Asana 101
March 27, 2016



Jumpbacks and jumpforwards are an integral and fun way to see how much control, focus and awareness you have in moving through vinyasas. Vinyasa means systematic, safe approach from one asana to the next asana using breath through Sun Salutes.

Multiple co-activations of muscles must happen in sequence or simultaneously to keep the control in your movement from point A to point B. In this case, from a half-fold to chaturanga(Jumpback), in between is an up dog or cobra into downdog and from downdog to a semi/half fold(Jumpforward).

Efficient use of muscle groups is key to practicing asana. We distribute the weight and force throughout the length of the body. All muscles must co-operate to hold up our frame. If one part takes a day off, then another part will need to compensate. As one group activates, we leave room for others to stretch. At other moments, all have to be activated or relaxed.

It’s important to note that you must have good, solid alignment in chaturanga(four-limbed staff) to land in this position from hopping back instead of landing back in a plank. (another article on chaturanga link)

The preps in this article are meant to help you isolate muscle groups in your upper body and mid-section (core muscles-abs, low/mid back and waist) needed to keep an efficient transition and flow as well as force you to relate to your breath in a certain way.

UPPER BODY involves- Chest (pectorals),  Shoulder girdle (triceps, deltoids, trapezius, rhomboids and lats)

MID SECTION involves- transverse abdominis, rectus abdominis, serratus, quadratus Lumborum(muscles connected to rear pelvis(iliac crest) attached to 4 lumbar vertebrae, up to bottom rib) in the back and creating lift for the low abdominals and pelvic floor.

In other words, your whole upper half. You will certainly feel these muscle groups in the preps I’ve chosen specifically to help you isolate and breakdown the poses. Once you learn these, then you will find ways to engage these muscles through other exercises within the same family of poses and/or movements. For instance I use a pull up bar to work my upperbody, arms, and core to supplement strength needed in planks and chaturanga, arm balances, crow pose, etc.


Help to stretch, strengthen, and tone muscles in arms, wrists, upperback and core; in and of themselves are very beneficial in helping keep great posture. Warm- up with some half sun salutes. Do these 3-5x or as many as you can!

Have fun most importantly! Check out the links to the video clips below!


PREP 1: Navasana (Boat) to lean back to Ardha Navasana (half boat pose)

Sit on your mat, knees bent, chest open, shoulders rolled back arms parallel to floor. Keep the belly drawn in, raise your shin bones parallel to the floor, thighs to chest. INHALE start to lay back with arms extended over head; straighten your legs lock knees then EXHALE return to BOAT. (3-5x or as many as you like!)


Screen Shot 2016-03-27 at 4.44.04 PM Screen Shot 2016-03-27 at 4.44.25 PM

Sit on your heels. Place your hands shoulder width next to your kness. Shift your shoulders above the wrists. On you EXHALE pull your knees to chest with upperback rounded. Hold for a moment. Step back plank then to downdog. (3-5x). Watch it here: Tolasana To Plank


PREP 3: LOLASANA (Pendant Pose)

Sit cross legged. Grip a block or stack of books next to your hips. Round your back. Start to straighten the arms , lift the hips, press into your outer feet. Shift your butt a few inches behind you and see if the feet can also lift! Guaranteed to get your upperback and core activating together! As well as your pelvic floor lifing or subtle mula bandha(root lock) (3-5x)

Modify: If lifting both your feet is a challenge, try lifting one foot at a time.





Wear socks! Begin in a plank. Stack your shoulders, pull your belly in, lift the hips, keeping the legs straight. Start rounding the back, either cross legs (PENDANT POSE) or just knees bent(SCALE POSE) slide the legs through to Dandasana (STAFF POSE of L-SIT). Slide back through a SCALE or PENDANT back to PLANK(3-5x). Watch it here: Plank to Dandasana




Begin in Downdog. Spread your fingers. Shorten the downdog walk forward about two feet. Stack your shoulders above you wrists as if setting up for a handstand and keep them locked forearms activated. Raise the heels and toes bend the knees start activating the shoulders and Abs. EXHALE hop up. CHALLENGE: get your hips almost inline with shoulders at the peak of the hop. Land lightly back to the shortened downdog. NOTE: keep core tight as you land back (3-5x). Watch it here:Hops



Watch it here:Jump Back

Begin from a half fold. Bend your knees, press into your palms, lift the hips, tip toe and bend the knees. Now begin to activate through the forearms, upper arms, rounding the upper back like lolasana or tolasana. Look to lift the lower abs.

Press into your toe mounds, shift your weight forward further activating the upper body arms and legs. (Think Lolasana and Tolasana) As you, or after you EXHALE, jump off lightly shoot back straight through your legs, buttocks and ankles lock, curl toes as you land into CHATURANGA(shoulder girdle plugged in, shoulder blades in neutral(not spread of drawn in), back muscles co-activate with abs, arms hugged into 90 degrees).

Core and upper body should stay activated throughout the movement.


Begin in Downward facing dog. Root down through the palms. Raise your butt and heals, bend your knees. Press into your toe mounds.

Lift from the lower abdomen. Hop up lightly(Remember scale, pendant and boat pose muscles)simultaneously activate these muscles rounding the back. Get your shoulders stacking wrists(remember your hops)and land lightly onto your toes and heals. Inhale, take half fold.

Cool down with child’s pose, staff pose, or happy baby pose and then take a long savasana.


Efficiency of yoga practice is beyond the 15, 75 or 90 mins spent on the mat or in the studio. Take every opportunity to stand tall when you’re at the queue in the grocery, flexing arms to ninety degrees as you walk up the stairs, activate your core as you sit at your desk or do a puppy dog( hands against the wall, torso parallel, legs underneath the hips w/ knees bent) breathing in synchronicity. The muscles have memory, so that this way they are always ready. The mind will be alert and mindful as you visualize the hop backs and hop forwards and every pose for that matter. Then you come on to the mat and simply experience good movement and flow. Healthy movement can then be experienced optimally and expressed with ease and joy at all times .

In Bengali my Guru’s param guru says, “Banat, banat, ban jai!” (“Practing, practicing, at last victory”). This applies to mental, physical, moral, spiritual practices. Yoga practice the rest of the hours off the mat is what counts. I look forward to seeing you progress on our path of union.

Janaka Ordoñez surfs and teaches vinyasa flow, pranayama, meditatiom and FNR at Urban Ashram Yoga. He’s been practicing for over 15 years and has studied Sivananda Hatha Yoga and also is certified under the YogaWorks 200Hr Teacher Training, under senior trainer, David Kim.