Strengthen Your “Shelf” For Mayurasana

Strengthen Your “Shelf” for Mayurasana

How to Prepare for This Unique Arm Balance

DELTOIDS

STRENGTHEN YOUR “SHELF” FOR MAYURASANA

Let’s note that muscle groups do not work in isolation: The activation of accessory muscles, although not necessarily the focal point, are an integral part of the execution of a posture. In Mayurasana, the anterior deltoids and rotator cuff muscles may not be part of your first thoughts regarding how to execute this posture, but without considering the role they play, we simply will not be able to create the “shelf” required to create the balance we need in this posture. There is obvious core activation, not to mention strength and activation in the glutes and hamstrings, but the shelf Matt refers to in this class is the ability to hug the elbows in as tightly as possible so as to create an anchor for the pose. The anterior deltoids and rotator cuff muscles offer support, stability, and strength in Mayurasana.

chromatic yoga 15 hour immersion

SHOULDER MASTERY

WORKSHOP SERIES

    •  3 livestream workshops and replays
    • Nondogmatic and effective alignment
    • Improve low-back health
    • Shoulder mobility + heart openers
    • Shoulder strength + arm balances
    • Inversions, binds, neck & shoulder release
    • 6 hours of continued education
    • Gain strength and stability
    • Increase range of motion, flexibility, and mobility
    • Step-by-step guidance: Everyone can follow and participate
    • Educationally infused: Learn while you embody
    • Livestream optional; all workshops available as livestreams (see dates below) and as on-demand replays for life
    • Automatically receive access to the replays immediately after the livestream

    BLOCK SQUEEZE DRILL

    In terms of teaching Mayurasana, Matt notes that it’s not an easy pose to sequence towards. Not many other postures mimic the mandatory actions, but there are certainly creative movements and drills we can incorporate into our practice in order to cultivate the inescapable strength required for Mayurasana. Of course, Matt demonstrates the actions we can take to strengthen the appropriate muscle groups. Included in this preparation, in particular for the shelf in Mayurasana, are the biceps, pectoralis muscles, anterior deltoids, and rotator cuff.

    Today’s video starts off with a “block squeeze” drill. The block is squeezed between the forearms with bent elbows, while the arms are externally rotated. Our palms are facing forward, and the upper back is rounded while we “sit” in a Chair Pose position. The pectoralis muscles are engaged, but it’s the external rotation that helps us target the rotator cuff muscles.

    WATCH THE VIDEO

    STRENGTHEN YOUR “SHELF” FOR MAYURASANA: HOW TO PREPARE FOR THIS UNIQUE ARM BALANCE

    MAYURASANA AT THE WALL AND ON YOUR BACK

    Mayurasana at the Wall

    Here, we can practice mimicking what we did in the block drill—squeezing our elbows in towards each other. In addition, the feeling of “trying to pull the wall up” turns on the pectoralis major, the anterior deltoids, and the biceps. We can’t lift our legs here, but we can practice the sensation of pulling our feet back to activate the glutes and hamstrings.

    Mayurasana on Your Back

    By pressing our feet into the ground in this variation, we can get more feedback and activation of the glutes and hamstrings. In the upper body, we practice the shape by rounding the back and placing our arms as if to set up the shelf on top of the rib cage. 

    200 Hour Online Teacher Training Certification

    200 HOUR ONLINE TEACHER TRAINING

    GET CERTIFIED & DEEPEN YOUR YOGA PRACTICE

    • Deepen your yoga practice
    • Build confidence speaking in front of groups in person and online
    • Learn foundational class structures and templates
    • Learn techniques for a wide range of yoga postures
    • Get certified and highly qualified to teach yoga
    • Yoga Alliance Globally Recognized Certification Program
    • SPRING ENROLLMENT OPEN! Training begins June 1

    MAYURASANA “MASTERY”

    In the full class, Matt reminds us that creating the shelf with our arms doesn’t mean that we are resting on top of them. What we’re actually doing is setting up a strong base, our negotiating point for balance. To achieve the final expression of the posture, it’s the angle of the bend at the elbows, the grip of the ground with the fingers, and the strength in the shoulders and upper body that allow us to shift and find the sweet spot that supports the lift of the legs. In today’s video, you’ll see how Matt shifts his weight back and forth before he locks in to the next step, where he finds authentic balance and uses the strength of the core, glutes, and hamstrings to lift his legs. The trust in the foundation that’s been created allows for this masterful execution of Mayurasana.

    300 hour teacher training online

    300 HOUR ONLINE TEACHER TRAINING

    GET 500 HOUR CERTIFIED AS A MASTER TEACHER

    Master your skill set as a teacher through refined techniques, anatomy, biomechanics, sequencing, philosophy, meditation techniques, theming, yoga business, and much more!

    • Get 500 hour certified
    • Learn anatomy, biomechanics, asana techniques
    • Expand your teaching skills
    • Masterful sequencing and verbal delivery
    • Learn meditation and breathwork techniques
    • Transformative tools: theming, dharma talks, satsang
    • SPRING ENROLLMENT OPEN! Training begins June 1

    KEY ACTIONS IN THIS ARM BALANCE

    Here are the 2 key actions Matt outlines for Mayurasana (we’ll find them in most arm balance postures):

    1. Bending the elbows at an open angle (helps to stop us from falling)
    2. Intentionally leaning forward while trying to stop at the same time

    For Mayurasana, more than building strength in the shoulders, biceps, core, glutes, and hamstrings, it’s about how to be very intentional in the drills we implement in our yoga practice. The only way to become masterful is to be informed and guided through drills like these and, of course, to practice the posture itself.

    In Matt’s upcoming 3-part series, Shoulder Mastery, he’ll delve into more about shoulder strength for arm balances, along with a deeper understanding of the shoulders when it comes to inversions, binds, and even releasing the neck.

    Strength without action offers no direction. Register for the workshop series today!

    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

    Videos Extracted From: Anatomy of Arm Balances

    lotus pose online yoga classes

    ONLINE ANATOMY COURSE

    • Accessible, exciting, and easy to learn
    • Anatomy and biomechanics for yoga
    • Appropriate for both teachers and students
    • Learn joint alignment vs pose alignment
    • Demystify yoga poses and transitions
    • Release aches and pains
    • Learn how to avoid common injuries
    • Caters to all levels with modifications and props
    • 20 hours Continued Education Credits with Yoga Alliance
    • 20 hours toward Chromatic Yoga Certification and 300 Hour
    • Lifetime access

    Continue Learning

    Accelerated Handstand Development

    Accelerated Handstand Development

    Accelerated Handstand DevelopmentinversionACCELERATED HANDSTAND DEVELOPMENT Accelerating the process of achieving a goal comes from consistent practice, but it also depends heavily on the information and knowledge we’ve acquired.   Whether a handstand is part of our...

    read more
    Tweak The Twists In Your Yoga Practice

    Tweak The Twists In Your Yoga Practice

    Tweak the Twists in Your Yoga PracticepadmasanaTWEAK THE TWISTS IN YOUR YOGA PRACTICE The definition of "tweak" here is the following: to improve (a mechanism or system) by making fine adjustments to it. This perfectly describes a major part of what’s involved in the...

    read more
    Lotus Foundations

    Lotus Foundations

    Lotus FoundationspadmasanaLOTUS FOUNDATIONS Lotus Pose requires a healthy amount of hip flexibility. For some, it comes easy. Reasons for this might be that the person is hypermobile in the hips, knees, and ankles and/or that many months or years of effort have been...

    read more
    Hips and Eka Pada Galavasana

    Hips and Eka Pada Galavasana

    Hips and Eka Pada Galavasanaflying pigeonHIPS AND EKA PADA GALAVASANA Depending on where we are in our asana practice journey, arm balances may feel a little overwhelming. It can be difficult to know where to start. Instead of thinking about the final destination, we...

    read more
    Hip Flexor Health For Better Movement

    Hip Flexor Health For Better Movement

    Hip Flexor Health for Better MovementstretchHIP FLEXOR HEALTH FOR BETTER MOVEMENT Healthy hip flexor muscles are associated with both stretch and strength. Although we’re going to focus more heavily on strength in this article, always note that both strength and...

    read more
    6 Postures For Hips and Lower Back

    6 Postures For Hips and Lower Back

    6 Postures for Hips and Lower Backstretch6 POSTURES FOR HIPS AND LOWER BACK When we're interested in learning about postures that help us with our hips and lower back, it’s simply not good enough to find a video or practice that says that certain poses will help with...

    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.

    Standing Nose To Shin

    Standing Nose to Shin

    Variations for a Solid Foundation

    strength

    STANDING NOSE TO SHIN

    Standing Nose to Shin is an exceptional preparatory posture for Hanumanasana, or Splits Pose, but it is an equally profound posture on its own. It also requires thoughtful preparation, particularly when considering how to optimize the prominent muscle groups that are involved. Your hamstrings, glutes, hip flexors, quadriceps, back muscles, and calf muscles are just some of the highlighted areas of the body that require attention for you to realize your full potential in the pose. In today’s video, Matt lays out the path to increased strength, flexibility, and mobility via these 5 preparatory variations of Standing Nose to Shin. What you’ll see are ways to intelligently break down the posture into bite-sized pieces by attempting them in different planes. Working through these variations is not solely a gateway to the posture but an entrance to amplified body balance.

    lotus pose online yoga classes

    THE SPLITS

    • Improve flexibility of hamstrings, adductors, hip flexors, and glutes
    • Hanumanasana Splits
    • Center Splits
    • Vishvamitrasana
    • Standing Splits / Ekapadasana
    • Extended Side Plank / Vashisthasana
    • Straddle entries for inversions, with modifications for all levels
    • Moderate Vinyasa style with alignment, technique, and biomechanics
    • Sequences are anatomically informed and carefully crafted
    • 12 Classes: All levels appropriate
    • Lifetime unlimited access to all
    • Attend the livestream OR practice the replays any time that’s convenient for you

    $148.00

    HAMSTRING, HIP FLEXOR, AND QUAD ACTIVATION

    Both palpitation and the use of your own body as a prop are great tools in your yoga practice. In the first variation, Matt has you lace your fingers to grasp underneath the belly of your hamstring. Doing this will allow you to gain a deeper understanding of both the strength and stretch sensation in that area of your body. Pressing down into your hands creates an activation. Once you extend your leg, you’ll initiate the technique of reciprocal inhibition—activating the opposing muscle of the one you’re lengthening. In this case, your quadriceps activate while your hamstrings lengthen. This is important because it helps minimize the potential for overstretching the hamstrings.  

    Getting your hip flexors more involved means letting go of the grip on your hamstrings and allowing your extended leg to do the work of opposing gravity.

    WATCH THE VIDEO

    STANDING NOSE TO SHIN: 5 VARIATIONS FOR A SOLID FOUNDATION

    STANDING SINGLE LEG AT THE WALL

    Using a wall as a prop doesn’t mean that it’s an opportunity to neglect the required muscle activation to prepare for Standing Nose to Shin. This variation is the training ground for the anterior tilt of the pelvis that encourages an increased range of motion. Matt reminds you that even though you fold forward in the final variation, there is still an incorporation of the pelvic tilt.

    Along with this pelvic tilt is a lifting of the heart and a backbend, which help you strengthen and activate in order to prepare for the fold in the final variation. 

    Another important action for the final variation is the dorsiflexion of your foot. What’s taking place here is the strengthening and intentional activation of the tibialis anterior.  

    As you create these activations, the hamstrings can become more vulnerable, so it’s important to stay in tune with the sensations that are taking place there.  

    200 Hour Online Teacher Training Certification

    200 HOUR ONLINE TEACHER TRAINING

    GET CERTIFIED & DEEPEN YOUR YOGA PRACTICE

    • Deepen your yoga practice
    • Build confidence speaking in front of groups in person and online
    • Learn foundational class structures and templates
    • Learn techniques for a wide range of yoga postures
    • Get certified and highly qualified to teach yoga
    • Yoga Alliance Globally Recognized Certification Program
    • SPRING ENROLLMENT OPEN! Training begins June 1

    STANDING SPLITS AT THE WALL

    This variation is interesting, because even though you are going more with gravity, there is still opportunity to activate, activate, activate! There’s continued emphasis on activating your quads and glute muscles. As regards the top leg, it’s almost as if you’re trying to lift your leg off of the wall with the glute activation. Doing this mimics the position of the standing leg when you “turn the pose upside down” by standing right side up.

    Here, you can also welcome in the deeper fold towards the standing leg. In order to protect the hamstring of the standing leg, you tuck the same-side sit bone while taking your face closer to your shin. Tucking your tailbone produces an activation of the hamstrings and glutes (facilitated stretch) to keep the sit-bone attachment safe.

    300 hour teacher training online

    300 HOUR ONLINE TEACHER TRAINING

    GET 500 HOUR CERTIFIED AS A MASTER TEACHER

    Master your skill set as a teacher through refined techniques, anatomy, biomechanics, sequencing, philosophy, meditation techniques, theming, yoga business, and much more!

    • Get 500 hour certified
    • Learn anatomy, biomechanics, asana techniques
    • Expand your teaching skills
    • Masterful sequencing and verbal delivery
    • Learn meditation and breathwork techniques
    • Transformative tools: theming, dharma talks, satsang
    • SPRING ENROLLMENT OPEN! Training begins June 1

    SEATED, SUPINE, AND STANDING

    Getting onto the floor offers another chance to imitate the posture with less emphasis on balance. You’re able to continue to work on activating the quadriceps in the lower leg, just as you will in the standing pose.  

    In the video, even though Matt is leaning forward towards his shin, you can also see how long and “upright” he appears in his alignment. This gets more range but with increased protection of the spine and whole backline.

    Attempting the final variation of Standing Nose to Shin adds layers of challenge. If you carefully complete the 5 stages Matt demonstrates, you’ll be able to uncover the articulations, activations, and ranges that require more attention.

    Matt’s in-depth approach goes even further in his 200 & 300 hour teacher trainings. This is where you can dive deeper into the core of multiple postures and their variations.

    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: Splits Immersion

    lotus pose online yoga classes

    The Teachers' Toolkit

    • Advance your practice
    • Learn masterful teaching techniques
    • Acquire business-building skills
    • Attract the right students
    • Learn about social media, marketing, and business structure
    • Catapult your teaching and career

    Continue Learning

    Accelerated Handstand Development

    Accelerated Handstand Development

    Accelerated Handstand DevelopmentinversionACCELERATED HANDSTAND DEVELOPMENT Accelerating the process of achieving a goal comes from consistent practice, but it also depends heavily on the information and knowledge we’ve acquired.   Whether a handstand is part of our...

    read more
    Tweak The Twists In Your Yoga Practice

    Tweak The Twists In Your Yoga Practice

    Tweak the Twists in Your Yoga PracticepadmasanaTWEAK THE TWISTS IN YOUR YOGA PRACTICE The definition of "tweak" here is the following: to improve (a mechanism or system) by making fine adjustments to it. This perfectly describes a major part of what’s involved in the...

    read more
    Lotus Foundations

    Lotus Foundations

    Lotus FoundationspadmasanaLOTUS FOUNDATIONS Lotus Pose requires a healthy amount of hip flexibility. For some, it comes easy. Reasons for this might be that the person is hypermobile in the hips, knees, and ankles and/or that many months or years of effort have been...

    read more
    Hips and Eka Pada Galavasana

    Hips and Eka Pada Galavasana

    Hips and Eka Pada Galavasanaflying pigeonHIPS AND EKA PADA GALAVASANA Depending on where we are in our asana practice journey, arm balances may feel a little overwhelming. It can be difficult to know where to start. Instead of thinking about the final destination, we...

    read more
    Hip Flexor Health For Better Movement

    Hip Flexor Health For Better Movement

    Hip Flexor Health for Better MovementstretchHIP FLEXOR HEALTH FOR BETTER MOVEMENT Healthy hip flexor muscles are associated with both stretch and strength. Although we’re going to focus more heavily on strength in this article, always note that both strength and...

    read more
    6 Postures For Hips and Lower Back

    6 Postures For Hips and Lower Back

    6 Postures for Hips and Lower Backstretch6 POSTURES FOR HIPS AND LOWER BACK When we're interested in learning about postures that help us with our hips and lower back, it’s simply not good enough to find a video or practice that says that certain poses will help with...

    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.

    Compass Pose

    Compass Pose

    Variations to Challenge Balance and Flexibility

    balance & flexibility

    COMPASS POSE VARIATIONS

    Compass Pose, especially the variations Matt offers today, will challenge you, and not necessarily in the ways you might think. Most obviously, it will challenge you in the lateral flexion of the spine and the extensive amount of shoulder and hamstring flexibility required, but even more than that are all the lifts, drops, and turns, or maybe better said, the articulations and/or actions in the joints, that make it that much more challenging. However, with challenge comes reward. You’ll see that both variations provide an opportunity to deepen your understanding of the posture because of the step-by-step techniques you’ll follow and because of how your body responds within the posture. After reviewing today’s video clip, you’ll be empowered with 2 variations of Compass Pose that will test your ability to stay present while increasing strength, balance, and flexibility.

    lotus pose online yoga classes

    THE SPLITS

    • Improve flexibility of hamstrings, adductors, hip flexors, and glutes
    • Hanumanasana Splits
    • Center Splits
    • Vishvamitrasana
    • Standing Splits / Ekapadasana
    • Extended Side Plank / Vashisthasana
    • Straddle entries for inversions, with modifications for all levels
    • Moderate Vinyasa style with alignment, technique, and biomechanics
    • Sequences are anatomically informed and carefully crafted
    • 12 Classes: All levels appropriate
    • Lifetime unlimited access to all
    • Attend the livestream OR practice the replays any time that’s convenient for you

    $148.00

    ANATOMY OF COMPASS POSE

    Although Compass Pose is a seated posture, it does require balance. After all, one leg is lifted while the other is grounded to the floor. Lifting the top leg requires strength in the outer hip muscles (gluteus medius & minimus).  Because you grab hold of the foot of the top leg, you might argue that Compass Pose is both a passive and an active stretch. A healthy approach to this lifting and opening is to activate those outer hip muscles to create more abduction, rather than relying solely on the flexibility of the adductors and the hamstrings. Next up are your shoulders and back muscles. Gaining access to grabbing hold of the foot requires an engagement of the rhomboids to create more opening in the shoulders. In addition, there are 2 actions that are key to putting it all together.

    WATCH THE VIDEO

    COMPASS POSE: 2 VARIATIONS TO CHALLENGE BALANCE AND FLEXIBILITY

    COMPASS POSE VARIATION 1

    It’s the 2 additional actions we’ll see now that bring the pose together.

    In this variation, the bottom knee is bent. Matt shows you how to “snuggle” into your lifted leg while leaning and putting your weight into the bent (or seated) leg, seting you up for success. Leaning your weight to the side allows for a hike of the hip—the first action. This lifting, along with the activation of the rhomboids to pull your shoulder back, allows you to more easily guide your foot. Matt explains that keeping the hike of the hip means that your pelvis is at an angle in which your leg doesn’t have to fight against the hip joint, ultimately making it easier for shoulder opening. The second action is the internal rotation of the hip as you lift the leg. Internal rotation helps maintain the lift. 

    200 Hour Online Teacher Training Certification

    200 HOUR ONLINE TEACHER TRAINING

    GET CERTIFIED & DEEPEN YOUR YOGA PRACTICE

    • Deepen your yoga practice
    • Build confidence speaking in front of groups in person and online
    • Learn foundational class structures and templates
    • Learn techniques for a wide range of yoga postures
    • Get certified and highly qualified to teach yoga
    • Yoga Alliance Globally Recognized Certification Program
    • SPRING ENROLLMENT OPEN! Training begins June 1

    COMPASS POSE VARIATION 2

    In this 2nd variation of Compass Pose, the bottom leg is straight and mimics Center Splits early in the setup. Once you’re in the posture, extending the bottom leg all the way out further challenges your balance and flexibility. In order to maintain better balance, you can emphasize internally rotating through both legs for more stability in your base.  

    Now, remember when I mentioned that Compass Pose can be viewed as both an active and a passive stretch? In the full class, Matt takes the pose to the next level and offers the option of letting go of the foot and relying on both the active flexion of the hip and the activation of the outer hips. Do these actions remind you of anything?  If you said Vishvamitrasana, then you’re right. So much of what Matt offers here is exactly what you need to prepare for Vishvamitrasana (also known, among other names in English, as Flying Compass Pose).

    300 hour teacher training online

    300 HOUR ONLINE TEACHER TRAINING

    GET 500 HOUR CERTIFIED AS A MASTER TEACHER

    Master your skill set as a teacher through refined techniques, anatomy, biomechanics, sequencing, philosophy, meditation techniques, theming, yoga business, and much more!

    • Get 500 hour certified
    • Learn anatomy, biomechanics, asana techniques
    • Expand your teaching skills
    • Masterful sequencing and verbal delivery
    • Learn meditation and breathwork techniques
    • Transformative tools: theming, dharma talks, satsang
    • SPRING ENROLLMENT OPEN! Training begins June 1

    WITH CHALLENGE COMES REWARD

    The challenges you encounter might be in those finer details (hiking up and internally rotating the hip), or perhaps the inability to balance on one side is preventing you from utilizing the flexibility available to you. If you do find balance, incorporating the internal rotation may either throw off your balance or make it hard to maintain. The truth is that building on one step at a time while honoring the current state of your body will help you reap the rewards over time.  

    Matt’s current Splits Immersion will both challenge you and guide you toward the mastery of these techniques.

    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: The Splits

    Yoga for Core and Breathwork

    BREATH OF FIRE

    • Moderate Vinyasa-style classes
    • Core strengthening & integration
    • Master your breath with pranayama practices
    • Access your core in arm balances, heart openers, twists, forward folds, inversions, and more
    • Learn where and how to breathe in challenging postures
    • Each class will include one pranayama (breathwork practice) and several core strengtheners
    • Access your core muscles: deep, superficial, anterior, posterior, and lateral 
    • 12 Classes: All levels appropriate
    • Lifetime unlimited access to all
    • Attend the livestream OR practice the replays any time that’s convenient for you

    $148.00

    Continue Learning

    Accelerated Handstand Development

    Accelerated Handstand Development

    Accelerated Handstand DevelopmentinversionACCELERATED HANDSTAND DEVELOPMENT Accelerating the process of achieving a goal comes from consistent practice, but it also depends heavily on the information and knowledge we’ve acquired.   Whether a handstand is part of our...

    read more
    Tweak The Twists In Your Yoga Practice

    Tweak The Twists In Your Yoga Practice

    Tweak the Twists in Your Yoga PracticepadmasanaTWEAK THE TWISTS IN YOUR YOGA PRACTICE The definition of "tweak" here is the following: to improve (a mechanism or system) by making fine adjustments to it. This perfectly describes a major part of what’s involved in the...

    read more
    Lotus Foundations

    Lotus Foundations

    Lotus FoundationspadmasanaLOTUS FOUNDATIONS Lotus Pose requires a healthy amount of hip flexibility. For some, it comes easy. Reasons for this might be that the person is hypermobile in the hips, knees, and ankles and/or that many months or years of effort have been...

    read more
    Hips and Eka Pada Galavasana

    Hips and Eka Pada Galavasana

    Hips and Eka Pada Galavasanaflying pigeonHIPS AND EKA PADA GALAVASANA Depending on where we are in our asana practice journey, arm balances may feel a little overwhelming. It can be difficult to know where to start. Instead of thinking about the final destination, we...

    read more
    Hip Flexor Health For Better Movement

    Hip Flexor Health For Better Movement

    Hip Flexor Health for Better MovementstretchHIP FLEXOR HEALTH FOR BETTER MOVEMENT Healthy hip flexor muscles are associated with both stretch and strength. Although we’re going to focus more heavily on strength in this article, always note that both strength and...

    read more
    6 Postures For Hips and Lower Back

    6 Postures For Hips and Lower Back

    6 Postures for Hips and Lower Backstretch6 POSTURES FOR HIPS AND LOWER BACK When we're interested in learning about postures that help us with our hips and lower back, it’s simply not good enough to find a video or practice that says that certain poses will help with...

    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.

    full side plank and modifications

    FULL SIDE PLANK WITH MODIFICATIONS

    STEP-BY-STEP VASHISTHASANA BREAKDOWN

    FULL SIDE PLANK

    FULL SIDE PLANK AND MODIFICATIONS: VASHISTHASANA

    USING THE WALL AS A PROP

    Full Side Plank (Vashisthasana) has many modification options and variations to help make it more accessible or more challenging. I love teaching this posture with a foot on the wall to increase stability and provide a frame of reference for shifting the weight out of the hand and into the foot. 

    Some people avoid props, thinking of them as a “crutch.” For sure, they can be used as a way to avoid challenges if that is your intention, but they can also be used to increase body awareness and help you develop technique. Props are neither good nor bad; it’s just a matter of how and why you are using them. Is it that you want to avoid challenge or that you want to face challenge intelligently and appropriately?

    In the video tutorial below, I show how to modify side plank by placing your top foot on the wall. This reduces the required balance and will allow you to focus on the foundations of the posture, like the strength of your hand and wrist. Press your thumb and pinky fingers into the ground. Then focus on your bottom foot, pressing the instep of your foot into the wall. Eventually, you will be able to place the whole standing foot on the ground, which will give you strength and the power to lift the hips up. Lastly, keep your shoulder externally rotating, as indicated in the video.

    Arm Balances Online Yoga Classes

    VITALITY: RIGOR & RELEASE

    Get back to feeling energized and alive — 12 all-levels vinyasa & meditation classes to increase your energy, focus, and mental clarity

     

    • GET BACK TO FEELING ENERGIZED
    • ALL-LEVELS VINYASA CLASSES
    • HIPS, TWISTS, HEART, SHOULDERS, NECK, AND CORE
    • GUIDED MEDITATIONS TO DE-STRESS, INCREASE FOCUS, AND GAIN MENTAL CLARITY

    Full Side Plank & Modifications • Vashisthasana at the Wall

    This Side Plank tutorial footage is taken from the July 2021 Immersion, titled BALANCE

    Full Side Plank Setup

    What I don’t discuss in this particular clip is how the setup of this posture is exactly like Wild Thing. This means your pelvis is more open toward the sky, while in standard Side Plank, your feet are stacked. The spine is in a backbend as well, unlike the standard variation, where the spine is neutral.

    There are other alignments you could explore, but these will tend to give you the greatest access to the full Side Plank variation where you grab the top foot and extend the leg. If you want to practice the full class, be sure to check out Class #9 of the July 2021 Immersion, called Balance

     

    300 hour teacher training online

    300 HOUR ONLINE TEACHER TRAINING

    GET 500 HOUR CERTIFIED AS A MASTER TEACHER

    Master your skill set as a teacher through refined techniques, anatomy, biomechanics, sequencing, philosophy, meditation techniques, theming, yoga business, and much more!

    • Get 500 hour certified
    • Learn anatomy, biomechanics, asana techniques
    • Expand your teaching skills
    • Masterful sequencing and verbal delivery
    • Learn meditation and breathwork techniques
    • Transformative tools: theming, dharma talks, satsang
    • SPRING ENROLLMENT OPEN! Training begins June 1

    Three Full Side Plank Modifications and Variations

    1. Foot on the Wall: Once you rise up into Wild Thing, place the back foot on the wall and push your weight toward the wall, even if it means both knees are bent. This is not only okay but an indication that you are doing it properly.
    2. Tree Pose: The next step is infinitely more challenging because it requires greater balance and flexibility. Take the foot off the wall, similar to Tree Pose but without placing the foot on your inner thigh (though that is also another variation). I suggest pushing your knee into your hand to get your hip flexors active. Hip flexor strength becomes key when you attempt to straighten the leg. Often the tension of the hamstrings is too much and people have to let go of the foot. If your hip flexors are strong and used to engaging in this position, then they can help out by keeping the top leg closer to your upper body, lessening the chances that you’ll have to let go of the foot when extending the leg up to the sky.
    3. Full Side Plank or “Extended Vashisthasana”: Pull your knee in as tight as possible in order to grab your foot. Either stay as a modification or begin to kick the foot to the sky, straightening the top leg. Pro tip: It’s helpful to keep the bottom, weight-bearing leg bent while extending the top leg upward. 
    Arm Balances Online Yoga Classes

    VITALITY: RIGOR & RELEASE

    Get back to feeling energized and alive with 12 all-levels vinyasa & meditation classes to increase your energy, focus, and mental clarity.

     

    • GET BACK TO FEELING ENERGIZED
    • ALL-LEVELS VINYASA CLASSES
    • HIPS, TWISTS, HEART, SHOULDERS, NECK, AND CORE
    • GUIDED MEDITATIONS TO DE-STRESS, INCREASE FOCUS, AND GAIN MENTAL CLARITY

    Can’t Straighten Your Legs?

    This is normal and really shouldn’t be your focus. This is an incredibly physically demanding posture that requires extreme flexibility. Even with slightly bent knees, the posture is still visually stunning and, I would argue, even more biomechanically sound because bent knees typically trigger more muscle engagement.

     

     

    Edited by 300-hour Chromatic yoga teacher, Donna Morin.

     

    TOP RELEVANT RECOMMENDATIONS

    1. Balance Immersion: 12 Classes Focused on Balance (video above is taken from this immersion) 

    2. Arm Balance Immersion: 12 Classes – 12 Arm Balances

    MORE WAYS TO DEVELOP YOUR PRACTICE

    1. Live Immersions: 3 classes per week
    2. 200 Hour Training: Get certified
    3. 300 Hour Online Training: Get 500hr certified
    Arm Balances

    ARM BALANCES

    Learn 12+ arm balances while expanding your knowledge of the body and increasing your body awareness. All classes are 75 minutes and ALL-levels appropriate 

    • Crow Pose, Side Crow, and variations
    • Flying Pigeon, Koundinyasana 1 & 2
    • Titibhasana, Bhujapidasana
    • Handstand, Forearm Stand, and many more!

     

    SALE PRICE: $198.00 $128.00

    Continue Learning

    Accelerated Handstand Development

    Accelerated Handstand Development

    Accelerated Handstand DevelopmentinversionACCELERATED HANDSTAND DEVELOPMENT Accelerating the process of achieving a goal comes from consistent practice, but it also depends heavily on the information and knowledge we’ve acquired.   Whether a handstand is part of our...

    read more
    Tweak The Twists In Your Yoga Practice

    Tweak The Twists In Your Yoga Practice

    Tweak the Twists in Your Yoga PracticepadmasanaTWEAK THE TWISTS IN YOUR YOGA PRACTICE The definition of "tweak" here is the following: to improve (a mechanism or system) by making fine adjustments to it. This perfectly describes a major part of what’s involved in the...

    read more
    Lotus Foundations

    Lotus Foundations

    Lotus FoundationspadmasanaLOTUS FOUNDATIONS Lotus Pose requires a healthy amount of hip flexibility. For some, it comes easy. Reasons for this might be that the person is hypermobile in the hips, knees, and ankles and/or that many months or years of effort have been...

    read more
    Hips and Eka Pada Galavasana

    Hips and Eka Pada Galavasana

    Hips and Eka Pada Galavasanaflying pigeonHIPS AND EKA PADA GALAVASANA Depending on where we are in our asana practice journey, arm balances may feel a little overwhelming. It can be difficult to know where to start. Instead of thinking about the final destination, we...

    read more
    Hip Flexor Health For Better Movement

    Hip Flexor Health For Better Movement

    Hip Flexor Health for Better MovementstretchHIP FLEXOR HEALTH FOR BETTER MOVEMENT Healthy hip flexor muscles are associated with both stretch and strength. Although we’re going to focus more heavily on strength in this article, always note that both strength and...

    read more
    6 Postures For Hips and Lower Back

    6 Postures For Hips and Lower Back

    6 Postures for Hips and Lower Backstretch6 POSTURES FOR HIPS AND LOWER BACK When we're interested in learning about postures that help us with our hips and lower back, it’s simply not good enough to find a video or practice that says that certain poses will help with...

    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.

    Flying Pigeon

    FLYING PIGEON

    Key Actions to Balance in Flying Pigeon Pose

    Flying pigeon

    Flying Pigeon: Balance

    Flying Pigeon is an exceptionally challenging pose for several reasons–strength, balance, flexibility for starters. Learning to balance on the hands requires tremendous strength in the flexors of the wrist, or what I call in my Handstand Training, “The Brakes”. Appropriately named because strength in the flexors of the wrist is what stops you from falling when you’re on your hands. You will hear me in the video talking about gripping the ground; this is the action that will turn on the brakes. On all fours, grip your fingers into the ground. With one hand, challenge the opposite hand by trying to pick up the fingers off the ground. Let’s say your right hand is on the ground; the right hand tries its best to dig its fingers into the earth. The left hand tries to pick the right hand’s fingers up. Switch roles. Reading about this won’t do anything so you will have to get it in your body to really get it…did it? Great! Let’s continue. Whenever you are on your hands in your yoga practice, maintain this type of activation to build strength in your brakes over time.

    Flexibility

    I still remember my first flying pigeon. I was in Elena Brower’s Anusara Yoga class. My hips were super tight back then. She had some great techniques to help us open our hips, many of which I still implement into my own practice and share in my online trainings , and immersions.  In one of my recent articles on compass pose, I spoke on the topic that flexibility requires technique more than it does forcing repetitive stretches. To increase flexibility for flying pigeon, you need to target several muscle groups which I call the 4 Quadrants of the hips. All 4 quadrants (front, back, inside, backside) can be targeted within your yoga practice by activating them isometrically through the postures. If you have been practicing live or in person with me, then you are very familiar with this approach and if you haven’t felt the benefits, you will soon with repetition. To give you one example to try, get into warrior 2 and pull your feet toward each other like you are trying to bunch up the mat under your feet. This activates the inner quadrant of the back leg and the back quadrant of the front leg. Over time this will create health in these muscle groups which will directly increase your range of motion.

    Arm Balances

    ARM BALANCES

    Learn 12+ arm balances while expanding your knowledge of the body and increasing your body awareness. All classes are 75 minutes and ALL-levels appropriate 

    • Crow Pose, Side Crow, and variations
    • Flying Pigeon, Koundinyasana 1 & 2
    • Titibhasana, Bhujapidasana
    • Handstand, Forearm Stand, and many more!

     

    SALE PRICE: $198.00 $128.00

    KEY TECHNIQUES & ORDER OF ACTIONS

    THE SET UP

    1. Invert the ankle and drop the hip: This will help you get the foot high up toward the arm pit
    2. Evert to “clamp” the foot: this will help you avoid the sliding of the foot off the arm
    3. Lift opposite knee into arm pit: This will help you avoid the bruising on the triceps, however it requires a great deal of hip flexibility and may not be possible for you at first.

    THE BALANCE

    1. Walk the hands forward: its necessary or you wont be able to balance
    2. Grip the ground: these are your brakes – they stop you from falling.
    3. Lean your body forward: This is what takes the weight out of your feet and hips and into your hands so that flight becomes possible
    4. Press front shin down into the arms: this will give you lift off so that you become lighter, if you are more flexible in the hips than this step is very important.
    5. Squeeze your back knee in: this gets your psoas and core active and keeps the weight of the pose forward.
    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

    Strength

    When learning this posture, it is very helpful to pull the back knee into the chest. This will activate the hip flexors and lower abdominals which helps in two ways. First, it helps to keep the shin on the arm if the front hip is tighter. Second, it helps keep the weight of your body forward, which is required to maintain balance in the posture.

    This posture can be deceptively challenging, so go easy on yourself if you find it incredibly difficult. Try these tips and remember that strength and flexibility require technique and repetition. Enjoy!

     

    Continue Learning

    Accelerated Handstand Development

    Accelerated Handstand Development

    Accelerated Handstand DevelopmentinversionACCELERATED HANDSTAND DEVELOPMENT Accelerating the process of achieving a goal comes from consistent practice, but it also depends heavily on the information and knowledge we’ve acquired.   Whether a handstand is part of our...

    read more
    Tweak The Twists In Your Yoga Practice

    Tweak The Twists In Your Yoga Practice

    Tweak the Twists in Your Yoga PracticepadmasanaTWEAK THE TWISTS IN YOUR YOGA PRACTICE The definition of "tweak" here is the following: to improve (a mechanism or system) by making fine adjustments to it. This perfectly describes a major part of what’s involved in the...

    read more
    Lotus Foundations

    Lotus Foundations

    Lotus FoundationspadmasanaLOTUS FOUNDATIONS Lotus Pose requires a healthy amount of hip flexibility. For some, it comes easy. Reasons for this might be that the person is hypermobile in the hips, knees, and ankles and/or that many months or years of effort have been...

    read more
    Hips and Eka Pada Galavasana

    Hips and Eka Pada Galavasana

    Hips and Eka Pada Galavasanaflying pigeonHIPS AND EKA PADA GALAVASANA Depending on where we are in our asana practice journey, arm balances may feel a little overwhelming. It can be difficult to know where to start. Instead of thinking about the final destination, we...

    read more
    Hip Flexor Health For Better Movement

    Hip Flexor Health For Better Movement

    Hip Flexor Health for Better MovementstretchHIP FLEXOR HEALTH FOR BETTER MOVEMENT Healthy hip flexor muscles are associated with both stretch and strength. Although we’re going to focus more heavily on strength in this article, always note that both strength and...

    read more
    6 Postures For Hips and Lower Back

    6 Postures For Hips and Lower Back

    6 Postures for Hips and Lower Backstretch6 POSTURES FOR HIPS AND LOWER BACK When we're interested in learning about postures that help us with our hips and lower back, it’s simply not good enough to find a video or practice that says that certain poses will help with...

    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.

    CONTACT

    • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

    Pin It on Pinterest