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Day 4: Bird-Dog

Updated: Dec 12, 2023

On the fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me, more birds lol.

I considered Bird of Paradise several times when creating this fun challenge for myself, but then I realized something I love more than intense binds -- ab circuits. Yesterday I touched briefly on the idea that I would prep for crow pose with an ab circuit, and I find an increasing intensity bird-dog to be just the thing that builds the heat.

The idea behind bird-dog is to move the arm and/or leg while maintaining table top position: shoulders over wrists, hips over knees. Minimal rotation of the trunk or pelvis should occur. When teaching these activities to patients, often beginning with just small (3-5 inch) movements of the arms or legs helps for the first stage. The imagery of "imagine a cup of water on your back that you don't want to tip over" can help, or the tactile cue of a dowel rod over the pelvis can provide sensory input as to how much rotation of the pelvis occurs.

Either way, once the yoga student or client understands the basics of the exercise it's time to crank the heat:

  1. Extending opposite arm and leg, while maintaining firm engagement of the core, neutral spine/neck, minimal pelvic rotation and breathing

  2. Opposite elbow to knee: challenging the persons balance as they move their arm and leg from within their support to outside of it. If you notice, this rounding of the spine is similar to the rounding in crow, which makes it an awesome preparatory dynamic movement.

  3. Incorporating pulses, weighted objects or therabands

Bird-dog is one of those quintessential exercises that can either be done really well, or really meh if the alignment is poor.

Peace out Bird-Dog,


Day One Blog Post  Tree Pose & other hip openers

Day Two Blog Post Pigeon Options

Day Five Blog Post Entering Bridge and Full Wheel

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