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
    • Lifetime unlimited access to all
    • Attend livestream OR practice the replays any time that’s convenient for you

    $168.00 $148.00

    MORE INFORMATION

     

    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

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    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!

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    Article by Trish Curling

    Video Extracted From: Heart Openers: Yoga Backbends Immersion

    CHOOSE YOUR PATH

    NEXT TRAINING BEGINS FEBRUARY 26, 2023 ENROLLMENT NOW OPEN
    NEXT TRAINING  BEGINS FEBRUARY 18, 2023. ENROLLMENT NOW OPEN

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    Best Backbend Technique to relieve back pain

    BACKBEND TECHNIQUE TO RELIEVE BACK PAIN

    “BOWING THE SPINE”

    Bowing The Spine

    Why are backbends uncomfortable for many people?

    Can we do anything to change this?

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

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

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

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

    "HEART OPENERS" IMMERSION

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    • Master techniques like “bowing the spine”
    • Release stress patterns, discomfort, or pain in your back
    • Twelve 75-minute classes, all levels appropriate
    • Learn postures: Full Wheel, Bow, Camel, King Pigeon, King Dancer, King Cobra, Scorpion, and more!
    • Lifetime unlimited access to all

    RECONNECT TO YOUR BODY WISDOM

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

    Yoga brings awareness to the felt sense of your physical potential beyond just basic needs. Backbending is beyond your basic, functional needs, but backbends can be enriching and healing.

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

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

     

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    WHAT IS “BOWING THE SPINE”?

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

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

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

    FREE VIDEO PODCAST ON BOWING THE SPINE WITH PROFESSOR MATT

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

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    WILL THIS WORK FOR EVERYONE?

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

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

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

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

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    • Increase spinal range of motion
    • Master techniques like “bowing the spine”
    • Release stress patterns, discomfort, or pain in your back
    • Twelve 75-minute classes, all levels appropriate
    • Learn postures: Full Wheel, Bow, Camel, King Pigeon, King Dancer, King Cobra, Scorpion, and more!
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    THE FREE TECHNIQUE PACK

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