Hips and Eka Pada Galavasana

Hips and Eka Pada Galavasana

flying pigeon

HIPS 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 can benefit from implementing techniques and drills that will support actual transformation and the development of strength, flexibility, and mobility. When it comes to a posture like Eka Pada Galavasana (Flying Pigeon), the spotlight is on our hips. Safely executing the posture requires deep hip opening, which itself requires great care and preparation. Incorporating the techniques Matt teaches in today’s video is the perfect start. However, beyond incorporating the techniques, it’s about HOW we implement them.

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“PUSH AND SUSTAIN”

One of the most impactful statements Matt makes in the full class is “Push and sustain, don’t push and forget.” When he says this, he’s actually referring to a glute activation technique, but his words can be applied generally to how we approach the techniques from today’s video.  

Sometimes we receive cues in a given posture or drill, but we then so easily revert back to what our bodies are used to, something that feels less “strange” or challenging in our bodies.

Eka Pada Galavasana requires hip strength to lock in the open position of the hip in the front leg and the lift from the glutes in the extended back leg. In the breakdown of each posture and technique, we’ll see the importance of finding and sustaining specific activations to increase strength.

WATCH THE VIDEO

HIPS AND GALAVASANA: TECHNIQUES TO UNLOCK THIS ARM BALANCE

GETTING THE HIP FLEXORS ACTIVE

The Lizard Pose variation and techniques Matt offers today are a great way to start the process of activating the muscles of the hips (more specifically, the hip flexors). This is particularly important in the first variation of Eka Pada Galavasana, where Matt demonstrates the “hugging in” of the back leg. We also learn how to “push and sustain” here. The technique that promotes both strength and flexibility is a facilitated stretch, that is, the activation of the muscles we are stretching. In the first variation of Lizard Pose, we use a facilitated stretch to activate the hip flexors by pressing the back knee down and forward. Sustaining the pull forward is the key to the effectiveness of this technique. When this happens, the muscle will release its tension and feel safe to lengthen while simultaneously strengthening. This will help with the hip flexion of the back leg. If we want to extend the back leg in Eka Pada Galavasana, lifting the back leg in Lizard while pulling the ball of the foot forward will also ignite our quadricep muscles. Activating the quadriceps will support the strength of extending the back leg. 

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PRACTICE THE HOOK

Opening our hips is paramount to practicing another important piece of the puzzle: hooking the front foot as high as possible above the triceps on the arm.

With the help of blocks, Matt sets up a Pigeon Pose variation. The blocks are stacked, creating enough height so that we can mimic the “hook” required to keep the foot in place. What actions are needed for this hook? In the ankle, we must dorsiflex and then layer on eversion of the ankle. The height of the block also supports the positioning (flexion) required in the hips.

While all this is happening, we are still encouraging the facilitated stretch of the hip flexors in the back leg.  

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EKA PADA GALAVASANA VARIATIONS

The final preparations for the hips take place while we are practicing the Eka Pada Galavasana variations Matt teaches in the clip. Importance is still placed on activating the front hip while it is in deep external rotation. When setting up for the arm balance, we do this by pressing the shin down into our arms and pulling the back leg forward (facilitated stretch). As we set up the pelvic tilts and the placement of the front leg on the arms, we move towards one of the other extremely important pieces of an arm balance: leaning our body weight forward. Without getting the leg or shin in the right spot, however, we won’t be able to lean forward enough to find our balance.

In his upcoming workshop, Hip Release, Matt shares more insights into creating the required integrity in the hips for other arm balances. 

Register to learn more techniques and tips for your toolkit!

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Article by Trish Curling

Videos Extracted From: Blissful Hips Immersion

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  • 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
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Take Action In Flying Pigeon

Take Action in Flying Pigeon

Asana and the 5 Powers of Consciousness

EKA PADA GALAVASANA

TAKE ACTION IN FLYING PIGEON

Interesting about seeking and incorporating a yoga practice is that the entry point is quite different for everyone. There are many reasons you may be drawn to certain aspects of the practice, and they may satisfy you for some time.  What usually happens though is an unfolding you don’t expect. The purpose or reason you went to your yoga practice shifts the more you delve into what it has to offer. It’s not uncommon to be drawn to the physical (the asana) first, but as you continue to have the desire to learn and the willingness to take action, your relationship with your yoga practice will change and deepen.

In today’s video, Matt demonstrates how to take action in Flying Pigeon, but when you examine it through the lens of the 5 Powers of Consciousness, your perspective opens up.

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WHAT ARE THE 5 POWERS OF CONSCIOUSNESS?

If you study with Matt in any of his yoga teacher trainings or immersions, you’ll gain access to these teachings, which come from ancient Tantrik Yoga philosophy.

Christopher Wallis, author of Tantra Illuminated, outlines the 5 powers of consciousness:

  1. Consciousness/Awareness: Cit-Śakti
  2. Bliss: Ānanda-Śakti 
  3. Will: Icchā-Śakti
  4. Knowledge: Jñāna-Śakti
  5. Action: Kriyā-Śakti
  6. Freedom (encompasses all 5): Svātantrya-Śakti

Each on their own have profound meaning, but it’s important to understand that they all exist within each other.

For today, we’ll look at Flying Pigeon primarily through the lens of Action (Kriyā-Śakti), but there is no action without the discussion of Will (Icchā-Śakti) and Knowledge (Jñāna-Śakti). It’s not that the others are not present, but we can start to gain some insight into the system as they apply to what it means to take action in Flying Pigeon Pose.

WATCH THE VIDEO

TAKE ACTION IN FLYING PIGEON: ASANA AND THE 5 POWERS OF CONSCIOUSNESS

FLYING PIGEON PREPARATION

Hip opening is one of the key components of Flying Pigeon, and this is what Matt demonstrates in today’s video. Matt guides you through the Chromatic Yoga process by layering postures that will prepare your hips and facilitate your ability to “take action in Flying Pigeon.”  

Keep in mind, however, that the action takes place throughout the entire process. The fact that you have the will to do it, that you take the time to learn more about how to do it, and then actually show up to practice—these are all part of taking action. Looking at it through the lens of the 5 powers of consciousness, you might become more aware of your reasons for wanting to do the pose and of how you respond to the process. 

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  • 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

THE 3 STEPS TO FLYING PIGEON

In the first step, Matt starts you off by practicing a hip opener at the wall, and he begins to pattern your ability to evert your ankle. This knowledge can change your experience of Flying Pigeon altogether. When you add in the aspect of balance, it can be challenging to open your hip to the required degree without your foot wanting to naturally invert as a result, which may cause it to slip off your upper arm.

Without balancing, you still begin to position yourself similarly to the peak posture. For example, you get to practice just how close you need to bring your shin to your armpit, along with leaving space between your foot and tricep.  

The third step is the “preparatory peak pose.” Here, Matt offers the option of practicing Flying Pigeon in a shape similar to Boat Pose. This again helps with patterning.

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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

MAKING SENSE OF IT ALL

Within this system, the understanding is that in order to take action, there is an awareness that there is some desire (will) present to pursue a particular action. If will is present, the acquisition of knowledge must follow. What’s intriguing about understanding all of this is that the pursuit of a particular asana is done with the removal of the part of the ego that wants to prove, for external validation, that it can be done.

Bliss, as discussed in Tantra Illuminated, helps you be simply appreciative of the exploration, no matter the outcome of achieving the posture. Being conscious of this experience is also Bliss.  

Making sense of it all requires much more than barely skimming the surface. Matt’s next immersion, Power of Bliss, will take you on the journey of understanding.

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

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

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
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read more
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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
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read more

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  • 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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