I have designed several movements with a purpose in mind - to bring to my students a transformational experience and help them hone their skills. There are certain criteria that I need to fulfill with these advanced movements, which I call Move of the Day, because if you are short on time, you can still get a lot done in a few minutes if you use the Liberated Yoga approach.
it must be a whole body movement, engaging your entire body and mind at once. This trains your awareness to be expansive, yet focused. It is easy to focus on one thing at a time, but what if you have to juggle several things at once? One needs to develop a great sense of body awareness to be able to do that. You can test your ability in this new video I created, The Kicking Cobra.
it must challenge your sense of balance. Whenever your balance is challenged, small, smart muscles deep in your core are activated to prevent you from falling. This has an enormously healing effect on the nervous system as well, as all of your capacities are awakened.
it must be executed with fluidity. The more fluid, continuous and smooth your movement is, the more integrated those small intrinsic muscles become, the more control you are able to cultivate, the more enjoyment out of the process you will derive.
the breath must be a steady and supportive companion - expansive movements, such as backbends, or whenever your limbs are traveling away from your body are best executed on an inhale, whereas the exhale would best support you on an exertion, during transitions to add fluidity, or when you draw your limbs towards your body.
these movements must be performed in your mid-range, because that is when you are still able to be most in control. Your muscles can only hold your alignment when you are in mid-range, as soon as you are approaching end-ranges of movement, your muscles no longer can fulfill the role of the stabilizers, and your ligaments take over that role. Unlike muscles, your ligaments don't stretch and contract, so your safety would depend on their elasticity, and sadly, most people have very dry, non-elastic ligaments and fascia, and risk injury. So my signature movements are all modifiable. You need to scale down the movement so it is in your mid-range.
and last, optional but very nice and fun - the movement must continuously change your orientation towards gravity - this helps you use your muscles in new ways, and trains you for life off the mat. Because what makes these movements so meaningful for me, is that they inform me about how to move in my everyday life, when I am often in odd positions, moving in three-dimentional ways.
Join me with the first in a series of installments with my personal favorite: