365 days to jumpback : ashtanga yoga practice

Live and Breathe Yoga 365 days to jumpback with Allison Dearling

The jumpback is one of the most asked about elements of the ashtanga yoga practice. Almost every weekend workshop I have attended there has been a session dedicated to this illusive yet awe inspiring movement.  It’s the action of lifting yourself up off the ground from cross legged position, tucking your legs underneath you ,swinging and then extending your legs back behind you to land in the chaturanga (push up position). Really difficult!

It’s something I have worked on and off and on again for many many years. After reading a post from Kerri Verna aka Beach Yoga Girl on Instagram in December last year saying it took her a year to master the movement, it reminded me of a workshop I attended in London with Kino MacGregor many years ago.

Kino said it took her years to be able to do the jumpback. But I also remember she looked me in the eye and said, you will be able to do it too. In all my visits to Mysore, I’ve never been held back from moving on to new postures or into another series because I can’t ‘jump back’.

To me personally, it is just something I really would like to be able to do. Kind of like the romantic notion to be able to handstand. The jumpback signifies strength and I love being strong and it’s what I teach the most in my classes. Being strong physically helps me to be strong mentally too. Inspired by these wonderful women of yoga, I decided I would run a little experiment for myself. I’m calling it 365 days to jump back.

I’m going to work on something everyday this year, in addition to my practice, in the hope to finally master it.  I started on 1st January and have a plan that I am working on slowly, month by month, day by day to get there. I am going to post every few days on Instagram as a bit of a record of my progress and to keep me accountable.

I was going to post everyday but I will be repeating a lot of things and that will be a bit boring to look.

It’s been illusive to me for many years due to many factors : injury, pregnancy, motherhood, laziness at times have all contributed. But at other times in my practice, I’ve worked so hard I’ve almost got it, but it still evades me.

This month I’m working on the fundamentals of alignment and strength. My shoulder injury is still lingering but definitely almost back to how it was 2 years ago.  I’ve decided at this stage, that each month I will work on seven things (one for each day of the week) and repeat each week (just doing it for more reps or longer as the month goes on).

For example January is about laying the foundations and working out where I need the most help and looks like this:

January : Foundations “Start where you are”

Saturday : angry cat

Sunday : cow

Monday : tuck with hands on legs

Tuesday : tuck with no hands

Wednesday : plank

Thursday : arms pressed on the wall

Friday : video jumping back (as a weekly progress)

Live and Breathe Yoga 365 days to jumpback : plank
Plank needs to have excellent alignment

At the start of each month, I will post what my plan for the month is, over on my instagram page, so if you would like to join me you know what to do. The first week of the month I will post everyday so you can see it too. If you are keen to post your progress on Instagram use the hashtag #365daystojumpback so I can see how you are going and stay inspired when it feels like I’m getting nowhere.

Let’s see what happens! Wish me luck and lots of patience 😉




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