc.

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

                    This training is definitely for you if you are already certified at the 200- or 500-hour level but want to take your teaching career and practice to the next level. In this training, you will learn Anatomy, Biomechanics, Postural Techniques, Intelligent Sequencing, Breathwork, Meditation, Heart-Centered Philosophy, Theming, Business Structure, Marketing, Social Media, Branding, and how to build a sustainable and successful career!

                    Article by Trish Curling  @anioyoga

                    Video Extracted From: The 200 & 300 Hour Trainings

                    Online yoga to improve mobility

                    MOBILITY

                    ONLINE YOGA IMMERSION

                    • Key techniques to increase flexibility
                    • Strength development for mobility and range of motion
                    • Learn postures: Hanumanasana (Splits), Extended Side Plank
                    • Active and passive mobility for shoulders, hips, and spine
                    • Improve spinal twists, heart openers, shoulder openers, and hip openers
                    • Find greater ease in seated postures
                    • Improve mobility and posture off the mat
                    • When and how to do active, passive, and isometric stretching

                    $148.00

                    MORE INFORMATION

                    Continue Learning

                    L Pose Handstand Training

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                    read more
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                    read more
                    Open Your Heart in Camel Pose

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                    Take Flight in Crow Pose

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                    read more
                    KICK UP INTO HANDSTAND

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                    KICK UP INTO HANDSTAND  Master 3 Key Actions alignmentHANDSTAND—3 KEY ACTIONS “Squeeze in, turn in, tuck the tail.” These are the 3 key actions for handstands that Matt explains are a must. These may sound like simple cues, and they may even be easy to execute if...

                    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.

                    deeper twists and spinal mobility with the fire line

                    DEEPER TWISTS

                    INCREASE SPINAL MOBILITY WITH THE FIRE LINE

                    DEEPER TWISTS

                    DEEPER TWISTS & SPINAL MOBILITY: “FIRE LINE”

                    Do you correlate strength with twisting postures in your yoga practice, or is it flexibility that comes to mind first?  There’s no doubt that both strength and flexibility are required for deeper twists, but let’s shine the spotlight on strength as we take a deeper look into how we can unlock our true potential when it comes to the execution of twisting postures in our asana practice.

                    YOUR INTENTION FOR THE TWIST

                    Twisting postures in yoga are known for their multitude of benefits. Let’s understand though that our intentions behind various twisting postures and the ways in which we execute them can benefit vs. harm our bodies to varying degrees. We may also have very different reasons for incorporating twists into our asana practice. If the goal is to create more of a therapeutic experience, then gentler twists may be the appropriate approach to take. If the intent and/or purpose is to work more deeply into a twist, then there are ways to heighten the experience with proper awareness and activation (we’ll see this shortly with Matt’s unique approach). Whether there is some level of vulnerability due to injury or not, doing things like pushing through the arms or trying to force more deeply into a twist can in fact cause harm, and this is never the desired outcome.

                     

                    Online yoga to improve mobility

                    MOBILITY

                    ONLINE YOGA IMMERSION

                    • Key techniques to increase flexibility
                    • Strength development for mobility and range of motion
                    • Learn postures: Hanumanasana (Splits), Extended Side Plank
                    • Active and passive mobility for shoulders, hips, and spine
                    • Improve spinal twists, heart openers, shoulder openers, and hip openers
                    • Find greater ease in seated postures
                    • Improve mobility and posture off the mat
                    • When and how to do active, passive, and isometric stretching

                    $148.00

                    MORE INFORMATION

                    Yes, all movements on or off the mat will indeed place varying degrees of pressure on the discs in our spine, and, outside of the body’s natural resilience, there are ways in which we can create more integrity to support these movements. Although simply by twisting, we increase the amount of pressure on the spinal discs, twisting is also the answer to the question of how to increase their health.

                    Our discs require nourishment, and I love the sponge analogy — the “squeeze and soak effect” — when considering how to stimulate this nourishment. An appropriate twisting action or posture can actually help to equalize the pressure in the discs by supplying them with fluid, which allows them to expand. This creates more space and shock absorption between each vertebra, allowing your spine to react with more resilience to movements that create more weight, pressure, and/or impact in your body.

                    Now, Matt’s approach to twists is quite unique and extremely effective. His approach asks you to bring your focus and awareness to where you can create activations with more intention in order for your body to respond with greater ease. 

                    WHAT IS THE FIRE LINE?

                    If you’ve been following Matt and/or practicing with him, then you are familiar with his Chromatic Approach to yoga. Regarding the physical practice, we understand this approach as systemic with a deep awareness of how we move our bodies and progress to a “peak posture.” Something Matt created is the  idea of  the “Fire Line,” which he describes as a kinesthetic chain of muscle activation, or a co-activated line of muscle, or a co-ordinated engagement of several muscles in order to gain greater access to balance, strength, stability, and flexibility.

                    MUSCLE ACTIVATION IN THE FIRE LINE

                    Matt starts off by explaining that we first bring our attention and awareness to the serratus anterior on one side of the body, which funnels into the external obliques through the linea alba, then traveling underneath the external obliques on the other side of the body to the internal obliques, which then go down to the opposite hip bone.  

                    The Fire Line branches off “like a river” in 2 directions. The 1st branch goes to the outside of the gluteus maximus down through the IT band and connects to the outer shin. The 2nd branch goes from the inside of the hipthe iliacus and/or psoas muscle, which is on the inside of the bowl of your pelvis and attaches right at the inner thigh, where it meets the pelvis inside of the femoral head (inside of thigh bone). This all travels in the same direction, where we find the adductor group, which runs at the inside of your leg; some of the muscles in this group attach down at the shin.

                    We draw a thread of connection all the way through. Through Matt’s dedication to practice and his experience with his own body and with teaching and observing his students, he realized that activating this line allows the yoga practitioner to execute a variety of different twisting postures with great integrity and ability.

                    He highlights that the “center of the fire” is right at the core. We must recognize that the fire goes inward and creates a rounding through the back of the body. The key is to bring awareness to this rounding by exaggerating a pulling back of the ribcage.

                    With all of this in mind, we can see why strength plays a key role. Instead of just “dumping,” or forcing our bodies into a twist, we very thoughtfully engage the muscles in this Fire Line to more safely and deeply experience a variety of twisting postures.

                    online yoga immersion for the spine

                    SPINAL AWAKENING

                    November 2021 Immersion

                    • Twists • side bends • forward folds • heart openers
                    • Learn techniques to strengthen & mobilize your spine
                    • Release back tension and discomfort
                    • Twelve 75-minute classes, all levels appropriate
                    • Advance your postural practice
                    • Lifetime unlimited access to all

                    YOUR DISCOUNT CODE: STRENGTHMEMBER

                    $148.00 $118.00

                    REVOLVED CHAIR POSE

                    Take a close look at Matt’s deliberate actions in today’s video.  What we see is not only the chromatic approach, the build, the preparation; but we see the activation of the fire line in order to avoid the collapse into Revolved Chair Pose.

                    When we approach twisting postures with strength as the anchor, not only do we execute twists with more purpose, but overall we feel more empowered in our bodies and our practice.  What a beautiful outcome.

                    Imagine getting this type of insight on your practice on a regular basis, and being able to integrate it into your mind and body. Online Immersions with Matt are the perfect way to get techniques like the fire line into your practice. Each immersion consists of 12 all levels classes so you can advance your body awareness and deepen your practice.

                    If you have been practicing with the immersions than you know exactly how powerful and effective they are.

                    But what if you want to share this knowledge with others? Take advantage of the opportunity to study with Matt in his upcoming teacher trainings.  His 200 and 300 Hr trainings are open for enrollment.

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

                    This is for you if you are interested in deepening your yoga practice, building your confidence, learning how to create a class, sharing this practice with friends, family or beyond. Yes it’s for all levels, ages, etc.

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

                    This training is definitely for you if you are already certified at the 200 or 500 hour level but want to take your teaching career and practice to the next level. In this training you will learn Anatomy, Bio-mechanics, Postural Techniques, Intelligent Sequencing, Breathwork, Meditation, Heart Centered Philosophy, Theming, Business Structure, Marketing, Social Media, Branding and how to build a sustainable and successful career!

                    Article by Trish Curling  @anioyoga

                    Video Extracted From: The 200 & 300 Hour Trainings and April 2020 Immersion “The Greatest Hits”

                    Online yoga to improve mobility

                    MOBILITY

                    ONLINE YOGA IMMERSION

                    • Key techniques to increase flexibility
                    • Strength development for mobility and range of motion
                    • Learn postures: Hanumanasana (Splits), Extended Side Plank
                    • Active and passive mobility for shoulders, hips, and spine
                    • Improve spinal twists, heart openers, shoulder openers, and hip openers
                    • Find greater ease in seated postures
                    • Improve mobility and posture off the mat
                    • When and how to do active, passive, and isometric stretching

                    $148.00

                    MORE INFORMATION