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Tag Archives: inversions

Episode 99: Q&A – Jason’s Tips for Nailing Forearm Balance

Pincha mayurasana tips | Jason Crandell quote | Yogaland pocast

Jason’s back on the podcast answering some of our listeners most common questions. This week we tackle questions related to Pincha Mayurasana (Forearm Balance). He shares his best Pincha Mayurasana tips.

Plus, we dive into:

* Headless Headstand – An alternative pose that can help newbies build up to Pincha Mayurasana or Forearm Balance

* Three things the shoulders need to be in order to practice Forearm Stand: Strength, flexibility, and (most importantly) an understanding of the muscle integration and a mastery of the technique and skill required for the posture

* A conversation about Jason’s biggest pet peeve that he sees students do when they’re setting up for Pincha Mayurasana and Headstand (and why Andrea politely agrees to disagree)

* How to avoid having an excessive curvature in the low back (a phenomenon often called “banana back”) in Pincha Mayurasana

* Four helpful Pincha Mayurasana variations

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RECOMMENDED AND RELATED LINKS

Pose Notebook: Avoid the Banana in Pincha Mayurasana

A Shoulder Opening Sequence to Forearm Balance

Episode 97: Q&A – Jason Addresses Feeling Like the Odd Man Out

Episode 96: Jason’s Ideas for Overcoming Fear & Other Handstand Obstacles

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Episode 96: Jason’s Ideas for Overcoming Fear & Other Handstand Obstacles

Overcoming Fear of Handstand | Jason Crandell quote | yoga podcast

This episode is in response to the overwhelming number of questions we’ve gotten about Handstand. It’s full of yoga Handstand tips.

We explore the logistical side — what are the best prep poses for Handstand? And the emotional side, i.e., how do I cope with my fear of Handstand?  You’ll also learn:

* The vital triad of forearm, finger, and shoulder strength for Handstand

* Helpful prep poses yoga poses to help you build the strength for the pose

* The importance of understanding scapular motion when learning Handstand

* The muscles and actions that people neglect when they’re trying to learn Handstand

* How to manage and cope with your fear of Handstand

* Alternative poses that offer the same benefits as Handstand

Subscribe via: iTunes | Acast | RSS

RECOMMENDED AND RELATED LINKS

Pose Notebook: How to Practice and Teach Handstand
Peak Pose Sequence: Handstand
Four Creative Core Poses
A 7-Step Formula to Facing Your Fears (This post can be applied to fear of Handstand, too)

WRITE A YOGA PODCAST REVIEW

If you like the podcast, please leave a review or rating on iTunes! It makes it easier for others to find the podcast. If you don’t know how to leave a review, here are some step by step instructions. Woohoo! So easy!

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Summer Series! Ep 6: A Strategic Approach to Arm Balances and Inversions

A bonus episode for you this week! Jason and I talk about his new online course on yogaglo.com, The Ultimate Guide to Teaching Arm Balances & Inversions.

There’s a lot packed into this episode: Jason shares his system for teaching these poses, how he sees both arm balances and inversions as “clusters of poses” — so that you’re learning a whole family of poses — e.g., the Bakasana Family — instead of just one pose. He also talks about how the course can help teachers feel more confident and skillful teaching these poses.

Subscribe via: iTunes | Acast | RSS

RECOMMENDED & RELATED LINKS
The Ultimate Guide to Arm Balances & Inversions

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If you like the podcast, please leave a review or rating on iTunes! It makes it easier for others to find the podcast. If you don’t know how to leave a review, here are some step by step instructions. Woohoo! So easy!

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Essential Sequence: The Perfect Shoulderstand Prep

shoulderstand-sequence

WHY THIS SEQUENCE WORKS

I’m going to start this article with the same caveat that I included in my Headstand sequence: This practice is not designed to teach you Shoulderstand. Rather, it’s designed to break down the elements that comprise good, skillful sequencing for Shoulderstand. It’s only intended for students and teachers who are already proficient in this posture. If you’re not regularly practicing Shoulderstand, please learn the pose in the presence of a qualified instructor.

Shoulderstand is a simple posture, except for one glaring component—the shoulders. It’s fitting that the shoulders are the exceptional aspect of the posture that bears its’ name. When the shoulders don’t comply with the posture, they create misalignments that can wreak havoc on the neck and make the entire posture feel out of whack.

Fortunately, a good sequence for Shoulderstand can help prepare your body where you need it most: the front of your shoulders, chest, hip flexors, and quads. Your shoulders need to extend and adduct in order to get into the optimal position for Shoulderstand. To visualize this: Imagine swinging your upper arms back behind you, bending your elbows, and hugging your elbows toward each other. Otherwise, your elbows will splay away from each other, you’ll lose stability that your shoulders provide, and you’ll overload your neck. The combination of extending and adducting your shoulders actions is not easy, which is why the sequence below focuses so heavily on anterior (front) shoulder and chest opening.

Admittedly, the flexibility of your hip flexors and quads is not as important as the flexibility of your shoulders. But, excessive tension in these muscle groups can negatively impact your overall posture, especially when you’re upside-down.

Let’s break it down a little further:

POSES 1-3

This sequence starts off with Ardha Supta Virasana, Down Dog, and Low Lunge with fingers clasped behind the back. These postures introduce three essential components of Shoulderstand. You open the front of your shoulders and chest in the low lunge, you open your hip flexors and quads in Ardha Supta Virasana, and you get upside down in Downward-Facing Dog.

POSES 4 – 8

Postures 4-8 form the heart of this sequence. I snuck Reverse Warrior into the mix because it’s wise to do sidebends before backbend and because the posture adds some variety and balance to the sequence. Transitioning from Reverse Warrior to Ardha Chandrasana with the foot clasped is a nice, simple combination. Ardha Chandrasana with the foot clasped helps prepare you for the sequence of backbends to follow since it stretches the hip flexors and quads. I can’t emphasize enough how integral opening the front of the chest, shoulders, and thoracic spine is to a healthy Shoulderstand. Towards this end, postures 6, 7, and 8 are a straightforward progression of backbends. Bridge Pose is the simplest of the three backbends and so it could have been first in the series, not last. But, Bridge Pose does such a great job of replicating the actions of the upper body in Shoulderstand that I wanted to include it as the final backbend in the series.

POSES 9 – 10

If you wanted a shorter sequence, you could skip poses 9 & 10. In fact, I like the idea of going from poses 4-8 straight into Plow and Shoulderstand nearly as much as I like including postures 9 & 10. Going straight from postures 4-8 into Shoulderstand provides you with the continuity of opening your chest since these postures focus so heavily on opening your chest and shoulders. That said, I’m including Child’s Pose and seated forward bend in this sequence prior to Shoulderstand because they’re good for soothing the nervous system. Ideally, Shoulderstand is a deeply nurturing, quieting posture. Practicing Child’s Pose and seated forward bend before Plow Pose and Shoulderstand may make these postures more beneficial by helping you settle your nervous system.

POSES 11 – 12

Plow Pose provides the perfect transition into Shoulderstand and out of Shoulderstand. There’s no mystery here. Enjoy.

Want to practice this sequence at home? When you sign up for our newsletter, we’ll send you free printer-friendly PDF of the sequence above!

AND, if you want to feel more confident and knowledgeable about your sequencing skills, check out my e-course, The Art of Yoga Sequencing. It’s great for yoga teachers and students who want to better understand how the body works and how to stretch and strengthen effectively.

{illustration by MCKIBILLO}

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Essential Sequence: Refine Your Headstand

Headstand Sequence

WHY THIS SEQUENCE WORKS

Let me start with a big caveat about this practice: This practice is NOT designed to teach you Headstand. Rather, it’s designed to help you refine your Headstand by breaking down the elements that comprise good, skillful sequencing for the pose. It’s only intended for students and teachers who are already proficient in this posture. If you’re not regularly practicing Headstand, please learn the pose in the presence of a qualified instructor. If you have never done Headstand, please don’t attempt it alone at home. Instead, you can choose to replace Headstand with Dolphin Pose in this sequence.

From a purely mechanical perspective, Headstand is a simple posture. Like all postures, Headstand contains plenty of nuances, especially with regards to the action of the shoulders and placement of the head. However in my experience, the most challenging aspect of the posture is becoming oriented upside down. Unlike deep backbends or forward bends, you don’t have to focus on a ton of strengthening or stretching to prepare for Headstand. Rather, you have to prepare your body, mind, and nervous system for the finer points of being aligned while you’re upside down.

Let’s break it down a little further:

POSES 1-3

The sequence starts with Cat Pose in order to bring your awareness to your shoulders and upper back. It’s nice to release tension in this region and bring your focus to your shoulder blades when you’re preparing for Headstand. The sequence continues with Plank and Forearm Plank in order to engage your core. Core strength is not as important in Headstand as it is in Handstand and Forearm Balance since the posture is less mechanically stressful for your midsection. At the same time, it’s important to be mindful of the role that your core plays in keeping your pelvis, spine, and ribs vertically aligned in Headstand.

POSES 4 – 7

Poses 4 – 7 prepare you for Headstand by turning you upside down. Since Down Dog and the forward bends are slightly inverted postures, they can help you adjust to being upside down prior to Headstand. These four postures may also promote the focus and attention needed to tune into the finer points of Headstand.

POSES 8 – 11

You don’t need exceptionally flexible shoulders to do Headstand, but you do need to have a clear awareness of what your shoulders are doing in the posture. Postures 8 -11 are a progression of shoulder-opening postures that will mobilize your shoulder joints and help you focus your attention on your upper body. Baddha Hastasana, Gomukhasana, and Down Dog with your hands on the wall prepares your shoulders for the flexion that is required in Headstand. Garudasana complements these postures by preparing your shoulder blades for the protraction that is required in Headstand.

POSES 12 – 13

Most of the sequences I provide here conclude with the peak, or featured posture. I want to help students and teachers understand how to make challenging postures more accessible with smart, effective, and safe sequencing. Headstand is no exception, but the final posture in this sequence is Child’s Pose, not Headstand. It’s important to follow Headstand with Child’s Pose in order to help decompress the neck, relieve muscular tension there, and provide you with a few moments of stillness to savor the effects of the inversion.

Want to practice this sequence at home? When you sign up for our newsletter, we’ll send you free printer-friendly PDF of the sequence above!

AND, if you want to feel more confident and knowledgeable about your sequencing skills, check out my e-course, The Art of Yoga Sequencing. It’s great for yoga teachers and students who want to better understand how the body works and how to stretch and strengthen effectively.

{illustration by MCKIBILLO}

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