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.

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

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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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Eka Pada Urdhva Dhanurasana

Eka Pada Urdhva Dhanurasana

Where to Induce Strength

back line strength

EKA PADA URDHVA DHANURASANA

There’s no doubt that back-line strength (more specifically, strength from the gluteus maximus, hamstrings, and erector spinae) is a requirement to elevate your hips off of your yoga mat in Urdhva Dhanurasana. Moreover, when the element of the lifted leg in Eka Pada Urdhva Dhanurasana is added, the awareness of where to distribute your strength becomes heightened—you need to consider the strength to elevate your hips, and there’s a requirement to induce strength from the quadriceps and hip flexors in the lifted leg. The demand from the back line increases because you are relying on sustaining the elevation from one side of your body. In today’s video, you’ll see how Matt and his wife Rebecca Rasmussen (@dancinbecca) demonstrate exactly where and how to maximize your body’s ability to cultivate strength for this masterful posture.

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ANATOMY OF THE HEART

JUNE 2022 Immersion

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INSIDE THE ANATOMY

In the top leg, the hip flexor muscles involved in pulling your leg towards your chest include the rectus femoris, sartorius, iliacus, psoas major, pectineus, and TFL. It’s important to understand the relationship between the strength of these muscles and how they oppose the tension of the glutes and hamstrings in the same leg. This tension will reveal itself even more when you attempt to straighten your leg, which also activates the quadriceps. Along with the weight of gravity, the tension will attempt to pull your leg away from your chest. Matt advises you to prioritize strengthening your hip flexors to draw the leg closer to your chest, rather than attempting to straighten your leg and allowing it to drift away. Opting to prioritize your hip flexors here simply means that you are stepping into the opportunity to increase strength rather than chasing the aesthetic.

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EKA PADA URDHVA DHANURASANA: WHERE TO INDUCE STRENGTH

BRIDGE POSE AS YOUR BASE

As always, Matt’s Chromatic approach helps to pattern and prepare your body for each progression. In Bridge Pose, you’ll see the importance of generating strength from your feet: In order to light up the power in your glutes, you press down through your inner heels and the “three points of your feet” (big toe, pinky toe, and heel). With your glutes, hamstrings, and adductor magnus activated, you’ll have enough strength to lift your hips up. Another of Matt’s tips is to feel as though you are pushing your feet away from you on the diagonal. This will help to activate your quadriceps, which translates to even more hip height. Once you’ve explored here, you can layer on the lifted leg in Bridge Pose. This variation allows you to practice taking your top leg closer to your chest in a more controlled position.

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WHEEL POSE PROGRESSION

As you progress towards Wheel Pose, you carry the same patterning you cultivated in Bridge (e.g., pressing through your heels). In Wheel, however, more awareness of the positioning of your hands, shoulder blades, and spine become vital. Before you even lift off of the ground, it’s important to create more extension in your spine, which you can initiate with an anterior tilt of your pelvis. In today’s video, Rebecca demonstrates the Wheel Pose setup as Matt cues specific articulations. With her hands wider than shoulder width, she presses up onto her head first, in order to draw her shoulder blades in closer before elevating even further. Drawing your shoulder blades closer towards one another will open the chest further, allowing you to press your chest in the direction of your fingertips and thus create a deeper heart opener. 

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PROMOTE THE PUSH

Beyond understanding where to push into your hands and feet for elevation, you can encourage a push into an imaginary wall for the foot of your top leg. Pushing into the sky offers a completely transformative experience in Eka Pada Urdhva Dhanurasana. If you are working with someone (like Matt and Rebecca are in the video), you can utilize the resistance of your partner pushing into the foot or thigh of your top leg to fire up your hip flexors. If increasing strength is your goal, incorporating these actions will get you there sooner. Additionally, when you have a deeper understanding of the anatomy, it’s easier to know where to induce strength.  

Sign up for Matt’s Yoga Anatomy Course Waitlist and build a closer relationship with yourself and your body via anatomy and your yoga practice.

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Article by Trish Curling

Video Extracted From: Anatomy of the Heart

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The Teachers' Toolkit

  • Advance your practice
  • Learn masterful teaching techniques
  • Acquire business-building skills
  • Attract the right students
  • Learn about social media, marketing, and business structure
  • Catapult your teaching and career

Continue Learning

Accelerated Handstand Development

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Kapinjalasana At The Wall

Kapinjalasana at the Wall

Find Maximum Stability in Your Alignment

partridge pose

KAPINJALASANA

When you practice with Matt, you’ll have the comfort of knowing that the creative use of props to support technique and alignment will be plentiful. The use of props will assist you in finding the strongest and most stable alignment. This is helpful in Kapinjalasana, or Partridge Pose, because stability can be one of the biggest challenges. With this in mind, Matt demonstrates how a wall can be your best friend when it comes to understanding which articulations of the body are vital to finding a healthy balance between grace and stability in this posture. The use of props doesn’t stop at the wall! Incorporating a yoga strap in various ways can help improve your mobility in this heart opener. Practicing the preparations that Matt offers in today’s video will bring you closer to finding superior alignment in Kapinjalasana.

online classes for anatomy of arm balances

ALIGNMENT

JUNE 2023 Immersion

  • 12 Hatha-style practices
  • Transformative and informative experience
  • Alignment and techniques for the most common asana postures
  • Step-by-step, easy-to-follow instruction
  • Improve strength, balance, flexibility, and proprioception
  • Accessible and empowering modifications
  • Appropriate variations a modifications for all levels

$168.00 $138.00

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GET TO KNOW THE ANATOMY

Eversion of the ankle is key in allowing the rest of the alignment for Kapinjalasana to unfold. Doing this action will further your ability to get your standing foot more fully onto the ground and assist you in sending your body weight towards your feet. Eversion of the ankle is created by the fibularis muscles. Strong fibularis muscles, combined with the flexibility of the tibialis anterior and posterior, ultimately translates to increased mobility/eversion of the ankle. In addition, strength in the glutes and abductors is required to lift the hips. So much for the stability aspect of Kapinjalasana, but what about grace in the pose? This comes from the opening of the front body (chest and abdominals) and is achieved by what Matt calls “bowing the spine,” which requires lifting the vertebrae up and sending them forward.

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KAPINJALASANA AT THE WALL:  FIND MAXIMUM STABILITY IN YOUR ALIGNMENT

LEAN TOWARDS THE WALL

You can’t prepare for Kapinjalasana without following the same techniques as for Wild Thing. In the first step, Matt offers a standing option against the wall for you to begin to integrate the initial patterning. The next steps are what create the distinction between the two postures. The main characteristic of Kapinjalasana is the lift of the back foot off the ground, and the only way to do this is to take the expansion of your front body more forward. In the video, Matt demonstrates Kapinjalasana using a wall as a prop. 

Here are the steps:

  1. Start in Wild Thing
  2. Take your shoulder back 
  3. Go up on the diagonal 
  4. Lean towards the toe of the front foot and towards the wall
  5. The back foot becomes light and lifted

The wall allows you to test the limits and negotiate just how much you need to send your weight forward.

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YOGA STRAP STABILITY

Adding a yoga strap to the preparation of Kapinjalasana can also provide some great feedback as to where you may require more strength and/or flexibility. Matt offers 2 variations in the video. In the first variation, the wide loop of the strap goes underneath the sole of the back foot and around the shoulder. Matt notes that this loop may inhibit range of motion, so as you go into the posture, you can switch to a grip with your hand. The second variation is a great option if you’re already more familiar with the amount of mobility available to you. Starting with a shorter loop of the strap and a hand grip takes you into a deeper heart opener much sooner. Pushing the foot into the strap and creating resistance with the pull of the strap strengthens the back leg and offers increased stability.

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300 HOUR ONLINE TEACHER TRAINING

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  • Masterful sequencing and verbal delivery
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  • SPRING ENROLLMENT OPEN! Training begins June 1

PROCESS OVER OUTCOME

Even though the objective of Kapinjalasana is to create a lightness in the back foot, it’s so much more than achieving the shape of the posture. In fact, in the full class, Matt discusses another variation, in which you reach overhead to grab your foot. He reminds you that there is always more to achieve in a posture. The benefit and value lie in enjoying and learning about the various techniques and alignments in each step of the process.  

Register for Matt’s June 2023 immersion, Alignment, where you’ll improve strength, balance, flexibility, and proprioception—the essence of true alignment. ​​

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Article by Trish Curling

Video Extracted From: Anatomy Of The Heart

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FLOW & FLY

MAY 2023 Immersion

  • 12 Vinyasa-style practices
  • Increase your cardiovascular activity
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  • ALL LEVELS APPROPRIATE

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Continue Learning

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read more
Lotus Foundations

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read more
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read more
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read more
6 Postures For Hips and Lower Back

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read more

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  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Get A Wheel Pose Upgrade

Get a Wheel Pose Upgrade

Prop Options to Refine Your Alignment

urdhva dhanurasana

WHEEL POSE

Okay, buckle up for this one! These drills and variations are about to literally flip you upside down for Wheel Pose. The unique ways in which Matt demonstrates how to use props will help you get a Wheel Pose upgrade. Even if you think you have a grasp on what’s required for the pose, today’s video provides techniques that lead you away from common tendencies and guide you towards improved patterning in this heart opener. Adding to your toolkit as regards the preparation and execution of various asanas is vital in continuing to understand your body. You can only develop this understanding by mastering “micro actions.” It’s these micro actions that set a safe foundation for you to go deeper and explore further. Utilizing the support of yoga props and of the environment around you can dramatically shift your experience. Let’s find out what’s possible in Wheel Pose.

online classes for anatomy of arm balances

ALIGNMENT

JUNE 2023 Immersion

  • 12 Hatha-style practices
  • Transformative and informative experience
  • Alignment and techniques for the most common asana postures
  • Step-by-step, easy-to-follow instruction
  • Improve strength, balance, flexibility, and proprioception
  • Accessible and empowering modifications
  • Appropriate variations a modifications for all levels

$168.00 $138.00

MORE INFORMATION

SHOULDER MOBILITY WITH BLOCKS AND A WALL

Paying attention to the finer details makes for a significant shift in your yoga practice. This can be applied in various ways, including when it comes to improving shoulder mobility. The first two preparation drills Matt shares in the video showcase accessible ways to find shoulder mobility for greater range in Wheel Pose. The important detail here is the lifting of your shoulders “up to your ears” and keeping them there once your arms are overhead. Whether you are utilizing the blocks or the wall, Matt emphasizes how important it is to do this action first in order to avoid shoulder impingement. 

In any conversation surrounding mobility, strength must be a part of it. In both drills, there is a pressing action that is added to keep your armpits lifted. As a result, you’ll activate the rhomboids and upper trapezius.

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GET A WHEEL POSE UPGRADE:  PROP OPTIONS TO REFINE YOUR ALIGNMENT

LUNGE-POSITION PREPARATION

The lifting and activation from the first 2 drills nicely translates into the next Wheel Pose preparation. A vital component of the posture is the stretch of the pectoralis muscles, but hip extension is also essential. This lunge-position drill demonstrates how to combine both of these factors. The setup against the wall helps to pattern the activation of your quadriceps and glutes. The next steps involve spinal extension and the use of greater shoulder mobility. Narrowing the space between your shoulder blades (imagine that lift of the armpits) and sending the ribs forward really mimic the alignment of Wheel Pose. This bowing of the spine, as Matt refers to this technique, creates both a deep stretch in the front body and strength in the back body.

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

ROLL UP YOUR YOGA MAT AND GRAB YOUR BLOCKS

Pressing straight up into Wheel Pose is not the next step; better advised is to break the press down into increments. The next two progressions involve a rolled up yoga mat and a couple of blocks placed diagonally up against a wall. Both of these options provide a great deal of support and less wrist extension, which may feel more comfortable when it is time to lift up into Wheel Pose. 

The increments are as follows:

  1. Lifting up into Bridge Pose
  2. Coming to the top of the head, with chest towards the wall
  3. Slowly extending the arms 
  4. Kicking through the heels (like the Lunge preparation)

Other imperative details in both drills include the following:

  1. Keeping the elbows wide (in a cactus shape)
  2. Activating the glutes
  3. Adjusting the feet
  4. Pushing down through inner heels

Equally important is to also exit the posture in increments. This maximizes safety for the spine.

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

UPGRADE YOUR TECHNIQUE

Upgrading your technique essentially means that you’re in fact upgrading the alignment of your body. Doing this helps you maximize your potential. The drills from today’s video demonstrate that there’s much more to it than just practicing Wheel Pose over and over again. The mindful and methodical approach Matt offers with the use of props gives you the support and time to understand exactly how your body responds at each step. If you haven’t yet mastered a specific action, you can explore and learn how to execute the action without feeling compromised in a deeper position of the posture. This will allow you to gain as much as possible from your overall yoga practice.

If you’re interested in diving more deeply into how to maximize technique and alignment in common yoga postures, then you’ll want to register for Matt’s next immersion, Alignment.  

The 200 Hr. Teacher Training: Click Here to See the Next Start Date

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Article by Trish Curling

Video Extracted From: Anatomy Of The Heart

online classes for anatomy of arm balances

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MAY 2023 Immersion

  • 12 Vinyasa-style practices
  • Increase your cardiovascular activity
  • Foundational and advanced arm balance techniques
  • Improve balance and proprioception
  • Accessible modifications and sequences
  • Appropriate variations for your level of practice
  • Improve wrist, core, and shoulder strength
  • ALL LEVELS APPROPRIATE

$148.00

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