Yoga Jumps Back and Jumps Forward

We have all seen those yoga teachers and / or practitioners floating through the transitions of jumping back from Uttanasana to Chaturanga and / or jumping forward from the dog face down to Uttanasana. Looks like they’ve spent time like Michael Jordan going for a kill. It can be absolutely fascinating to see how easily these transitions are executed. There is no magic pill to take when it comes to incorporating these transitions into your practice. It’s also important to keep in mind that it shouldn’t be a goal to incorporate the “end result” into your practice, but the exercise we see in today’s video (“The slide back”) can be done simply with the intention of generating strength and awareness in our general practice.

Like anything else, it is reviewing exercises like these repeatedly over time that helps us see the transformation of our bodies and our practice as a whole. What we finally achieve is a deeper awareness of our body. This awareness shows us what we need to strengthen and where we need to place our body in space.

WHAT DO WE NEED TO STRENGTHEN?

When we jump back to Chaturanga, it is true that we need to cultivate strength throughout the body as a unit, but there are some key areas where we need to focus and concentrate.

Wrists
We are required to stretch our wrists in order to stack our bodies above our hands and support the weight of our bodies. We also hold our fingers to the floor to recruit and strengthen the forearm muscles.

Saw above
Moving away from the floor and creating fullness in the back creates an extension of the scapulae. Activation of the anterior serratus slows the descent of the body towards Chaturanga, where the scapulae will later find retraction.

Pectoral muscles
Placing our hands wider than shoulder-width apart and turning them outward as if turning two buttons on each other (along with the protrusion of the scapulae) helps to lighten (contract) the main pectoral muscles. This happens when we find the external rotation of the humerus as the elbows rotate inward. This helps to draw energy towards the midline of the body.

Triceps
The triceps also play a role in preventing you from bending too fast. The triceps help to counteract the action of the joints (i.e. the elbows bend too much and too fast).


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