afriske

Jump backs into Chaturunga without injury

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Hey everyone. 

I'm wondering when it's a good time to start practicing jump backs into chaturunga. I would consider myself around the intermediate level, but I'm clumsy and afraid I might injure myself in the process. I'm interested in making this progress but how do I practice it safely?

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plenty of youtube videos jump back to chaturanga

Thanks for the links Larry.  I've had a quick peek..

I always jump back into plank then go into chaturanga but one of videos said this was too much pressure on the joints and could cause injury.  What do other people do?

afriske likes this

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I always jump back into plank then go into chaturanga but one of videos said this was too much pressure on the joints and could cause injury.  What do other people do?

Great question - this reminded me to follow up on this post, but you inspired me to research more.

I peeked at the videos Larry linked - what also caught my attention as a new reason (than the pressure to joints), jumping to plank might depend if the person can jump back with enough stability to not bounce the spine. Perhaps I bounce like this too if I forget to engage my core.

After reading more, it appears a true jump back to chaturanga is the full expression in Ashtanga, but that requires a lot of prep work, as we can see in the videos. That would explain why we have more yoga instructional videos for "jump back to chaturanga" and almost all the "jump back to plank" videos are for crossfit exercises. I also learned jump back to plank in an Ashtanga-based class - this appears to be an adaptation to build up the strength and alignment before jumping back to chaturanga.

Sources: See 1:49 for jump back to plank adaptation, answer from YogaWorks founder (large network of studios in the US)

I think if one is already does crossfit type activities without any issues (e.g. burpees are a jump back to plank), then there is a lower risk of injury because the body can already take that pressure.  There is still risk from overdoing it, but, not as big if one has hypermobility in the joints (I learned this the hard way!).

afriske likes this

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We're talking about jumping back from halfway lift in a sun salute, right? Not jumping back from crow pose? (crow = i always jump straight back to 90 degree elbows)

So I've always thought of chaturanga as the reverse push up action from plank into 90 degree arms, which is why in the other post I answered to jump into chaturanga. (Side note: Sometimes in my youtube vids I'll say "jump back for chaturanga" and of course will go into plank and then 90 degree arms. Other times I will say 'jump back for plank' and I'll jump back for plank and then will generally have us hold there and then move into something that's not from a traditional sun salute like a side plank or something. Just wanted to clarify what the difference was and why I say what I say.)

In a sun salute, in my ashtanga training, I was taught to teach jumping back into plank pose, but with a micro-bend in the arms. The micro bend is really important because locked out arms is a recipe for an injury. This is where self-awareness is very important because a micro bend may not necessarily be noticeable to anyone LOOKING at you, but you will feel it - if that makes sense. The core, the legs, the upper body super strong and powerful as you jump back to try to be as controlled as you can, and you kind of visualize the power of the jump coming from the core as it almost lifts up first in order to send you back - I don't know if that makes sense but as I grow stronger in my core and begin to see the tiniest hint of 'floating' back (shown here at :09), that's what I visualize. Anyway, from there, it was always emphasized to have students come down with a LOT of control (i.e. slow, controlled movement) into 90 degree arms without sinking the chest or having the butt pop up. My teacher (Mark Ansari, student of K. Pattabhi Jois - and I say that not to be showy because truly, there's no one right way to do anything - but just to give a bit of credibility), was a stickler about form in lowering down and would encourage people to come on their knees as they lowered down if their body was coming out of alignment (this was often due to lack of strength and the knees are a modification). I think he was really into lowering down with control because it'd help students build upper body and core strength for the "float back" in traditional ashtanga (here at :34) which my teacher didn't recommend for most students until they were pretty advanced. 

Curiously, I recently went to yoga class as a student (because #studentfirst) and one of the newly graduated teachers who was assisting scolded me for jumping into plank and advised jumping directly into chaturanga with 90 degree arms. He said my arms were locked out and I wish I had taken the time to have a discussion with him because 1) I have a micro bend in my arms when I jump back. I know that I do because I can feel it and like I said, it's not noticeable to anyone looking from the outside and that's where the yoga and self awareness comes in. and 2) I personally don't think that's the best way to instruct unless the student has the kind of strength and control in the first vid I linked here. The reason for that is because the majority of people I see have issues with their chaturanga - their butt is up too high, or they're legs aren't engaged, or the shoulders are rounding or the arms are too close to the shoulders - and if they keep doing that repetitive motion without developing the upper body strength and getting their chaturanga on point, they're liable to injury their shoulders. Instead, I'd like the student to jump into plank (but with a micro bend in the arms) and lower down with absolute control unless they are at a level where they can float back. That's just my personal thought on it though - it does appear that other teachers suggest other things. 

Edited by YogaByCandace

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That's so funny that scolding happened recently. Those scoldings are why I felt I was getting mixed signals before in some of my classes!

I also learned the jumping into plank, then lower (one of Candace's video at 14:14), from a teacher who also studied under Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. It's so nice to see consistency across the teachers! When I did that in another class, I was told to land with bent arms instead.  Since I can't float, my upper body felt spent already trying to do that once - not very sustainable for a class with many vinyasas!  Candace's advice makes a lot of sense. I think I'll walk back to plank to avoid scolding in the future and work on jumping / trying to float at home and in other classes.

afriske likes this

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We're talking about jumping back from halfway lift in a sun salute, right? Not jumping back from crow pose? (crow = i always jump straight back to 90 degree elbows)

Yeah definitely!  There's no way I'm strong enough for that yet.

I like the idea of jumping back with a micro bend to plank as a starting point. I made this thread because I wanted to give jumping back a try (because I love jumping forward so much) but I really didn't think I was strong enough to make it into chaturanga without hurting myself and jumping straight to plank seemed dangerous for my wrists and elbows.

Thank you for all your help Candace and yogafire!

And thanks for the links, Larry!

yogafire likes this

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I will add my info here as well. Chaturanga and Plank put much stress on the shoulders. Jumping back puts a great deal more stress on the shoulders. This Yoga International article How to Avoid Shoulder Injuries in Chaturanga and Plank describes how to keep the shoulders safe. It's the basics and simple but that is often the best. It is not for jumping back but the two require the same basics.

Jumping back is mostly done with the strength of the legs. Floating back brings the weight into the arms. It is worthwhile to know this difference and keep it mind and maybe work towards it a little during our practice.

I like watching the videos to see all the different styles. I found this crazy video, it's really good. No need for slow motion video and try Chaturanga holding the feet off the ground! Excuse me now I need to go practice, a lot:lol: 

 

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