Vinyasa flow yoga is most certainly a dance of the breath and the body, moving together as one. Each flow sequence comes together with VINYASA: downward dog becomes plank which lowers into chaturanga and opens up into upward facing dog or a low cobra, all of which are FOUNDATION asanas. As yogis, it's so important to have a strong foundation on which to build our practice. Familiar repetitive movements build bad habits and single asanas become less mindful; sometimes even compromising safety.
One that gets a lot of hard slog in a vinyasa classes is CHATURANGA, very few students practice this particular foundation correctly, not because they can't but because they don't know how. Believe me when I say - CHATURANGA is hard, it's damn hard and when you do it properly it can be a little overwhelming. Learning the correct set up is an opportunity to practice patience and start to build your practice from the ground up...literally!
A poorly aligned or a rushed chaturanga compromises the stability of our shoulder, inviting injury. Using props, such as blocks or a strap, to get a feel for how chaturanga should feel in our body: elbows hug into ribs, and shoulders align with elbows. SOUNDS easy enough, but building the strength required to HOLD a chaturanga unsupported takes time. An easy modification is to DROP THE KNEES to maintain alignment and gradually build strength. A firm foundation in chaturanga creates a blue print; bringing confidence to explore asana from a place of safety and strength, opening the door to much much more.
EVERY BODY can do yoga - just because you don't have the strength required NOW doesn't mean that the strength isn't there, be gentle with your self.
1. From Downward Facing Dog EXHALE and lightly lower to knees
2. From Modified Plank, maintain forward direct (gaze) INHALE broaden collar bones AND rock shoulders slightly forward of wrists (this helps to set up alignment)
3. On an EXHALE elbows bend as they skim the rib cage - note that the pelvis does not drop, it stays level with the shoulders