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Apr 6th

Pose of the Month: Malasana – Garland Pose

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Garland Pose is a hip-opening yoga posture that helps to lengthen and open the hips, creating more mobility for all of your daily activities.

The Sanskrit name for this pose, “Malasana” comes from two words:

“Mala” — meaning “garland”
“Asana” — meaning “pose”

Sometimes called, “Yogi Squat,” Malasana is a preparatory position for the arm balance, “Crow Pose” (Bakasana).

Take a seat into this pose. Strengthen your legs, your heart and your ability to tap into coming to a peaceful place despite how your body may feel here. It is within the pose, when you want to come out the most that you can find the deepest, most peaceful kind of pose.

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Mar 5th

Ustrasana – Camel Pose

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Ustrasana is an intermediate level back-bending yoga posture known to open Anahata (Heart chakra). This posture adds flexibility and strength to the body and also helps in improving digestion.

Benefits (from yogajournal.com)

  • Stretches the entire front of the body, the ankles, thighs and groins, Abdomen and chest, and throat
  • Stretches the deep hip flexors (psoas)
  • Strengthens back muscles
  • Improves posture
  • Stimulates the organs of the abdomen and neck

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Dec 31st

Virasana – Hero Pose

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Hero Pose is a classical seated yoga posture that stretches the thighs and ankles while improving posture. It is one of the most ancient and traditional postures used for meditation and breathing exercises (pranayama).

Hero Pose is similar to the seated pose called “Thunderbolt Pose”. The main difference is that the feet are together in Thunderbolt Pose, while in Hero Pose, the heels are alongside the hips and the buttocks are on the floor.

Benefits (from yogajournal.com)

  • Stretches the thighs, knees, and ankles
  • Strengthens the arches
  • Improves digestion and relieves gas
  • Helps relieve the symptoms of menopause
  • Reduces swelling of the legs during pregnancy (through second trimester)
  • Therapeutic for high blood pressure and asthma

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Oct 31st

Urdhva Mukha Svanasana – Upward Facing Dog Pose

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Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (OORD-vah MOO-kah shvon-AHS-anna) – Upward Facing Dog Pose

In Downward Facing dog we ground down and turn inward, while in Upward Facing Dog we turn up, lift and open the heart. As well as being a powerful heart opener, it is a backbend, and when performed in a gentle way as all backbends should be, it will create space and warmth within the heart center as well as release through the back. This pose can be done alone holding for a few breaths or as a pose in a vinyasa sequence after chaturanga and before downward facing dog.

Benefits (from yogajournal.com)

  • Improves posture
  • Strengthens the spine, arms, wrists
  • Stretches chest and lungs, shoulders, and abdomen
  • Firms the buttocks
  • Stimulates abdominal organs
  • Helps relieve mild depression, fatigue, and sciatica
  • Therapeutic for asthma

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Oct 13th

Anjaneyasana (AHN-jah-nay-AHS-uh-nuh)

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Crescent Lunge or Anjaneyasana is a dynamic standing pose that energizes and utilizes major muscle groups in the body. It strengthens and stretches both upper and lower body, all while creating balance and awareness. This pose can be met with great enthusiasm as it can meet anyone at any level in their practice (yes, even those with sciatica pain!). For beginners this pose can be gentle with the support of the opposite knee on the earth with a mild backbend incorporated if wanted and for advanced students the knee can be lifted, deep backbend met or twist/binds added.

Benefits (from gaia.com)
  • Strengthens your quadriceps and gluteus muscles
  • Stretches the hips
  • Relieves sciatica pain
  • Expands and opens the chest, lungs and shoulders
  • Engages and tones thighs
  • Prepares the body for childbirth by creating more room in the pelvis
Directions
  • Start in Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana).
  • On exhalation step right foot through and place inside right palm. Line up right ankle up with right knee and lower left knee to the earth keeping it behind the hips. Toes can stay curled under for stability or lower to the top of the foot to the earth.
  • On inhalation raise torso and sweep arms up and over your head with palms facing each other. Relax shoulders down and away from the ears allowing the shoulder blades to roll down the back. On the next exhale allow the hips to relax forward and down until you feel a nice stretch in the front of the left leg.
  • Slightly tuck the tailbone, lengthening your back muscles and engaging the core. Start to draw you thumbs back (even hooking thumbs if you’d like), lift through the heart and shift gaze up for a little backbend.
  • Stay here with the supported leg down or curl toes under if they weren’t already, lift the left knee and lengthen leg for Full Crescent Lunge.
  • To come out of pose frame the right foot with palms and step back to Downward Facing Dog and repeat with the left leg forward.
Variations
  • Palms can touch when raised overhead or palms come to the sides for a “V” shape.
  • Add a twist by bringing hands to heart center and twisting to the right first or place left palm to the inside of the right foot on the earth or a block and twist open to the right.
  • For advanced students you can add a bind by coming to a twist to the right, allowing the left forearm to press into the outer right thigh, right arm comes behind you and clasp hands together between the legs (use a strap or scarf to build to full bind).
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