Wake Up Your Wheel Pose

Wake Up Your Wheel Pose

heart opener

WAKE 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 setup to the final expression, everything flows like a set of dominoes falling one after the other. When we don’t have a system of execution with knowledge, practice, and preparation behind it, our Wheel Pose can feel quite listless. So the question becomes, how can we wake it up and revive such a powerful posture? There are a few things to pack into the toolkit in order to find our greatest potential in Wheel Pose, but one of the simplest things Matt encourages us to be aware of is DIRECTION. This plays a key role in cultivating the experience we desire.

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

UP AGAINST THE WALL

If you’ve taken classes, workshops, or courses with Matt, then you’ll know that it’s of the utmost importance to take an intelligent approach to a posture, or in other words, to progress toward it; progression is part of the Chromatic way. When practicing the Chromatic system, we break things down into digestible pieces.

At the beginning of today’s video, Matt demonstrates a Wheel Pose drill up against the wall. This drill removes the weight of gravity, allowing us focus on techniques that create more depth in spinal extension. This focus helps us get sensationally in touch with areas of the spine that require careful attention in order to take care in creating further mobilization. We gain the first inkling of the importance of direction, that is, where we send the chest and feet.  You’ll see that once Matt walks away from the wall, he sends his chest forward and then up to the sky.

WATCH THE VIDEO

WAKE UP YOUR WHEEL POSE: DELIBERATE DIRECTION & ALIGNMENT

ROLL UP YOUR YOGA MAT

Standing upright in the first drill allows for a fair amount of “easy” exploration. As we begin to feel more confident, we can progress further. So next, we get down in order to get up.  

The next progression in the video is an exploration of Wheel in which we roll up a yoga mat against the wall. Here, we also get a sense of the placement of the forearms. Directing them in a wider, outward angle helps unlock the shoulders and again move the direction of Wheel Pose towards the wall. Matt explains that when the forearms are pulled closer together, it places the shoulders into a more locked position, pushing the direction of the pose into the feet. This is not where we want to be when attempting to maximize depth.

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

WHEEL WITH BLOCKS

Here, we swap out the yoga mat for a couple of yoga blocks placed diagonally against the wall. Something to consider here is that even if the feet are not placed far away from the wall, we want to create the sense of a directional pull of the knees away from the wall as we lift the chest up and towards the wall. There is an oppositional pull between the chest and the knees. What may result is less bend in the knees in the final stages of the posture because of the softening of the heart and the depth created in the spinal extension.  

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

TEST OUT THE OPPOSITE

The sensations of the opposite ways we can feel in Wheel Pose are discussed above: We can feel listless and languid, or rather the desired opposite of the spectrum, namely vibrant, strong, and fully awake.

The only way to understand this is through exploration and practice. Through exploration, we can spend time slightly exaggerating where we “should not be” in the pose. Try it! Move deliberately in the opposite direction to investigate the outcomes.  

At the end of the video, Matt first pushes his Wheel Pose in the direction of the feet, but you can see that adjusting by walking the feet out and then pushing in the direction of the wall changes everything about the posture. Changing the alignment and moving in the “right” direction transforms our experience.

Check out Matt’s recent workshop, Freedom of the Heart, to dive deeper into these concepts and transform your backbending 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

Hanumanasana Hints

Hanumanasana Hints

Hanumanasana HintssplitsHANUMANASANA HINTS Applying intelligent techniques to a posture like Hanumanasana is crucial.  Simply hoping for the best is definitely not the way to go.  That mindset leaves us vulnerable to injury.  It’s also the type of pose that can be...

read more
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

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.

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.

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

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

Hanumanasana Hints

Hanumanasana Hints

Hanumanasana HintssplitsHANUMANASANA HINTS Applying intelligent techniques to a posture like Hanumanasana is crucial.  Simply hoping for the best is definitely not the way to go.  That mindset leaves us vulnerable to injury.  It’s also the type of pose that can be...

read more
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

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.

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

Hanumanasana Hints

Hanumanasana Hints

Hanumanasana HintssplitsHANUMANASANA HINTS Applying intelligent techniques to a posture like Hanumanasana is crucial.  Simply hoping for the best is definitely not the way to go.  That mindset leaves us vulnerable to injury.  It’s also the type of pose that can be...

read more
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

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.

Heart Opening Education

Heart-Opening Education

backbend

HEART-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 considerations. There is also, however, a psychological aspect that must be contemplated so that a solid foundation may be cultivated. The psychological aspect comes from how the nervous system contributes to the experience within our physical bodies when we are exploring heart openers. What’s important overall is to remain open to gathering a broad spectrum of information and continuing to be a student. Today we’ll dive into some of the physical techniques and psychological aspects of heart opening that Matt teaches in order to maximize our potential for greater expansion.

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

THE ROLE OF THE NERVOUS SYSTEM

In the full class, Matt explains the balance we need for an expansive yet strong backbend. By “balance,” he means finding the “sweet spot” on the spectrum between the parasympathetic and the sympathetic nervous system. Why is this relevant?  

First, we must understand the difference. The parasympathetic nervous system is associated with the ability to “rest and digest,” which implies an ability to surrender. In contrast, the sympathetic nervous system is associated with “fight or flight,” preparing the body for activity. Both systems are necessary, offering us what we need when it’s appropriate to soften and when it’s appropriate to gather energy. These two ends aptly describe heart-opening postures. There’s a strength required from the back body, while the opposite is true for the front body—length and flexibility are essential here.

WATCH THE VIDEO

HEART OPENING EDUCATION: ESTABLISH A SOLID FOUNDATION

STRETCH VERSUS STRENGTH: THE ANATOMY

In regard to the skeletal system, one of the goals of heart-opening postures is to develop increased opening between each vertebra, or more specifically, opening at the front by moving the spinal column forward, allowing for the intervertebral discs to slide forward.

As for which muscles to strengthen, some of the primary ones we’re looking at are the rhomboids and the middle and upper fibers of the trapezius. Actively engaging these muscles will contribute to bringing the shoulder blades towards the spine (retraction).

In terms of stretching, in heart-opening postures we are generally stretching the pectoralis major and minor muscles, the rectus abdominis, and the anterior deltoid muscles.  

Part of the appropriate patterning in our bodies throughout a heart-opening yoga practice is to intentionally train the activation of the muscles we’re strengthening so that the front body automatically responds with the stretch.  

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

STRETCH VERSUS STRENGTH: FOUNDATIONAL POSTURES

Locust Pose Variation

In the video, Matt delves right into an important action, shoulder elevation, that takes place before the retraction of the scapulae. This allows for more space and increased range in the retraction. The clasp of the hands and lift of the heart effectively strengthen the previously mentioned muscles in the back body. Matt also demonstrates how to use a strap to maximize the benefits of stretch and strength in this posture.

3-Part Cobra Pose Variations

If we’re really interested in learning how to isolate the various sensations we experience in a heart-opening posture, then this foundational pose is an absolute must! Matt offers 2 variations (1 without any props and 1 with a bolster).

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

BE WILLING TO EXPAND

Both literally and figuratively, we need to be willing to expand. This means accepting new information, even if we think it contradicts what we’ve always done in our yoga practice. It also means exploring and applying the techniques that support our body’s unique capacity to transform and potentially go deeper in heart-opening postures.  

When we consider the impact this can have on our nervous system, we can more fully understand the benefits to our physical and emotional body. Consider how empowering it will be to surrender not only to the vigor and strength of a heart opener but also to expansion in our breath because we are relaxed enough to find more stretch and length in the front body. 

Building the confidence to execute strong, safe heart-opening postures takes time, through patience, practice, and education.

Register for Matt’s upcoming 2-hour online Freedom of the Heart workshop, where you’ll become a master of your own body in heart-opening postures.

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 the Heart Immersion 

lotus pose online yoga classes

ONLINE ANATOMY COURSE

  • Accessible, exciting, and easy to learn
  • Anatomy and biomechanics for yoga
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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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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. 

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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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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.  

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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.

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Article by Trish Curling

Video Extracted From: Vinyasa Immersion

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Hanumanasana Hints

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Hanumanasana HintssplitsHANUMANASANA HINTS Applying intelligent techniques to a posture like Hanumanasana is crucial.  Simply hoping for the best is definitely not the way to go.  That mindset leaves us vulnerable to injury.  It’s also the type of pose that can be...

read more
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

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read more
Wake Up Your Wheel Pose

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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

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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

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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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