How to Build An Ashtanga Practice

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Session 13 - Mechanics of Sun B - Core Strengthening Exercises - Core Pose and Mountain Climbers

This lesson is simply, you must be core connected to build your practice.  The skill drills in this lesson are not only great for training to step up into Warrior 1 with strength and grace, but also to help you move through the entire practice.

Let's break down the skill drills.

Core Pose

Core Pose is a great practice for gathering and lifting. The work you do in this pose will translate into the strength you need for good posture in the blueprint of Tadasana and it will help you mobilize your limbs especially in places where you must be strong and flexible in transitions like the one between Down Dog and Warrior 1.  You must be core connected to summon and express standing poses and balances.

To do core pose, sit and ground your pelvis. 

Draw in your knees toward your chest.

Squeeze the knees in toward each other and then again, drawn the knees in closer to your chest while maintaining a tall spine.

Extend your arms forward from the roots of the arms in the back body. Flex your wrists and extend energy through the heels of the hands.

Maintain a steady ujjai breath.  Start with 5 breaths and see if you can increase the volume, length and number of breaths you can do.

Mountain Climbers

When we do mountain climbers we are training the body to draw up the legs toward the chest - a move that defies gravity to build strength and stability.  We need this strength to step forward into Warrior 1 and to step forward into Ardha Uttanasana from Down Dog.

Do the Mountain Climbers on the floor. You will need either thick socks and a smooth floor, or you can use folded facecloths like I do in the video.  If you have carpet, you can get sliding discs. I just saw some at Target last week.

Assume a plank position. Place your feet on a smooth surface (with folded clothes under the balls of your feet or with thick socks on) and hands on something stable like a yoga mat.

Slide one knee up into your chest and then slide the leg back to plank.

Alternate sides while keeping your shoulders stable in Plank. Remember to stay gathered in and up throughout this exercise.

Do them slow for control. Do them fast to build heat.

If plank is not your thing, you can do this at the wall.  Standing at the wall with your hands on the wall  - just like in plank - raise your right knee into your chest and then lower. You can repeat on one side 5X or alternate sides.  Remember to stay gathered in and up throughout this exercise.

The only way to get stronger is to practice! So let's do it!

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