Mini Moves & Sequences
Pronation in Suspension Phase
PRONATION Here is a full body version of the suspension phase of gait, as learned by my studies with Gary Ward, where the foot is maximally pronating. Knee valgus, hip hiking, pronation... all these words have been demonized before in some way in movement cultures creating fear around them. Reality is, these movements are just movements and are naturally occurring when we walk! A well pronating foot comes with knee valgus and a hip hike. This suspension phase of gait with the valgus and hike loads the glutes eccentrically and gives us the spring and splay needed to supinate and move us forward. If the foot is not pronating well we might get stuck and live in a “flat footed” position or in hip hike, a valgus, etc. so being able to control pronation and develop the ability to enter and exit it when it’s time (as only one moment within the entire 0.6-0.8sec duration of the gait cycle) is vital and optimal. Suspension phase is when the foot is maximally pronating and the center of mass is coming down over the 2nd cuneiform. A lot of different movement is happening in the sagittal, frontal, and transverse planes all at once. When done with thought, knowledge (my absorption and understanding of what I learned from Gary and #srithro so far), personal exploration, and breath... well that’s where the unlocking, magic, and eventual sharing of all of it begins. Knee valgus, hip hike, lateral flexions and rotations of spine towards and away, reaching, splaying, shifting... the unpacking and coordination of all of these movements is endless. Watch until the end to see the beauty of the medial tissues of my foot and their response after a few rounds of the suspension phase!
HAND and WRIST Mobility & Strength
Getting HANDSY. Hand yoga time! When was the last time you thought about strength training for your hand? Considering all the things we do in life with our hands and all the weight bearing there is in yoga and other movement modalities, it’s a good idea to prep those hands and wrists for the loads of LIFE and movement practice! Did you know we have the same set of muscles in the hand as we do in the foot? They are called the LUMBRICALS. They help to simultaneously flex the metacarpophalangeal joints (AKA the knuckle area of the hand) while extending both interphalangeal joints of the digit on which it inserts (AKA the hinge joints between each phalange of each finger). We also have three ARCHES in the hand (like the foot!) which need to be strong and have the ability to engage and dome up for support when we weight bear (again, just like the foot!). Here are a few of my fav ways to mobilize and strengthen the hand. 1) Use a theraband pulling in various directions to “gap” the wrist joint aka make space and room to move into a greater passive ROM in wrist extension & flexion. You can explore multiple directions of pull here and pause when you feel a good stretch. 2) Wrist rolls & shakes and elbow & wrist CARS + passive and active ROM of wrist extension and flexion. Warming up and moving the synovial fluid around the area of lower arm and wrist and observing my passive vs. active ROM in the wrist and how the hands and wrists feel today. 3) PUDDY PLAY. I love this stuff. Grip strength with focus on curling in tightly through all the phalanges. Strengthens the arches of the hand! Followed by pulling for the 4th and 5th fingers which strengthens the lumbricals among other muscles. Followed by both adduction (pinching the puddy) and abduction (spreading the puddy) between and around the fingers. 4) Flexor and extensor strength training AKA wrist push ups and lift offs. AKA get SWOLE in ya forearms. 5) Roll it out. Some self massage for the forearm and palm!! *Give it a shot and let me know how it goes! Helpful? Share it with someone who needs some hand LOVE.
Banded Anjaneyasana & Your CLA
Banded Anjaneyasana and finding your CLA. What’s the CLA? Central Longitudinal Axis. We have a spine which has 4 curves. We have a rib cage (attached to Tspine), and a pelvis where the sacrum (Sspine) sits and is connected in between the two posterior wings of the pelvis. We have the psoas muscles and the erector muscles which are the “pillars” of the spine. We have the TA which supports the structure in a 360 way and 2 diaphragms (respiratory and pelvic floor diaphragms) that move in concert with one another when the rib cage is stacked (positioned optimally) over the pelvis. The balance of the rib/pelvis, psoas/erectors and synchronized relationship of the TA and diaphragms creates the functional KINETIC CORE. This core stabilizes the spine and trunk through length. The CLA is like a Chinese finger trap in this way! This “Chinese finger trap core” analogy provides stability through tension and length, and we can increase that tension for increased demand. For day to day life, and for most backbending we don’t need to “brace for impact” we need to create length and supple core engagement! Here I am demonstrating how to find and use the CLA with therabands in anjaneasana. Sound on for cues :) One loop band around the front hip crease and back foot for a little posterior glide of the right femur and to aid in drawing the right hip back and down while connecting to the back left foot. Back rib to hands band (my favorite way to band up) serves as an excellent way to feel and mobilize the back of the rib cage and find the connection of the arms in relationship to the rib cage. Think less “backbend” here and more “backextend”! Create space between ribs and pelvis, traction the spine through length, use the CLA to support your extension!
Banded Foot to Hip Spiral
Foot to hip stability drill here for you. A TRIPOD foot is a “neutral” foot. It is the grounding of the base of the big toe, base of the pinky toe, and the center of the heel. Much like a tripod is a stable base of support for a camera, when we tripod the foot we create a stable base of support for the knee, pelvis and everything else above the chain. One legged balancing postures that are both static (think tree pose) and dynamic (more challenging-think warrior 3 to high lunge or to a knee drive like I am demonstrating here), require more control to keep the tripod foot intact as a stable base of support for whatever is happening upstream. Lose the tripod, you might lose the balance! A little feedback here for how to maintain your tripod can go a long way. SOUND ON FOR THE CUES: Using a theraband to spiral a connection between the first point of my tripod (base of the big toe) and hip and as a tool to keep the 1st point of my tripod secured to the floor. When the base of the big toe wavers, the band pops out. This clip was from my Threes Physiyoga Method™ FOOTWORKS workshop in Toronto in June 2019.
A bunch of different variations of hip thrusts with a two loop resistance band because they are so good for you in so many ways. I start out using the band on the back ribs to avoid external rotation of the ribs aka thrusting the ribs up to the ceiling. I want my back ribs to stay heavy and internally rotated here so that I can breathe into my back, feel my core canister and isolate more glute and ham work quieting any overactivity in the spinal extensors. Band switch to opposite foot and hand for more contralateral connection of both the anterior and posterior slings. One more band wardrobe change to both feet and between the inner thighs. Adds more tension to the movement and emphasis on the front of the pelvis pressing up as much as the back.
FRONTAL PLANE & LATERAL HIP/WAIST/SHOULDER STUFF! —— Good old side bridges. Al la DNS! -Turn on the sound here for instructions on what I am doing. -Listen for the cockroach cue. Helps to really get the lateral hip stuff ONLINE. Side note/real life moment: I lived in a cockroach infested apartment in BK heights for a year where the walls were practically crawling and it wasn’t uncommon to do my morning exercises with a few friends haha! —— Love this variation of side forearm plank for lateral hip, obliques, and shoulder control. 1) I load the lateral hip/waist/posterior shoulder eccentrically by giving myself assistance of my other hand on the floor in front of me to get up to the top of the side bridge (help through the concentric phase) then with control and the counter balance of my arm reaching out in front of me I slowly lower the pelvis back and down, loading the lateral hip/waist/posterior shoulder eccentrically. Repeat. 2) I progress to hand off the floor and drive up through the concentric, hold for a moment at the top and slow down the lowering phase (eccentric). 3) I make an ode to clamshells and add them in a more dynamic version of the movement for variation, power and control! —— Give it a try and feel the burn!
Banded Hip Extension Stretch + RAILS Contraction
In this video I demo a way to use resistance bands to find a posterior tilt of the pelvis and elongation of the front leg’s femur away from its same side ASIS bone. We take a few breaths in the stretch then focus on the back leg. Contracting the tissues at the back of the leg, we try to own that angle of knee flexion actively with a strong contraction of the hamstrings and glutes, aiming to get the foot lighter on the wall and eventually off the wall, without losing the posterior tilt of the pelvis (RAILS- regressive angular isometric load). This is a great way to work on building active ROM in hip extension with knee flexion.
MINI BANDED SHOULDERS
MINI BANDED SHOULDERS Sphinx & other prone and plank variations with mini band. Mini band for shoulder abduction which is an excellent way to fire up the rotator cuff (specifically supraspinatus) and to stabilize the shoulders. Can you spot the progressions here? Elbow up, elbow up, elbow down, elbow down in sphinx eventually translates to a hand, hand, forearm, forearm, plank. Guaranteed to feel the burn with this one.