In his famous book Zen Mind Beginners Mind , the Japanese Zen Monk Shunryu Suzuki explains..
‘When you sit in the full lotus position, your left foot is on your right thigh and your right foot is on your left thigh. When we cross our legs like this even though we have a right leg and a left leg they have become one. The position expresses the oneness of duality : not two and not one.’
We can take this same principle & teaching and apply it to the jump back in the Ashtanga yoga practice..
There is one movement as we lift up and another movement as we jump back but in reality it becomes one fluid flowing motion – not two and not one.
The momentum that lifts you up is the same momentum that takes you back. An upback movement.
As soon as you try to break the sequence down into 2 separate movements it becomes twice as hard and you’ll need twice the amount of strength and energy to do it.
To help start build strength and momentum for the jump back you can start by kneeling with your ankles crossed and placing your hands down by the side of the legs so that the fingers are in line with the knees. Try to lift the knees towards the chest and heels towards the sit bones to help build some upper body and core strength. Once you start to get the hang of this lift try to shoot the legs back by bringing the head forward with your gaze straight ahead. Lift up on the inhale and jump back on the exhale
Once you are able to lift and jump back from kneeling you can then try to start doing it from seated. Remember the energy that lifts you up is the same energy that takes you back. Whilst inhaling engage your core lift knees to chest and press your hands down into the floor just in front of the sit bones and exhaling shoot the legs back as the head comes forward-the oness of duality not two and not one movement.
This doesn’t happen overnight and will take time and some concerted effort – but it will come – as Pattabhi Jois would say Do your practice and all is coming’