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Jun 1st

Utthita Tadasana – Five-Pointed Star Pose

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Five-Pointed Star Pose is an active, invigorating yoga pose that energizes the body and improves posture, bringing balance in all areas of your life. Its open stance feels expansive, and it is often considered to be a pose that brings joy and allows the heart to shine! Practicing this pose on a regular basis will bring poise, strength, and equanimity to your everyday routine! You can practice Star Pose anytime you need an extra burst of openness and joy!

Directions

1.Begin standing in Mountain Pose (Tadasana) at the top of your mat with your arms at your sides. Bring your hands to rest comfortably on your hips.

2. Turn to the right and step your feet wide apart. Turn your toes out slightly, so they point to the corners of your mat.

3. Extend your arms out to the sides at shoulder-height with your palms facing forward. Your feet and wrists should be about the same distance apart; adjust your stance if needed.

4. Press down through your heels and straighten your legs fully, but do not lock or hyperextend your knees. Ground your feet firmly into the earth, pressing evenly across all four corners of both feet.

5. Tuck in your tailbone slightly, but don’t round your lower back. Lift the back of your thighs, but release your buttocks.

6. Bring your pelvis to its neutral position. Do not let your front hip bones point down or up. Instead, point them straight forward. Draw your belly in slightly.

7. As you inhale, elongate through your torso. Exhale and release your shoulder blades away from your head.

8. Spread your fingers and reach out strongly through your fingertips.

9. Broaden across your collarbones.

10. Elongate your neck. Your ears, shoulders, and hips should all be in one line.

11. Keep your breath smooth and even. With each exhalation, feel your body elongating in all directions: Up, down, left, right, forward, and backward. Softly gaze forward toward the horizon. Hold the pose for up to one minute, and then release your arms to your sides and step your feet back together at the top of your mat in Mountain Pose.

Benefits

– stretches and lengthens the body in all directions at once
– improve posture and reduce back and shoulder pain
– strengthens the legs, ankles, abdomen, and back
– reduce the effects of sciatica and flat feet
– improves circulation and respiration
– relieve stress and improve concentration

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May 5th

Ardha Pincha Mayurasana – Dolphin Pose

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Dolphin Pose – Variation with Leg Lift – Peacock Pose *No cats were harmed during photoshoot*

If you lift weights, play sports, draw, work on a computer, play guitar, or play video games, you might be familiar with sore wrists. Additionally, women who are pregnant often get carpal tunnel syndrome, and Dolphin Pose can be a useful modification to their regular pre-natal yoga practice!

Practicing Dolphin Pose can be a great way to warm, strengthen, and stretch your whole body. It’s also a great modification for those with wrist troubles in Downward Facing Dog. It adds variety and fun to your practice, while challenging your muscles and inspiring your mind. Vary your practice with Dolphin Pose and you might discover joy and freedom in movement, just like those friendly creatures of the sea!

Directions

1. Do not practice Dolphin Pose if you have a recent or current shoulder, back, arm, or neck injury. Also avoid this pose if you have high blood pressure, or infections of the eye or inner ear.

2. Begin on your hands and knees. Align your wrists directly under your shoulders, and your knees directly under your hips.

3. Lower your elbows to the floor directly beneath your shoulders. Keep your forearms parallel to each other and to the side edges of your mat. Distribute your weight evenly across both forearms.

4. Tuck your toes and lift your knees off the floor. Reach your pelvis up toward the ceiling. Keep your knees bent as you lengthen your spine and broaden across your shoulder blades.

5. Then, gently begin to straighten your legs. Bring your torso and legs into the shape of an “A.” Do not walk your feet closer to your hands — keep the extension of your whole body. If your upper back begins to round, bend your knees again until your spine is straight.

6. Align your ears with your upper arms. Relax your head, but do not let it dangle. Gaze between your legs or toward your navel.

7. Hold for 5-25 breaths.

8. To release, exhale as you gently bend your knees and come back to the floor. Press back into Child’s Pose and relax.

Benefits
– Relief from headaches, insomnia, fatigue, and mild depression
– Improved memory and concentration
– Relief from stress and anxiety
– Improved digestion
– Relief from back pain
– Prevention of osteoporosis
– Relief from sinusitis, asthma, flat feet, and menstrual discomfort

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Mar 31st

Paripurna Navasana – Boat Pose

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Paripurna Navasana (nah-VAHS-uh-nuh)

Strengthen your core and cultivate resilience. Boat Pose is accessible to most since there are variations to keep hands and toes/feet on the earth. Overtime and with a little resilience to not give up on the pose, you can have a beautiful boat that you can melt into with ease.

Directions
1. Begin seated with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, hands resting beside your hips.
2. Keeping your spine straight, lean back slightly and lift your feet, bringing your shins parallel to the floor.
3. Draw in your low back, lift your chest, and lengthen the front of your torso. Then, extend your arms forward, in line with your shoulders with your palms facing each other.
4. Balance on your sit bones, keeping your spine straight. Take care not to let your lower back sag or chest collapse.
5. Lengthen the front of your torso from your pubic bone to the top of your sternum.
6. With an exhalation, straighten your legs to a 45-degree angle from the ground, bringing your body into a “V” shape.
7. Keep your breath easy, steady, and smooth. Focus your awareness within. Soften your eyes and your face. Gaze at your toes.
8. Spread your shoulder blades wide and reach out through your fingers, actively engaging your hands.
9. Stay in the pose for five breaths. To release the pose, exhale as you lower your legs and hands to the floor.

Benefits (from yogajournal.com)
Strengthens the abdomen, hip flexors, and spine
Stimulates the kidneys, thyroid and prostate glands, and intestines
Helps relieve stress
Improves digestion

Variations
Ardha Navasana (Half Boat Pose)- Recline back, bringing your hands and toes closer to the floor as you continue to draw your belly in and up while you build core strength
To go deeper, add a flow by extending your legs straight out while your shoulders lower back and then hug your knees into your chest and repeat.

Modifications
Bend the knees, can hold the outside of the legs lightly
Bend the knees, toes to floor

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Mar 1st

Hanumanasana – Monkey Pose/Full Split

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Hanumanasana (Monkey Pose)

Hanumanasana (HAH-new-mahn-AHS-uh-nuh)

Monkey Pose, commonly known as “the splits,” is an advanced leg stretch and hip-opener. The yoga version of this pose keeps the hips squared to the front, unlike the version practiced in dance where the hips are opened more to the side.

The Sanskrit name for this pose, “Hanumanasana” is named after the Hindu monkey god, Hanuman. In an ancient story, Hanuman took one giant leap all the way from India to Sri Lanka, and then one more leap to return to India. Hanumanasana mimics his leap! By practicing the pose on each side, you become like Hanuman, soaring to a new country and returning home.

Benefits (from yogajournal.com)
  • Stretches the thighs, hamstrings, groins
  • Stimulates the abdominal organs
Directions
  • Begin by kneeling upright with your knees hip-distance apart. Rotate your thighs inward and press your shins and the tops of your feet into the floor. Do not squeeze your buttocks.
  • Extend your right leg in front of you with your heel on the floor. Lean your torso forward and press your fingertips firmly on the floor. You can also press your hands onto yoga blocks, placed alongside each hip.
  • Straighten your right leg, but do not lock or hyperextend your knee. Slowly begin to press your right heel forward, away from your torso. Keep rotating your right thigh inward, so your kneecap points upward, toward the ceiling. At the same time, slide your left knee back. Press the top of your left foot into the floor, or tuck your left toes for more stability.
  • Keep your hips squared to the front of your mat and parallel to each other. Check to ensure your left leg is reaching directly behind you and is not splayed out to the side. The center of your left kneecap should be pressing on the floor.
  • Flex your right foot, reaching your toes toward the ceiling.
  • If you are comfortable and stable here, then bring your torso upright. Place your hands at your chest in prayer position, or reach your arms straight up to the ceiling. Gaze softly at the horizon.
  • Hold for up to one minute. To release, press your hands firmly into the floor. Let your right leg drop open slightly as you gently draw your right heel and back leg toward your torso. Return to your starting position. Repeat the pose with the left leg in front for the same amount of time.
Variations
  • Those with more flexibility can add a slight backbend when their arms are overhead.
  • Another advanced variation is to lean forward over the front, extended leg. Hold onto your front foot with both hands, keeping your hips squared and legs straight. Hold for 10 breaths, and then bring your torso upright on an inhalation.

 

Modifications
  • Place each hand on a yoga block to help support yourself and to help bring your torso more upright.
  • Practice the pose off your mat on a hard floor. Place a blanket under your front heel and back knee; this will help your legs slide forward and back.
  • If your front leg does not reach the floor, place a block or bolster underneath your hamstring for support.
  • If your pelvis does not reach the floor, place a folded, firm blanket or yoga bolster beneath your pelvis for support.
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Feb 10th

Setu Bandhasana Sarvangasana – Bridge Pose

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Setu Bandhasana Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose)

Setu Bandhasana Sarvangasana (SAY-too BAHN-duh shar-vahn-GAHS-uh-nuh) – Bridge Pose

Bridges are connectors taking you from one side to the other. Same is true in bridge pose, we create the arch within the body as you would see in a bridge, but it is within that we are truly connecting to our higher selves by lifting our hearts to the sky, while building incredible strength in the legs as we root down and flexibility within the back as we find our edge and lift.

Benefits (from yogajournal.com)

  • Stretches the chest, neck, and spine
  • Calms the brain and helps alleviate stress and mild depression
  • Stimulates abdominal organs, lungs, and thyroid
  • Rejuvenates tired legs
  • Improves digestion
  • Helps relieve the symptoms of menopause
  • Relieves menstrual discomfort when done supported
  • Reduces anxiety, fatigue, backache, headache, and insomnia
  • Therapeutic for asthma, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, and sinusitis


Directions

  • Lie supine on the floor bending your knees with feet on the floor, heels close enough so you can clasp your hands around your ankles.
  • Take a deep inhale and exhale, then pressing your inner feet and arms actively into the floor (firming, but not hardening the buttocks) lift your buttocks until thighs are parallel with the floor.
  • Clasp the hands below your pelvis and draw your shoulders close together.
  • Stay lifted for as long as comfortable and then gently lower down hugging your knees to your chest.


Variations

  • Shift your weight to your right leg and lift your left leg straight up.
  • Lift arms over head on inhale, exhale release arms to side and allow hips to sink, repeat lifting and releasing


Modifications

  • Place a thickly folded blanket under your shoulders to protect your neck.
  • Place a block or bolster under the sacrum for extra support.
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