Tripod Headstand To Crow Pose

Tripod Headstand to Crow for Controlled Access

inversions

TRIPOD HEADSTAND TO CROW POSE

When exploring an inversion like Tripod Headstand, the shoulder muscles become part of the primary focus. Tripod Headstand on its own can be challenging enough, but adding a controlled and safe transition into an arm balance like Crow Pose creates a whole new layer of understanding that must be taken into consideration. 

The rotator cuff muscles are great stabilizers of the shoulder girdle, so activating these muscles is key in the setup for both postures. Both a deeper grasp of the biomechanics of each posture on its own and an understanding of the specific movements, particularly in the area of the shoulders, help us maintain balance when exploring how to move between the two poses. In today’s video, Matt provides the details and step-by-step cues to master the transition from Tripod Headstand to Crow Pose.

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    THE VERY FIRST STEP

    First, it’s simply about understanding what in our bodies we need to target in order to create the required stability for the setup in Tripod Headstand. At the beginning of the video, Matt offers an explanation for why the shoulders are important and how to effectively activate the appropriate muscles. When practicing with Matt, we understand that any time the hands are making contact with our mats, particularly in an inversion or arm balance, “gripping the ground” begins to send the correct channel of energy into the rest of the body. With this understanding, we can begin to see how this action affects what’s required in the shoulders: To activate the rotator cuff muscles, we take that grip of the ground and dial it outwards. This encourages the biceps to turn outwards and the elbows to turn inwards. Once these steps are in place, we can feel the rotator cuff muscles.

    WATCH THE VIDEO

    TRIPOD HEADSTAND TO CROW POSE: SHOULDER TECHNIQUES FOR CONTROLLED  ACCESS

    TRIPOD CROW

    Before the legs go upright in Tripod Headstand, we can explore Tripod Crow, which Matt demonstrates. Although there is no wall behind him in the demonstration, he recommends using a wall in the early stages of exploration.

    Tripod Crow allows us to get comfortable with the hand and head placement. This is important because of the adjustments that are necessary regarding the neck muscles.  

    The hands are roughly shoulder-width apart, and the head is placed down just shy of an equilateral triangle. This way, when we roll onto our heads, it becomes more of that equilateral setup. From here, we switch on the rotator cuff muscles (as described above), and then instead of sending the legs all the way up, we bring the knees onto the outer arms. Sending our gaze towards the floor then turns on the rear neck muscles for additional stability.

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    LEAN INTO THE PROGRESSION

    In this next stage, Matt demonstrates the entry into Tripod Headstand along with how to begin transitioning into Crow Pose. First, we can add onto Tripod Crow by hugging the knees in and creating an anterior tilt of the pelvis to then send the legs upwards. The next step allows us to explore the movement towards Crow Pose with some momentum. Instead of pausing, activating, and holding Crow Pose, we can practice “sitting the bum down” on the way out of Headstand and then leaning back to move more quickly towards taking our feet to the ground. Slowly progressing with more “hang time” and a bigger push into Crow will help us master this transition. A new shoulder action is also layered on in order to press into Crow Pose.

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    PUT IT ALL TOGETHER

    Finally, the shoulder action that brings the final pieces of the puzzle together is the protraction of the scapulae. Once we’ve leaned back and practiced hanging in the longer balances between Tripod Headstand and the initial stages of Crow, we push the floor away, which encourages the protraction. Coupled with the external rotation of the upper arm bones, this action assists in realizing the safe, controlled access and stabilization of Crow. The shoulder actions ultimately dictate the experience we’ll have when working on this transition between the two postures. Moving from Tripod Headstand to Crow Pose requires a steadiness but also involves precise movement.  

    In Matt’s 3-part workshop, Shoulder Mastery, he broke down the vital steps for the shoulders when it comes to arm balances. In the upcoming final phase of the workshop, Matt will focus on inversions and binds. Register here for lifetime access!

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    Article by Trish Curling

    Videos Extracted From: Shoulder Mastery

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    What Are The Tilts Of The Scapula?

    What Are the Tilts of the Scapulae?

    4 Postures to Help You Lock Into These Shoulder Actions

    SHOULDER ROTATION

    WHAT ARE THE TILTS OF THE SCAPULAE?

    When we first dive into studying anatomy, it’s all about the basics. Once the foundation is laid, it becomes easier to scaffold more information. There will always be a learning curve, however, especially in the context of yoga. In Chromatic yoga, it’s about more than intellectually understanding anatomy; it’s also about how we integrate our knowledge of anatomy into our bodies from a non-dogmatic point of view.

    When studying shoulder anatomy, we are introduced to the basic actions (protraction, retraction, depression, and elevation). In today’s clip, Matt introduces us to the idea of “the tilts of the scapulae.” He explains that it can be a difficult concept to understand, both intellectually and physically. Essentially, it requires the co-activation of opposing muscle groups in order to create a lock for maximum support around the shoulder girdle. We gain insight into the tilts of the scapulae via 4 postures in today’s video.

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      UPWARD VS. DOWNWARD TILT OF THE SCAPULA

      Upward Tilt

      To begin integrating the upward tilt of the scapula into our bodies, we can begin by sitting upright and sending the shoulder forward while drawing the elbow back. This naturally sends the scapula climbing up over the rib cage.  It’s the pectoralis minor that initiates this action. This muscle helps pull the shoulder down towards the front of the ribs.

      Downward Tilt

      This can be harder to understand and integrate. The first step here may be to draw the head of the humerus back. When this happens, the bottom wing tip of the scapula pushes forward into the rib cage.  

      If we pull the rib cage back into the scapulae, as Matt explains in the full class, this creates a “suction cup” effect from the co-activation of opposing muscle groups. This is effective in our yoga practice when stability is required in postures like Chaturanga and arm balances like Side Crow.

      WATCH THE VIDEO

      WHAT ARE THE TILTS OF THE SCAPULAE?: 4 POSTURES TO LOCK IN ON THESE SHOULDER ACTIONS

      SIDE-ANGLE PREPARATION

      Part of integrating and understanding the upward and downward tilt of the scapulae is to explore the actions in postures in which we can remove some of the balance and strength elements from the equation. 

      When Matt demonstrates the downward tilt of the bottom scapula in Side-Angle Preparation, he explains that there is a distinction between where retraction and protraction take place. The initial action is still to pull the head of the humerus back, but understanding that there is a degree of retraction in the upper border of the scapula but protraction in the bottom wingtip helps us to negotiate its placement. We create the  protraction by pressing the elbow down into the top of the leg; this helps the bottom tip slide forward. From here, we can explore what the sensation feels like in order to record this pattern into our bodies.   

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      CHATURANGA AND JUMP BACKS

      In Chaturanga, it can be easy to fall into the pattern of allowing the head of the humerus to dip forward. When this happens, it’s very different from creating protraction. Repetitively allowing the head of the humerus to dip forward can cause strain in the anterior capsule of the shoulder. The goal is to create a play between the actions of external rotation of the humerus and protraction, depression, and retraction of the scapulae.  

      For Chaturanga Jump Backs, Matt presents a drill utilizing a towel. Again, we get an opportunity to practice the actions of external rotation of the arms, pulling the top of the arm bone back. Matt also reminds us that we can start by sending the scapulae into upward rotation to more distinctly feel the difference, and then execute the actions that will help us stabilize the jump back with the downward tilt of the scapulae. 

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      SIDE CROW

      In an arm balance like Side Crow, it’s imperative to feel more confident in our ability to “lock in” to the stability required. Because it’s required to send our weight forward in order to access the lift of the feet in the posture, we must be careful not to lean into an upward tilt—this would lead to imbalance in the posture and perhaps to a fall. In the clip, we see how the emphasis of pushing into the heel of the hands (which brings the bottom tip of the scapulae around) while sending the chest through (which draws the head of the arm bone back) and sending the weight forward into the fingers is ultimately what helps us access the balance required for Side Crow.

      ALLOW YOURSELF TIME FOR FULL INTEGRATION

      Ultimately, being patient enough to understand and integrate these actions will transform our experience in our practice. Exploring these actions in a variety of postures will take us on a journey of self discovery. We can tap into what comes naturally; at the same time, we can discover where we experience challenge and resistance. In the full class, Matt explains that upward and downward tilt of the scapulae can be difficult to comprehend. What this means is that it may require more persistence to uncover what is possible in our bodies.

      Register for Matt’s 2-hour online shoulder workshop, The Shoulder Reset, where there will be an abundance of opportunities to more deeply connect to and understand the biomechanics of the shoulders and how these new understandings can be applied to our yoga practice. 

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

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      Article by Trish Curling

      Videos Extracted From: Shoulder Revelation

      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
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      • 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

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      Hips & HanumanasanasplitsHIPS & HANUMANASANA What a posture! Hanumanasana is such a beautiful expression of what is possible in our physical yoga practice. However, it’s not about “achieving” Hanumanasana but about the exploration of what is possible in terms...

      read more
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      read more
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      read more
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      read more
      What Are The Tilts Of The Scapula?

      What Are The Tilts Of The Scapula?

      What Are the Tilts of the Scapulae? 4 Postures to Help You Lock Into These Shoulder ActionsSHOULDER ROTATIONWHAT ARE THE TILTS OF THE SCAPULAE? When we first dive into studying anatomy, it’s all about the basics. Once the foundation is laid, it becomes easier to...

      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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