THE STEP BY STEP APPROACH
“Dream big, start small, then connect the dots.” This quote from Dan Millman’s Wisdom of the Peaceful Warrior has been the foundation of my yoga practice from the moment I stepped on the yoga mat. It was that book that led my to yoga in the first place, and that line that became a mantra in my head from that moment on. How does it apply to the asana practice? Most people come into the yoga practice and feel something magnificent and of course they want to come back. At some point, regardless of how egoless we believe ourselves to be, we become attracted to the external postures of the yoga practice. It’s typically innocent of course, we associate a feeling with certain postures, on a subtle level we believe that we attain them we will feel strong, powerful, fearless, light, free, at peace, worthy of love, kindness etc. On an intellectual level we usually know that this is not reality but we get pulled into it anyway. The beautiful thing is that we are being pulled into practice and the practice reveals what we need to learn. So I wouldn’t ridicule this process, but rather as you walk the path remind yourself that everything you wish to feel already exists within you and rather than expecting yoga to do the practice for you, step into. the feeling you crave and let that amplify your practice. This is what it means to practice with intention.
All that being said while we are living in this body we want to take care of it and allow it to reach its highest potential which includes movement practices, stability practices, dietary, hygiene, mental health, creative expression, and so on. When I say highest potential, I don’t mean an end result or destination but rather a trajectory that gets us to walk the path. The purposes of this blog is to support your physical well-being in regards to your body. Asana is the practice that cultivates our body awareness, but most of us focus on the postures instead of our body and as a result we are left with thousands of shapes and alignment cues. A short cut to body awareness is to put your body first, and the pose second! What does that mean? There are only a few major joints to learn in the body, and each has a few movements available to it. There are muscles that surround each joint that create this movement. If you use your asana practice to become aware, proficient or even masterful in each movement then you will no long be perplexed when you see a new pose, you will know exactly what is need to put your body in that shape. You will grow to understand your limitations and your abilities becoming your own best teacher.
THE CHROMATIC SYSTEM
I created Chromatic Yoga based on this concept of small steps toward our potential. Each month we have a focus in our classes, a Physical Through-Line (PTL), and a Thematic Through-Line (TTL). The PTL is the one muscle group or joint action that we pull through an entire class, or workshop, while the TTL is the similar but for building awareness of the mind and subtle energies of life. Because I encourage Chromatic Teachers to be authentic with how they teach, each will have their own way of creatively sharing the PTL and TTL. This month PTL – Abductors of the hip, is the focus of the video below. These are just a few ways to strengthen and become aware of the muscles.
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Step 1. Awareness
The first step to building awareness of any muscle is to intellectually understand where it exists in the body. The abductor group is generally located in the outer hip/pelvic region. In addition to the intellectual understanding you must learn what it feels like to activate this muscle. For this its typically easiest to “create a boundry” and press into it. So here I have placed a hand outside the knee and I press into the hand which creates the action of abduction and engages the abductors.
Step 2: strengthen
Next you will want to develop strength in accessible postures. Typically choosing static postures for “isometric” engagement is a safe and stable way to strength. Isometric means activate the muscle without movement of the joints. For this video I chose Chair pose to share with you. With feet about hip width apart, push your yoga mat apart with your heals while keeping your knees pointing straight forward. Note: if your pelvis is tucked under you may not be able to access the abductors, stick your buttocks upward.
Step 3: Practice
Lastly you will need to learn how to activate this muscle group through range of motion. This means not only choosing a wide range of static yoga postures to activate the abductors in, you will also want to do the movements that it creates. For this I chose fire hydrant pose, both abducting the upper hip by lifting the leg up high, and the lower hip by squeezing the pelvis inward. Because the foot is on the ground, moving and rotating the pelvis away from the foot is abduction. You will feel it in your outer hip muscles.
Hips: Rock & Unlock 'Em
Get 2 full hours with Matt Giordano focusing on the techniques that increase the range of motion in your hips and provide long lasting freedom. You will have immediate, unlimited access, and can enjoy the benefits today!
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Learn the techniques that make Handstand fun, easy and accessible! This collection of the top 12 most effective exercises will make you rethink how you approach handstand and what is possible.
In this workshop you will practice specific techniques to open your hips, finding greater rang of motion and freedom. Each action in the body is carefully layered and clearly articulated to provide you with success.
Dance With The Flames
Change is Inevitable but transformation is a choice. Step into the fire and dance amongst the flames in this live workshop! You will get the full energy of being in the class room, strengthen your hips, and free your heart.
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