Tweak The Twists In Your Yoga Practice

Tweak the Twists in Your Yoga Practice

padmasana

TWEAK 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 school of Chromatic yoga—it’s the fine adjustments related to the biomechanics of each posture that create a massive impact and transformative experience in our yoga practice. When we pay attention to each adjustment and learn to integrate it in a way that develops our intentions with a particular posture, we reap the benefits of expanding our potential. In Chromatic yoga, Matt shows us how to sequence yoga practices in a way that integrates knowledge of anatomy, biomechanics, and technique.

The postures and drills in today’s video show us how to properly co-activate the right muscle groups in order to maximize the benefits of twists through what Matt calls the “fire line.”  

 

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WHAT IS THE FIRE LINE?

There are 5 elements in yoga philosophy. Referred to as mahabhutas, they are the following:

  1. Earth
  2. Water
  3. Fire
  4. Air
  5. Space

Each element carries its own unique qualities, which go beyond the physical. Our focus today is on the element of Fire in a physical sense, but we can see how the qualities also lend themselves to our mental and spiritual development. Here are some of the qualities that represent Fire:

  1. Transformation
  2. Motivation
  3. Power
  4. Energy
  5. Presence

When it comes to the physical, Matt has developed a system that allows us to coordinate specific actions within specific muscle groups at the right time. The “fire line” refers to the coactivation of the “diagonal core line.” It creates a domino effect with these steps:

  1. Protraction of the scapulae (activating serratus anterior)
  2. Spinal flexion, then layering on spinal rotation (igniting the external obliques on one side and the internal obliques on the opposite side) 
  3. Flexion of the opposite hip (iliopsoas)

WATCH THE VIDEO

TWEAK THE TWISTS IN YOUR YOGA PRACTICE: CHROMATIC YOGA FIRE LINE EXPLAINED

CREATE THE CONNECTION

When it comes to twists in our yoga practice, it may sometimes feel easy to default to a more “relaxed” approach. What we learn from today’s video is the importance of timing and the coactivation of specific muscles that support strengthening the core for better twists. In the fire line, it’s all about cultivating power and front-body strength in the midline.

In order to begin understanding how to create the connection between twists and the appropriate muscles, we first see the following postures in the video:

  1. Revolved Crescent Lunge
  2. Revolved Crescent Lunge with Open Arms
  3. 2 variations of Revolved Chair

We start by creating connections through the actions of protracting the scapulae, spinal flexion, and rotation—the ability to move the upper body as a unit, rather than just moving or reaching with our arms.

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DEVELOP THE TWIST TECHNIQUE

How do we further develop the technique for twists? Well, in the video, when Matt demonstrates Revolved Low Lunge, he emphasizes “flexing” our way down, rather than just falling with gravity. He stresses how we’re essentially resisting “the fall” by pulling the rib cage back to maintain the spinal flexion as we rotate.

The last piece of the puzzle regarding the fire line is hip flexion. As we move toward Boat Pose and “sock drills” in the video, we actually practice reversing the coactivation steps. The steps of muscle activation become the following in the sock drills:

  1. hip flexors
  2. internal obliques
  3. external obliques
  4. serratus anterior

The reversal of the steps amplifies our body’s ability to respond to the actions we’re asking it to perform.

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AN ARM BALANCE WITH A TWIST

After masterful sequencing and the activation of the core, we can work towards an arm balance with a twist, like Side Crow. Again, instead of resting the hip and outer thighs on both arms, we can utilize the activations in the fire line to balance and rest on the triceps of one arm. This ability then becomes transferable to other arm balances.  

The techniques involved in these postures and drills create a stronger foundation and functional ability in our bodies overall, and this only scratches the surface of the fire line, not to mention the other elements.

Matt’s upcoming 30-hour hybrid immersion, Elements of Mastery, offers a unique opportunity to practice and learn both online and in person with Chromatic Yoga creator, Matt Giordano. This training will dive into all of the elements while immersing you in the studies of anatomy, biomechanics, and technique with a nondogmatic approach.

Secure your spot for this unparalleled opportunity!

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Article by Trish Curling

Videos Extracted From: Breath Of Fire Immersion

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deeper twists and spinal mobility with the fire line

DEEPER TWISTS

INCREASE SPINAL MOBILITY WITH THE FIRE LINE

DEEPER TWISTS

DEEPER TWISTS & SPINAL MOBILITY: “FIRE LINE”

Do you correlate strength with twisting postures in your yoga practice, or is it flexibility that comes to mind first?  There’s no doubt that both strength and flexibility are required for deeper twists, but let’s shine the spotlight on strength as we take a deeper look into how we can unlock our true potential when it comes to the execution of twisting postures in our asana practice.

YOUR INTENTION FOR THE TWIST

Twisting postures in yoga are known for their multitude of benefits. Let’s understand though that our intentions behind various twisting postures and the ways in which we execute them can benefit vs. harm our bodies to varying degrees. We may also have very different reasons for incorporating twists into our asana practice. If the goal is to create more of a therapeutic experience, then gentler twists may be the appropriate approach to take. If the intent and/or purpose is to work more deeply into a twist, then there are ways to heighten the experience with proper awareness and activation (we’ll see this shortly with Matt’s unique approach). Whether there is some level of vulnerability due to injury or not, doing things like pushing through the arms or trying to force more deeply into a twist can in fact cause harm, and this is never the desired outcome.

 

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  • Learn postures: Hanumanasana (Splits), Extended Side Plank
  • Active and passive mobility for shoulders, hips, and spine
  • Improve spinal twists, heart openers, shoulder openers, and hip openers
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  • Improve mobility and posture off the mat
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Yes, all movements on or off the mat will indeed place varying degrees of pressure on the discs in our spine, and, outside of the body’s natural resilience, there are ways in which we can create more integrity to support these movements. Although simply by twisting, we increase the amount of pressure on the spinal discs, twisting is also the answer to the question of how to increase their health.

Our discs require nourishment, and I love the sponge analogy — the “squeeze and soak effect” — when considering how to stimulate this nourishment. An appropriate twisting action or posture can actually help to equalize the pressure in the discs by supplying them with fluid, which allows them to expand. This creates more space and shock absorption between each vertebra, allowing your spine to react with more resilience to movements that create more weight, pressure, and/or impact in your body.

Now, Matt’s approach to twists is quite unique and extremely effective. His approach asks you to bring your focus and awareness to where you can create activations with more intention in order for your body to respond with greater ease. 

WHAT IS THE FIRE LINE?

If you’ve been following Matt and/or practicing with him, then you are familiar with his Chromatic Approach to yoga. Regarding the physical practice, we understand this approach as systemic with a deep awareness of how we move our bodies and progress to a “peak posture.” Something Matt created is the  idea of  the “Fire Line,” which he describes as a kinesthetic chain of muscle activation, or a co-activated line of muscle, or a co-ordinated engagement of several muscles in order to gain greater access to balance, strength, stability, and flexibility.

MUSCLE ACTIVATION IN THE FIRE LINE

Matt starts off by explaining that we first bring our attention and awareness to the serratus anterior on one side of the body, which funnels into the external obliques through the linea alba, then traveling underneath the external obliques on the other side of the body to the internal obliques, which then go down to the opposite hip bone.  

The Fire Line branches off “like a river” in 2 directions. The 1st branch goes to the outside of the gluteus maximus down through the IT band and connects to the outer shin. The 2nd branch goes from the inside of the hipthe iliacus and/or psoas muscle, which is on the inside of the bowl of your pelvis and attaches right at the inner thigh, where it meets the pelvis inside of the femoral head (inside of thigh bone). This all travels in the same direction, where we find the adductor group, which runs at the inside of your leg; some of the muscles in this group attach down at the shin.

We draw a thread of connection all the way through. Through Matt’s dedication to practice and his experience with his own body and with teaching and observing his students, he realized that activating this line allows the yoga practitioner to execute a variety of different twisting postures with great integrity and ability.

He highlights that the “center of the fire” is right at the core. We must recognize that the fire goes inward and creates a rounding through the back of the body. The key is to bring awareness to this rounding by exaggerating a pulling back of the ribcage.

With all of this in mind, we can see why strength plays a key role. Instead of just “dumping,” or forcing our bodies into a twist, we very thoughtfully engage the muscles in this Fire Line to more safely and deeply experience a variety of twisting postures.

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REVOLVED CHAIR POSE

Take a close look at Matt’s deliberate actions in today’s video.  What we see is not only the chromatic approach, the build, the preparation; but we see the activation of the fire line in order to avoid the collapse into Revolved Chair Pose.

When we approach twisting postures with strength as the anchor, not only do we execute twists with more purpose, but overall we feel more empowered in our bodies and our practice.  What a beautiful outcome.

Imagine getting this type of insight on your practice on a regular basis, and being able to integrate it into your mind and body. Online Immersions with Matt are the perfect way to get techniques like the fire line into your practice. Each immersion consists of 12 all levels classes so you can advance your body awareness and deepen your practice.

If you have been practicing with the immersions than you know exactly how powerful and effective they are.

But what if you want to share this knowledge with others? Take advantage of the opportunity to study with Matt in his upcoming teacher trainings.  His 200 and 300 Hr trainings are open for enrollment.

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This is for you if you are interested in deepening your yoga practice, building your confidence, learning how to create a class, sharing this practice with friends, family or beyond. Yes it’s for all levels, ages, etc.

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This training is definitely for you if you are already certified at the 200 or 500 hour level but want to take your teaching career and practice to the next level. In this training you will learn Anatomy, Bio-mechanics, Postural Techniques, Intelligent Sequencing, Breathwork, Meditation, Heart Centered Philosophy, Theming, Business Structure, Marketing, Social Media, Branding and how to build a sustainable and successful career!

Article by Trish Curling  @anioyoga

Video Extracted From: The 200 & 300 Hour Trainings and April 2020 Immersion “The Greatest Hits”

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MOBILITY

ONLINE YOGA IMMERSION

  • Key techniques to increase flexibility
  • Strength development for mobility and range of motion
  • Learn postures: Hanumanasana (Splits), Extended Side Plank
  • Active and passive mobility for shoulders, hips, and spine
  • Improve spinal twists, heart openers, shoulder openers, and hip openers
  • Find greater ease in seated postures
  • Improve mobility and posture off the mat
  • When and how to do active, passive, and isometric stretching

$148.00

MORE INFORMATION

Continue Learning

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Tweak The Twists In Your Yoga Practice

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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

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read more
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read more
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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.

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