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Mark Robberds  Yoga 🙏 Travel 🌏 Surf 🌊

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Tic-tocs for guys who are not that bendy (women can try it too 😉). I’ve found that this method requires the minimum amount of flexibility (the only requirements being low/high rotation bridge, full bridge and a decent sissy squat) and is more dependent on strength, coordination and timing. The main focus is on hip extension and to some extent t-spine extension and is less demanding on the lower back. Note that the chin is kept to the chest throughout and the movement is done on the balls of the feet. Initially the sequence can be done against the wall until the confidence is developed to move away from it. Good luck 🙌🏼 @leo_supersaiyajin @agrifforama .... next week @mattexp you can show us how you do it 😉.

Nothing like a few tic-tocs ⏱to iron out the creases after a day of travel. I’m looking forward to exploring Prague tomorrow and for the workshop this weekend. If you still want to come contact @katkayoga 🙏 #prague #ashtanga

Bent arm and straight arm Galavāsana and other arm balance essentials. Step one for all the yoga arm balances is to be able to do them with bent arms - but with the elbows pointing backwards; the upper arm in external rotation and shoulder blades spread apart and pulled down. From there the next step is to straighten the arms - trying to lock the elbows straight. This is way more intense on the wrists so it should be approached with care. .
The other element to consider for Galavasana is the action of the extended leg and hip. It’s important to feel as if the leg is pulling you up -so that not all the work is done by the upper body. To reach the highest point with the foot requires first an extension of the leg, then an ‘opening’ of the hip to the ceiling which comes from pushing the opposite leg into the arms (I demonstrate this standing on one leg - by straightening the standing leg, and pushing the floor away, my opposite hip opens to the ceiling.) Then there is an abduction of the leg to lift it a little higher. The bent arm version will allow the leg/foot to stay higher because the shoulders can stay closer to the wrists. The amount of forward lean required to straighten the arms naturally lowers the extended leg. Also, having ‘open’ hips will allow the foot to stay up under the armpit throughout the movement - otherwise it slides down towards the elbow - which makes it even more difficult to keep the “lift”. 🙏

A little bit of my afternoon practice here in the mountains. Today I was focusing on opening my upper back/t-spine and shoulders - an area that I have neglected over the years because I've relied on having a flexible lower back. But flexible lower backs usually come with pain (and mine has been no exception) since the backbend is not evenly distributed throughout the entire spine. Anyway, that's one of my projects at the moment. These headstand hollowbacks get right in there and feel incredible. But they are intense! And potentially dangerous - so please do not try this at home ⛔️There are other ways to open up your shoulders and thoracic spine. 🙏

On the rare occasions that we are not teaching together, @deepikamehtayoga gets to practice with a teacher (in this case me 🤗).... At the end of her practice this morning we worked a little bit on the 7 position. This is a really difficult position to execute well. It's amazing to see her progress! She is making gains daily!

Bali ❤️ Hi friends,
Deepika and I will be teaching two 'one month' intensives next year. June 3-29 and August 5-31. These will be Mysore-style based immersions with 5 morning Mysore classes and 1 Led Primary per week (excluding moon days). There will be three afternoon workshops per week exploring all aspects of the Yoga practice. It is open to all levels and all ages but you have to have an existing Ashtanga practice - either experience with a teacher in Mysore classes or a regular home practice. These are not teacher trainings and there will be no certificate - it is purely to deepen your practice (though it will be incredibly useful for your teaching). I will be putting the details on my website soon. Save the date! 🙏 @deepikamehtayoga @samadibali .
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📷@paumarchantc

Leaning into it... After learning the essential patterns of shoulder and core stabilisation, the majority of arm/head/hand balances are exactly what the name suggests: balancing postures. To enter and exit smoothly often involves simply leaning forward or leaning back until you feel the weight shift and either the feet lift (when leaning forward) or the head lifts (when leaning back). A counter force is then needed: pressing back with the fingers (when leaning forward) or driving forward with the hips (when leaning back) , until the balance point is reached, and then it's usually about maintaining just enough muscular activity to hold the position effectively; but nothing more than what is needed - in other words you can relax.
Here are some classic examples: Bakasana ideally feels like a forward lean until the feet lift. The same with headstand (I cringe when I see students bypass this stage and jump up hoping to 'catch' the balance). The classic tripod headstand variations (either in frog stand or lotus for example) involve leaning back and dropping the hips down until the head floats up and a counter movement of hips thrusting forward. The pièce de résistance of all this is the press to handstand which requires leaning forward with the shoulders until the feet float off the floor. 🙌🏼

Frog jumps, toe taps and jump throughs. In this afternoons workshop we will be exploring fundamental locomotion patterns and how to apply them to the Ashtanga practice. One of the common mistakes I see students make when learning to float is jumping the knees/thighs away from the chest/ribs which gives the illusion of the hips going high but there is no stability and control. A far more effective and efficient way is to jump the knees/thighs to the chest/ribs and work on this compression. As always I will show the step by step progressions so that any body type and people of any age can have fun with these skills. 🙏

Active flexibility... one of the main aspects that I find missing in the vast majority of yoga practitioners is active flexibility and end range control. This is not a problem if they stay within a safe range of movement, but many yoga postures require us to move into potentially dangerous positions as we move towards the end range of each joint complex. A common example of this is with the hips. From the basic position of sitting with the legs crossed right through to putting the legs behind the head there is a pattern of movement that is often missed because of a lack of muscle activation. What ends up happening often is that an external force - the teachers hands or the students own hands - are required to hold the leg in place rather than the muscular control around each joint. Besides the risk of injury, this is stressful for the nervous system and is not conducive to finding stability and peace. Added to this is the differences in individual body types and how this effects the approach needed. It is beyond the scope of this post to address all this, but I hope that in the coming years there will be more emphasis placed on understanding the essential bio mechanics of the body so that we can all continue to evolve and grow as students and teachers. In this video I demonstrate a few of the joint activations needed for this posture - starting with ankle dorsiflexion (later the foot inverts) and external rotation and flexion of the knee. Then hip flexion, external rotation and abduction. Then active 'compression' as I attempt to bend forward and twist while trying to bring the leg behind the head without using my hands. This is by no means the magic formula, but it is something that I have found incredibly useful over the years. 🙏

The other day I decided to take on a challenge that I've been meaning to do one day for the last 13 years! In 2004, when I was learning the arm balance section of the Advanced A Series of Ashtanga Yoga (Pattabhi Jois method), Manju Jois said to me, "We used to do them all from handstand." I was like, "😱". The other day I finally got around to trying it - although I left out 3 variations. This video is sped up around 3.5 times - so that was about 3.5 minutes on my hands, and I had to edit all the transitions floating down to chaturanga, up dog/down dog and jumping to handstand again - with that it was around 6 minutes - six very full on minutes!! I couldn't really keep the postures 'clean' with good alignment coz I needed every ounce of strength to make the transitions up and down. I did fall out a few times (which I've edited here). Anyway, it was fun, but it's probably not something I'll do again in a hurry 😳. Incidentally I did this before Gandha Bherundasana - the video from a few days ago - just in case you're wondering if doing handstands tightens your backbends.
If anyone decides to give this challenge a go tag me and let me know how you go! 🙏

Same posture... different challenges. Because of Deepika's ankle injury she has a very limited amount of ankle dorsiflexion - and even too much hip extension in this posture can hurt her ankle - both of which means that she can't rely on moving the knees and hips forward to find balance here - but she has to open up her upper back and shoulders. Luckily for her she's got that covered ☝🏼as she demonstrates so beautifully here.
I'm so proud of my dear wifey 😍, I've been dragging her all over the planet and she's doing such an awesome job teaching and is going to the next level every day in her practice despite our hectic schedule... Now we are on the way to Oslo - we are looking forward to seeing you Norwegian ashtangis on the mat tomorrow morning @hiyoga_no @deepikamehtayoga

Muchisimas gracias a todos! From the very first moment of the first class we felt a calm, steady connection with everyone here. I always feel an immense sense of gratitude to the lineage of Ashtanga and all the teachers that have helped create this worldwide family. Thanks again Barca and see you soon Oslo! 🙏 P.S If you see yourself tag yourself 🙌🏼

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