So, today’s post isn’t about a pose exactly; although, it is about an important part of the Sun Salutation:  the Jump.  It’s how we get from Downward Facing Dog to Forward Fold.  True, you can just walk your feet up to your hands, but I find that the jump helps one stay in the flow with breath.  Oh yeah, and it’s just kind of fun to do.  When I began yoga, I just would hop my feet forward, come down with a plop, and scoot my feet into position, and if you are lacking in the core strength department you might need to do this too for a bit.  If you are nowhere near “jumps like a gazelle” status, here are some tips on how to tighten up your jump, and make your landings a little bit lighter.

Jump1.  Start in Downward Facing Dog.

2.  Look forward (it helps!), and bend the knees.  Pull the abdomen into the spine.  Empty yourself completely of air.

3.  Push against the floor with your hands to lift the hips while springing up in the air.  Use your core muscles to pull your legs through to your arms.

4.  Continue using core to land on your feet with control.

Remember to try to land softly.  You don’t want to hear your feet coming down with a “thud.” The soft landing is all about control of the legs with the core.  You may be flopping around at first, but over time and with practice this will get better.  I think for me, the pushing off the ground with the hands was the most important thing to get down.  If you are having trouble with this, try practicing this motion on blocks like so:

Jump with BlocksThe blocks under the hands can help you practice pushing off the floor by giving a few inches of space for you to pull the legs forward. If you find that you are able to easily jump through your hands, then you are ready to practice this motion with hands on the floor.  Happy jumping!