Check In To Check Out

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by Tiffany Holmes

"Go inside," says Professor Iyengar of my studio. It is here that we check our activities without worrying about the form we have, but rather about how we feel.

When I started teaching yoga, I took clues from all over, including mobility / recovery, and the CrossFit world. I wanted to help my students achieve more functional forms and not just imitate the shape I was doing. After all, my body comes with its own set of problems .

There is a common concept of testing and re-testing in mobility work, where you make a form, mobilize the area one way or another, and then re-form. The form (or "archetype" if you are Mobility WOD ) is an important diagnostic and coaching tool if you try a specific move with this form … say squat, then stand up with weight on your back (squat back).

I like to apply similar principles to yoga asana. Take the flexion of the shoulder, for example. This is the anatomical term to put your arm on your head, palm towards the inside, as in Tadasana with the arms above.

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What could be the angle of the arm overhead on the restrictions you have to make this form? Looking from the inside, where do you feel tense? How can you breathe freely with your arms above? Are you arching your back to straighten your arms? Then, after mobilizing the shoulder joint, even something simple like controlled joint rotation or some sun salutations if that's your jam, how do you feel about it? you to come back to this form?

In Yoga Tune Up we seek to map the restriction zones as well as the zones of liberation. We refer to the mapping of our internal landscape as our EmbodyMap. The recording (test) and the verification (re-test) allow a practitioner to work on this understanding.

Ardha Savasana (half-corpse) is another common form to help you register. Here you can notice your breath. How does your rib cage expand in the ground? Can you relax with your neck a long time, the back of the head on the carpet? Do the shoulders allow the arms to come out easily, face up? This form is simple to use at the beginning or end of a practice, or after any work involving the chest, ribcage, thoracic spine or abdomen, as it usually involves of a simple form to breathe.

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You can get all kinds of information by looking at your squat (Malasana). The joints of the ankle, knee and hip are common and obvious areas of restriction. Note how your shins and feet feel. What does your lower back do? Can you maintain a neutral spine? What does it mean to put your arms above your heads? I like to check with Malasana throughout a practice. As we progress, we could work on the mobility of the ankle and then go back. Then we can switch to the lizard-shaped hip capsule, and we register again. At the end of the practice, this form may seem and / or feel totally different from what we started.

"Go inside," I tell my students, that they are CrossFitters in my gym (box, if you're savvy), or yogis at the studio. Take the time to register, and once you have finished, take the time to check again. You might surprise yourself.


I am Tiffany … technical day writer, yoga teacher Tune Up at night. I really like to help people learn to move better and understand how they are put together. You can find me in the great state of Indiana, scary my students at Seva Yoga Studio or CrossFit Fort Wayne. Midwest is the best!


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