A couple of weeks ago I did a basic tutorial on bird dog, and here we are discussing bird dog, again. This time though we’re discussing the bird dog movement exercise where you extend opposite arm and leg, then draw them in towards the navel. The big question is in bird dog movement do you allow the spine to move, or keep it stable? Which variation of this yoga exercise is correct?
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Bird Dog Movement
When we think about bird dog movement typically it’s starting from all fours. Then extend the opposite arm and leg away from the body before drawing them in towards the navel. However, we can do that drawing in motion two ways with mobility or stability, but which is correct?
Bird dog movement with mobility
Firstly, let’s look at the bird dog movement mobility variation. In this variation as we draw the elbow and knee into the navel, we are moving the spine, pelvis, and shoulders. Essentially rounding our back as we draw in.
This is great for mobilizing the joints. And it hits a lot of joints in a short space of time! Specifically the shoulders, spine, and hips. But, also the knee and elbow.
Bird dog movement with stability
Secondly is the bird dog movement with stability. This is when we come to the same extended position. But when drawing the elbow and knee in, instead of rounding the spine, the spine remains in neutral.
When I think about this variation for me, I find the elbow and knee don’t connect. Like they are near each other but there is no contact. Also the eye gaze remains staring down towards the fingertips.
Which variation is right?
So two variations of the same exercise. The question I get asked is, which one is correct? The answer… it’s a trick question. They are both correct. It just depends on your goal or purpose.
Both variations of the bird dog movement are valid depending on your purpose for the exercise. If you want a movement to mobilize the joints, connect with breath and explore the movement, then the mobility variation is the perfect fit. However, if your goal is core, balance, focus and creating heat then the stability variation may be what you want.
Bottom line, both variations are valid. Just know what your goal is, and choose accordingly. If you were to choose both, I recommend the mobility variation first, then the stability. Sometimes it’s fun to play with both. Enjoy your playtime on your mat!
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- Which variation did you initially think was correct?
- Does one version feel more comfortable for you?
- Are you focused more on mobility or stability in your movement practice?