Deep Dive Into Chaturanga

Deep Dive Into Chaturanga

Shoulder Action Controversy

shoulder stability

DEEP DIVE INTO CHATURANGA

Earlier this week, Matt posted a video on his Instagram page highlighting the shoulder blade movement that takes place in Chaturanga—moving from protraction to retraction. This can be a tricky subject, and it was cause for some discussion in the comments on that video. He goes into more detail here

When we’re taught to do something (such as the execution of a yoga posture) a certain way, it may be difficult to consider an alternative. The Chromatic yoga approach, however, is a nondogmatic one and requires that we create our own understanding through action and being open to new possibilities. There is always room for perspective. Now, Chaturanga can be a challenging posture due to the strength it requires, but in today’s video, we see a breakdown of the steps and gain insight into the anatomy in order to make informed choices in our yoga practice.

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    SEQUENCING FOR THE SHOULDERS

    The intelligent sequencing offered in a Chromatic yoga class helps us prepare our bodies for optimal positioning in a given posture.

    In Chaturanga, there is a tendency for the scapulae to anterior tilt, causing the shoulders to punch forward into the anterior portion of the shoulder capsule. Over time, this can cause pain and/or increased wear and tear on the joint, not to mention the implications it may have for the neck, shoulders, back, and chest. What’s necessary is a healthy degree of external rotation. Matt demonstrates a few drills with a strap and blocks that help pattern the body in how to create the external rotation required for the pose. Why is this important? These drills teach us how to strengthen the rotator cuff muscles, which will help stabilize the shoulder joint and recruit the serratus anterior for a stronger descent in Chaturanga.

    WATCH THE VIDEO

    DEEP DIVE INTO CHATURANGA: SHOULDER ACTION CONTROVERSY

    STRAP SETUP FOR THE SHOULDERS

    These drills help us understand the foundations of the shoulder mechanics for Chaturanga.

    Pull the Strap Apart

    Here are the four key actions:

    1. Take an underhand grip of the strap.
    2. Pull the strap apart.
    3. Move the shoulder heads back.
    4. Bring the elbows in and forward.

    This drill is not static; when watching the video, we see that there is actually movement back and forth, which will help strengthen the rotator cuff muscles.

    Block in the Palm & Between the Elbow and the Body

    This drill can be done without  a block; however, the block between the body and elbow adds that extra awareness of activation and reminds to keep our elbows more narrow.

    Essentially what’s happening here are movements back and forth between the internal and external rotation of the humerus. Holding the additional block in the supinated palm of the same arm helps emphasize the required external rotation for Chaturanga.

    STRAP SETUP FOR THE SHOULDERS

    These drills help us understand the foundations of the shoulder mechanics for Chaturanga.

    Pull the Strap Apart

    Here are the four key actions:

    1. Take an underhand grip of the strap.
    2. Pull the strap apart.
    3. Move the shoulder heads back.
    4. Bring the elbows in and forward.

    This drill is not static; when watching the video, we see that there is actually movement back and forth, which will help strengthen the rotator cuff muscles.

    Block in the Palm & Between the Elbow and the Body

    This drill can be done without  a block; however, the block between the body and elbow adds that extra awareness of activation and reminds to keep our elbows more narrow.

    Essentially what’s happening here are movements back and forth between the internal and external rotation of the humerus. Holding the additional block in the supinated palm of the same arm helps emphasize the required external rotation for Chaturanga.

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    CHATURANGA AT THE WALL

    Transitioning to Chaturanga at the wall takes us to a closer setup of what position our bodies will be in. Of course, we are perpendicular to the floor in this variation, but we can negotiate hand and shoulder placement without the strength element. Matt has shown us variations at the wall before, and they are always helpful in navigating a posture.

    One of the key points in this variation, however, is the push through the heel of the hands. This action both brings the bottom wing tip of the scapulae through the arm bone, which encourages the head of the humerus to pull back, and it helps recruit the muscles of the serratus anterior. We also gain a “band of stability” in the upper body once this is in place. Once we’ve explored here, it’s time to take Chaturanga to the mat.

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    WHY PROTRACTION TO RETRACTION?

    In the video, Matt demonstrates how the shoulder blades come in towards one another on the descent portion of Chaturanga. This is what might conjure up some controversy. Matt explains that we’re not just easily allowing them to come together; instead, we’re still trying to resist the retraction in the lowering phase until we’re almost at the ground level. It’s therefore a “fight” between the actions of protraction and retraction of the scapulae.

    Remember the “push through the heel of the hand”? This ignites the protraction. The goal is to allow the shoulder blades to retract at a slow pace. Too often, we find that if there is no retraction, we can fall into the anterior tilt of the scapulae more easily. If there is no movement of the scapulae, it can affect the muscles in the front and the back of the neck by causing more strain.

    ALLOW MOVEMENT TO TAKE PLACE

    In this full workshop (The Shoulder Reset), Matt explains that going from protraction to retraction means that we are allowing the shoulder joint to move as it was designed. We are allowing gravity to do its job. When allowing the movement from protraction to retraction to take place, we are creating an eccentric contraction, which will offer a smooth descent. It will also translate into creating lightness and ease in a jump back.

    The good news is that Matt’s offering a 3-part workshop series this month, Shoulder Mastery The education we can look forward to will have a profound effect on our yoga practice overall.  

    Part I is all about shoulder mobility and heart openers, and Part II delves into shoulder strength and arm balances. Part III tackles inversions, binds, and neck & shoulder releases.

    Click Shoulder Mastery to register.

    See you on the mat!

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    Article by Trish Curling

    Videos Extracted From: The Shoulder Reset

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    Awaken Your Rotator Cuff Muscles

    Awaken Your Rotator Cuff Muscles

    6 Exercises for a More Stable Side Plank

    BELIEF

    AWAKEN YOUR ROTATOR CUFF MUSCLES

    The rotator cuff muscles carry a great deal of responsibility. When healthy and strong, they help to keep the head of the humerus inside of the glenoid fossa, the cavity of the joint. Because it’s a ball and socket joint, the shoulder joint can be quite vulnerable, so awareness of its positioning in postures that require stability is essential. On the mat, there are many opportunities to bear weight on the shoulders, which can prove challenging if we don’t know how to stabilize in postures that require this type of support. Moreover, if we neglect to maintain activation where necessary, we miss opportunities to build strength.  

    A posture like Vashistasana, Side Plank, requires a vast amount of stability and strength. In today’s video, Matt demonstrates 6 essential exercises that help strengthen our rotator cuff muscles for maximum stability.

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      ROTATOR CUFF: GET IN TOUCH WITH THE ANATOMY

      There are 5 muscles in the rotator cuff group: the subscapularis, supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres major, and teres minor. These are the muscles of internal and external rotation and of abduction.

      The subscapularis and teres major are responsible for internal rotation, while the teres minor and infraspinatus are both external rotators. The last muscle, supraspinatus, contributes to the abduction of the arms.

      When all of these muscles are co-activated, they suction and secure the head of the humerus into the shoulder socket. In the full class, Matt explains that these muscles are often stretched during our asana practice. For yoga practitioners, it’s therefore vital to create opportunities to strengthen these muscles for overall function, health, and longevity. This can be integrated into our practice on the mat, particularly if we understand the anatomy involved in performing a given exercise to strengthen the rotator cuff muscles.

      WATCH THE VIDEO

      AWAKEN YOUR ROTATOR CUFF MUSCLES: 6 EXERCISES FOR A MORE STABLE SIDE PLANK

      6 EXERCISES FOR STRENGTH

      Strengthen with a Strap

      1. Matt demonstrates ways to strengthen the infraspinatus and teres minor by pulling the strap apart into external rotation of the humerus, along with some retraction of the shoulder blades.  
      2. Adding extra rotation and resistance will uplevel the activation.

      Towel Rotations

      1. In Tabletop position, drawing circles with a towel under one hand will immediately activate the rotator cuff muscles due to the weight-bearing nature of the exercise.
      2. Here, understanding the difference between rotation at the radioulnar joint and the upper arm bone is key in connecting to the rotator cuff.

      Block Raises

      1. Supraspinatus goes to work while holding yoga blocks and abducting your arms in slight internal rotation.
      2. Pushing the blocks back behind us while hugging in will again help activate the infraspinatus and teres major and minor.

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      STABILIZE YOUR SIDE PLANK

      There are articulations and joint alignments that are essential in creating healthy stability in Side Plank. In this variation, Matt demonstrates Extended Side Plank, utilizing a wall as a prop. The wall creates feedback that helps us better negotiate where and how to align the wrist and shoulder and to determine the distance between the standing hand and the feet.

      In order to create stability in this posture, it’s imperative to retract the shoulder blade and externally rotate the humerus, which activates the infraspinatus and teres minor. Moving our hips (and thus more weight) towards the wall takes the shoulder away from directly stacking over the wrist, which helps to reduce the load on the shoulder joint. Once the foundation is set, expanding into the rest of the posture becomes more accessible.

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      AWARENESS AND FOCUS FOR STRENGTH

      If resistance bands or weights are unavailable, strengthening of the rotator cuff muscles can still take place with a variety of yoga props.

      The exercises Matt demonstrates might appear to be simple in nature, but my goodness will they be a challenge! When executed with accuracy, they exhaust the muscles, which breaks them down in order for them to renew with increased strength.  

      It’s the well-placed effort (Abhyasa) that will inform our experience and translate into larger movements and postures like (Extended) Side Plank. Yes, it’s possible to strengthen the rotator cuff muscles with a variety of different tools and exercises, but when we apply technique and focus, our true potential unfolds.  

      Register for Matt’s upcoming Shoulder Reset workshop to learn and refine techniques to create strong, healthy shoulders.

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      Article by Trish Curling

      Videos Extracted From: Anatomy In Motion

      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

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      Crow Pose On Blocks

      Crow Pose on Blocks

      Take Your Shoulder Stability to New Heights

      STABILITY

      CROW POSE 

      It’s not unusual to have a healthy amount of fear and hesitation when it comes to finding balance in crow pose: Will I fall? Am I strong enough? Will I hurt myself? One of the most amazing things about an asana practice, however, is how we learn so much about our bodies. We learn through exploration. When you have a teacher like Matt, he not only provides inspiration to explore, but through his extensive knowledge of the body, he offers a myriad of specific actions for you to experiment with that allow you to move towards a desired result. In today’s video, Matt demonstrates the dual action for you to take for improved shoulder stability in Crow Pose. The use of yoga blocks in this variation of the pose serves as an excellent support to take your shoulder stability to new heights.

      SHOULDER MOBILITY

      Access Your Active Range of Motions

      • Increase strength and flexibility
      • Decrease risk of injury
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      HYPERMOBILE VS. HYPOMOBILE

      Whether you are hypermobile or hypomobile, working on stability in your yoga practice is a must. What’s the difference between the two?  “Joint hypermobility is a clinical condition in which the joints move beyond the expected physiological range of motion.” When this is the case, understanding your body and knowing your individual “end range” can help you know when to pull back in order to minimize instability and possible injury. On the other hand, hypomobility means that there is a decrease and a significant limitation in the range of motion that is actually possible within a specific joint. When it comes to the shoulders, both states are common, and both have the potential to result in pain. It may seem counterintuitive to work on stability when hypomobile, because you may associate the toughness or rigidity with stability. Stability is just part of the equation when developing healthy muscle tissue, but it is an important part of the equation.  

      Atici A, Aktas I, Akpinar P, Ozkan FU. The relationship between joint hypermobility and subacromial impingement syndrome and adhesive capsulitis of the shoulder. North Clin Istanb. 2018 Sep;5(3):232-237. doi: 10.14744/nci.2017.35119. PMID: 30688930; PMCID: PMC6323568.

      WATCH THE VIDEO: CROW POSE ON BLOCKS

      SHOULDER STABILITY

      An essential part of shoulder stability happens when the muscles around the glenohumeral joint (rotator cuff muscles) have the ability to contract and help the head of the humerus (upper arm bone) stay centered and secure in the joint. Having the ability to contract means that these muscles actually have less rigidity; it means that there is a suppleness to the tissues which allows them to contract, expand, move, and glide as they should. An arm balance like Crow Pose requires a sizable amount of shoulder stability.

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      • Learn techniques for a wide range of yoga postures
      • Get certified and highly qualified to teach yoga
      • Yoga Alliance Globally Recognized Certification Program
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      THE 2 MAIN ACTIONS

      The actions Matt demonstrates in the video for shoulder stability in Crow Pose are protraction and external rotation. He explains that in scapular protraction, the tendency will be to internally rotate the humerus; however, if you can externally rotate the arm bones while in protraction, it will create a vast amount of shoulder stability in your arm balances. There’s actually a counteraction taking place. The goal is to apply these two actions simultaneously. Matt teaches us that internal rotation is fine—it’s actually something we want—but in the context of this arm balance, if you counteract the protraction with external rotation, there will be a tremendous amount of muscle activation that surrounds the joints. This in turn translates into better stability and better balance.

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      • Get 500 hour certified
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      • 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

      IMPLEMENT THESE KEY ACTIONS FOR CROW POSE ON BLOCKS

      Executing Crow Pose on blocks is not as simple as only doing the 2 actions (protraction and external rotation) for the shoulders, but bringing your focus and attention here might just be what is missing from actually realizing your full potential in the posture.

      Here are the steps:

      1. Stack 2 blocks horizontally on their first height
      2. Place your hands wide on the ground, just ahead of the blocks
      3. Step onto the blocks 
      4. Lower your hips down towards your heels
      5. Take your knees wide and out to the sides (*The height of the blocks allow you to have a better handle on allowing your shins the space to rest on the upper arms for better support)
      6. Squeeze legs into the chest
      7. Get your fingers active (grip the ground)
      8. Lean forward into fingers
      9. Rotate elbows in (external rotation of the humerus)
      10.  Squeeze knees in towards your midline (activating the adductor muscles)
      11. Push the floor away to protract the scapulae more (round your back more)

      TAKEAWAYS

      What you end up finding out about your body is whether or not your proprioception is accurate: Is your physical body able to respond to the cues so as to follow through with these actions? Do you require more strength? This helps you to map out your next steps and course of action.

      A good step in the right direction is to sign up for Matt’s Shoulder Mobility immersion. In this immersion, you’ll learn more about how to strengthen key muscles of the shoulders. Matt also be teaches techniques that assist in increasing both active and passive range of motion.

      See you on the mat!

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

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      Article by Trish Curling

      Video Extracted From: Shoulder Revelation Immersion

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      THE FREE TECHNIQUE PACK

      When You Subscribe, You Will Get Instant Access to

      • the Technique Pack: 15 yoga pose breakdowns
      • exclusive online course discounts
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      Chaturanga Alignment Part 2

      Chaturanga Alignment Part 2

      3 Steps to Apply Shoulder Actions

      CHATURANGA

      CHATURANGA: Integrating Shoulder Actions

      Integrating the 3 Necessary Shoulder Actions into your practice can be complicated, so to help you I have come up with 3 Steps to Master your Chaturanga. If you haven’t yet watched Chaturanga Alignment: 3 Necessary Shoulder Actions  then it is best to start there and come back to this afterwards. The 3 step process will help you develop “Muscle Intelligence” or the awareness of how to create specific actions in your body to find less complicated positions which require less strength and give you the space to explore new sensations. If done consecutively, these steps will build the strength over time that will make chaturanga feel light and free.

      Most of us sitting at our computers are not able to get up and start practicing, but if you do have the liberty of doing so, practice along with this video. If not, then simply watch and come back to it at another time so you can practice along. This is meant to help you apply the actions, not just understand them.

      Be patient with yourself as you work through each of the exercises – techniques take time to embody.

      The Intention 

      Perhaps the most confusing thing in the yoga community is the myriad of opinions about how to do each pose. Part of the reason for this is the differences each of us have from body type, to personality, to experience. Additionally, however,  each of us offering a path has a different intention behind our set of alignment cues or muscle actions. It is for this reason that I want to be clear that this is only one approach, and I am happy to provide for you the benefits and the challenges that come with this way. This approach to Chaturanga comes with the intention to build strength in multiple forearm muscles, the seratus anterior, triceps, external rotators of the the humerus, and the pectorals major. With all of these muscles working together to build strength you will inevitably feel more stable and light in your chaturanga and jump back to chaturanga, and also you will be well prepared for arm balances. If you have no intention of building strength in your upper body or practicing arm balances, there might be better ways of practicing Chaturanga. If you have a movement pattern that does not allow you to do protraction without upward tilt of the scapula then you might be better suited to a softer approach for a while. If you are experiencing chronic strain or compression in your wrist joints you may find leaning back in your chaturanga may be either better or worse for you. I mention this not to deter you from fully understanding and integrating this approach to chaturanga, but to help you to understand that there is never and will never be one correct approach to anything. What is good for you now may not be good for you later, and what was good for you yesterday may not be good for you today. This may be hard to grasp but if you try to keep an open mind and let yourself explore various approaches with the utmost attention to detail, you may find a greater sense of mastery in your body than you could ever find by doing one posture “the right way.” If you are ready to build strength, and/or set your self up for arm balances and jump backs, then let’s get started together!

      3 Step Integration

      When learning to integrate new muscle engagements or structural alignments into your practice, it is beneficial to simulate the shape with less stress on the muscles and joints. This usually entails changing your relationship to gravity. In the video and in the 3 steps below, I show you how to do this by doing chaturanga at the wall first, and then on your knees before trying the full posture. Doing these steps often provides a greater proficiency than simply trying it all out right away. This is because your body will always fall into its normal patterns when it’s asked to hold all your weight. We have to shake things up a bit to learn something new.

      Step 1 - Chaturanga at The Wall

      Regardless of your level, doing chaturanga at the wall and applying the three shoulder actions is huge in helping build masterful proprioception. This is the most important step in my eyes, especially since you’ll have plenty of time in class to practice step 2 and 3. Taking all the weight off of your body and just applying the actions until it is fully integrated and completely clear in both mind and body will be the best thing you can do. Mastery is not about halfway getting something, but rather nailing it down so that it will never be forgotten regardless of how long you leave the subject of study. Rock this exercise several times for several days/weeks and you will be well set up for building strength rapidly. Strength builds rapidly when our actions are precise in our body.

      Step 2: Chaturanga on Knees

      To be honest, when I take a vinyasa class, I do the first 5-10 chaturangas on my knees to get my body and mind linked together prior to floating back. Chaturanga on the knees is a great way to practice the actions with slightly less body weight. This is where you will begin building muscles appropriately, so be as precise and mindful as possible so you are strengthening the muscles required for the 3 shoulder actions. My best advice is start with your shoulders a little bit past the wrists to simulate the leaning forward when coming from plank. With your knees on the ground you can’t actually shift forward so you’ll have to begin by placing your knees closer to your wrists than you normally would. Second, make sure you create one long line from shoulders to knees, without breaking at the hips.

      Step 3: Plank To Chaturanga

      When attempting full chaturanga with a block, it becomes easier to compensate and “fake it” and either over engage in muscles that are not efficient for the actions, or simply getting caught up in compression – placing your bones in the way of the movement in order to slow the movement down – SEE  FIRST VIDEO when I talk about “Upward Tilt” of the scapula.

      Mastering these shoulder actions will not only make your practice of chaturanga easier and more enjoyable, but will open up a whole new world of power and strength in your arm balances.

      If you find yourself struggling to integrate the actions in this version, I highly recommend focusing on the first two options for about 3-5 months and then coming back to this.

      Complexity

      The shoulders are incredibly complex and as a result, it takes quite a lot of self-practice and study to gain any sort of mastery.  I break things down into small steps so that you are able to integrate the actions in your body more easily, however these steps are just the beginning. Let these actions settle into your body over time; rather than forcing them into every chaturanga, pick one action to focus on in your classes and first observe what you are doing before you make changes. Little by little, try to apply the action and notice what it feels like each time. This is a highly effective approach that builds patterns in the body and awareness in the mind. If you are interested in more shoulder strengtheners and stretches check out the Handstand Training. It comes with several videos that directly target the shoulders. Thank you for stopping by. Please share your comments, questions, or requests for other blog topics!

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      Arm Balances: Protraction Action

      arm Balances: Protraction

      Finding Ease and Lightness in Arm Balances

       

      ARM BALANCE STRENGTH BUILDING

      Most who practice yoga have come to realize that the practice requires a certain physical strength that doesn’t necessarily coincide with the image of strength in our head. Every yogi has seen a physically in-shape gym goer walk into a yoga class and struggle in his/her first down dog. The reason for this is because there are tons of muscles in the body, and all of them have a purpose. The ones you see on the surface are called the superficial muscles, and their job is primarily to create big movements like swinging a baseball bat, jumping, climbing, etc. While many Yoga postures and transitions require the use of these muscles, the Deep muscles or stabilizing muscles are often most used. In this video, I go over the muscle groups that I find are most important for the majority of arm balances.

      Serratus Anterior

      The muscles I speak of in this video are the Serratus Anterior, and the 4 layers of abdominals (rectus abdominis, external obliques, internal obliques, and transverse abdominis). Serratus Anterior is incredibly important for many arm balances because it creates stability in the shoulder blades and moves the body away from the ground. In the “Handstand Strength Training” video I give exercises in plank pose to help students develop the strength of this muscle. When this muscle is fully engaged in plank the body is further away from the ground. The same is true in arm balances. Further from the ground begins to feel lighter and easier, and as mentioned in the video above, your wrists will feel better as well. The reason you feel lighter and more at ease when the Serratus Anterior is fully engaged is simple- all muscles have an easier time contracting when they are fully shortened. Think of your bicep muscle; isn’t it easier to hold a weight in your hand when your hand is closest to your shoulder vs halfway down at the “holding a tray” position. Part of this is the relationship to gravity but even if you changed the angle of your body that would still be the easiest position for the muscles to be engaged. This is the same reason why it’s easier to do a little tiny pull-up vs going through the full range of motion from straight arms all the way up to bent arms. If you are looking to build strength in the Serratus Anterior I suggest checking out either “The Breakthrough” or “The Chakras and The Elements”. Both immersion focus on strength building for arm balances. 

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      Arm Balances: The Core

      The four abdominals have multiple functions including flexion (rounding) of the spine, twisting, side bending, stabilizing, and compressing/lifting inner organs (primarily the transverse abdominis). Depending on the pose, many arm balances require one or more abdominals to engage because of the shape, and because they have the ability to make the midsection more compact. The more compact you feel, the lighter you will feel because all the extremities tend to pull in closer to the center of gravity when the abdominals engage. What I am not going over in this video is the important role that your legs play within all arm balances. I will be releasing another video on Youtube soon showing you how the legs relate to the core. If you are interested in finding out when that video goes up, subscribe to my newsletter and I will let you know. Developing strength in the abdominals has long been a part of the fitness industry, but until recently it was purely for visual purposes. Most people associate having a six-pack with health, but the reality is that it’s more important to have core intelligence than strength. A little strength and a lot of awareness go a very long way, much further than a lot of strength and little awareness of how to use it. Developing strength through applied actions such as doing handstand, crow pose, or exercises that produce greater intelligence in your body is what I focus on in my handstand and arm balance practice. As a result not only do I feel strong in my asana practice but my back feels great, and I am able to apply the awareness to other activities that require body intelligence. For my favorite core strengtheners you click here, or if you are looking for free ways to learn, simply search youtube for how to strengthen the 4 muscles of the core (searching each muscle separately). Anyone who offers an application for the strength and not just the exercise is likely thinking along the same lines of “muscle intelligence” vs strength. Remember you want to know what the muscle does intellectually and know what it feels like in your body. That combination will make it easier to apply later on to your practice!

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      arm balance strength for shoulders

      Plank at the Wall

      Taking plank at the wall is one of the best ways to truly develop proprioception for protracting the shoulder blades. As mentioned in the video protraction is when you push the shoulder blades apart from one another and they move around your rib cage. This is an activation of the serratus anterior muscles which tend to require strengthening for most people. At the wall, you can focus on the action without the requirement of strength.

      arm balance strength for crow pose

      Flexion of the Spine

      Flexion of the spine in arm balances requires the muscular activation of the rectus abdominals, obliques, and likely the deep core muscles. While it is possible to do arm balances with the core completely relaxed and still hold the postures, it tends to be easier with the recruitment of them. To develop strength in your core, I highly recommend my top exercises on the Handstand Training video. 

      arm balance strength of the core

      Crow With Protraction and flexion

      Putting the two actions together might sound complicated but the two actions actually go hand in hand. Protraction makes spinal flexion easier to access and vice versa. I recommend first trying this in plank posture. If you haven’t yet watched the two blogs on Chaturanga, this is the best place to start integrating protraction into your arm balances. After you’ve worked with chaturanga, if you feel confident balancing crow then you can try applying these actions.

      First Awareness, Then Strength.

      It’s easy to try and jump ahead and go straight to our most challenging arm balance posture and try to apply new actions to it. This approach is okay but if you find that you are not getting it or not feeling a difference, it’s likely because your body needs to develop an awareness around the action itself before it can build strength. We need to create the feedback loop in our body from thought to action to sensation and back again. Once that feedback loop is established, strength can be built through repetition.

      Thanks for joining me here. I hope these tips help with your practice and/or your teaching. Please share your comments, questions, or requests and I will get back to you.

      -Matt

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      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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