Glutes & Hamstrings

Glutes and Hamstrings

8 Skills and Drills for Activation

strength

Glutes and Hamstrings

How many times has your yoga teacher said “feel your glutes” in a particular posture in a yoga class, but you’re not sure exactly what that means or what it’s actually supposed to feel like? You can easily lose or misunderstand the connection to the sensations in your body unless you’re intentional about locking in to each action in your asana practice. It’s more than that though—it’s also about learning the techniques to actually make the connection. Learning effective techniques and implementing them can help you to get to know your body in a deeper way, and this can very effectively change how you move. In today’s video, Matt highlights 8 effective ways for you to connect to your glutes and hamstrings in order to strengthen them for better functionality overall.

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BLISSFUL HIPS

December 2023 Immersion

  • Technique-infused yoga classes
  • Nondogmatic and effective alignment
  • Improve low back health
  • Increase hamstring and hip flexor mobility
  • Improve flexibility of inner thighs and outer hips
  • Improve posture on and off the mat
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LEARN THE TECHNIQUES

An excellent approach to connecting to your glutes and hamstrings is to learn technique. This provides a focus and removes the pressure of trying to randomly figure out where and how to feel what you may believe you’re supposed to feel. It also helps you explore your body in a safe way. In Matt’s approach, instead of just going through a variety of postures that are “prescribed” to fire up your glutes and hamstrings, Matt provides a direct how-to, which means there are articulations and repetitive actions that help you connect with certainty to the sensations in your glutes and hamstrings.  

Strength is more than building muscle and resilience; it’s a skill. The skills and drills that Matt offers create a solid foundation for transformation and connection in your body.

WATCH THE VIDEO

GLUTES AND HAMSTRINGS: 8 SKILLS AND DRILLS FOR ACTIVATION

TRANSFORM THESE STANDING POSTURES

In Low Lunge, Matt demonstrates how to access your glutes and hamstrings effectively. To ignite your hamstrings in the front leg, drag your front heel back while creating a posterior tilt in the pelvis. When you also press down the front heel, your glutes will spark up.

In the video, Matt maintains the same actions in Warrior II, Goddess Pose, and the Pyramid variation he demonstrates. Pressing down through your heel and pulling your feet towards each other contracts and activates your glutes and hamstrings.

The Supported Warrior III “leg lift” variation offers specific pelvic articulations that are key to connecting to the sensations in your glutes and hamstrings, and Crescent Pose Slides are an effective glute and hamstring strengthener.

Incorporating these skills and drills will help you understand your body more deeply .

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GLUTE BRIDGE AND TABLE TOP VARIATIONS

These potentially more “traditional” movements to activate and strengthen your glutes and hamstrings are also executed with different levels and unique articulations in the video.  

One of the first ways to really find connection in these variations is to remove your yoga mat! Matt wears socks on his hardwood floor. Wearing socks forces you to dig in a little deeper into the floor to find steadiness.  

Matt offers 3 variations of Glute Bridge and 4 variations of Table Top. What’s nice about exploring the different variations is that you have the opportunity to find out where your needs are on each side of the body. This is where growth and understanding take place.

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300 HOUR ONLINE TEACHER TRAINING

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  • 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

WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?

When it comes to the hamstrings, you may often think about how to become more flexible in that area of the body; what may be neglected is that to create integrity in your muscles, there must be a healthy degree of strength.  Strength is often associated with glutes, but why, and how can you strengthen them effectively? If you strengthen your glutes and hamstrings effectively, you support your ability to propel your body forward in your daily movement. Applying these safe and effective techniques will contribute to your hip health and thus your overall health.

Register for Matt’s December 2023 Immersion Blissful Hips in order to learn and to expand your current toolbox for strength!

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

Videos Extracted From: Hip Mobility Immersion

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

Continue Learning

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Bound Ardha Chandrasana

Bound Ardha Chandrasana

Technique, Accessibility, and Expression

BOUND HALF MOON

BOUND ARDHA CHANDRASANA

As Matt shares the 5 Powers of Consciousness from Tantrik yoga philosophy in his current immersion, The Power of Bliss, he reminds us that they are powers that exist within us and are present all around us. You can see a brief breakdown here. These teachings can be applied when discussing Bound Ardha Chandrasana, and there is a lot to say. In the full class, Matt describes this pose as one of the most challenging (this is subjective of course), but that leaves room to interject discussion of the 2nd power of consciousness, Bliss (Ānanda-Śakti), into the conversation. When considering what Bliss means when it comes to Bound Ardha Chandrasana, you’ll also have to also make room for how technique (or knowledge, Jñāna-Śakti), accessibility, and expression play a role.  

chromatic yoga 15 hour immersion

THE POWER OF BLISS

November 2023 Immersion

  • Moderately paced Power Yoga classes
  • Perfect blend of movement, alignment, and technique
  • Inspirationally themed to give meaning and power to each practice
  • Tantrik philosophy: The 5 Powers of Consciousness
  • Teachings of the Yoga Sutras
  • 12 classes included
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Registration now open!

WHAT IS YOUR DEFINITION OF BLISS?

I was asked this question once by my osteopath, and I gave an answer about a feeling, a moment in time when I felt happy. Starting to delve deeper into philosophy in my 300 Hour studies with Matt has definitely challenged my previous answer.

Matt explains the teachings so well, stating that Bliss (yes, with a capital B) is not a feeling of just finding happiness, or of “being in a state of bliss” because things are going the way you want them to at a particular moment or in life. Rather, it is the awareness (Cit-Śakti) that even in struggle, you can experience Bliss because you are here, in the human experience. Your mere being is an expression of Bliss itself and all that your experiences encompass.  

If Bound Ardha Chandrasana is challenging and you’re feeling frustrated in the process, Bliss is actually present.

WATCH THE VIDEO

BOUND ARDHA CHANDRASANA: TECHNIQUE, ACCESSIBILITY, AND EXPRESSION

GROWTH AND EXPRESSION

The same is true if Bound Ardha Chandrasana comes to you quite naturally. Bliss is also present in this state. This is where we come to understand that it’s more about where we are along the journey of Bound Ardha Chandrasana and not about the achievement of the posture itself. It’s about the knowledge we are gaining and about each individual experience. Your ability to express yourself fully in any variation of the posture is what contributes to the deepening of  your relationship with the practice of yoga and the power that exists within you.  

On the Chromatic Path to the posture, there are variations and preparations for you to learn from, sit with, and grow with. Matt’s classes offer a plethora of options for you to carve your own path.

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

VARIATION AND PREPARATION

In today’s video, Matt starts off by demonstrating the techniques involved in Bound Side Angle. Important cues like the internal rotation of your arms, along with bowing deeply forward, create an accessibility to the bind that you may not have thought possible. Now, working this way in Bound Side Angle or even Bound Triangle (which he also demonstrates) doesn’t necessarily make the pose “easier.” This approach just offers options and access points for you to explore. The postures are opportunities for you to explore the techniques, gain knowledge, and discern what is appropriate for you to express at any given time. Matt offers the option for you to explore a half bind, or none at all. When you play the video, you’ll hear him discuss the importance of finding the love within yourself to express outwardly in the form or variation you’ve chosen.

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

FROM TECHNIQUE TO BLISS

You could quite easily argue that it’s not a road from technique to Bliss; they actually very much permeate one another. Bliss exists within acquiring the knowledge of the techniques involved in Bound Ardha Chandrasana. Being present in the fullness of each step reminds you of the fact that you have an ability to explore your body in this way and that both your experience in your body and your experience with postures like Bound Ardha Chandrasana will change over time. The intricacies that Matt demonstrates in the video, like where to place your Drishti (gaze), where to place the weight in your feet, how to ignite your glutes—are all part of the power that exists within you. Bask in the glory of this expression in the Power of Bliss Immersion.

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

Videos Extracted From: Power of Bliss Immersion

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

Continue Learning

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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.

Open Your Heart in Camel Pose

OPEN YOUR HEART IN

CAMEL POSE 

Layer These Techniques

ustrasana

OPEN YOUR HEART

There’s such a majestic and robust quality when it comes to heart openers in a physical yoga practice. In order to open your heart and gain greater access to a backbend such as Camel Pose, there are specific techniques you can use. Even with their majestic qualities, your experience with heart openers can vary. They can be wonderfully satisfying or extremely difficult. It’s important to be aware of your individual circumstances at the time of moving in and/or out of any posture that calls for extension of the spine. In opening your heart in Camel Pose, there is potential to shift your experience with the posture. The techniques that Matt offers create this possibility to re-pattern what takes place in your body.  

    back bending online yoga and anatomy

    ANATOMY OF THE HEART

    JUNE 2022 Immersion

    • Technique to expand and deepen your backbends
    • Foundations and preparatory postures to set you up for success
    • Anatomy education to prime the nervous system
    • Themes to cultivate the appropriate mindset for heart opening
    • 12 Classes: 6 focused on anatomy, 6 themed for the heart
    • Unlock a wide range of postures including: Bow Pose, Camel, Full Wheel, King Dancer, King Cobra, King Pigeon, and more
    • Lifetime unlimited access to all
    • Attend livestream OR practice the replays any time that’s convenient for you

    $168.00 $148.00

    MORE INFORMATION

     

    BOWING THE SPINE

    If you’ve practiced with Matt before, then you’re very familiar with the terminology “bowing the spine” when discussing backbends, or heart openers. Bowing the spine provides an immediate visual that most people can resonate with, and it is helpful in developing an awareness of the experience of what a backbend looks and feels like. You can just imagine the ease of flexibility in the spine, all while maintaining a strength and integrity of the spine during execution.

    Bowing the spine teaches you to move everything forward first, which leads to opening up.

    Matt explains that in a backbend, instead of just leaning back or arching the spine, you want to think about opening the front of the spine. When you learn how to do this accurately, the discs of the spine slide forward, which is really important. If they don’t slide forward, then you’re just pushing the discs down on the back side of the spine, which will put too much pressure on the discs. Adding this pressure can cause many problems, including pain due to the discs bulging and possibly hitting a nerve, which can radiate in multiple directions of the body and cause issues in other areas. Layering on techniques both provides a better awareness of what is actually taking place in your body and promotes safer execution in heart openers.

    WATCH THE VIDEO: CAMEL POSE: SHOULDER TECHNIQUE

    NEXT TRAINING BEGINS FEBRUARY 2024 ENROLLMENT NOW OPEN!
    NEXT TRAINING BEGINS FEBRUARY 2024 ENROLLMENT NOW OPEN!

    THE CHROMATIC WAY

    Matt’s development of the Chromatic approach in yoga involves not just the layering on of postures in a sequence but indeed the layering on of techniques within each posture in order to maximize benefit and to minimize injury and pain. When you start to approach your yoga practice with this methodical mindset, the body eventually becomes free and aware to create these actions with less thought.

    LAYERING POSTURES TO PREPARE

    Matt frequently uses postures like Cobra Pose, where he teaches the fundamentals of how to “bow the spine.” You will also find that he uses Chair Pose in this layering process.  

    Within these postures, we build the pattern in the body of actions such as retracting the shoulder blades while not only taking the chest/heart forward but also lifting the rib cage upwards. Getting comfortable with these actions activates muscles like the rhomboids (during the retraction) and the abdominals (when lifting the rib cage) and also develops the neuromuscular patterning in your body so that these actions feel more natural and become a more automatic response when preparing for and executing backbends.

    back bending online yoga and anatomy

    ANATOMY OF THE HEART

    JUNE 2022 Immersion

    • Technique to expand and deepen your backbends
    • Foundations and preparatory postures to set you up for success
    • Anatomy education to prime the nervous system
    • Themes to cultivate the appropriate mindset for heart opening
    • 12 Classes: 6 focused on anatomy, 6 themed for the heart
    • Unlock a wide range of postures including: Bow Pose, Camel, Full Wheel, King Dancer, King Cobra, King Pigeon, and more
    • Lifetime unlimited access to all
    • Attend livestream OR practice the replays any time that’s convenient for you

    $168.00 $148.00

    MORE INFORMATION

     

    KEY ACTIONS FOR CAMEL POSE ENTRY

    Even before considering the traditional execution of Camel Pose, Matt takes you through what he often refers to as “Camel Pose Preparation” or “Half Camel Pose.” When preparing, it’s not just about entry into the pose; the “exiting” of the posture is also extremely important.

    In today’s video, Matt provides the key steps and layering process when entering Camel Pose Preparation from the left side:

    1. Tuck your toes onto your mat with feet wider than your hips, so that when you sit back, you can access your heel with your left hand
    2. Retract your left shoulder (*Pay close attention here, as you will not just be drawing your left shoulder blade in towards your midline. You first lift your shoulder up, then draw it in towards the midline, and finally, send the bottom tip of your shoulder blade up towards the sky)
    3. Next in the layering process, after this action of retraction, place your left palm on your heel with the thumb facing out
    4. Push the right rib cage forward and up 
    5. Place your right hand behind your head. Alternatively, Matt advises using your right hand to pick up your right ribs (*this will encourage an arched position in your low back, which is the desired positioning)
    6. Layer on a push downward into your left heel with your hand, encouraging that lift of the right side rib cage further up to the sky
    7. Finally, look down towards your left foot

    A SAFE EXIT FROM CAMEL POSE

    As I mentioned before, Matt emphasizes the exit just as much as the entrance. It’s important to note that we don’t change anything. We try to maintain the arch in the spine for as long as possible in order the spine time to adjust to the new shape (relengthening once out of the posture).

    Here are the steps:

    1.  Your hips slowly go back towards your heels, all while keeping the chest lifted
    2.  As you sit back down onto your feet, you can slowly reduce the arch in your spine until it is in a more lengthened position
    3. Take the steps to enter into “Camel Pose Preparation” on the other side.

    Taking this Chromatic approach keeps you in the physical practice: You are steered more towards awareness of your individual experience within each posture. Exploring Camel Pose Preparation also allows you to experience what is happening on each side of your body. This helps you step closer to what your body actually needs. Do you need to draw more awareness to the retraction? The arch of the spine? Sending your rib cage forward and up? You are simultaneously the student and the teacher within your own body. Matt guides your yoga practice with the layering of actions so that you can be fully within the experience of your own body.

    Taking this approach means that you will broaden your knowledge, expand your practice, and most definitely open your heart!

    See you on the mat!

    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: Heart Openers: Yoga Backbends Immersion

    CHOOSE YOUR PATH

    NEXT TRAINING BEGINS FEBRUARY 2024 ENROLLMENT NOW OPEN!
    NEXT TRAINING BEGINS FEBRUARY 2024 ENROLLMENT NOW OPEN!

    Continue Learning

    Hip Opening Without Knee Pain

    Hip Opening Without Knee Pain

    Hip Opening Without Knee Painhip mobilityHIP OPENING WITHOUT KNEE PAIN "Hip opening” in a yoga class just sounds glorious if we feel confined or constricted in this area of the body and our intention is to transform this experience. The term may not sound glorious,...

    read more
    Strengthen Your Ankles

    Strengthen Your Ankles

    Strengthen Your Anklesfoot healthSTRENGTHEN YOUR ANKLES Our feet are the foundation of our bodies. Placing great emphasis on creating ankle stability and mobility during our asana practice should be obvious; unfortunately, this is not always the case. Maintaining a...

    read more
    Yoga Props & Your Practice

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    Yoga Props and Your PracticealignmentYOGA PROPS AND YOUR PRACTICE When it comes to incorporating yoga props into our yoga practice, we can take 1 of 2 paths. We either subscribe to the notion that if we use props, we are somehow “less capable” than others in the...

    read more
    Titibhasana Techniques

    Titibhasana Techniques

    Titibhasana Techniquesfirefly poseTITIBHASANA TECHNIQUES There are some general rules to follow when executing arm balance postures. To find optimal balance, most require us not to shy away from leaning forward. They also demand a considerable degree of upper body...

    read more
    Air Line Activation

    Air Line Activation

    Air Line Activationback strengthAIR LINE ACTIVATION Finding ways to effectively strengthen the back in our yoga practice can be a challenge. If our goal is to cultivate strength in this area of the body, we must understand that it requires more than just adding...

    read more
    Double Stag Handstand

    Double Stag Handstand

    Double Stag HandstandbalanceDOUBLE STAG HANDSTAND Cultivating confidence is a non-negotiable when it comes to implementing a handstand practice. If handstands seem insurmountable even to consider, don’t fret; there might be an easier option. Easier? Really? Yes!  Ok,...

    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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