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. 

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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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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.

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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!

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  • 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

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Article by Trish Curling

Video Extracted From: Freedom of the Heart Workshop 

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Dancer Pose

Dancer Pose

The Chromatic Way

natarajasana

DANCER POSE

Dancer Pose is the kind of posture that embodies both grace and strength. In order to integrate these two things into your practice of this posture, there are quite a number of pieces of the puzzle to consider. You might argue that the “grace” portion of the pose comes from its heart-opening shape, while the strength comes from all that goes into finding balance. There are other components that comprise both. The journey of discovering these elements becomes quite profound and rewarding when you follow Matt’s Chromatic approach. In today’s video, you’ll witness techniques that support your development and observe how the “Chromatic way” is implemented to create deeper awareness and transformation. Dancer Pose, along with other “preparatory postures,” becomes more accessible in your practice.

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CHROMATIC YOGA

OCTOBER 2023  15Hr. Immersion

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  • Technique, biomechanics, and alignment at the forefront
  • Life-enhancing and inspirational Chromatic philosophy woven through each class
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WHAT IS CHROMATIC YOGA?

Before we look at Dancer Pose, let’s delve into what Chromatic Yoga actually means: “Chromatic Yoga is a systematic approach to teaching that provides a highly intentional and purposeful experience for students to cultivate awareness of their body and mind.” (Extracted from Matt’s 300 Hr. Teacher Training

What does this look like in your physical yoga practice? In a well-developed class or practice, you’ll start by laying a foundation. This can be done by focusing on specific actions in “foundational postures” and/or shapes. This sets the stage and prepares your body for a “peak posture.” Each movement is executed with a specific intention. Remaining focused on these intentions helps you create more awareness of how you move and where you may need to add or edit a particular action. Everything is broken down, simplified, and repeated to support you in realizing your fullest potential. 

WATCH THE VIDEO

DANCER POSE:  THE CHROMATIC WAY

START HERE

Dancer Pose is a heart opener and a balance posture all in one. Creating the shape of a heart opener requires that you create the action of retracting the scapulae; when done with well-placed effort, this will activate the rhomboids and lower trapezius. Matt demonstrates how to pattern this activation in Upward-Facing Dog. In today’s video, you’ll see that after retracting your scapulae and externally rotating the humerus on each side, you create more space for your chest to move forward. When you lift your rib cage up and out, you create more length and opening in your front body. These are all key actions to start with in order to find more heart space in Dancer Pose. This patterning continues in Twisted Monkey and in Tiger Pose. What you also see are the necessary actions in the pelvis and the activations that promote the lengthening required in the hip flexors and quadriceps.

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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

DANCER POSE AT THE WALL

If you’ve worked through these progressions, your body is more physically prepared for the next steps. This variation of Dancer Pose is great because it reduces the effort required to stay balanced if you want to be more focused on the backbend and the movement of the pelvis. Here, Matt demonstrates the dance (pun intended) between the movement of the pelvis (more anterior tilt), which assists in lifting the back leg further up, and the action of increased external rotation of the shoulder. Once you have tipped forward with more anterior tilt, Matt advises you to lift your chest up on an inhale in order to expand through your front body. Going back and forth between these actions promotes greater opening altogether. The activation of the quadriceps and hip flexors is continued by pressing your foot into your hand and vice versa.  

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

FIND YOUR BALANCE

The repetition of the actions created throughout the previous postures boosts your ability to find more balance in Dancer Pose. The same exchange between tipping forward and lifting up the chest, plus a greater awareness of the internal rotation of the lifted leg, will assist in cultivating more stability.

The definition of finding your balance goes beyond just taking Dancer Pose away from the wall. From a Chromatic Yoga perspective, it also means that in the process of exploring the biomechanics of a posture, you are learning more about your body and mind. Maybe there are vast differences between one side of the body and the other, or maybe there is room for a shift in your thought process during your practice. This can go in multiple directions! Ultimately, the relationship you build with yourself and your practice as a whole is completely transformed when you adopt the Chromatic way. 

Sign up for Matt’s next Online Chromatic Yoga Immersion to deepen your understanding of this approach.

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: Vinyasa Immersion

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read more
Chin Stand

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read more
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read more
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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.

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