Ashtanga Jump Through

March 15, 2013 by  
Filed under Yoga Articles

Question: Ask Aunt Yoga Advice Column – Ashtanga Jump Through

Dear Aunt Yoga,

I have question for you about Ashtanga practice. Is it unusual to take a long time to get the art of jumping through [from downward dog] to seated?

I think that I may be pushing myself too hard to get this and I get frustrated that it seems so easy for others to do it; however, the people in my studio who do have it down say that it’s not at all a big deal. My guess is that I am making it a lot more complicated than it really is. Do you have any tips to share?


Answer: Dear Patrick,

Allow me to start with a little background for those not familiar with this transition. The jump through is a jump from downward facing dog directly to a seated position, which is done many times in an Ashtanga practice. It may not sound too complicated until you try it and realize that your feet are in the way (or, as some claim, your arms are too short). Even Aunt Yoga has struggled with the jump through, until I took an excellent workshop with Ashtanga master David Swenson. The tips that follow are thanks to his insights.

First, the basic technique, which is to bend the knees and cross the ankles while coming through the arms and then reextend the legs on the other side. Two tips here made all the difference to me:

1. Instead of crossing the legs at the ankle, cross them higher, at the shin. This make the package you are trying to move more compact.

2. Flex the feet. This prevents your feet from getting caught on the arms as you sail past.


Or not. As Swenson wisely pointed out, whether or not you can jump through is of little consequence. This is not the point of Ashtanga practice, nor will it make you a better Ashtangi, pay your rent, or feed the world. Some people may never be able to jump through. If you knew you were one of them, would you stop practicing yoga today? I hope not. So try not to worry about acquiring this skill.

And, by the way, with very few exceptions, no one’s arms are too short.


Aunt Yoga

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