Ignite Your Core

Ignite Your Core

Add These 7 Postures for Strength and Stretching

SPINAL FLEXION

IGNITE YOUR CORE

It’s no secret that you go to your yoga mat for a purpose, whatever that may be on a given day. It’s important, however, to marry that purpose with intention. When it comes to strengthening your core in your asana practice, this is vital. As your center, your core is involved in every movement, but that doesn’t mean you’re maximizing your potential for strength. In many yoga postures, you may be missing opportunities to intentionally move in a way that will truly ignite your core. In today’s video, you’ll see how Matt transforms the execution of 7 yoga poses. You will learn new ways to achieve strength in your core, and you’ll gain the benefit of a target  stretch, which in Chromatic yoga can become a secondary focal point to support the desired action on the mat.

chromatic yoga 15 hour immersion

CHROMATIC YOGA

OCTOBER 2023  15Hr. Immersion

  • 12 Chromatic Yoga practices with founder Matt Giordano
  • Full-spectrum immersion covering all posture categories
  • Improve your body awareness and advance your practice
  • Technique, biomechanics, and alignment at the forefront
  • Life-enhancing and inspirational Chromatic philosophy woven through each class
  • 15 Continuing Education hours with Yoga Alliance
  • 15 Accredited Hours with the Chromatic School of Yoga
  • Step-by-step instruction for increased accessibility
  • Improve strength, balance, flexibility, and proprioception
  • Appropriate variations and modifications for all levels

$168.00 $138.00

MORE INFORMATION

 

PREPARE WITH “CORE” CAT/COW

Igniting your core in Cat/Cow may not be exactly as you imagine. What Matt says in the video about defaulting to just allowing gravity to take over can be so true. He mentions that when moving into spinal flexion (Cat), you may just be dropping your head and the lower vertebrae, but flexing the entire spine is extremely important. The actions to take here are to pull your chin and throat back and to pull your ribs back, while lengthening the occipital ridge (where your skull meets your neck). By doing this, you’ll really feel the difference in sensation. You’ll get the activation of the core, receiving the benefit of strength while also lengthening the erector spinae muscles. These are also great foundational actions for arm balances and forward folds.

WATCH THE VIDEO

IGNITE YOUR CORE: ADD THESE 7 POSTURES FOR STRENGTH & STRETCH

PROGRESSION AND PATTERNING

In Chromatic yoga, you’re directed toward a specific focal point or action. This not only allows you to practice it repeatedly to integrate it, but eventually, it also transforms the way your body moves altogether. After repatterning Cat/Cow to attain more core engagement, multiple opportunities will unfold in the rest of the practice. Postures like High Lunge and the transitions between postures change when you focus on the physical throughline. In today’s video, you’ll see how the same actions from Cat/Cow are repeated in High Lunge. Coming from Three-Legged Dog towards “knee to chest” requires more strength from your wrists, shoulders, and serratus anterior. So what should you do? Stay focused on the key actions. What’s interesting is that sometimes your body finds more connection on a different plane, so repeatedly exploring these actions is crucial.  

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  • Learn techniques for a wide range of yoga postures
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  • SPRING ENROLLMENT OPEN! Training begins June 1

CORE ACTIVATION—TRADITIONAL AND UNEXPECTED

Matt offers a variety of options in standing and seated Dragonfly.  

As discussed, the key actions today are to pull your ribs back, pull your chin and throat back, and elongate your neck. In the last 4 postures in the video, Matt demonstrates some traditional and unexpected ways to ignite your core.

  1. Lizard Pose is a hip opener, but bringing your awareness to the key actions is what changes the dynamic. 
  2. Forearm Plank may be a more typical posture with regard to strengthening the core, but pay attention to the plantar flexion (pointing) of Matt’s feet in the video—it leads to more emphasis on your trunk.
  3. Gravity can take over in Pyramid Pose, but it’s an opportunity again to engage.
  4. Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Fold) is the final pose in the clip. Although an intense hamstring stretch, it becomes effective as a core strengthener when you stretch your back muscles in spinal flexion.
300 hour teacher training online

300 HOUR ONLINE TEACHER TRAINING

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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

THE ULTIMATE GOAL

The ultimate goal is to BE INTENTIONAL. Every posture has multiple benefits, but it’s the focus you keep within a given practice that will ultimately bring clarity and purpose to your experiences on the mat.

One thing truly affects another, as is shown in the 7 postures Matt demonstrates in today’s video. Enhanced awareness of core activation will ultimately lead to improved spinal flexion. Taking a Chromatic approach opens up more opportunity for breakthroughs in your practice.

You can register for Matt’s current 15 Hour Chromatic Yoga Immersion to open yourself up to new possibilities.

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

Videos Extracted From: Chromatic Yoga 15 Hour Immersion

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ONLINE ANATOMY COURSE

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Rectus Abdominis Handstand Drill

Rectus Abdominis
Handstand Drill

The Key Component for Control

abdominals

RECTUS ABDOMINIS HANDSTAND DRILL

This rectus abdominis handstand drill takes the fear out of inversions. That may be a bold statement to make, but it’s true. If you don’t have prior experience and/or training in any inversions, fear can be one of the most common barriers. The drill that Matt presents in today’s video is about intention and focus. You may have done the drill before, but have you done it like this? Drills offer an opportunity to focus on an action in your body. However, this doesn’t mean that you no longer require focus, attention, and effort as regards the other areas of focus, and drills provide more than just the development of a certain skill. They offer the confidence to move forward and progress in other ways.

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

WHAT’S THE DEAL WITH THE RECTUS ABDOMINIS?

The rectus abdominis is a flat muscle and is the most superficial of the abdominal layers. It runs from the bottom of the sternum all the way down to the pubic bone. Its central role is to create spinal flexion. In your yoga practice, the use of the rectus abdominis shows up in forward folds. The muscle also supports your ability to stay stable in balancing and plank postures, although the deeper muscle layers take on more of that responsibility. This doesn’t mean that it’s not essential, and we are centering our focus today on the rectus abdominis handstand drill. As previously mentioned, it’s about intention and awareness and about the specific actions you take that bring the rectus abdominis more to the forefront. For example, the amount of engagement, or activation, of the rectus abdominis depends on what’s required in a specific movement or drill.

WATCH THE VIDEO

RECTUS ABDOMINIS HANDSTAND DRILL:  THE KEY COMPONENT FOR CONTROL

HANDSTANDS

You can think about what’s required in Handstand in a number of different ways. Handstands are referred to as both arm balances and inversions, and the list of what’s required may seem lengthier than for other arm balances. You can be sure, however, that Matt always has a phenomenal way of breaking things down into tiny bits so you can work through the process. Some of the areas of focus are your hands, which grip the ground; the wrist flexors; or “joint stacking.” In one of my previous articles, L Pose Handstand Training, I outline more details about the core and about how Matt shows you how to utilize your hip flexors. The conversation surrounding the rectus abdominis is another important one because it’s another opportunity to intelligently call upon a “simple” action in your body to get you closer to Handstand.

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  • SPRING ENROLLMENT OPEN! Training begins June 1

UNDERSTANDING THE DRILL

The simple action in this rectus abdominis drill is to bring your ribs and pelvis closer to one another, but the action is more deliberate than simply leaning forward and allowing gravity to do the work. A level of activation is required to utilize the strength necessary for the inversion. You’ll see in the video that Matt encourages you to prioritize this action over stacking the hip and shoulder joints. This stacking can be quite intimidating at first, and the rectus abdominis drill removes this barrier. Executing this drill with a wall behind you offers even more encouragement and permission to explore kicking up into Handstand with more confidence and control. Keeping your front body shortened trains you to stay away from relying on the wall. The action may shorten your hops, but this simply means that you are successfully keeping your awareness on the rectus abdominis.

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300 HOUR ONLINE TEACHER TRAINING

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  • 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

WHAT ELSE DO YOU NEED TO KNOW?

Yes, going upside down is more than front-body awareness and activation; it’s also about connecting the dots. Taking an approach like this one helps clarify what’s required in Handstand as a whole posture. You are not only training your physical body but also creating an indelible mark on your nervous system that you’ll be able to call upon naturally and intuitively. In other words, the approach goes beyond being just a rectus abdominis Handstand drill. It is something you can rely on in your approach to other inversions and to how you go about putting the pieces together when exploring postures that are challenging for you.

Matt’s current Breath of Fire Immersion goes further into how to intelligently utilize your core within your yoga 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

Continue Learning

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read more

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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.

Learn To Fly In Side Crow

Learn to Fly in Side Crow

Get to the Core with 3 Variations

ARM BALANCE

LEARN TO FLY IN SIDE CROW

Getting to the core of this arm balance will awaken a potential in your body that you may not be aware is even present. Learning to fly in Side Crow actually goes deeper than going through the motions of different variations. If you’ve been practicing with Matt, then you know that he teaches and applies very specific techniques within a posture and/or its variations; these techniques show you how to intellectually approach the execution of a yoga posture. The 3 variations you’ll see in today’s video will show you how to properly activate the muscles (obliques, abductor group, adductors, and hip flexors) in order to tap into the potential that awaits you.

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 2 MAIN ACTIONS

The clips from today’s video are taken from the Anatomy of Arm Balances immersion. In the full class, Matt invites you to step back from balancing in the posture so you can actually connect with your core muscles. How is this done? It’s the positioning of the arm that’s furthest away from your body that allows the core connection to take place. You’re left with no choice but to utilize the obliques to gain height. Action #1 then is to hike the top hip up towards the same-side shoulder (obliques and gluteus medius activation). Action #2 requires the activation of the hip flexors. Here, you’re pulling your knees towards your chest while energetically pulling your bottom knee (if it’s the right) towards your right shoulder. This common thread runs through all 3 variations in some form. Let’s examine the techniques involved.

WATCH THE VIDEO

LEARN TO FLY IN SIDE CROW: GET TO THE CORE WITH 3 VARIATIONS

SIDE CROW: NO PROPS

Starting with this variation provides a nice baseline for you to see where you may need to place more emphasis. You’ll see how wide the distance is between Matt’s hands. Spreading your hands far apart forces you to lift the hips up as high as possible, which turns on the upper obliques. Dropping the hips (which is common) significantly minimizes your use of the obliques. These 2 main actions, along with leaning more forward and of course gripping your fingers into the ground, are the keys. If you are challenged anywhere along the chain of events, dial it back and work on the sensations of the activations (e.g., hands wide while lifting and lowering the hips with a contraction in the obliques). Still unsure what to feel? Have a look at the variations with props.

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

SIDE CROW WITH A STRAP

This Side Crow variation with a strap is a great option to explore if you require more awareness of the upper obliques. This particular variation also places weight on the activation of the tensor fasciae latae (TFL). The TFL is both a hip flexor and internal rotator. The internal rotation helps to fire up the abductors of the bottom leg. Doing this creates more stability and provides greater access to the posture. Adding a strap doesn’t make it easier, but what you will receive is feedback. Pressing into the strap is like pressing into the guiding hand of a yoga teacher. You won’t be able to ignore the sensations here, I promise you. The abductor muscles will speak to you, and it will be quite the conversation!

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

SIDE CROW WITH A BLOCK

Lastly, Matt demonstrates Side Crow with a block. Placing a yoga block between your thighs or shins helps you to squeeze everything into the center. Here you’ll feel the adductors while you try to hold the block in place. This option is closer to the first variation as regards shape, so it’s a great one to incorporate into your practice to encourage the 2 main actions with your legs hugged in towards one another.

EXPLORE AND INTEGRATE

In conclusion, unlearning some of the habits you’ve patterned that don’t require you to focus on just how strong can become in Side Crow will pay off in the long run. When the effort is appropriate, it is what drives you forward—as Matt always teaches, “explore and integrate.” Thinking about the possibilities available to you is actually pretty exciting. When you focus on building strength, you can learn to fly in Side Crow. After strength, weightlessness and lightness in the posture follow. A challenging arm balance like Side Crow will then emanate more ease than effort.

Register for Matt’s February immersion, Breath of Fire. This immersion will go deeper into how you can access your core muscles in order to progress in the awareness of your body and 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: Anatomy Of Arm Balances

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

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read more
Strengthen Your Ankles

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Strengthen Your Anklesfoot healthSTRENGTHEN YOUR ANKLES Our feet are the foundation of our bodies. Placing great emphasis on creating ankle stability and mobility during our asana practice should be obvious; unfortunately, this is not always the case. Maintaining a...

read more
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read more
Titibhasana Techniques

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Titibhasana Techniquesfirefly poseTITIBHASANA TECHNIQUES There are some general rules to follow when executing arm balance postures. To find optimal balance, most require us not to shy away from leaning forward. They also demand a considerable degree of upper body...

read more
Air Line Activation

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Double Stag Handstand

Double Stag Handstand

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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.

L Pose Handstand Training

L Pose Handstand Training

Activate Core and Hip Flexors

handstand prep

L POSE HANDSTAND TRAINING

We’re all aware of the importance of taking baby steps when we have a bigger goal we’d like to achieve. L Pose Handstand training falls under that category when it comes to taking steps towards Handstand. Matt refers to L Pose as the “first entrance to handstand.” Before you take flight, practicing L Pose in different planes is one of the best ways to really prepare and understand the biomechanics involved in the posture. Practicing L Pose on your back provides a more controlled opportunity to learn how to really engage the hip flexors and core muscles.

Handstand and meditation online yoga classes

HANDSTAND & MEDITATION

ONLINE YOGA IMMERSION

BREAK THROUGH MENTAL & PHYSICAL BLOCKS

  • Learn the most effective drills to safely build your Handstand
  • Practice essential meditation techniques to break through mental barriers and build confidence
  • Improve focus and breath support right side up and upside down
  • Build strength and the necessary skills for balancing Handstand
  • 12 classes: All levels appropriate
  • Lifetime unlimited access to all
  • Attend livestream OR practice the replays any time that’s convenient for you

SALE PRICE: $168.00

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THE MYTH OF THE CORE

Core strength might be the first thing you believe you need to develop while preparing for Handstand. Matt explains that there’s no doubt that this is a necessary part of the equation, but if you’ve conquered the action of the “push” in the shoulders (shoulders up towards your ears), the use of the core is a refinement only when the shoulders are out of alignment. If this is the case, you’ll have to utilize your core a lot more to keep your back straight and possibly pull the legs from behind you.

WATCH THE VIDEO: L POSE HANDSTAND TRAINING


CORE MUSCLES & HIP FLEXOR ACTIVATION

What is the core? The core muscles are a great deal more than the superficial muscles of the rectus abdominis. In terms of Handstand, a large part of the focus is the deeper core muscles (the psoas major and the iliacus, also referred to as the iliopsoas). These muscles are a key component when it comes to stabilizing the pelvis and thighs in a handstand. With L Pose as the first entrance to handstand, an awareness of the importance of the activation of the hip flexors is paramount.

NEXT TRAINING BEGINS FEBRUARY 2024 ENROLLMENT NOW OPEN!
NEXT TRAINING BEGINS FEBRUARY 2024 ENROLLMENT NOW OPEN!

IMPLEMENT THESE ACTIONS: L POSE ON YOUR BACK 

Here are the cues for L Pose Handstand on your back:

  1. Take your arms overhead (be sure to actively lift your shoulders up towards your ears)
  2. Straighten your knee as you pull one leg closer to your chest. It’s the strength of the hip flexors that will help you bring this leg in as close as possible  
  3. The opposite leg stays close to the floor, with your heel only about 1 cm from the ground
  4. Pull your front ribs down (this will engage your abdominals)
  5. Continue to pull the top leg close to your chest without lifting the bottom leg up 

The desired outcome is to maintain all of these actions simultaneously. L Pose Handstand training on your back lays the foundation for when you’re ready to explore the shape in other planes (including other postures, like Warrior III). It also helps you to feel the alignment in your body. Drawing your rib cage into the floor, for example, creates the pattern of the stacking required above your pelvis.

STRENGTH

ONLINE YOGA IMMERSION

Yoga for Strength: Strengthen Your Weaknesses • Maximize Your Physical Potential

  • 12 classes: Each class targets a specific muscle group
  • Strengthen your core, back, hips, shoulders, wrists, ankles, legs, and arms
  • Learn creative ways to strength train within the context of a yoga practice
  • Increase mobility by balancing your strength with oppositional muscle groups
  • Joyful accountability to help you reach your practice goals

SALE PRICE: $138.00 $128.00

MORE INFORMATION

THE GROUNDWORK

Groundwork? In this case, the pun is intended. L Pose Handstand training literally has you on the ground in order to lay a solid foundation. Essentially, it can take the fear out of the equation—going upside down can be quite intimidating. Approaching the “bigger goal” of having a handstand practice by utilizing bite-size drills and techniques can give you the confidence to progress to the next level. You have to crawl before you can walk, and this is essentially the Chromatic way. When you take this approach, you gradually build upon each layer and strengthen the neuromuscular connection. Handstand training becomes more approachable when you prepare your body via time, patience, and effort. If you’d like to build on this foundation, take action by registering for Matt’s immersion Handstand & Meditation.

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: Handstand & Meditation Immersion

CHOOSE YOUR PATH

NEXT TRAINING BEGINS FEBRUARY 2024 ENROLLMENT NOW OPEN!
NEXT TRAINING BEGINS FEBRUARY 2024 ENROLLMENT NOW OPEN!

Continue Learning

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Arm Balances: Protraction Action

arm Balances: Protraction

Finding Ease and Lightness in Arm Balances

 

ARM BALANCE STRENGTH BUILDING

Most who practice yoga have come to realize that the practice requires a certain physical strength that doesn’t necessarily coincide with the image of strength in our head. Every yogi has seen a physically in-shape gym goer walk into a yoga class and struggle in his/her first down dog. The reason for this is because there are tons of muscles in the body, and all of them have a purpose. The ones you see on the surface are called the superficial muscles, and their job is primarily to create big movements like swinging a baseball bat, jumping, climbing, etc. While many Yoga postures and transitions require the use of these muscles, the Deep muscles or stabilizing muscles are often most used. In this video, I go over the muscle groups that I find are most important for the majority of arm balances.

Serratus Anterior

The muscles I speak of in this video are the Serratus Anterior, and the 4 layers of abdominals (rectus abdominis, external obliques, internal obliques, and transverse abdominis). Serratus Anterior is incredibly important for many arm balances because it creates stability in the shoulder blades and moves the body away from the ground. In the “Handstand Strength Training” video I give exercises in plank pose to help students develop the strength of this muscle. When this muscle is fully engaged in plank the body is further away from the ground. The same is true in arm balances. Further from the ground begins to feel lighter and easier, and as mentioned in the video above, your wrists will feel better as well. The reason you feel lighter and more at ease when the Serratus Anterior is fully engaged is simple- all muscles have an easier time contracting when they are fully shortened. Think of your bicep muscle; isn’t it easier to hold a weight in your hand when your hand is closest to your shoulder vs halfway down at the “holding a tray” position. Part of this is the relationship to gravity but even if you changed the angle of your body that would still be the easiest position for the muscles to be engaged. This is the same reason why it’s easier to do a little tiny pull-up vs going through the full range of motion from straight arms all the way up to bent arms. If you are looking to build strength in the Serratus Anterior I suggest checking out either “The Breakthrough” or “The Chakras and The Elements”. Both immersion focus on strength building for arm balances. 

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FOCUS: ARM BALANCES & HIP OPENERS

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  • Release Hip Tension
  • Learn Techniques to make hip opening and arm balances more accessible!
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Arm Balances: The Core

The four abdominals have multiple functions including flexion (rounding) of the spine, twisting, side bending, stabilizing, and compressing/lifting inner organs (primarily the transverse abdominis). Depending on the pose, many arm balances require one or more abdominals to engage because of the shape, and because they have the ability to make the midsection more compact. The more compact you feel, the lighter you will feel because all the extremities tend to pull in closer to the center of gravity when the abdominals engage. What I am not going over in this video is the important role that your legs play within all arm balances. I will be releasing another video on Youtube soon showing you how the legs relate to the core. If you are interested in finding out when that video goes up, subscribe to my newsletter and I will let you know. Developing strength in the abdominals has long been a part of the fitness industry, but until recently it was purely for visual purposes. Most people associate having a six-pack with health, but the reality is that it’s more important to have core intelligence than strength. A little strength and a lot of awareness go a very long way, much further than a lot of strength and little awareness of how to use it. Developing strength through applied actions such as doing handstand, crow pose, or exercises that produce greater intelligence in your body is what I focus on in my handstand and arm balance practice. As a result not only do I feel strong in my asana practice but my back feels great, and I am able to apply the awareness to other activities that require body intelligence. For my favorite core strengtheners you click here, or if you are looking for free ways to learn, simply search youtube for how to strengthen the 4 muscles of the core (searching each muscle separately). Anyone who offers an application for the strength and not just the exercise is likely thinking along the same lines of “muscle intelligence” vs strength. Remember you want to know what the muscle does intellectually and know what it feels like in your body. That combination will make it easier to apply later on to your practice!

October Livestream Yoga Classes

CHAKRAS AND ELEMENTS

FULL BODY AWAKENING

  • Unlock Your Hips!
  • Awakem Your Arm Balance Practice
  • Detailed Ankle and Feet Articulation
  • Develop Low Back and Buttock Strength
  • Strengthen Your Core
  • Release S.I. Joint Pain
  • Release Neck Pain
  • The July Immersion Has it ALL
  • Each Chakra & Element is Paired with an Area of the Body and Muscle Group
  • 12 All Levels Live Asana Classes
  • 4 Live Guided Meditations

 

arm balance strength for shoulders

Plank at the Wall

Taking plank at the wall is one of the best ways to truly develop proprioception for protracting the shoulder blades. As mentioned in the video protraction is when you push the shoulder blades apart from one another and they move around your rib cage. This is an activation of the serratus anterior muscles which tend to require strengthening for most people. At the wall, you can focus on the action without the requirement of strength.

arm balance strength for crow pose

Flexion of the Spine

Flexion of the spine in arm balances requires the muscular activation of the rectus abdominals, obliques, and likely the deep core muscles. While it is possible to do arm balances with the core completely relaxed and still hold the postures, it tends to be easier with the recruitment of them. To develop strength in your core, I highly recommend my top exercises on the Handstand Training video. 

arm balance strength of the core

Crow With Protraction and flexion

Putting the two actions together might sound complicated but the two actions actually go hand in hand. Protraction makes spinal flexion easier to access and vice versa. I recommend first trying this in plank posture. If you haven’t yet watched the two blogs on Chaturanga, this is the best place to start integrating protraction into your arm balances. After you’ve worked with chaturanga, if you feel confident balancing crow then you can try applying these actions.

First Awareness, Then Strength.

It’s easy to try and jump ahead and go straight to our most challenging arm balance posture and try to apply new actions to it. This approach is okay but if you find that you are not getting it or not feeling a difference, it’s likely because your body needs to develop an awareness around the action itself before it can build strength. We need to create the feedback loop in our body from thought to action to sensation and back again. Once that feedback loop is established, strength can be built through repetition.

Thanks for joining me here. I hope these tips help with your practice and/or your teaching. Please share your comments, questions, or requests and I will get back to you.

-Matt

Handstand Strength Training

Learn the techniques that make Handstand fun, easy, and accessible! This collection of the top 12 most effective exercises will make you rethink how you approach handstand and what is possible, so you can finally build the proper strength and awareness it takes to hold a handstand.

Continue Learning

Hip Opening Without Knee Pain

Hip Opening Without Knee Pain

Hip Opening Without Knee Painhip mobilityHIP OPENING WITHOUT KNEE PAIN "Hip opening” in a yoga class just sounds glorious if we feel confined or constricted in this area of the body and our intention is to transform this experience. The term may not sound glorious,...

read more
Strengthen Your Ankles

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Strengthen Your Anklesfoot healthSTRENGTHEN YOUR ANKLES Our feet are the foundation of our bodies. Placing great emphasis on creating ankle stability and mobility during our asana practice should be obvious; unfortunately, this is not always the case. Maintaining a...

read more
Yoga Props & Your Practice

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Yoga Props and Your PracticealignmentYOGA PROPS AND YOUR PRACTICE When it comes to incorporating yoga props into our yoga practice, we can take 1 of 2 paths. We either subscribe to the notion that if we use props, we are somehow “less capable” than others in the...

read more
Titibhasana Techniques

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Titibhasana Techniquesfirefly poseTITIBHASANA TECHNIQUES There are some general rules to follow when executing arm balance postures. To find optimal balance, most require us not to shy away from leaning forward. They also demand a considerable degree of upper body...

read more
Air Line Activation

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read more
Double Stag Handstand

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Double Stag HandstandbalanceDOUBLE STAG HANDSTAND Cultivating confidence is a non-negotiable when it comes to implementing a handstand practice. If handstands seem insurmountable even to consider, don’t fret; there might be an easier option. Easier? Really? Yes!  Ok,...

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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