Beginner Basics in Flow

Fiji McAlpine
Instructor Fiji McAlpine
Average: 4.7 (272 votes)
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In this class, Fiji takes you through a slow, deliberate flow practice that emphasizes the fundamentals in proper alignment. It is an intelligently guided vinyasa class that will renew your sense of connection to precise body positioning, while building the energy of a fun, vigorous power flow yoga class.

Equipment: None
Style: Vinyasa Yoga


Eff 6 years ago

I am looking for guidance about where to begin correcting my transition from updog to downward dog. I feel strain in my lower back when lifting each of my feet to move into chatarunga.
Is it that my legs are not fully engaged? That my shoulders are not in line with my wrists? That my core is not strong enough to support the lower back?
I wonder if this is not a common concern for those following this class regularly.
Does someone here with more experience have suggestions for where I should begin to focus in order to diagnose my issue with the transition?

elenakatrine 4 years ago

I just realised that you wrote this a year ago so I'm sure you've fixed it, but just in case you haven't, it's about having your core engaged as much as you can, tucking your tailbone under so that you're not dangling into and crushing up your lower back and then leading with you hips. Imagine that someone has passed a strap around the front of your pelvis and is pulling you back and up. That should help!

Fiji McAlpine 6 years ago

Thank you for asking a very important question! The answer is most likely a combination of things that you already suspect. The flipping of the feet is done to ensure the core engages so the lower lumbar spine is not compromised in this transition that happens frequently in a flow class. Your core is most likely not strong enough to do the transition in this way, yet. To help your body develop the strength gradually without causing injury I would suggest the following things to try.

1. Don't dip so low in chatarunga on your way back, keep your shoulder higher than your elbows at all times. This protects the rotator cuff also.

2. Leg engagement and core engagement are key here and should be a focus.

3. You can put your knees down and move from chatarunga to table then downdog.

Try these out and focus on activating the core in all aspects of your practice to build strength there over time.


Eff 6 years ago

Fiji's class sets the beginner up to build a strong and healthy practise, so that they won't have to correct it later, once poor habit has set in.
I would advise first-time watchers who have no (or little) yoga background to take ALL of the modifications Fiji suggests, and to listen closely to her guidance.
This approach to the class will allow the student to build a proper FOUNDATION to perform all of the asanas and their transitions with strength and to do so safely.
Without modification, this class truly requires more strength than the beginner has.
The reason it is a beginner video is because it explains every pose and transition as if the student watching has no working understanding of them, and because it demonstrates what the beginner will be working up to; what a vinyasa flow really is.
This is important for the beginner to learn, since many classes available at studios today are taught by instructors with no more than 200 hours of training, and no real understanding of yoga anatomy. Learning the muscles at work and the proper alignment for each asana and transition of the vinyasa flow MEANS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN INJURY AND STRENGTH-BUILDING. This is the ESSENTIAL value of Fiji's Beginner class.
Stay encouraged, listen, and learn with this masterful demonstration of the vinyasa and introduction to its practise.

akrista 6 years ago

I'm a beginner, but as a dancer for 14 years and a frequent tennis player I have some base strength. Even so, this video challenged me just enough. I definitely felt the muscles getting stronger but it wasn't too intense, I know when to stop and rest. I made it through the video and can feel myself getting stronger! Excellent class that I plan to revisit often to continue building strength and flow. Thank you!

Krystl 6 years ago

I'm just getting introduced to yoga I feel very fortunate to have stumbled on to your web site. Was not sure that I would be able to do the poses due to a severe back injury but as I push my body I'm very surprised that I was able to do most of them I am really enjoying Fiji's power flow class.... it's only been a few weeks and I'm happy to say that I've become much stronger and more in control of my body I'm really excited to continue and make it a daily routine in my life

Marlu 6 years ago

Strategically placed near the half mark of the "Beginner to Intermediate" program this class was challenging and SO satisfying! I did this last night before bed, today I feel so bendy and very little soreness. I really appreciate the attention Fiji pays to the each movement, directing and suggesting in a way that allowed me to get more out of poses that I had thought I was very familiar with. Many Thanks.

calmwaters 6 years ago

Do yoga with me will get me back into healthier living, I am excited.

kbssnow 6 years ago

This is the second Fiji class I have done here and I am truly impressed. She is an excellent instructor, very well balanced, very well timed, and solid knowledge of muskuloskeletal anatomy which greatly enhances her ability to instruct.

aurora_lily 6 years ago

I found this video very informative but I was unable to hold many of the poses (eg downward facing dog) as it felt that too much pressure was being put onto my shoulders. Is there a video that can help me develop strength in this area?