October Pose of the Month 2015

October Pose of the Month 2015

Hanumanasana Pose
HanumanMonkey
Asanapose

Hanuman took a giant leap across the ocean between India and the island of Lanka to rescue princess Sita. This pose honors that adventure.  This pose can empower your practice and be done just about any place on the Stand Up Paddle Board, bare floor, mat, the beach. Just remember a key point to stabilize and keep it feeling good to reap the benefits that Hanumanasana brings to the front-leg hamstrings by flexing the hip and straightening the knee.

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Let’s Practice:
1. To warm-up practice ardha- hanumanasana before coming to all 4’s ( hands and knees) on the paddle board. Step your right foot forward about a foot in front of your left knee, and rotate your right thigh outwardly. Do this by lifting the inner sole away from the board and resting the foot on the outer heel.
2. Exhale and lean your torso forward, pressing your fingertips to the floor. Slowly slide your left knee back, keep the knees slightly bent in the beginning, gradually allow the body to deepen into the pose by grounding down.
3. Now start to press the right heel away from your torso. Be mindful of the external rotation of the front leg, turning the leg inward as it straightens to bring the kneecap toward the ceiling. As the front leg straightens, begin engaging the left knee back, and carefully descend the front of the left thigh and the back of the right leg(and the base of the pelvis) to the floor.
4. Notice the center of the right knee points directly up towards the sky.
5. The back leg extends straight out of the hip with the center of the kneecap pressing directly on the floor. Keep the front leg active by extending through the heel and lifting the ball of the foot toward the sky.
6. Bring the hands into Anjali Mudra.
7. Stay in the pose for 30 seconds to a minute. Come out of the pose by pressing your hands to the board, turn the front leg out slightly and slowly return to all 4’s. Then reverse the legs and repeat for the same length of time.

Benefits:
• Opens the hip joints in flexion and extension.
• Provides a powerful stretch and opening for the buttocks, piriformis muscle which is good for relieving sciatica.
• Massages the digestive and reproductive organs and is helpful with digestion.

Contraindications:
Those with inguinal hernia or knee, hip or low back pain may require modifications.

September Pose of the Month 2015

September Pose of the Month

Eka Pada Koundinyasana II

One Legged Arm Balance for Koundinya II

“Concentration is the secret of strength.” 
    ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

This is one of the fun and fancy arm balances I learned after many Vinyasa classes. It requires strength as well as flexibility, so be patient with yourself. This pose, referred to as running man helps build focus, determination and motivation. As your practice evolves, you will discover your body changing, it’s all about how much time your willing to devote to being on your mat. So, dedicate as much time as you can to practicing yoga on a weekly basis. Your life will blossom in so many healthy ways.

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Let’s Practice:

1. Start in Downward Facing Dog. Lift the left leg up into the air and externally rotate it open, then flex the foot.

2. Firm up both legs to keep the body stabilized.

3. Bring your left knee into the tricep and keep your breathing audible.

4. Keep your knee on the arm above the elbow, the arms are the shelf for the body to balance on.

5. Hug the forearms in and keep the shoulder heads lifted. Place your gaze forward and breathing has a sound to it like a breeze.

6. Keep the ball of the back foot on the ground and stay calm. Take five huge breaths.

7. Stop and start again if you need a rest, or continue by extending your chest and feeling light in your heart and lifted up, with enthusiasm lift the back leg up.

8. Spread the toes on both feet and keep the gaze straight ahead.

9. Hold for a few breaths.

10. Step back to Downward-Facing Dog and repeat the sequence.

Benefits:
   
   • Strengthens the arms, abdominal organs, and thigh muscles.
   • Builds focus and determination

Contraindications:

    • Shoulder injuries

 

August Pose of the Month 2015

Cow’s Face

Go – Cow
Mukha – Face

“Wisdom and compassion unite within my being, integrating the true self.”

Let’s Practice:

1. Begin on your hands and knees. Bend forward and place your fingertips on the floor. Then, cross the left knee in front of the right, pressing the right knee against the back of the left knee.

2. Cross the thighs well, and spread the feet apart and press the feet onto the earth, on a block, or the heels.

3. Keep the trunk facing forward and extend it up. Bend the left elbow behind the back and take the back of the hand high up the spine. Stretch the right arm up, so the right elbow points up and the left elbow aims down.

4. Clasp the hands together, with the palms facing. If needed use a strap, if the hands don’t reach. Stay in the pose, breathing evenly, for 15- 20 seconds.

5. Keep the head straight and look ahead.

6. Release the arms and legs slowly and repeat to the other side.

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Variations:
• Bend forward
• Drishti to the side

Benefits:
• Opens the buttocks and deep rotator muscles of the hip, including the piriformis.
• Helpful for sciatica
• Energizes Chakras 1,2,3,4

Contraindications:
• Those with knee, hip, shoulder, wrist or low back pain may need to modify.

 

 

July Pose of the Month 2015

July Pose of the Month
            SUP: Standup Paddleboard

Downward Facing Dog Pose – Adho Mukha Svanasana (on the Paddleboard)

Adho – downward

Mukha – face

Svana – dog

Asana – pose

Stand-up paddleboard or SUP is a great water sport for this time of the year.  It’s a cross between canoeing and surfing that requires good balance and core strength, with the Zen affect and yet build’s core power.  Paddleboard yoga adds the element of the water, which activates more muscles and remember to account for the added challenge of balancing on the board.

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Let’s practice:

Start your Ujjayi breathing to keep your sense of focus and ease. Once you get into smooth waters, find the space on the water to begin your adventure.

  1. Start in child’s pose and stretch your arms forward.
  2. Come up on your hands and knees in the middle of the board into table top position.
  3. Keep your hands under the shoulders and knees hip distance apart
  4. Tuck your toes under
  5. Lift the sit bones up towards the big blue sky and transition your weight back, down into the heels.
  6. Relax the head and neck, gazing past your knees.
  7. Straighten the legs and plant your feet or heels as close to your board as comfortably as possible.

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   8. Keep the edges of the feet parallel to the rails of the board.
   9. Release by bending your knees coming down onto them, and slowly adjust into child’s pose.

For a bonus, try lifting one leg at a time to experience One-legged Downward- Facing Dog.

Benefits:

• Strengthens the ankles and feet

• Calms the nervous system

• Energizes all chakras

• Lengthens the spine

• Releases the neck

• Strengthens the arms & legs   

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.  So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds with your sails. Explore, Dream, Discover.

~ Mark Twain

June Pose of the Month 2015

June Pose of the Month

Utkatasana – Power Chair Pose

Utka – fierce, powerful;
Asana – posture

A squatting pose by nature but very strengthening to the legs and back. It’s a posture to take your hips low and your shoulders away from them to open up your heart and rest in serenity.

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Let’s practice:

1. Begin in mountain pose

2. As you inhale, lift the toes to activate the legs and feet, squeeze the thighs together as if you were juicing a small piece of fruit.

3. As you exhale, lower your pelvis as if sitting down into a chair, using your core strength, engaging your bandhas and breathe.

4. Inhale to lengthen in your spine, draw the navel to the spine and the spine towards the navel.

5. Exhale and draw the front ribs in and breath.

6. Inhale stretch out through the fingertips, while drawing the arm bones back into the shoulder joint.

7. Set your drishti up, up, up…

8. Allow some heat to build up, tension will arise if your holding the pose, breathing is the remedy not leaving just yet. So allow the heat to tone and transform you and don’t move away from this to soon.

9. Connect to your will, this will empower your practice. Mantras help when holding poses so say this in silence: “I can sustain this for inner strength.”

10. Release and relax back to mountain pose.

Benefits:

• Strengthens the supporting muscles of all 8 major joints
• Develops core strength
• Strengthens the legs
• Strengthens the back
• Builds empowerment
• Energizes chakras 1, 2 and 3

Contraindications:

• Knee pain

May Pose of the Month 2015

Virasana

Vira – hero
Asana – pose

This is a relaxing pose and may be used for sitting in meditation.

Let’s Practice:

1. Kneel on the floor sitting upright on the heels, with the knees level and facing forward.  Be on the center of the feet. You can use a block to sit on if necessary too.

2. Use a folded blanket or bolster to wedge between your calves and thighs for more support.

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3. Take the feet a little apart and sit on the edges of the heels. Lift the buttocks for a moment and, with the fingers, ease the outer calf muscles to the sides and away from the knees.

4. Separate the feet further and sit down between them. Try and keep the knees together.

5. Deepen the Inhales & Exhales at first stay in the pose for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Gradually extend your stay up to 5 minutes.

6. To come out, press your hands against the floor and lift your buttocks up, cross your ankles underneath your buttocks, sit back over the feet and onto the floor, then stretch your legs out in front of you with a little movement to get the circulation moving.

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Until you make peace with who you are, you’ll never be content with what you have.

~ Doris Mortman

Benefits:

• Stretches the thighs, knees and ankles
• Stretches the arches
• Improves digestion
• Helps relieve menopause
• Reduces swelling of the legs during pregnancy

Contraindications:

• Heart problems
• Headache: practice this pose lying on a bolster
• Knee or ankle injury

April Pose of the Month 2015

April Pose of the Month

Astavakrasana – Eight Angle Pose

Asta – eight
Vakra – curved or bent
Asana – pose

One of my favorite arm balances, oh lots of flexibility & strength in the legs is the springboard for this pose. Yoga can be practiced just about anywhere, when I travel it’s so fun to take your practice with you! Over spring break in Aruba, I found this great place for practicing this invigorating arm balance. I learned it first on my mat after building up strength in my core, legs & arms.

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Let’s Practice:

1. Begin by coming to a cross- legged position and make yourself comfy.

2. The right knee should be bent and your right foot’s sole should be brought near your groins. Letting the left leg get ready,

3. Cross the right foot over the left foot with the ankles latched together. The Knees are bend here and ankles are crossed.

4. Let your left palm set outside by your left thigh. Set the right Palm down inside your thighs, close to the groins and anchor it!!

5. With the ankles crossed, engage your core and find your breath, keep the knees bent but slightly away from each other.

6. Plant both palms on the ground, firmly so both legs can extend out.

7. Press into the palms and raise your body up!! Extend the legs to the right.

8. Bring your body forward and gaze to the right. If you fall get back up!! Try try again! It’s part of it.

9. Stay in the pose for as long as you like. Come down carefully and repeat to the left side!

Benefits:

  • Strengthens the arms and wrists
  • Strengthens the hips
  • Increases concentration
  • Builds perseverance

Precautions:

  • Avoid this pose if you suffer from shoulder, elbow or wrist injuries.
  • Practice with guidance, attend an arm balance workshop.
  • Avoid straining yourself to come into this. Be ready, prepare & work into this.

March 2015 Pose of the Month

Bound Angle Butterfly – Baddha Konasana

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle) is an amazing versatile hip opener that you can practice in a variety of ways. Bending forward and pressing the legs with the elbows deepens the pose. Take the hips and chest down and experience the opening in the hip joints.

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Let’s Practice :

1. Begin in Dandasana with bandhas engaged, maintaining a neutral pelvis.

2. Bend the knees and draw the feet up toward the groins as the knees drop out to the sides. Find a place of comfort and ease with the heels together, several inches in front of the body.

3. Open the soles slightly , engage mulabandha and press thighs outward lengthening from the hips to knees.

4. Open wide across the base of the body, so the pelvic floor has a firm base of support.

5. Come forward, keeping the spine straight and long.

6. With each inhalation draw more deeply into the pose, and with each exhalation relax and release any tension letting it fade.

7. Rest in a state of surrender, steadiness, and comfort as you draw the forehead down to the earth.

8. Stay in this pose 2-3 minutes.

Benefits:

• Opens the hip joints in abduction and flexion

• Good for digestion and elimination

• Helpful in preparation for childbirth

• Energizes chakras 1,2

• Opens the main energy channels along the spine and directs Prana upward

Contraindications:

• Those with knee, hip or low back pain may require modifications

• Contraindicated for those with inguinal hernia

February Pose of the Month 2015

February 2015 Pose of the Month

Eagle pose – Garudasana

Garuda – divine bird
Asana – posture

To find your balance in Eagle pose, keep a steady body and calm mind. It’s always important to leave your ego at the door when you practice yoga, so feel free to practice Eagle with a modification. As with all postures, it helps to release your ambitions and let go of any notions about how you should look or feel in this pose.

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“I fly to freedom on the strength of my inner being.”

Let’s Practice:

1. Begin in Mountain pose.

2. Root the right foot firmly into the earth, shift the weight onto the right leg.

3. Sink down slightly, but with the torso upright and yet lengthening the low back.

4. Lift the left knee and cross it over the right leg, if possible hook the left ankle behind the right ankle. ( to modify just let the left foot rest at the side of the right calf.

5. Firm the standing leg by pressing the sole of the foot into the floor and squeeze the legs together.

6. Breathe and relax more deeply into the pose by bending the standing leg even more.

7. Bring the arms out like a “T”, then cross the right elbow over the left in front of the body, and interlace the arms, working to bring the palms of the hands together and the elbows lifted.

8. Relax and visualize your eagle, feel the center line of the body and rotate the knees & elbows toward a place facing straight forward, connect with your source of strength.

9. Repeat to the other side.

Benefits:

  • Strengthens the arms and legs
  • Opens the hip and shoulder joints
  • Increases circulation to all joints
  • Improves digestion and elimination
  • Energizes chakras 1,2,3,4 and 6

Contraindications:

  • Those with low back, knee, or hip pain should begin with modification, such as lying on the mat to practice this pose.

January Pose of the Month 2015


Fish Posture
– Matsyasana
Matsya – fish
Asana – posture

 

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Let’s practice:

  1. Begin lying on your back with your arms resting at the sides.
  2. Bend the knees and place the soles of the feet on the floor as you ground the sacrum down into the earth.
  3. Place the hands under the buttocks, palms down. Slowly straighten the legs and press down into the elbows, lifting the chest and bringing the head onto the earth or a prop if needed.
  4. Press the forearms Into the earth, so there is only light pressure on the head with the resting point of the head just behind the crown. Soften the eyes and jaw, and lengthen the neck.
  5. Lift the sternum up away from the pelvis