Originally posted here:
How the #@!? do you jump through?
I’ve been asked this so many times.
How the #%&! do you jump through?
Magic. My long monkey arms. I don’t eat meat. I’m a girl.
I decided that it is my duty to share with the world how I learned the jump through and maybe it will help you too. For those of you who are experts of the jump through, please send in your feedback, tips, videos, etc. Together, we can get the world to jump through! Ah, that’s sweet.
I’ve divided the journey of jumping through into seven parts. The important things to remember are that everyone is different, Rome was not built in a day, you have to really try. Keep in mind that you might be working on one of these stages for a long time. That’s okay!
How to jump through (Part One)
The basic basics
Let’s start at the very beginning–the very basics of the jump through. These simple instructions are important to master before the fancy stuff that comes later.
Start in downward facing dog. Make it a short downward dog. Take an inhale and as you exhale, hollow out your belly (like a greyhound), bend your knees, look past your hands. Inhale and lightly jump your hips up and forward into the air. Exhale and lightly land on your shins between your hands. Inhale, take your legs forward into dandasana.
I know, you wanted to just jump through right? Well if you could do it, you wouldn’t be reading this… So, first we start with baby steps. The things to focus on here are the breathing patterns, not holding the breath, moving with the breath, getting the hips high, landing softly, and learning to be in control of your body in space. Imagine a little kid walking a big dog. Who is walking who? This is you and your practice. Take the lead!
Cross your legs and jump for the sky
Once you are in control of your breathing and you are landing lightly, do the same thing, but this time land with your legs crossed. This will help you face your fears of breaking your toes, it will help you learn to make new habits, you’ll be able to continue to apply the skills you learned above, and you’ll be one step closer to the full jump through! Continue to focus on your breathing patterns, not holding the breath, moving with the breath, getting the hips high, landing softly, and learning to be in control of your body in space.
“Bumble bee” spine and uddiyana bandha
Learn to cultivate the actions of the jump through in the other parts of your practice. Really, the jump through is the final culmination and outward manifestation of lots of internal work. So, while you are working on parts one and two listed above, also be sure to work on the lift ups before your jump back and uthplutih at the end of your practice. A wimpy jump back equals a wimpy jump through.
For your lift ups, focus on a strong uddiyana bandha. From whatever posture you are in, exhale and cross your legs while you put your hands down by your sides. At the bottom of your exhale, hollow out your belly and then inhale and lift your body up. In both the lift ups and uthplutih, make a “bumble bee spine”. Puff up the space between your shoulder blades, hollow out your belly, and turn your tailbone (your stinger) toward your head rounding your spine. You are making yourself little so that you can fit through your arms. These actions will help you to develop strength and muscle memory for the actions needed to jump through.
Let it be ugly and use the wood floor
I’m not a magician and neither are you. You were probably a mess when you first walked into yoga and now look at you! You learned so much and are no loner the yoga newbie falling over in triangle pose. At this point, you have to let go of your ego and expectations and let your practice be ugly so that you can develop the information to make it pretty. Move off your mat onto the wood floor. Come to a short downward dog. Exhale and hollow out your belly like a greyhound. Bend your knees and look past your hands. Inhale and jump. As you jump, lean your weight into your fingers so that your shoulders are past your wrists. Land with your legs crossed as you exhale. Then inhale and wiggle your crossed legs through to sit. Remember to keep breathing and move on your breath. Work on extending your breath so that you can inhale as you jump and wiggle/slide though.
Right now you are probably whining about your arms being too short and you need to stop that right now. No more excuses. You have all the tools to make this happen, you just have to keep practicing. Let it be ugly.
It is important to remember that you need to puff the space between your shoulder blades like you do when you are making the bumble bee spine. It is like the cat part of the cat/cow warm up. Also, you need to work on leaning your weight forward so that your shoulders go past your wrists. If you don’t, you’ll land behind your hands instead of between them.
Mat wiggle through
Now you put yourself back on your mat and do the same thing you did on the wood floor. It will be hard because you can’t slide. Again, let it be ugly. Your body will be like “this sucks!” and will find a way to make it easier i.e. jump through without touching the floor. Patience my friend. You’ll build confidence, awareness, control, and strength.
Don’t touch the floor.
Keep the vinyasa
Land in the pose.
There you have it. My personal journey through the jump through.