These yoga push ups are a multi-part exercises that I developed to teach my students the necessary body awareness for chaturanga dandasana. Turns out that it's a pretty good exercise in its own right.
I'll explain it the way that I normally teach it.
The arm actions for the yoga push up are usually the first thing that I teach. While laying belly down, position your hands so that they are on the floor slightly ahead of your elbows. The first part of the exercise is to push your hands forwards, then down, then relax. Repeat. Because your hands can't move the action of pushing them forwards causes the elbows and shoulders to move back. If you push forwards enough with your hands you may also cause your body to move back.
And that's usually what I show my students if I can see they aren't getting the forward push.
"Push your body back" then relax.
For the next part of this exercise do the same thing but after pressing your arms down, lift your ribs an inch off of the floor.
If you've read balance basics you know what I mean by making a part of your foundation "empty." In this case, push your hands forwards and down to the point that your connection with the floor via your ribs feels empty. Then it's a relativily simple matter to "peel" your ribs off of the floor with hardly any further arm movement.
After you lift your ribs, (but not your pelvis) slowly lower back down and then relax.
To develop your body awareness make that last part into two distinct steps. First touch your body down, then gradually relax.
For part 3, you get to rest your arms.
Instead focus on your feet, knees and pelvis.
Again, develop body awareness by lifting your knees first, then your pelvis, then your belly. And to make these actions even more mindful, try to slowly lift them.
Lower slowly also.
A smoooth continuation from the previous exercise is to bend your elbows and place your hands just ahead of your elbows.
Usually I teach a low lift, just lifting a few inches off of the floor into the yoga pose called chaturanga dandasana. However you could also lift all the way up until your elbow are straight.
Another option is to lift knees, pelvis and chest all at the same time, but smoothly and mindfully.
And lower together also.
When your practice pushing your hands forwards you may notice that your elbows point back as you push forwards. Your shoulders may move back and up at the same time.
As you lift up try to keep the forward pressure in your arms so that your elbows continue to point back.
If you are lifting all the way into an elbows straight position, allow your arms to rotate naturally. You may find that your elbows want to point out. I'd suggest letting them do so.
For extra fun and for improved "tension integration" press your fingers into the floor prior to lifting up. Maintaing finger tension until you lower and relax.
Rest on your belly for a few breaths afterwards to enjoy the after effects of yoga push ups. You might choose to follow with other arm strengthening yoga poses or with a chest stretch like lapasana.
Learn how to use Friction to improve leg and arm strength.
Simple exercises with easy to follow instructions
Making difficult poses like Chaturanga Dandasana easier to learn.
Learn Your Body with
Frictional Arm and Leg Strength
PDF or Video
Serratus Posterior Inferior can be used to help anchor the latissimus dorsai muscle (making it easier to do chin ups for example).
Anatomy for yoga with a focus on Muscles and joints, Muscle control, and proprioception along with concepts for effectively and intelligently using the body.
Having difficulty bending your thoracic spine backwards? Use your Levator Costarum muscles to lift your back ribs. Then use your erector spinae to bend your spine (and ribcage) backwards.
Improve Strength, Flexiblity, Body Awareness. Muscle control is at the heart of all of these.
You can practice scapular control with the arm movements of the dance of shiva. Scapular stabilization and control can be important when trying to bind in yoga poses like Marichyasana A.
Lifting up into eka pada bakasana from marichyasana A with tips on lifting up and balancing while transitioning from the binding yoga pose to the arm balance.
Grabbing a wrist behind your back. Tips for Binding in Marichyasana C.
How to grab your hand behind your back. Tips for binding in Marichyasana A.
Modified Marichyasana B is done with the other leg not in lotus. This pose can still be challenging to bind it, so some tips on how to bind with awareness.
Steps for working towards bound side angle so that you can bind a little more easily.
Tips for working towards binding in Bound Twisting Side Angle Pose.
Steps for Binding in Seated Half Bound Lotus Pose as well as modifications if you can't bind, and actions you can do when you do bind.
Balancing in side plank can be made easier to learn if you learn the necessary actions step-by-step with this sensational yoga poses yoga tutorial.
The standing forward bend yoga pose can be used to stretch or strengthen the hamstrings and glutes. It can also be used to stretch and strengthen the calves and as a balance exercise.
Yoga forward bends includes forwards bends for the hips and spine. Forward bends for the hips include both bent and straight straight positions.
Your iphone needs power in order to sense your touch. Proprioception needs muscle activity in order to sense your body.
Some simple exercises so that you can work towards the pistol squat gradually.
Arm supported yoga poses can be used to strengthen the arms and shoulders. Includes plank, chaturanga dandasana, downward dog, dolphin pose, side plank, wheel, reverse plank, table top pose.
This sequence of seated yoga poses includes lotus and virasana variations, janu sirsasana and marichyasana variations as well as more basic seated poses like bound angle, pigeon and seated forward bend.
These hip flexor stretches open up the fronts of the hips and can be used as a preparation for front to back splits. Bent knee hip stretches can be used to focus on rectus fermoris.