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From Downward Dog to Sitting

Yogamama2222010-07-04 18:44:12 +0000 #1
Hi everyone,

I am having trouble with a pose. When I am in Downward Dog, and am told to swing my legs through to sitting so I end up in Staff pose, I just can not get my legs through! Is this a flexibility thing or an arm strength issue? What can I practice so that this gets easier? I feel like such a klutz when trying ot do this. Same with when I am in downward dog and am told to jump through to my hands so that I end up in a forward fold.

Any tips would be much appreciated.


David2010-07-04 18:48:30 +0000 #2
Hiya Kim, welcome to the forum

Let me first say that observing our asana practice invariably gives us insight into how we go about our lives. If I see a student cranking themselves into a pose their body isn't quite ready for, that is usually a manifestation of how they conduct themselves off the mat. If you are "feeling like a klutz" because you aren't able to make a (difficult) transition, you may want to take a step back and observe if you take that off the mat in one way or another, and why. Please note I'm not intending to be hard on you or judgmental, I'm just putting forth an idea

We must keep in mind that yoga isn't about accomplishing a cool pose. With that said, it's fun as heck when we DO, so enough of that talk

The transition you speak of is quite difficult for most people. It can take years to finally achieve it, if ever. For most, it's not a flexibility issue, but one of strength. I'm sure others will provide poses and strengthening exercises (as well as words of caution as it can be hard on your shoulders, wrists, etc). I'll put forth is the idea to use large blocks under your hands and work the pose backwards. What I mean by this is have your legs out straight in front of you, then raise yourself up on the blocks with straight arms and hold for awhile. After that, raise up and take your butt back some. You can also try crossing your legs, raising up, and trying to take your legs back while crossed. Until you have the strength to do these for extended periods while smiling, I personally wouldn't try the transition as it can easily lead to injury. It would also be good to do this in front of an experienced teacher so they can verify alignment and all that jive

Have fun!

InnerAthlete2010-07-04 18:50:15 +0000 #3
Hello Kim,

I neither practice nor teach in a style that incorporates the things you mention. I'm certain that your teacher, the person or persons teaching it to you, can offer several suggestion on ways to do those things if you are so inclined.

Generally speaking, if your hip flexors are not incredibly strong then you'd have issues with this. Of course if your hip flexors ARE incredibly strong let's hope that they are incredibly open as well, otherwise you may be due for back issues as a result of them tugging your pelvis out of a neutral alignment.
xela2010-07-04 20:06:02 +0000 #4
Jump-throughs take a while to get! I used to have a pretty regular ashtanga practice, so of course, they are a huge part of the practice. It just takes time. Also, I jump forward on an inhale, making sure to engage mula and uddyana bandha. Try practicing jumping through with your hands on blocks for extra height so you get the feeling.

And don't feel like a klutz! There's nothing wrong with jumping to your feet, crossing your legs and sitting down instead!!
Yogamama2222010-07-04 20:12:03 +0000 #5
I was under the impression that jumping through to sitting was not as difficult as it actually is, I guess! I live way out in the country and do not have a Yoga studio to go to like I used to (I sure miss my teacher!) so I am now doing dvd's and my own stuff at home. I understand the importance of a teacher and wish I had one. Anyways, I am glad you were all so helpful. I will just keep practicing. I like the idea of doing the movement backwards and the idea of using blocks to get more height so I get the feeling.

David...I'd like to talk more about what you meant when you said when you thought I should take a step back and look at whether or not I take those feelings off the mat. I am quite sure that I do. I doubt myself a lot, and I'd like to find a way to be more confident and to just realize that some moves are very difficult and they will take a while to get. I have been practicing yoga for almost 6 years now, and I still ahve so much to learn. How can I let go of the idea of "being good at yoga" and just practicing it?? I have always been athletic and very competitive, so it's a hard thing to let go. How do you balance it out?

Thanks for all the help.




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