Pigeon Leg Lifts

Pigeon Leg Lifts

Ignite Your Core-Hip Connection

pigeon drill

PIGEON LEG LIFTS

Pigeon Leg Lifts are the perfect example of how you can flip a common yoga posture on its head. You may have explored several variations of Pigeon Pose, but this out-of-the-ordinary drill/variation requires something quite different. Pigeon Leg Lifts boost your ability to feel how much of a role the psoas plays in how you experience your core. In fact, the psoas is considered to be part of the core, but it is not always part of the conversation. Its location in the body, combined with the knowledge of how to highlight it in your yoga practice, helps to bridge the gap between your core and hips. Tapping into this results in greater strength and stability in your yoga practice.

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

THE PSOAS 

The iliopsoas (often referred to as the psoas) is actually a combination of two muscles, namely the iliacus and psoas major, but is often thought of as one. It’s unique in that it’s the only muscle in the body that crosses over between the upper and lower body. The psoas is a deep muscle that attaches to the lumbar spine and the inner thigh bone. Due to its location in the body, one of its main roles is to stabilize the lumbar spine. The psoas is both a hip flexor and external rotator of the hip, playing a significant role in how you move, on and off of the yoga mat. Contracting this muscle in Pigeon Leg Lifts promotes deeper range of motion and helps you connect more deeply with the abdominal muscles that are part of the core (i.e., rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis, and obliques).

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PIGEON LEG LIFTS:  IGNITE YOUR CORE-HIP CONNECTION

THE CORE-HIP CONNECTION

The psoas works in conjunction with the other core muscles. As mentioned, it’s both a hip flexor and hip external rotator, but it also creates flexion of the spine. Spinal flexion is an entry point to understanding the core-hip connection. In my previous blog, Rectus Abdominis Handstand Drill, I discussed how Matt very intentionally utilizes the activation of rectus abdominis in order to create spinal flexion. Both the psoas’s ability to create the same action and the placement of its attachment points reveal that the psoas is essentially a bridge between the core and the legs. Understanding the link between the core and the hips has the ability to transform your yoga practice.

Activation and strengthening of the psoas is not often illuminated in unique ways in yoga classes. Practicing Pigeon Leg Lifts offers the opportunity to heighten the sensations within the core and the hips.

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WAYS TO EXPLORE PIGEON LEG LIFTS

In today’s video, Matt demonstrates 2 ways to execute Pigeon Leg Lifts. In the 1st option, you’ll see that it’s almost like a “push-up” action with multiple repetitions. The pushing up, however, comes from driving your hips up as far away from your mat as possible. In both options, your arms stay straight, but the 2nd requires that after you lift your hips, you sustain and hold for a few breaths. If you’re looking to fire up the core, then Pigeon Leg Lifts will do it!  You can’t escape the intensity of what’s involved. As you lift your hips all the way up, you are simultaneously creating more spinal flexion while your front upper thigh is in external rotation to maintain the “Pigeon position.” If that’s not enough, the action of pressing down the ball mound of the back foot also ignites the psoas and the hip flexors of the back thigh.

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  • Get 500 hour certified
  • Learn anatomy, biomechanics, asana techniques
  • Expand your teaching skills
  • Masterful sequencing and verbal delivery
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  • Transformative tools: theming, dharma talks, satsang

WHY IS THIS USEFUL?

The strengthening of the core, including the psoas, along with deeper spinal flexion is no doubt the “show stopper” of these Pigeon Leg Lifts. Doing this drill will promote greater stability and mobility for enhanced movement on and off of the mat. What’s incredible about the way Matt teaches is that he always provides a compassionate push. In the full class, he says that deliberately engaging muscles in your practice helps you understand what you struggle with the most. Once revealed, this understanding provides opportunities to work on those areas in order to achieve fuller body participation. Within all of this physical awareness, what ends up happening is an unfolding of the mind. Your ability to confront your perceived limitations also strengthens.

Join Matt’s Breath of Fire Immersion to experience the fullness of your practice.

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: Breath of Fire Immersion

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

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Transversus Abdominis

Transversus Abdominis

Connect to Your Core With This Twist Technique

spinal rotation

CONNECT TO YOUR CORE

Once you are exposed to transformational techniques for your yoga practice, there’s no turning back. In the context of asana, these techniques open you up to a whole new world and perspective as to what is possible on the mat. Techniques like the one Matt offers in today’s video provide an awakening within your body and help you truly connect to your core while exploring twisting postures. Connecting to some of your deeper core muscles may feel elusive, but it is indeed possible. The transversus abdominis (TVA) is at the deepest layer of the core; when active, it can create spinal rotation, and it also stabilizes the spine. How is it possible to transform your experience and more deeply connect to your core?

TWISTS & FOLDS

TWISTS & FOLDS

  • Strengthen core muscles of rotation and side bends
  • Improve spinal mobility
  • Improve spinal flexion for seated postures
  • Strengthen your back and deep core
  • Access greater flexibility of the hips for seated postures
  • Classes will bring you to a sweat and back down to a relaxed state
  • 12 Classes: All levels appropriate
  • Lifetime unlimited access to all
  • Attend the livestream OR practice the replays any time that's convenient for you

$168.00 $138.00

UDDIYANA BANDHA AND TRANSVERSUS ABDOMINIS

The transversus abdominis can be activated on both the inhale and the exhale. Activation on an exhalation is called Uddiyana Bandha. Bandha means “lock” or “hold” and serves the body by stabilizing it during your practice. Uddiyana Bandha is the abdominal lock. Drawing the belly in and up is the necessary action to create the lock; this is exactly what engages the TVA. Contracting the transversus abdominis compresses the abdomen, and this is the first step in creating a deeper connection to your core. It’s still important to allow prana to flow! A deliberate mind-muscle connection must be established in order to feel and maintain stability while sustaining the flow of breath. As always, setting a foundation for the nervous system will enable you to direct your brain and body to respond to the action you desire—in this case, it’s spinal rotation. How can you continue to prepare your core for twisting postures?

WATCH THE VIDEO

TRANSVERSUS ABDOMINIS:  CONNECT TO YOUR CORE WITH THIS TWIST TECHNIQUE

KAPALABHATI PRANAYAMA AND CONNECTING TO YOUR CORE

One of the most relatable cues to begin to understand Kapalabhati Pranayama is to compare it to coughing, which is also an appropriate cue in order to understand TVA activation. This does not mean that you have to cough in order to activate TVA, but it helps to feel how the belly pulls back and that it’s a quick, firm action.

Today’s clip is extracted from Matt’s current immersion, Twists & Folds. At the beginning of the class, Matt guides you through Kapalabhati, which is the practice of “forcefully” breathing in and out in a repetitive manner. The exhale happens via pulling your belly back. The purpose of starting the practice in this way is to begin to wake up and tone the TVA. It’s these more subtle energetic practices that lay the foundation for you to connect to your core. This connection to your core has the potential for you to increase spinal mobility and go deeper into twisting postures.

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

TWISTING POSTURES

“The abdominal muscles are the core prime movers in the twisting postures.”

Long, Ray. The Key Muscles of Yoga, Vol. 1 . Bandha Yoga Publications LLC. 2005. Pg.126

Bringing TVA to the forefront of your awareness is important when utilizing the twist technique from today’s video. Connecting to your core, the TVA specifically, also requires an awareness of the erector spinae and quadratus lumborum muscles. These muscles lift the torso and aid in creating an anterior tilt of the pelvis. Without this upright position, it’s impossible to truly access the lifting and pulling back of your belly. This awareness is key to being a full participant when engaging in twisting postures in your yoga practice. You’ll be guiding your body, rather than having your body guide you. For example, if there are vulnerable instabilities in the hips, utilizing the strength in your core muscles will offer a sense of steadiness and safety in any given twisting posture. How is this expressed in Ardha Matsyendrasana (Half Lord of the Fishes 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

TRANSVERSUS ABDOMINIS (TVA) TWIST TECHNIQUE: ARDHA MATSYENDRASANA

A seated twist like Ardha Matsyendrasana is a great way to explore this technique, although it can be applied to multiple twist postures. A seated twist is a great option because it removes the added challenge of balancing in a standing twist posture. This offers more time to explore your breath within TVA activation.

Here are the steps:

  1. Find a tall spine (place blankets under your seat if it is difficult to find more spinal extension)
  2. Place hands at the low back and encourage the top of your pelvis to push forward to find more anterior tilt (low back muscles are active)
  3. Lift the belly in and up and spiral up as you twist
  4. Inhales are for preparation and length, exhales for twisting (spinal rotation)
  5. Your back arm can be placed down for support
  6. Your front arm can gently grab the thigh as you continue to rotate (minimize usage of front arm as much as possible in order to maintain core connection)
  7.  Continue to rotate your belly button
  8. “Wring out a towel”—right belly towards left side of spine creates the transversus rotation

TRANSFORM THE CONNECTION TO YOUR CORE

If you’ve practiced with Matt before, then you know that strengthening muscles on your mat promotes increased mobility. Contacting your TVA means that you are cultivating strength. Connecting to the TVA, the deepest layer of your core, is going to transform how you experience twisting postures. You will find greater mobility while feeling more stable in your body.

Maya Angelou said, “When you know better, you do better,” and this is so very true on the mat. The education you come away with from Matt’s classes helps you to do exactly that. You will know better and in fact do better beyond your expectations.

You can sign up here for Matt’s Twists & Folds immersion.

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: Twists & Folds

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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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