Plank, Chaturanga, Upward Dog

Plank, Chaturanga, Upward Dog

Shoulder Mechanics Simplified

ALIGNMENT

PLANK, CHATURANGA, UPWARD DOG

How many times have you heard the cue “Plank, Chaturanga, Upward Dog” in a yoga class? If you’re a regular practitioner, it’s probably quite often (particularly in Vinyasa-style classes). These postures are often strung together in a sequence, and the repetition of this sequence can feel quite nice in your body once it becomes a more regular part of your asana practice. It’s easy, however, to become complacent in the execution of these postures and potentially miss opportunities to practice with more skill. In today’s video, Matt simplifies the shoulder mechanics within each posture and highlights how to effectively utilize the appropriate muscle groups for maximum efficiency in your body. You’ll come away with alignment insights that will uplevel your yoga practice.

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

UNDERSTANDING PLANK

Plank is the foundation and start of the sequence of Plank, Chaturanga, Upward Dog. It is the start of being able to understand some of the common tendencies you may have when it comes to stability. Matt explains that one tendency is the anterior tilt of the scapulae (i.e., the shoulders roll forward). This is not necessarily wrong, but if your body regularly defaults into the pattern, it may be an indication that your serratus anterior is weak. It’s your serratus anterior that works to protract the scapulae (a requirement for Plank Pose). If this area is weak, then your pectoralis minor will attempt to take over. A big indicator here is a “sagging” between the shoulder blades. In Plank, your torso is being weighed down by gravity, so the pull of the chest, or “sagging,” is almost inevitable if the serratus anterior is weak.

WATCH THE VIDEO

PLANK, CHATURANGA, UPWARD DOG: SHOULDER MECHANICS SIMPLIFIED

CHATURANGA AND THE ROLE OF GRAVITY

In the full class, Matt discusses the importance of understanding the role of gravity and its influence on Plank and Chaturanga. In Plank, we now understand the tendency to close the distance between the shoulder blades. In Chaturanga, however, there is an element of going with gravity through the movement, while also opposing it. In other words, in Chaturanga, the shoulder mechanics change. You’re moving from protraction in Plank to retraction.  This is where it gets tricky. Even though there is a level of retraction, it’s critical to note that the muscles that allow you to lower into Chaturanga slowly are the muscles that create protraction. There is still a level of effort placed on protraction so as not to just go with gravity and fall on your face. Essentially, you are fighting against gravity in order to maintain a slow stable descent into Chaturanga.

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

UPWARD-FACING DOG

Falling into the same pattern of anterior tilt in the shoulders is very easy here too. Upward Dog has the capacity to be a strong backbend, but this is achieved by creating a posterior tilt of the scapulae. Instead of thinking about how to manipulate this action from the top of the shoulder blades, Matt suggests bringing your awareness to the bottom tips. Bringing the bottom tips of the scapulae in towards your midline while sending them forward will help to create the shape. Lifting your shoulders up while also sending them back will ultimately send your chest forward to create the backbend. If this proves to be challenging, it comes back to strengthening both the serratus anterior and, in this case, the lower trapezius, which can help you break away from old patterns. It’s the difference between dropping into gravity and lifting up and out with more power.

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

TRANSITION

Plank, Chaturanga, Upward Dog—instead of just going through the motions, you now need a deeper sense of awareness in this sequence. Of course, your body will start to re-pattern, and there will be less thought once the pattern becomes ingrained in your body. The sequence of Plank, Chaturanga, Upward Dog will become more fluid, but until then, it will be a process of becoming more familiar with the timing of when to protract, retract, elevate, and depress your shoulders. In today’s video from Matt’s Alignment Immersion, he takes you on the journey of these 3 postures. If you’re interested in going even further, investing in his 200 & 300 hour training programs is the way forward. This is where you will go further into not only transforming your own practice but becoming certified to support and transform the practice of your students.

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: Alignment Immersion

lotus pose online yoga classes

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

Accelerated Handstand Development

Accelerated Handstand DevelopmentinversionACCELERATED HANDSTAND DEVELOPMENT Accelerating the process of achieving a goal comes from consistent practice, but it also depends heavily on the information and knowledge we’ve acquired.   Whether a handstand is part of our...

read more
Tweak The Twists In Your Yoga Practice

Tweak The Twists In Your Yoga Practice

Tweak the Twists in Your Yoga PracticepadmasanaTWEAK THE TWISTS IN YOUR YOGA PRACTICE The definition of "tweak" here is the following: to improve (a mechanism or system) by making fine adjustments to it. This perfectly describes a major part of what’s involved in the...

read more
Lotus Foundations

Lotus Foundations

Lotus FoundationspadmasanaLOTUS FOUNDATIONS Lotus Pose requires a healthy amount of hip flexibility. For some, it comes easy. Reasons for this might be that the person is hypermobile in the hips, knees, and ankles and/or that many months or years of effort have been...

read more
Hips and Eka Pada Galavasana

Hips and Eka Pada Galavasana

Hips and Eka Pada Galavasanaflying pigeonHIPS 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...

read more
Hip Flexor Health For Better Movement

Hip Flexor Health For Better Movement

Hip Flexor Health for Better MovementstretchHIP FLEXOR HEALTH FOR BETTER MOVEMENT Healthy hip flexor muscles are associated with both stretch and strength. Although we’re going to focus more heavily on strength in this article, always note that both strength and...

read more
6 Postures For Hips and Lower Back

6 Postures For Hips and Lower Back

6 Postures for Hips and Lower Backstretch6 POSTURES FOR HIPS AND LOWER BACK When we're interested in learning about postures that help us with our hips and lower back, it’s simply not good enough to find a video or practice that says that certain poses will help with...

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.

Pin It on Pinterest