Spinal Spaciousness

Spinal Spaciousness

dancer pose

SPINAL SPACIOUSNESS

Some key indicators of spinal health include strong bones, durable yet flexible ligaments, supple discs, and strong supportive muscles.

Aside from nutrition, it’s not enough to say that movement in general is enough to nurture spinal health. We need to be active participants and intentional about the techniques we use in our movements to actually maintain a healthy spine.

Even when heart-opening postures are a part of our asana practice, we may not be as dialed in to the techniques required to foster spinal health and spaciousness: Promoting space between the vertebrae helps us avoid compression; developing patterns that don’t serve us over time can result in decreased spinal health and increased pain. In his most recent heart-opening workshop, Freedom of the Heart, Matt highlights how to maintain spinal spaciousness in Dancer Pose. Today, we’ll examine some key points to develop in this posture. 

chromatic yoga 15 hour immersion

FREEDOM OF THE HEART

  • Learn how to access pain-free heart openers
  • Technique-infused 2-hour workshop
  • Step-by-step tutorials for each heart opener
  • Decrease low back discomfort
  • Increase spinal strength, stability, and support
  • Improve your standing and seated postures
  • Improve the flexibility of commonly stuck muscle groups
  • Injury Awareness: Avoiding spinal compression
  • Debunk popular alignment with anatomy knowledge
  • Skillfully guided sequence by the founder of Chromatic Yoga, Matt Giordano
  • LIVESTREAM DATE: June 9 at 10am Eastern Time (NYC Timezone)
  • REPLAY: Available immediately, lifetime access

SENSATIONAL AWARENESS

How can we dial into what’s required of us to reach our potential in our backbends? In the full class, Matt shares the very first step: tuning into the sensations in our bodies. Our bodies are intelligent; they respond in a way that both protects us and supports us in finding more depth in our backbends at the right time.  

For the most part, it may be easier to identify the areas where we feel more open, where we have increased mobility; however, tapping into the sensations of the restricted areas will help us open up overall. It’s in these restricted areas where we need to place our focus and effort, for example, by applying the technique of “bowing the spine.” Staying present in the physicality of the experience will unleash the ability to expand and create spinal spaciousness.

WATCH THE VIDEO

SPINAL SPACIOUSNESS: DETAILED DISSECTION OF DANCER POSE VARIATIONS

DANCER POSE PREPARATION & EXECUTION

After sensational awareness comes the utilization of biomechanics and the application of anatomical knowledge. In preparation for Dancer, Matt demonstrates a drill at the wall to practice bowing the spine.

The key cues here include the following:

  1. Moving the ribs forward
  2. Sending the heart up
  3. Pushing the hips and buttocks back
  4. Pressing the hands isometrically downward to increase the lift of the heart

Next, he demonstrates Dancer Pose at the wall. This time, because we’re grabbing the foot, we’re layering on the sensational awareness of opposing forces: sending the knee back while pushing the foot into the hand, and of course, moving the chest forward by bowing the spine. If we were to just reach back without first lifting and opening the front body, there would be increased compression, therefore placing spinal health at more risk.

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200 HOUR ONLINE TEACHER TRAINING

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KING DANCER

One of the most important actions in the body for King Dancer is the movement of the elbow. The elbow comes in and then rotates to help us hold the foot or strap. This encourages the necessary amount of spinal extension for the posture.  

Placing emphasis and awareness on all of the moving parts leads to a more pleasing experience. It’s so important to adopt a systematic approach, knowing that we must first create the spinal extension before moving on to the next actions. Now, Matt continues to emphasize that the approach is not dogmatic, but that listening to the sensations in our bodies will indicate where we need to place our attention and work. This effort may be to relax or to engage a muscle. It may also provide clarity as to where more spinal mobility is required.

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

ACTIVE PARTICIPATION

If we repeatedly engage in actions that cause compression in the spine during backbends, we are only furthering damage and placing our spinal health at risk. Spinal spaciousness allows for better quality of movement. 

Finding such a lightness and spaciousness in the spine during backbends is not impossible. Often, it comes after a period of more effortfulness: In the process of achieving a heart opener like Dancer Pose, we are engaging the proper muscles and implementing the right techniques. The awareness and repetition of these actions makes us active participants and multiplies our potential.

Matt’s most recent workshop, Freedom of the Heart, delves into the explorations of multiple backbends. It’s in these explorations that we uncover more about what’s possible in our heart-opening practice.

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: Freedom of the Heart Workshop 

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

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read more
Steps To Scorpion Pose

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read more

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Steps To Scorpion Pose

Steps to Scorpion Pose

vrschikasana

SCORPION POSE

Exhilarating, stimulating, and enlivening are a few words we can use to describe Scorpion Pose. We can also use words such as grounding or even relaxing, which might initially be considered strange descriptors. When we explore and apply Matt’s techniques in a methodical way, we begin to understand that Scorpion requires both strength and a degree of softening and letting go. Once we get into the intricacies of this backbend, we adopt the ability to “relax” into it. 

Further, we develop the gift of discernment. The challenging nature of the posture forces us to use caution in exploring what works for our individual bodies. The journey reveals a deep discovery of the self.

chromatic yoga 15 hour immersion

FREEDOM OF THE HEART

  • Learn how to access pain-free heart openers
  • Technique-infused 2-hour workshop
  • Step-by-step tutorials for each heart opener
  • Decrease low back discomfort
  • Increase spinal strength, stability, and support
  • Improve your standing and seated postures
  • Improve the flexibility of commonly stuck muscle groups
  • Injury Awareness: Avoiding spinal compression
  • Debunk popular alignment with anatomy knowledge
  • Skillfully guided sequence by the founder of Chromatic Yoga, Matt Giordano
  • LIVESTREAM DATE: June 9 at 10am Eastern Time (NYC Timezone)
  • REPLAY: Available immediately, lifetime access

MOBILIZE THE SPINE

Matt teaches techniques to prepare more specifically.  

In preparatory postures, there’s more that takes place than simply arching the back or assuming that it’s enough to anteriorly tilt the pelvis.

Throughout a backbend practice leading up to Scorpion Pose, pulling the belly in and up helps create a spaciousness in the spine that minimizes compression. The action activates the transversus abdominis and engages the back muscles for support, and it shifts the vertebrae and intervertebral discs forward. Here, we also utilize discernment. Yes, we are trying to lift and send each vertebra more forward, but we must also tap into which segments of the spine feel more “stuck.” Going to the position that feels doable is key. We can use this information in further supplementary work in this asana practice or in others.

WATCH THE VIDEO

STEPS TO SCORPION POSE: BACKBEND TECHNIQUES CLARIFIED

KING COBRA PREPARATION

After many postures and positions that contribute to preparing for Scorpion Pose, Matt teaches King Cobra. He notes that it’s a great posture to explore as part of the Scorpion toolkit because it provides almost the same joint relationships. The difference is that it’s flipped over, with the belly as the base of support.

In the video, Matt offers 2 variations. One variation makes use of a bolster, which provides support under the rib cage. Using the bolster provides feedback as to how much we are lifting and lengthening the abdomen when we send the spine forward.

The variation without the bolster includes the cue about “softening.” It’s not that we shouldn’t soften when using the bolster; in the second variation, he’s simply reminding us when and where to implement this action.

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

SCORPION STEPS

A key consideration is to de-emphasize touching the feet to the head in Scorpion Posebody proportions play a role in whether or not this is actually possible. Emphasizing healthy and safe spinal extension will reap greater rewards.

Here are some key steps when practicing Scorpion at a wall:

  1. On all fours, turn the hands out and set them wide
  2. Soften the heart towards the ground
  3. Snake the chest through the shoulders
  4. Kick the feet up to the wall
  5. Reach into the wall with toes or heels
  6. Simultaneously reach the chest and the feet towards the wall

There’s no doubt about the strength required to follow these steps. The pattern practiced in King Cobra is recreated by softening down the chest while pulling towards the wall. Again, it’s this “relaxing” into the backbend that helps create the required space between the vertebrae. 

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

JOURNEY OVER DESTINATION

We can get caught up in the aesthetics of a robust posture like Scorpion Pose, but Matt always emphasizes that the beauty lies in the discoveries we make about ourselves. As we explore our potential, many opportunities are produced that help us learn more about the levels of our willingness to challenge ourselves and our ability to pull back when necessary. On a physical level, we learn about our capabilities and our limitations in a particular instance. With regular practice, we gradually transform our experience overall. Following precise techniques, along with a willingness to explore, supplies us with confidence.  

We can apply this to Scorpion by calling the touching of the toes to the head the “destination” and all of the spinal explorations along the way the “journey.” If we let go of the destination, we can appreciate all of the outcomes of the journey.

Matt’s recent 2-hour online Freedom Of The Heart workshop reveals techniques and increased insight for stronger, safer backbends.

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: Inversion Immersion 

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

Chin Stand

Chin Stand

Chin Standganda bherundasanaCHIN STAND Without a doubt, Chin Stand requires preparation. This posture must be approached with the utmost humility, essential in order to respect the potential risk. If this pose is not explored regularly in our physical practice, it may...

read more
Postpone The Stretch Sensation

Postpone The Stretch Sensation

Postpone the Stretch SensationflexibilityPOSTPONE THE STRETCH SENSATION If one of the goals of our physical yoga practice is to increase flexibility, we may automatically believe that we just need to stretch more. It’s critical that we understand that increasing...

read more
Wake Up Your Wheel Pose

Wake Up Your Wheel Pose

Wake Up Your Wheel Poseheart openerWAKE UP YOUR WHEEL POSE We don’t have to question it—we know whether or not we’re feeling open, free, and strong in Wheel Pose. There’s a lightness and expansiveness that takes over when everything falls into place: From the initial...

read more
Spinal Spaciousness

Spinal Spaciousness

Spinal Spaciousnessdancer poseSPINAL SPACIOUSNESS Some key indicators of spinal health include strong bones, durable yet flexible ligaments, supple discs, and strong supportive muscles. Aside from nutrition, it’s not enough to say that movement in general is enough to...

read more
Steps To Scorpion Pose

Steps To Scorpion Pose

Steps to Scorpion PosevrschikasanaSCORPION POSE Exhilarating, stimulating, and enlivening are a few words we can use to describe Scorpion Pose. We can also use words such as grounding or even relaxing, which might initially be considered strange descriptors. When we...

read more
Heart Opening Education

Heart Opening Education

Heart-Opening EducationbackbendHEART-OPENING EDUCATION There is a great deal to learn with regard to heart-opening postures. Of course, negotiating the execution and being aware of the anatomy involved in various heart-opening poses are some of the initial...

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.

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