Breaking Down Yoga’s Transitional Poses: Plank, Chaturanga, Updog, Downdog

Sep 16, 2014   //   by Staff Writer   //   The Blog  //  No Comments

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Breaking Down Yoga’s Transitional Poses by Veronica Grant

If you go to a flow yoga class, the sequence will almost certainly include the downward-facing dog, plank, chaturanga, upward-facing dog, then back to down dog transition. Referred to as a connecting vinyasa or just vinyasa, it is an integral part of most flow classes, and it is used to warm up or reset the mind and body between sides or new sequences.

For years, I fumbled through this part of the sequence. My teachers cued the connecting vinyasa, and often as if everyone in class knew what they were doing. I always felt like everyone else in class knew how to do it correctly, and somewhere along the line, I missed the memo. Either I did the vinyasa unsure of what I was supposed to be feeling, or my shoulders or wrists would ache.

As a teacher, I’ve learned the truth is that the connecting vinyasa is hard. Actually, it’s really hard.  I see many students of all levels struggle with it. The poses in the connecting vinyasa are challenging, and they can be very stressful on the joints if performed without proper form or modifications according to one’s body. The connecting vinyasa is meant to be a meditation in movement, but we miss out on this awesome mind-body experience if it requires overexertion, if it hurts, or if we flop through it.

In my Breaking Down Yoga’s Transitional Poses workshop, we’ll do exactly that. I’ll break down each of the four main poses – downdog, plank, chaturanga, and updog – and the transitions. I’ll also show modifications to stay off achy wrists and shoulders, and which muscles are key to strengthen and open to perform the vinyasa safely and effectively. Yogis at all levels can benefit. My goal is to leave you with a better understanding of safe form, modifications, and how to ensure the connecting vinyasa benefits your practice (Hint: sometimes that means rest!).

Join us on Saturday, September 20th at Yoga District Dupont at 4:15pm. Feel free to contact with me with any questions, and I hope to see you there!

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The Teachers

The diverse family of DC yoga teachers at Yoga District are dedicated to making yoga accessible to everyone through a huge variety of yoga class types, from vinyasa flow to restorative and beyond. Most Yoga District teachers are graduates of Yoga District’s nationally-attended 200 hour teacher training program. All Yoga District classes focus on coordinating breath with body movement to promote flexibility, strength, and peace of mind. We strongly believe in yoga as therapy, so catch one of our classes whenever you need a healthy dose of self-care.
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The Next Step

The Yoga District 200 and 500 hour teacher training certification programs, registered by the Yoga Alliance are unique in their emphasis on diversity of teaching styles studied, personal attention, and trauma sensitive yoga. It's no coincidence that Yoga District is regularly voted the leading studio in the nation's capital, and that most of its classes are taught by graduates of its training program. As a full time yoga school, small group trainings are led up to eight times a year by a dedicated faculty including Jasmine Chehrazi, contributor to the Harvard Karma Yoga Project teacher training, teacher training faculty at George Washington University, Yoga Alliance Standards Committee Advisory Board Member, Yoga Activist Founder, and Yoga Service Council Advisory Board Member. So take your practice and community involvement to the next level by joining a training. There's a reason why our graduates call the training "transformative."
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