There are many of you that cannot and will not be able to include plank in your practice. It hurts. It hurts your wrists, your elbows, your shoulders. You shake, you’re uncomfortable and it just doesn’t make for an enjoyable experience. So why push for something if it is causing ACTUAL pain?
That being said, if you want to get better at holding plank, you have to persevere beyond the shakes and discomfort.
Actual pain is something that you cannot get through.
We use the mind to go beyond the limitations of the body.
Practice this flow to open up you shoulder joint and soon, almost like magic, planks will be that much easier. Activate your core throughout this entire flow.
Uttanasana – Forward Fold
Malasana – Deep Seated Squat (with wide legs/ head up or down/ many arm options)
Anuvittasana – Standing Backbend
It’s called a practice because it’s not perfect.
The other day I put up a photo of my meal prep Sunday. My caption said, “If I can do it, you can do it.”
Some friends of mine made fun of me. That I was nuts to not only think this, but to write it in a post. But what they don’t realize is that I literally couldn’t do many of of these postures. I owe it to writers and photographers who have captured others’ practice and made books and articles available so we can continue to learn from each other. I owe it to teachers who are fearless in putting new and exciting challenges together that are outside the yoga practice box. And lastly, I owe it to my will for pushing my body & my mind for listening and the trusting the bond between the three. Mind Body Exchange, Baby.
Hold Downward Dog and try to grab a hold of and bind alternate hand and foot. It seems utterly impossible at this moment. But, just like anything else. You give it effort and it gives in.
I was a dancer, all along. DANCE DANCE DANCE.
Vinyasa : the breath and movement between asana.
Asana: a posture. (Chakrasana= Wheel)
This is an advanced movement. Only because many people do not have this level of shoulder flexion nor extension. Advanced asana is advanced awareness.
- Shoulder flexion is when you lift your arm straight up in front of you, but to be more specific, when I say “this level” I am talking about getting your bicep behind your ear, so that the whole arm is completely parallel with the body.
- Extension is the opposite, so standing and reaching behind you.
The flip walk in this video puts a lot of emphasis on core stability, and the flexibility of the hip flexors. (That is how you begin the flip, by opening the hip to softly land the foot on the ground in the bridge-like pose.)
With this fun little dance you will increase the mobility and stability of your shoulder joint. Take breaks. Catch your breath. You will have an increased heart rate while practicing this, and potentially sore shoulder joints.
Like a moth to the flame burned by the fire;
My love is blind, can’t you see my desire.
Burning inside you is all that you will ever need.
Give your joints the blood flow they need. Move Slow. Put yourself into a trance.
UJJAYI BREATH: Breath in through your nose with a narrowed back of the throat. What does that mean, almost like you are purposely growling. This kind of breath feeds the fire within. Grip the floor. Push off and pull in. Activate your insides. How much can you suck your belly button in? Become small. How close can you get your nose to your knee? Close your eyes. Bask in the silence of your concentration. Exhale to get even more compact. Become long. From the wall in front of you to the wall behind you, draw your head away from your feet. Spread your fingers away from each other. Everything blooms. Inhale into into that new space you just created.
Move Fast. Your skin will open up and perspire. Your heart will forcefully push blood to all ends of your body. Open your eyes. See how grounded and ready you are to move with intention. Every great practice needs a great warm-up.
(This video was sped up. Going through this sequence once can take 4 minutes.)
Forward Fold – Uttanasana
Inverted Plank – Purvottanasana
Rolling Wave – Kumbhakasana –> Adho mukha śvānāsana
Balancing has everything to do with alignment. But how and why do we come out of “proper” alignment. Because we do and we may have never had it. We sit lop-sided. We have tight muscles. We exercise the muscles that are already strong because it’s easy and no one wants to do corrective exercises, God Forbid! Read more about Balance here.
In order to balance well, you have to practice Pada Banda.
In yoga, you will learn something called Pada Banda, and this is literally the activation of your toes so that they grip the ground. They need to push the ground as much and as consistently as the ground is pushing you. This total activation from the tiny muscles of the foot all the way up to the lower leg and thigh and engaging the hip is how we create balance, AND in my opinion, it’s the place to begin.
Focus and continue to focus on hip alignment. Do you stand on one leg? Do you sit with a prolonged leg cross? Do your feet turn out, turn in? In order to have good hip alignment you must be aware of how strong or weak the muscles of your lower back, core, hips, as well as how bent or curved your spine is. Do you slouch? Have recurring pain in your neck, shoulders, between your shoulder blades, hip joint? It would be helpful at least to know which section we are talking about when we discuss the spine and try to localize the origin of pain or any sensation.
Simply, your spine is broken down into four main sections.
- Cervical is related to your neck.
- Thoracic is the mid section encasing the ribs.
- Lumbar is the area that we think of when we refer to the lower back.
- Tailbone, fused together is far less mobile than the rest of your spine is called the Sacral.
- Pyramid – Parsvottanasana
- Standing Splits – Urdhva Prasarita Eka Padasana
- Warrior 3 – Virabhadrasana III
- Half Moon – Ardha Chandrasana
- Standing Splits – Urdhva Prasarita Eka Padasana
I only recorded one side, but you get the idea. Repeat on the other side and as many times as you can or want to.