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De-Rotation: Look Ma, No Arms!

On Wednesday, I described how I modified the YTU Revolved Abdominal Pose to help my rotational imbalances. Are you ready to try it? Here’s how, plus a video clip:

  1. THE EXERCISE: Lie on your back with your knees bent 90 degrees, so your shins form a “table top.” Place 2 yoga bricks, flat side facing up, on either side of you at hip height. If this is too difficult, place the bricks with the thin side facing up to bring the ground up higher and decrease the range of motion. Place the 3rd brick between your upper inner thighs. Keep your bottom ribs on the floor (the area below the bra/bro strap)—if you’re having trouble, bring your thighs closer to your chest. Point your arms up to the ceiling, palms facing each other.
  2. ROTATE in Neutral: On an inhale, let your knees and thighs land on the block on your right side. This is the easy part. Then, on an exhale, engage your TA, PF, Multifidus, Rectus, and Obliques to stabilize your spine. (In other words, don’t arch or round your back—just keep its natural curve and allow the muscles that stabilize your spine to do the work.) On an inhale, maintain that connection you’ve created, and on your next exhale, DE-ROTATE and return the legs back to table top.
  3. Repeat on the other side, and continue the exercise for only as long as you’re able to maintain a neutral pelvis and spine—that is, as long as you can keep going without hiking up your hips or otherwise “cheating.” This exercise asks your body to do something it never does: rotate against gravity, so it should be challenging.YouTube Preview Image

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About This Author

E-RYT 500, is an Integrated Yoga Tune Up® teacher trainer, STOTT PILATES® certified instructor, and a graduate of YOGAspirit Studio's 500-Hour Yoga Therapy Program. While at Brown University, Trina took a Kripalu yoga class which ignited her passion for the practice. She teaches weekly Yoga Tune Up® and Pilates Tune Up™ classes throughout Los Angeles, and trains yoga teachers in anatomy and in Yoga Tune Up® across the country. She is an Rx Series teacher trainer for Equinox, is on the faculty of Kripalu, one of the nation's premiere yoga institutions, and is a regular presenter at yoga and fitness conferences such as ECA, Yoga Alliance, SYTAR and many others. Trina's teaching fosters body cognition and self-discovery, firmly grounded in anatomical awareness. She builds bridges between the mystical and the pragmatic, and specializes in helping others to access their body’s tissues and their heart’s purpose.

7 Responses to “De-Rotation: Look Ma, No Arms!”

  1. Angie says:

    This is great for building awareness of the muscles that stabilize the spine, not only for myself but my students as well. Thank you for mentioning the need to create congruency of the SI joint by stacking the ankles and knees in your comment below which made the movement make even more sense in my body.

  2. Kaitrin Doll says:

    This video is great I am going to incorporate this into my practice. I think it will be really helpful for many of my roller derby teammates who experience chronic lower back pain because they are not properly engaging the core in cross overs. I will keep you posted on how it goes.

  3. Trina says:

    Hi Matt and Helen,
    The purpose of the pose is to strengthen all of the muscles that sleeve your spine with muscular support during de-rotation. The pelvis should remain in neutral (no anterior or posterior tilt) with the knees and ankles stacked. The ziphoid process remains in line with the pubic symphysus (no spinal extension aka rib popping or spinal flexion is allowed) The knees and ankles are simply a visual icon for the PSIS’s which you can not see while you are doing the poise. Since you CAN see the knees and ankles, keeping them congruent and stacked ensures that the SI Joint is congruent and there is no shearing there. The SI Joint should be in a stable close packed position during the exercise because this eliminates “cheating” and forces the correct muscles to do the work: adductors, pelvic floor, TA, multifidus, diaphragm, obliques, rotatores, rectus abdominus,etc.
    I hope this is helpful!
    :) Trina

  4. Matt says:

    Just like so many other yoga teachers, many of my students (including me!) complain from time to time about low back pain. Reading your first blog reminded me of the importance of being keenly observant of the countless ways we move our bodies throughout each day. Habitual patterns are all over the place and often we don’t relate certain activities with how our body responds. It’s sort of a disconnect. Taking a simple supine twist and modifying it with blocks to activate the muscles of the lower back was brilliant. A question, though: how important do you feel it is when the student has twisted to the side that the knees and ankles are stacked before coming back to neutral?

  5. Shakti Rowan says:

    I love the wording in this video, “de-rotation of the spine” and “tithing in the oblique muscles into the lower back” As a teacher I always looking to find fresh new ways to think bout how poses and exercise work.
    Thank you!

  6. Helen McAvoy says:

    Thank you! Quick question, neutral pelvis and spine…got it….assume I should cue ‘knees stay stacked as well to keep this alignment” as they rest on blocks. Just want to make sure students get that-as it is a challenge when there is minimal rotation for them…so higher end of block. Thank you so much Trina! I look forward to meeting you one day1 :)

  7. Yvonne Duke says:

    Part 1 was awesome and Part 2 brought it all together. I always love a video so I can see what the body is doing. I also love that I can share your expertise with my students. As I read the article, I realized how many “daily habits” I have. My goal this week is to become aware so I can make the change…personally and in my classes. As you said, I want to be “empowered to be aware of my alignment during my daily activities”. Simple, yet mind blowing information. Perhaps instead of always leading with the right, I’ll go left! Many thanks.

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Jill Miller, Creator of Yoga Tune Up®

After studying yoga, movement, and the human body for over twenty years, I created Yoga Tune Up® as a simple way to restore my body and mind, keeping me balanced and free of pain. Using a specific and unique set of poses, movements and self massage tools, you too can LIVE BETTER IN YOUR BODY WITH YOGA TUNE UP®.

 

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