Often times, I find I need a thorough warm-up in my hips and knees, which are some of my body’s stiffest joints.
That’s why I turn to Catcher Into Thunderbolt from DDP Yoga, and why I rely on it so heavily in my classes.
Why It’s Called Catcher
One of the things I liked right away about the DDP Yoga system is that there’s no sanskrit. Every posture is put in plain English.
Catcher is a great example of that. Instead of “malasana,” or even “garland pose,” Catcher evokes the image of the person in position behind home base in baseball.
Why It’s Called Thunderbolt
The origin of the name of the Thunderbolt posture in DDP Yoga is a little less obvious to me than some of the other names of the postures.
I would guess that Thunderbolt gets its name from reaching to the sky while connecting to the ground, similar to that as a bolt of lightning, although maybe that’s just me being a bit of a weather nut.
In fact, DDP Yoga has a Lightning Bolt position in which your feet and knees are touching, similar to but still distinct from Thunderbolt.
How To Do Catcher Into Thunderbolt
From Touchdown, hinge at your hips and lower your butt like you’re sitting in a chair. Your arms should still be up so that your biceps are by your ears.
Turn your toes and your knees out at an angle.
Inhale and bring your thumb and your index fingers together and form your Diamond Cutter. Exhale while simultaneously pushing your Diamond Cutter out and dropping your body down into the Catcher position. Keep your feet flat! This is how deep you should go—don’t go further onto your tippy toes.
Once you get to the bottom of your Catcher position, roll your hands forward so that your hands are nearly touching the ground, opening up your lower back that last little bit.
You may notice while you’re down in Catcher that your knees extend past your toes. That is okay. In fact, if you think about it, you’re almost in a similar position as a baby picking up Cheerios off the floor:
If you are interested in observing a fundamentally sound squat, place some Cheerios on the floor in front of a two-year-old child and observe the magic. You will see a perfect squat. This doesn’t make it the only squat, but it is fundamentally sound. So what are the toddlers of the world teaching us? How to balance our movements.
Yes, it is mostly true that “you shouldn’t press your knees out over your toes” is a myth. However, each person’s mobility will be different. Listen to your body, and ask a trusted instructor if you have further questions.
That being said, now that your legs are on fire because you’ve been squatting this whole time (right?), inhale and reach up, grabbing an imaginary ball above you and keeping your biceps toward your ears. Exhale and roll your hands forward again.
When you’re ready to come out, inhale and reach up. Exhale and push up and out of that squat for a count of 3, 2, 1. Inhale and bring your right fist into your left hand. Form your Diamond Cutter, exhale back into Catcher. Inhale back up into Thunderbolt.
You can repeat this as many times as you’d like.
When you’re done, turn your knees and toes back toward the front and fold forward. Roll up one vertebrae at a time.
I usually like to add the Diamond Cutter on to this so I can get a reverse stretch of my spine.
What Body Parts Are Worked By Catcher Into Thunderbolt
Like many of the DDP Yoga postures, many body parts are worked simultaneously.
Catcher primarily works:
- Low back
Thunderbolt primarily works:
- Low back
The Benefits of Catcher Into Thunderbolt
- It helps with your squat – If you’re a weightlifter like I am, this is a great exercise to stretch out your quads and glutes before leg day. If your muscles are stiff, this is a go-to for me to help get rid of some of that stiffness.
- It opens up your hips – Sometimes, I like to focus on my hips during this stretch, so I’ll take my elbows or my triceps and press them against the insides of my knees. This may not seem like a lot, but it does wonders for my tight hips.
- It helps you bend and lift – Most importantly, bending and lifting is one of the five primary types of movements. This motion can help improve mobility in your feet, ankles, knees, back, and your shoulders. Benefits of improving your bend and lift range anywhere from picking up groceries to playing with your kids.
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