Written by Abbe Ciulla
I love cobra rolls. LOVE THEM. But I didn't always.
Not only are they aesthetically pleasing, these undulations of the spine help us cultivate balanced opening and strength. Don't be fooled by the gentle look of this transition, it's actually way more difficult than it appears and took me lots of time and persistence to unlock.
Cobra rolls strengthen the triceps, shoulders & chests, open the thoracic and cervical spine, and engages both the anterior and posterior core muscle groups. And most importantly they help us zero in on the parts of our bodies that are hyper mobile or stiff.
Don't expect to conquer these right away! Be patient, move slow and focus on the small movements.
Above is a photo digest of the transition points. I find it is parts 3-5 that are the stickiest. Moving from a "Cow Pose" shape to a "Cat Pose" shape while the arms are moving from bent arm to straight arm is kind of like short circuiting the brain.
You will get this! Don't get discouraged if it takes more than a few (hundred) tries. Remember, our character consists not of how we show up on the first try- but how we show up on the HUNDREDTH try. I promise it is worth the effort as it is a veritable goldmine of strength and mobility.
Want more liquid transitions?
Join us for a special workshop on primal movements and liquid transitions: The Night Moves happening Monday July 18th, 5;30pm. We learn moves from some of the world's best natural movement methodologies: Budokon, MoveNat, Ido Portal's Movement Culture, Fluidus and Animal Flow.
Part of Troy City Yoga's signature Solar Flow Yoga Methodology, primal movement and fluid transitions allow us to gain strength, flexibility and agility. Not only does fluid, primal movement facilitate remarkable mobility, it also creates a deep and meaningful connection to natural movement patterning. It is less about learning something new, but remembering something old and instinctive.
In this two hour, deep-diving yet playfully guided Solar Flow & Primal Movement workshop, we learn to build a capacity to move and flow powerfully and naturally; Coordination, Motor Skills, Endurance, Strength, Agility, Flexibility, Balance, and Control all the while improving adaptability and expert body awareness. Best part, during this journey we will become a part of an amazing FlowFam tribe who will inspire us and keep us accountable.
Movements we cover:
Snake in the Grass
Downward Dog Reach
The Dragon Plank/Reach
The Flying Warrior
Included in $45 investment:
2 Hour Workshop
Free E-Book of all postures
Yoga Alliance Course Certificate (CEU certified)
Chancing are, you've been hearing about the incredible benefits of Animal Flow and Primal Locomotion. Athletes are adding it to their HIIT days, yogis are weaving it into their flows and more and more movers are joining in! Through Animal Flow, discover next level strength and unbelievable agility. Forge the absolute best mobility you've ever have in your life.
Why the hype?
Animal Flow is an incredibly efficient movement methodology for full-body transformation. Animal Flow is so effective because all of the postures and techniques specifically train and target our body’s fascia.
Fascia is the organ of structure. It is the overall fabric that makes up our whole body. There are 12 fascial lines in our body. These lines wrap around muscles, separate muscle fibers, and muscles from bones, as well as connect them. They are involved in all movements the human body is capable of performing. Your immune system, athletic performance, and pain management success all stem from having healthy functioning fascia. It helps with stress and pain reduction by evenly spreading forces among muscle, joints, and bones while helping to conserve energy by harnessing momentum through its elastic properties.
Animal Flow is essentially about reconnecting with how our bodies were actually designed to move. By exploring the different planes of movement, crawling, rolling, jumping and crouching, we unlock the complexity and diversity of how our bodies can move. And the best thing about it is that it is entirely functional.
Primal Movement and animal locomotion will improve strength, mobility, posture and fitness – but also your capacity to move with balance and coordination. To move with less effort and tension…it literally develops your central nervous system to 'move better'. Primal Movement returns us to the way our bodies are meant to move — the way we each moved as children, and the ways humans have been moving for all of time.
The Seven Components of Animal Flow
There are seven main components of Animal Flow that we practice in each session. These components weave together to create a balanced and sustainable system of movement that is accessible to movers and athletes of any level.
Expect the unexpected:
Animal Flow looks very different than our "traditional" types of yoga. Firstly, we do not use a yoga mat and we move around an entire room instead of a small quadrant. Also, postures and transitions are classified by the animal which inspired them instead of sanskrit names. Created by Mike Fitch, the Animal Flow methodology incorporates primal locomotion, fluid transitions and functional movement patterning. It's sweaty, challenging and playful.
What you will need for our class:
Animal Flow requires no equipment. Not even a yoga mat. We practice directly on the ground, so if you don't like being on all fours- this may not be the class for you. Animal Flow is usually practiced with bare feet, but if feet are sensitive you are welcome to pack a clean pair of five-finger shoes (such as Vibrams) or grippy toe socks. Regular socks are not recommended as they don't have enough grip.
Your first class at Troy City Yoga?
Please follow the link below to read our First Class FAQs and get all the important info before arriving!
So, you've signed up for your first yoga class!
First, take a moment to pat yourself on the back. You are taking a chance on something totally new. You're embarking on a journey for better overall wellness. Any time we step into unfamiliar waters, there is a feeling of uncertainty and vulnerability- but we promise, it will be so worth it.
The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.
Success from the start
Chances are you've been hearing about all the benefits of yoga, and with good reason. Yoga offers up abundant perks for both our body and mind, from heart health and increasing both muscle strength and flexibility to aiding in mindfulness and conquering stress.
Ready to roll out a mat and give yoga a try? We've curated our favorite tips alongside the most frequently asked questions to get you ready for your first yoga experience!
Check the Schedule, Read the Class Descriptions
One of the best aspects of yoga is that there is so much to choose from. We guarantee there is a yoga for every body. Before showing up for your first class, peek through the class schedule and read the class descriptions. If you're a brand-newbie, we recommend trying one of the FreeStyle Slow Flow Classes or the Yona Flow Class first.
Put on breathable clothing you are able to freely move around in. Workout clothing usually works perfectly. Yoga is practiced barefoot, so you can leave the sneakers and socks behind. You might want to try avoiding super-loose tops, especially for women, since they tend to ride up when you’re bending over toward the floor. Skip applying any lotions to hands or feet right before class so that you don't slip on your mat.
Gather your "Go Bag"
Get everything packed and ready before you go. that way when it is time to leave- there is no stress and no excuses. Lucky for us, yoga requires almost zero equipment and most studios will have everything you need already (we personally have everything you need at the studio- yoga mats, knee cushions, blocks and props that you can borrow for class). Pack a water bottle with a closing cap, a yoga mat (if you have one) and small towel. Which yoga mat is best? Steer clear of the super thick, smushy ones. Those are for gym use and will actually make yoga harder. Stick with a mat no thicker than 4mm. If you have sensitive knees, we have have cushions to support them.
Allot yourself time to arrive early and get fully settled in- at least 15 minute prior to class start time. Leave shoes outside the door and personal belonging in the lobby cubbies. Our teachers are friendly and very accommodating. Let them know this is your first class and they will help you get comfortable in your new setting.
Set up in the middle of the room
This is a BIG one. While we all like to hide in the back of the room for our first few classes, it is actually best to land your mat directly in the middle of the space. This way, you can look in any direction for visual aid from your fellow students and the teacher. If you're tucked in a back corner, you'll be flying blind for most of class.
Do some gentle stretching
Time to kill before class starts? Take a moment to do some gentle stretches will deep breaths. This will help you feel more calm and connected to your body by the time class starts.
It's totally okay to feel a little lost
During your first class, it will feel a little bit like there is a dance going on and you haven't learned the moves yet. That is totally normal. We have ALL been there. Every single student was once a brand-newbie, just like you. Be patient and know that each time class will feel more familiar.
It's totally okay to feel challenged
Any new movement regiment will feel challenging at the start- and thats a good thing! Challenges are part of the process. They make us stronger and create the lasting transformation we all seek. Some poses may feel "hard" but you will be amazed at how much stronger and flexible you become over time. In yoga we always encourage students to "listen to their body" and take as many breaks as you need if you feel fatigued. Come as you are, we will meet you there, we will grow together.
Each class is a little different.
As mentioned earlier, there is a yoga style for every body. But this also means that each class is unique. Some classes play music and some are silent. Some teachers move slow, others will flow quicker. Some teachers also like to finish class with a short chant or meditation. If you don't love your first class, be patient. There is always more great options to choose from!
Don’t be discouraged after your first class
You might feel overwhelmed after your first session. After all, it was probably a crash course in breathing and alignment. But don’t be discouraged! Remember that anything worthwhile takes time, persistence and and a little curated wisdom from a trusted teacher. Within that framework, nearly anything is possible!
“Yoga’s not a religious thing. At its core, it’s about community. Sit back, breath and take it all in. It’s not about how you perform, it's all about what you bring from the practice into the rest of your day.”
Do I have to be flexible?
Absolutely not. Arrive just as you are. If you're recovering from an injury or have limitations, always consult your doctor first. Yoga will make you stronger, more flexible, more mindful.
Is yoga religious?
Yoga is not inherently religious. There are some classes that are more spiritual and some classes that are much less so. All classes will have a component of mindfulness. Make sure to read class descriptions to get an idea of the class vibe.
Can I eat before class?
Eating a light snack before yoga is totally fine. Avoid big or heavy meals before class, but if you're hungry don't be afraid to have quick small bite before class.
I have an injury, can I practice yoga?
While yoga teachers will help you become more body-aware, flexible and strong, they are not doctors. Always make sure to clear all new exercise regiments with your doctors first.
Ready for your first class at Troy City Yoga?
Follow the link below to get all the info on our our studio! How to find us, where to park etc..