We’re often taught to straighten the limbs and squeeze the muscles to the bone. But when jumping forward from Downward Dog in a Sun Salutation, you’ll gain more lift if you bend your limbs rather than making them rigid. “You have to soften into power,” explains Brooklyn-based Core Strength Vinyasa Yoga founder Sadie Nardini who taught her fresh perspective on yoga jumps at Yoga Journal LIVE! Estes Park.
A self-described anatomy geek, Nardini says the laws of physics inspired this practice. Bending your arms before straightening them, she says, is the key to propelling yourself through the air with the least effort and joint compression and the most grace possible. Nardini cites Newton’s laws of motion—particularly that for every action there’s an equal and opposite reaction. “Nature is teaching us yoga all the time,” she says. “Bending your arms as you press down creates acceleration downward into the earth and then you get a bounce, or rebound effect.”
When you jump, Nardini suggests you relax most of your outer body muscles—concentrate on pressing your hands down and on hugging the pelvic floor and low belly muscles in and up. “Focus on the inner body, and use the power of physics to propel yourself up,” she says.
Ride that wave to leap lightly forward. At the very least, this technique will tone and strengthen your arms, core and courage.