Moving Smart Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 5

Cartwheels, Half Moons, Planks

40 min - Practice


Trina guides us through a fun strengthening practice exploring the side plane of our body in preparation for Side Planks, Half Moons, and (yes, we said it) Cartwheels! We begin by exploring versions of these postures while lying down with both passive and active movement patterns. With the joints warm, we explore the postures standing. You will feel like a kid again!
What You'll Need: Hard Floor, Mat, Resistance Band, Wall, Blanket, Strap, Block (2)

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Hi, welcome to my yoga deconstructed class called craving cartwheels, half moons and side planks. This practice is going to be all about exploring the coronal plane or the side plane of our body. So let's get started. So let's come on to our backs. We're going to embody some poses lying down before we do them standing up later in class.

And what you'll need is a strap and two blocks. The two blocks you want to line up with the side of your hip ish. You'll know if that's not okay or okay in just a moment. And the strap is for your left foot. You can use the wall, it's harder if you don't.

And first we'll start in what looks like warrior three, right? If my arms were overhead, this would be warrior three pose or supta pada gustasana a. And then let your leg go out to the side and find where you can have the opposite hip grounded. So building up as high as you need and use your arms rather than your leg muscles. This is why it's passive to bring your leg back up.

So we'll do that a couple more times. It's a passive range of motion assisted by your shoulders and your hands stable through the bottom leg and the bottom hip. And then one more time, leg goes out to the side, pause, give yourself a little extra calf stretch and then use your arms to pull your leg back up. All right, let's switch to active range of motion. So you can place the block off to the side, bring your arms out to the side to help stabilize and come into supta pada gustasana a or what would be warrior three if your arms were overhead.

And then from here, I want you to engage through the backs of the shoulders without popping your ribs and engage your abdominals, your core. And then very slowly without moving the opposite hip, keeping the sacrum grounded, the back of the right leg grounded, lower your leg down, take a breath in, exhale, push into the ground with your arms and with your right heel, back of the right leg to bring your leg back up. So there's the active range of motion. If that was doable, you can challenge yourself and get rid of one block. I know that that's going to be too challenging, so I'm going to go to this height and try it again, active range of motion, a little bit more range.

So again, palms to the floor, they can be up or down, engage, I'm pushing down through the back of my heel, very slow, slower is harder, trying to keep your right shoulder anchored, your right buttock anchored, and then on an exhale, use the ground force reaction from the floor and the tension through your body that you're creating to lift your leg back up. And then scissor switch and we'll shift the blocks. So either one or two blocks on the other side, I'm going to be daring and go for one. And let's explore the passive range of motion. So taking your leg out to the side, noticing how this is the shape you'll be in in half moon pose.

I would be standing on my right foot and then I'm going to use my arm to pull my leg back up. So let's do that one more time, the passive range of motion using your arms to move your leg but still stabilizing through your trunk, through the bottom hip and leg. And then we'll get rid of the straps so we no longer have the assistance. Press your arms into the floor, right leg to the ceiling. You can always bend your knee if you need to.

Create some tension, global activation, remember the Sherrington's law of irradiation, if you're a total nerd, you can Google that. Oh, and there's the block, inhale, push down to lift up. Let's do one more time. Inhaling to lower, steady through the opposite hip, opposite shoulder, and then exhale to lift. If you're feeling really adventurous, you want an added challenge, you can do arms to the ceiling.

So the leg slowly lowers down, Ardachandrasana, and exhale to bring it back up. And then just coming to rest for a moment. All right, we're going to get rid of the mat. We're going to come onto our belly, into Sphinx pose, and then we're going to add a little gecko leg. So this is my right leg.

You probably want to watch this first. There's some choreography, and it's definitely brain work. It took me a while to get it, and it's visually different. So watch first and then join in. We're in Sphinx, we've got our little gecko leg.

Part one is thread the needle. So I'm going to lift my right elbow up, thread the left arm underneath, and then I maintain contact, or at least try to, at the ground with my right arm, swinging it around, straightening the right knee. Here's twisted half moon pose, and I'm going to roll up to warrior three. Then we'll scissor switch the legs, bend your left knee, again, try to maintain contact with the floor, with your arms, as you roll back over into your Sphinx with a gecko leg. Let's go back the other way.

So right hand, right arm, thread the needle, and then here's your revolved half moon, leverage into the ground for your warrior three, and then scissor switch, bend your right knee, head, maintaining contact with the ground, with your hands, so that you can just slide up into your Sphinx with gecko leg. Let's do it again. Right hand reaches away to make room to thread the needle with your left arm, twisted half moon into warrior three, scissor switch, bend your left knee, maintain contact with the ground as you flip over, sliding into your Sphinx with a gecko leg. And then go ahead and return your leg back, and let's just pause here in crocodile. All right, so coming up from crocodile, we're going to come onto our backs for rolling like a ball to warm up the whole deep front line and spinal flexion.

So let's start with the easy version of rolling like a ball. You'll just take your hands behind your thighs, and it requires no core strength because you just use momentum, but it's a great way to play, to smile, and to massage your spine. So I'm really just flinging my legs to create the momentum to roll. You do have to round your spine though, otherwise you won't roll. Okay, let's do the more challenging version, or you can always stick with the previous version.

Take your right hand, it's going to go underneath your right leg, and grab the top of your left shin. And then your left hand goes underneath your left thigh, and grabs the top of your right shin. Then come into a flex spine, so you'll tuck your tail under, posteriorly tilt, and find a point of that balance. You're trying not to move your legs on this one, and you'll roll back, and then roll up, pause without the chest flick. So that's the cheat, is the chest flick at the top.

So you want to avoid popping your ribs and arching your back. You want to stay in this rounded shape with tensegrity, right? Resistance and tension. One more time. Of course, the closer your feet are to your sitz bones, the harder it is.

So let's try one final round, you can grab your ankles, your shins, curl in really tight, elbows wing out to the sides, inhale, exhale it up. Inhale back, and exhale up, last time, inhale, and exhale. Lower your feet, and then slowly lower down onto your back. And take a little moment here, feel all the heat in your belly. Nice big breath in, and sigh it out.

Okay, grab your brick. We're going to use the brick for a cobbler's pose bridge. So the brick is going to go between your feet, I have at the skinniest position. And then rolling back down onto your back. So the purpose of this is to wake up external rotators and glutes for all the half moon posing we're going to be doing later, cartwheeling.

So grip the brick with your feet, I did that with my hands. Take a breath in, and as you exhale, lift your hips as high as you can. Pause at the top, and then we're going to rock from side to side. So a little dip down, and a little dip down. Notice my arms are up to the ceiling, that makes it harder.

You can have your arms on the floor, and that makes it easier. Try not to supinate, keep your toes, especially the big toe, connected to the block. And then come back to center, arms come up if your arms were down, articulating back down through your spine. And then just pause again for a moment. Close your eyes, noticing your breath and your body, and your body and your breath.

Okay, from here we're going to do a little activation through the elbows and the back of the shoulders. So I call this poo bear arms because it reminds me of like poo bears paws, but you can spread your fingers, jazz hands, you want to anchor your elbows and your forearms into the floor as well as the back of your head. Your feet are on the ground, knees are bent, and start to arch your upper back, flaring the ribs and driving down through the elbows, and then articulating down through your spine. So sacrum, low back, mid back, upper back. Let's do that again.

Exhale and then as I exhale I'm going to drive down through the forearms, or sorry, the upper arms and elbows as I start to lift and push your head into the ground, let your shoulder blades off the floor, and then lower, upper back, middle back, lower back, and then rest. Exhaling any new sensation in your back, in your belly, maybe in the outer hips, and observing your breath. Okay, so we're going to recheck our active and passive range of motion again in the half moon on our back. So we have blocks for that. I had one block at the second level and a yoga strap.

Line it up about with your hip, but it's going to depend on your flexibility, it might be a little lower or higher. And then grab the strap and loop it around the ball of your left foot. Get a nice grip with your hands and then just test, see if the block's in a spot that you like. I'm going to put mine a little closer. And this is the passive range of motion, so I'm using my arms to lift my leg back up.

I'm still stabilizing through the bottom leg. One more time. And then passive range, so my arms are moving my leg. Let's try active range, so we'll get rid of the strap. Two choices, this one's easier, arms down or arms up.

Anchor through the bottom leg, engaging through your core, so belly, back, side waist to bring the leg up. Keeping this right hip anchored, work the eccentric range of motion and strength through your adductors. One more time, exhale. My inner thigh is trembling. That's a good sign.

And lower. Okay, let's check the other side. So moving your brick, grab your strap, find a spot that makes sense, you can test it out how high you need it. And then passive range of motion, so using your arms to lift your leg up. We'll do that again.

So arms are moving the leg, but I'm still stabilizing through my torso, through my hips, through that left heel, just to prepare for what's to come. Then you'll get rid of the strap. Arms out to the side is easier, arms to the sky is harder, so here we go. Slowly lowering down, staying connected through your left buttock into the floor. And then exhale to lift the leg back up, and we'll do it again.

Trying to keep your knees straight, always bend it, it's a wonderful modification to bend the knee. That would be a great regression. Where is it? There it is. And then last time, exhale to come up.

Bend your knees, and just come to constructive rest. All right, so as you can see, I've changed the orientation of the mat, and you'll also need a loop band for what we're going to do next. You want to take the loop band, it's nice because it's stretchy, it has a little give, but you can definitely use a yoga strap. It's going to go above your knees, around your thighs, and this is going to help us connect to our core in our half moon, in our cartwheel, and all of our weight transfers in the coronal plane, the side plane. So let's start in a dead bug position, and you'll bring your arms up and your legs up.

Get some resistance on your strap or your band. Take a breath in, you want to stabilize through your center, and you're going to roll onto your left side, anchor through the elbow forearm, and then come back onto your back. So it's going to take a little bit of time to get this connection. Notice how I'm not sinking down, I'm lifting up. And then to transfer, it's an eccentric control through your abdominals, which we worked on, in the rolling like a ball, but now we're rolling on our side.

Again, resist, and super slow, lower down, dead bug. Okay, let's progress. So elbow, forearm, hand, and then lift your hip. And then lower the hip, all of that good control, back to your dead bug. Initiating from your obliques, find elbow, forearm, hand, reach, lift your hip.

I'm going really slow, first couple of times, just to break it down. You probably want to watch before you do this, I think I said that. And then here we are again, elbow, forearm, hand, hip, all the way up, perhaps, elbow, hip, roll, there's your dead bug, here we go, other side, elbow, forearm, hand, hip, all the way up, lateral strength. Elbow, hip, eccentric control onto your back, and then rest. Noticing how your heart's pace has quickened, how your breath's pace has quickened, and simply watch and witness the homeostatic coordination of both the breath's pace and your heart's pace as they both slow back down.

Okay, so from here, roll onto your side, come on up to seated. As you can see, we changed the orientation of the mat, so you can do that as well. You won't need this band, so you can put it off to the side. We're going to be kneeling, and it feels nice to have a little extra padding, so I'm going to take the blanket to have it underneath my knees. All right, so coming to tall kneeling, you'll need to engage your glutes, otherwise you'll be back in your chair.

So engage your glutes, tall kneeling, and then let's step the left foot out to the side, left hand to your hip, inhale, right arm reaches up, and side bend, stretch over. You're more than welcome to take your hand down your leg if that feels better. I have my right toes tucked under for a little bit of a kickstand. Let's cartwheel up and over, timber, plant the right hand, try to keep your left ankle the height of your hip, and here's half moon pose, but kneeling. Then let's challenge ourselves, so swing your arm forward, leg back, leg forward, arm back.

It doesn't need to look cute or pretty, it's just a little bit of a wobbly challenge for your core, your center. And then let's find our half moon, but up on the fingertips. And then lower your leg down, initiate from your left obliques to come back up and stretch over. Let's do a smooth transition, so challenging your hip stability, you're going to bend your left knee, arms out to the side, and then find the floor. All right, same kind of transition, so bring your arms out to the side, fists give you a little bit of tension, again that's Sherrington's law of irradiation, if you're going to geek out on that.

I'm going to weight transfer into the left knee, my right knee lifts, and then right leg out to the side, hand on your hip, breathe in, side bend. And then we cartwheel up and over, so lots of stability through this left hip, slow motion, right leg lifts, timber. There you are. Okay, so swing your right arm forward, left leg back, and then arm back, leg forward, just like we did on the other side. Have a little fun with it, challenge yourself, challenge your stability, you can see how my legs are going to drop down, all right.

And then find your fingertip, Ardha Chandrasana on the left knee, reach up through the sky, inhale, and as you exhale you're going to lower your right foot down, but use your right obliques to hoist yourself back up. And then we do that smooth stable transition, so fists, little weight transfer, left knee, pick up your right foot, and come back center. Okay, one more round, this time we're going to add a side plank, so left leg, arms out to the side, transfer to your right knee, pick up your left knee, and then shoot the left leg out, find the floor, big stretch Parigasana, inhale, exhale cartwheel up and over, find the floor with your hand, lift your leg up, then from here you'll lower your leg back down, anchor through the sole of the foot, push up through the ground, and see if you can hover the bottom leg, and then find a spot on the ground for your side plank. Then from here, bend the knee, find the floor, here's your cartwheel, anchor through the right toes, initiate left side waist to come back up, and stretch, other side, arms come out to a T, find your stability, balance on one knee and foot for just that moment and land it, and then switch, you can do fists for a little more tension and connection, right knee lifts, leg goes out to the side, Parigasana gate pose, breathe again, and then exhale cartwheeling up and over, so this timber thing I learned from Elizabeth Larkham, she always says it, it's so wonderful, so timber, okay, here we are, Ardachandrasana on your knee, see if you can lift up to the fingertips for just a moment, and then we're going to transition into a side plank, so lower the hand, lower your foot, anchor through the sole of your right foot, and think of a lift from this inside waist, and then plant your foot, it can be behind, it can be at the front, wherever you like, engage your glutes, find your side plank, and then have that little hover moment, knee comes back down, this is what's going to bring you up, and then our last final transition, left toes tucked, fists, find your balance, knees connect, and then come to rest, so we're going to transition up to stand, one option is I have my toes tucked, I'm going to swing my arms back behind me, roll under the soles of my feet, and come up, you're welcome to come up any way you like, this is called Skandasana slides, so you'll need your blanket, but you'll also need two bricks, and you'll need a sliding floor, that's why I'm coming in front of the mat, you want the bricks at the highest level, take your blanket and make it a little smaller, it's just going to go underneath one foot, we're going to start with it underneath your right foot, and as you can see, I'm in turnout, Skandasana is a really deep lunge, and we're going to make it active, and enjoy some of the passive parts of it, so feet are turned out, externally rotate your hips, blanket underneath your right foot, and then bring your hands to the blocks, you could always do this with a chair, if this is too much range of motion, and then slide your right leg out, and notice how my leg is forward, it's not straight out to the side, and it's not behind, that's for safety, so make sure it's slightly forward, try not to hyperextend your knee, like I'm doing right there, and then to come up, I want to connect into my midline to come up, so this is the easiest version, because I've got my hands on the bricks, and I'm definitely using my hands and my feet, but if we want to make it a little harder, come up to your fingertips, so it's more work through the hips, through the spine, here we go, exhale to come back up, if you're feeling really ambitious, you can try with no hands, I can't go as deep into the range as I would with my hands, but it's important to try the no hands version, to know what you're actually using, you don't need to go super far down with a no hands version, alright, and then we'll switch sides, so the blankets underneath your left foot, you can see how this action of pulling in and up, and connecting your inner thighs into the pelvic floor while your external rotation, it's going to come in handy for half moon and cartwheels, okay, hands on the bricks, go ahead and bend your right knee, here's Skandasana passive version, I have the heel lifted, you're welcome to have the heel down, it's going to depend on your genetics, what your mommy and your daddy gave you, as far as an Achilles tendon goes, and then make sure your leg is slightly forward, breathing in, anchor down through your right heel, as you drag the left heel in, and then return. One more with the full hand connection, so you're using your hands and your hips and legs, and then let's try fingertips, so sliding down, eccentric control on the way down, breathe in, and then exhale, your way back up, okay, one more time with the fingertips, down, and up, and then let's try with no hands, so less range of motion, arms can be forward or up, only go out as far as you know, you can get back, so own your range of motion here, yes, that one I did with my right heel down, let's see, maybe I'll try lifting the right heel up, dorsiflex your ankle, definitely dig in your heel to get that connection, all right, Skandasana slides, take a little breather, stand and feel, bring one hand to your chest and the other hand on top, and close your eyes for a moment, noticing how your heart's pace and your breath's pace have quickened, so we balance the doing with the being, this is the being, what's happening in your body right now, just noticing without judging, go ahead and open your eyes, and the only prop we're gonna need is a block, so I'm gonna put the blanket away and just bring one block to the mat, and let's set up in warrior two on the left side, so externally rotate your left hip, internally rotate your right hip, and the block is for later, so you can just kind of move it off to the side, what I'd like to do is a very narrow warrior two stance to practice weight transfer, because you'll need that for cartwheels, so you have the ability to bend both knees, so I bend the right knee and that gives me a little push off to weight transfer left, and then I come back, bend the right knee, push off, and then float for just a moment, so we're not trying to really do either pose, warrior two or half moon, we're exploring this transition, the space between, let's do that one more time, and back, it's tricky, okay, now we'll do our warrior two pose, so a little wider stance, arms go out to the sides, and then set up your brick where it'll come in handy for your half moon, so warrior two, bend the back knee, push off through the back toes, and the first one's always a little bit of a guessing game to find out where you want the brick to be, bend your left knee, lower back down, but immediately press off and find the brick, so this is really more of just a tap the brick, you're not using it for, you know, life support, so to speak, it's just there, and back, whoo, and so, you know, falling and coming off balance is okay, it's actually a good thing because you're going to challenge some of the different intrinsic stabilizers in your foot and ankle and hip that maybe you aren't typically doing in your regular practice, all right, one more time we're going to tap the brick, and come back down, okay, then of course there's the Instagram shot, I kid, but you know, the big expression of the pose, so I'm going to figure out where I would want to go to close the chains with my foot and my hand, so about right there, but then let's transition again, so lowering down, and then brick and foot to the wall, as soon as you find it though, you're back out of it, I don't know about you but my left hip's getting tired, let's do one more, find the brick, float up, ground through the wall, the brick, and then immediately coming back down, all right, we're going to turn around other side, so just our very narrow stance so that we can start with the weight transfer, so it's not a big way or two, it's a smaller one, beginning of a cartwheel, right, so you're going to find the balance in the air for just a moment, bend the back knee, push off, lift, and lower, noticing how we're not really creating the full shapes yet, we're exploring the transition, the weight transfer, one more time, all right, let's put the block in a place where we can tap it, round two we start to make the shape a little bit bigger, so here's my bigger warrior two, but I still want to be able to bend the back knee so that when I launch, I can tap the brick, find the pose, but immediately come back out like a Jedi, and there's the brick, tap just for a moment, and back again, one more, tap the brick, express the shape, and immediately transition out, okay, here's our money shot on the other side, closed chain, so a little bit of finagling to figure out the distance where you want your bottom foot to be, and you can find the steadiness of this pose, but see if you can find some strength within it, so as opposed to just kind of dumping down into the brick and into this bottom hip, can you lift up out of it, and then bend your knees to transition, we'll do that a couple more times, whoo, this side is harder, find the wall, find the brick, and back, I get a really nice ocean view on this side though.

Last time, bend your knees, and come on out, alright, let's just take a moment to check in again, so bring one hand to your heart, the other hand on top, close your eyes, noticing the pace of your heart, and the pace of your breath, alright, so your body is ready for cartwheels, we've warmed up all of our joints for playing in that range of motion, however, a lot of things are motor patterns, so this is a motor pattern that's been in my body since age three, which makes it a lot easier, but if you want to join me, we're going to try a cartwheel, and if not, you can just watch, so I'm going to move the block out of the way, and of course, I'll show you my good side first, which is the left side, I'll show you the bad side as well, so it's very similar to the setup for half moon, for warrior two, I've got external rotation through the left hip, a little bit of internal rotation through the right, my arms are going to go out to the sides, and there's a weight transfer, so here I go, and then to go the other way, watch, you'll see, I don't have quite the same motor patterning there, but here we go, a little weight transfer, whoo, so I'll do one more each side, just so you can see the difference, and you know, just like being left-handed or right-handed, that one, my brain knows, my body understands, here's the awkward way, ooh, it got a little less awkward, all right, so let me know in the comments if you like the cartwheels, we're going to take it down, so let's come onto the floor, and we're going to use the wall to finish up with class, so just to wind down, go ahead and bend your knees, and take your arms out to either a T or a V, and as you drop your knees over to the right arch, your back a little bit, pushing into the floor, and then roll across the back of your pelvis, knees drop over to the left, same thing, use the floor to push into, as you lengthen your right knee towards the wall, one more each side, breathing in, and then exhale, enjoy a little stretch through the hip flexor, big breath in through the belly and the ribs, and exhaling, last time, inhale, anchor through the floor to lift and lengthen, and then coming back, we're going to finish with legs up the wall, the easiest way to get into it is to scooch the side of your hip up to the wall, and then to lie down on your back, now you can be further away from the wall if there's some tension in your hamstrings, and you're not able to get a little bit of that natural curve in your lower back, so find what works for you, arms can be out to the sides, or you can rest your hands on your belly, and your chest, and then just close your eyes, soaking in the support from the floor beneath you, with each breath in, make any little wiggles or shifts to find comfort, and with each breath out, allowing for gravity to have its way with your legs, with your pelvis, and then imagine that each leg is like an empty tube, and some very generous person comes by with a pitcher of sand, and they're going to start by pouring the sand down the right tube of your leg, so that your thigh bone sinks into your hip socket, and your pelvis gets heavier, same thing on the left side, some very magnanimous person comes over, starts to pour the pitcher of sand down this tube of your left leg, and just like sand in an hourglass, you sense the sand as it drips down from your foot through the lower leg, down the center of your thigh, and the sand accumulates in the acetabulum, allowing for a sense of grounding through your left hip socket. If you have more time, feel free to stay and rest here in Viparita Karani Mudra, legs up the wall for as long as you like. If it's time to move on with the rest of your day, start by moving your hands out to the sides, bending your knees, and sliding your feet down the wall, hug your shins and knees to your chest, and then roll over onto your side. Pause there for just a moment, breathing in and letting it go, and then with the least amount of effort through your neck and your shoulders, pressing yourself up to seated, any comfortable seated position, bring your hands together at your heart center, bowing head to heart. Thank you for practicing with me today. Namaste.


Julia L
2 people like this.
very fun and creative sequence loving it
Trina Altman
Thanks Jewels!!
Elissa P
1 person likes this.
fun. What's theraband for?
Trina Altman
Hi Elissa I use the band for an exercise in this class called “Short Lever Rolling Half Moons”. If you try it let me know what you think :)
Kerrie S
1 person likes this.
Oh I loved all of the creative prep work to prepare for some of my favorite shapes in yoga!! Thank you so much!!
Trina Altman
I’m so glad you enjoyed the class Kerrie!
Lynette H
Creative class thank you very much.  I loved the cartwheels and it’s interesting how one side is almost impossible.
Trina Altman
Hi Lynette! I am so glad you enjoyed the class! Yes isn't crazy how one side is so different than the other?

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