Air Line Activation

Air Line Activation

back strength


Finding ways to effectively strengthen the back in our yoga practice can be a challenge. If our goal is to cultivate strength in this area of the body, we must understand that it requires more than just adding backbends into our sequences on the mat. What’s imperative is both thoughtfulness and an execution of the specific techniques required to build strength and simultaneously serve our individual needs within any given practice.

Yoga sequences that underpin the air element from yoga philosophy are utterly valuable in the endeavour to find strength in our back bodies. Beyond the air element, however, is Matt’s development of a kinesio-elemental line, called the Air Line in Chromatic Yoga. Utilizing specific techniques to activate the muscles involved in the Air Line will assist in safely and effectively building back strength.

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When studying with Matt, we learn that the qualities associated with the air element include lightness, freedom, and inspiration. When expressed in physical asana, these qualities include postures that elongate and open up the front body. We experience a sense of celebration and expression, and we embody a sense of power.

According to Matt, the Air Line is the reverse of the Fire Line. Through the back core muscles, the Air Line connects the shoulder blade to the opposite hip. Some of the back muscles involved in the Air Line include the erector spinae group, quadratus lumborum, rhomboids, trapezius, rotators of the hip, hamstrings, and the rotators of the spine. The rotators of the spine allow us to articulate specific vertebrae, pulling each one into rotation. When executing postures that target the Air Line, we achieve spinal extension, rotation, and a stretch of the Fire Line (front body).




Although the spine is designed to move freely in multiple directions, it is equally designed to provide stability. Taking care to warm up the muscles that surround and support the spine is essential in maintaining its health. Integrating precise techniques with the following postures will help prepare these muscles and pattern the right articulations to target the Air Line.

Prone Back-Body Lifts

In today’s video, we see that the key action here is to lift the shoulder of the extended arm up to assist in greater retraction of the scapula. This supports greater spinal extension and rotation.

High-Lunge Twist

As we see in Matt’s demonstration of High-Lunge Twist in the video, another quality included in the air element is momentum. There’s a sweeping action of the arms that more deeply accentuates the connection between the shoulder blade and opposite hip.

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The only way to progress is to increase the challenge. 

Tiger Pose

In the video, Matt demonstrates a Tiger Pose variation focused on the Air Line. One of the challenges here comes from attempting to maintain the lift and the open position of the pelvis while also maintaining the open position of the lifted arm. When attempting to lift higher through one side, we find that the opposite side tries to move into a more closed position. Lifting as much as possible through both sides will support the activation of the Air Line.

Twisted Monkey

This Twisted Monkey variation incorporates the activation of the hamstrings along with the other actions we’ve already practiced.

Low Lunge

The experience here is a lovely stretch of the Fire Line. It’s important that in the exploration of the pose, we remain mindful not to compress the spine. Lifting the belly and sending the chest more forward will reduce the chance of compression. 

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The variations of Supported Warrior III and Half Camel that Matt offers in today’s video help expand our understanding of the Air Line.

Supported Warrior III

Matt describes this as an active version of the Air Line, an excellent strengthener for the back.

Half Camel Pose

A posture like Half Camel becomes easier when we understand the patterning of the Air Line. The shoulder-blade-to-hip connection produces a healthy expansion in the front body. The posture tends to feel more natural, rather than forced.

If we pay attention to the finer details and utilize the step-by-step cues Matt offers, we’ll experience new sensations, benefits, and results.

If you’re interested in breaking down postures so that they make better sense biomechanically for your own body, then you’ll want to get on the waitlist for Matt’s online training course The Pose Factory.

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Article by Trish Curling

Videos Extracted From: Breath Of Fire

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