Yoga Jump Backs and Jump Forwards

We’ve all seen those yoga teachers and / or practitioners who float through the transitions of jumping back from Uttanasana to Chaturanga and / or jumping forward from Downward Facing Dog to Uttanasana. They seem to have hang time like Michael Jordan going in for a dunk. It can be absolutely mesmerizing to watch the ease with which they execute these transitions. There’s no magic pill to take when it comes to building these transitions into your practice. It is also important to note that it absolutely does not have to be a goal to build the “end result” into your practice, but the drill we see in today’s video (“The Slide Back”) can be done simply with the intention of building strength and awareness in our practice overall.

Like anything else, it’s revisiting drills like these repeatedly over time that helps us to see transformation in our bodies and in our practice as a whole. What we ultimately gain is a deeper awareness of our bodies. This awareness shows us what we need to strengthen and where we need to place our bodies in space.

WHAT DO WE NEED TO STRENGTHEN?

When jumping back into Chaturanga, it’s true that we must cultivate strength throughout the body as a whole unit, but there are some key areas where we need to bring our focus and attention.

Wrists
We’re required to bring our wrists into extension in order to stack our bodies above our hands and to bear the weight of our bodies. We also grip our fingers into the floor in order to recruit and strengthen the forearm muscles.

Serratus Previous
Pushing the floor away and creating fullness in your back creates protraction of the scapulae. The activation of the serratus anterior slows the descent of the body into Chaturanga, where the scapulae will then find retraction.

Pectoral Muscles
Placing our hands wider than shoulder width apart and turning the hands out as if turning two knobs away from one another (along with the protraction of the scapulae) helps to turn on (contract) the major pectoral muscles. This happens when we find external rotation of the humerus while the elbows rotate in. This helps to draw the energy in towards the midline of the body.

Triceps
The triceps also play a role in stopping you from bending too soon. The triceps help to oppose the action of the joints (ie, elbows bending too much and too soon).


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