All posts tagged: Asana

Extended Side Angle Pose

I`m not going to lie… Extended Side Angle Pose aka Utthita Parsvakonasana is a hard one for me! The side stretch is just so deep that I find it hard to revolve my torso and keep my breath even. I usually practice this pose with a block, sometimes at the highest level and as I get warmer and continue to enter the pose throughout the practice I may lower the block, get rid of it or even go for a bind. As always listen to your body, respect the principles of alignment and give your breath priority over a form you wish to achieve. How to get into the pose: Step your feet about 4 feet apart. From deep within the hip socket, rotate the front leg out to align the front foot parallel to the long end of your mat. Pivit the back heel out, heel to arch aligned. Let your hips open naturally. While both frontal hip points aim towards the long end of your mat, most hips won`t allow for a shape …

Extended Triangle

When sequencing externally rotated standing poses, we will often enter Extended Triangle aka Utthita Trikonasana after Warrior II, taken that the position of the feet, legs, hips and torso are virtually the same with the difference of a straight front leg and a side stretch of the torso. How to get into the pose: Step your feet about 4 feet apart. From deep within the hip socket, rotate the front leg out to align the front foot parallel to the long end of your mat. Pivit the back heel out, and align your front heel with your back arch. Root down through the back foot and straighten the leg. Keep a microbend in your front knee, align the knee with your second toe and root down through the big toe mound of your front foot. Let your hips open naturally. While both frontal hip points aim towards the long end of your mat, most hips won`t allow for a shape where the hips align parrallel, but rather the back hip will come slightly forward. Extend …

Warrior II

After warming up and before getting into neutrally rotated standing poses like Warrior I, where the hips are square, it is a good idea to prepare the body with slightly more approachable externally rotated standing poses like Virabhadrasana II aka Warrior II. Here, we gently open the hips and stretch our ankles, legs, groins, chest and shoulders while we find strength and stamina paired with an even breath. This pose does also a great job in educating us how to keep the pelvis neutral in the transverse plane, so that we don`t dump into our lower back, which becomes crucial for neutrally rotated standing poses like Warrior I. How to get into the pose: Step your feet about 4 feet apart. From deep within the hip socket, rotate the front leg out to align the front foot parallel to the long end of your mat. Pivit the back heel out, heel to arch aligned. Let your hips open naturally. While both frontal hip points aim towards the long end of your mat, most hips won`t …

Upward Facing Dog

Low Cobra imprints correct body alignment and builds strength in the muscles along your spine so you can safely enter deeper backbends. Once you have mastered Low Cobra, you may opt for Upward Facing Dog aka Urdvha Mukha Svanasana instead of Low Cobra at times in your Sun Salutations and Vinyasas. How to get into the pose: From Low Cobra, straighten your arms. Make sure, that your wrists are right underneath your shoulders, with your palms and fingers spread wide and the creases of your wrists parallel to the short end of your mat. Root down firmly through the inner edges of your hands as you draw the outer upper arms back. Work the bottom tips of your shoulderblades up and into the chest as you soften the front ribs in. Relax your shoulders away from your neck. You may also bend your elbows slightly to pull your chest through the upper arms to open your heart space before you restraighten the arms. Draw the pit of the abdomen up and in to support your …

Low Cobra

Over the course of my life I have developed lot of strength in my upper back and arms, something that started with surfing and swimming and found its continuation in yoga. This is great for Plank Pose and Chaturanga Dandasana and also helps in soft backbends like Low Cobra aka Bhujangasana, since the muscles along the spine are responsible for the lifting of the head, shoulders and chest in this asana. If you suffer from backpain you should work on strengthening the muscles along your spine to support a strong back and healthy posture. A few Low Cobras as part of your morning routine will awaken your spine and leave you feeling energized throughout the day. How to get into the pose: From Chaturanga Dandasana, lower all the way to the ground. Rest your forehead on the ground, keeping the neck long and relaxed. Align your wrists with your lower ribs alongside your torso and spread your palms and fingers. Find a 90 degree angle between your wrists and forearms as well as forearms and upper …

Low Plank

This is one of my favorite shapes. I love how contained and strong the body feels in this asana – as if I could carry the whole word on my back (or at least a cute puppy…)! Another major component of our sun salutations, we come upon Chaturanga Dandasana aka Four-Legged Staff Pose or Low Plank in most yoga classes and it is crucial to perform this asana well-aligned to keep our body healthy and our practuce sustainable. Be where you are and take joy in building the strength it takes to lower your plank with control and ease. How to get into the pose: From Plank Pose, shift your shoulders a few inches forward of your wrists. Push the floor away by pressing down evenly through the base of each finger. Reach your heels back and firm the legs by lifting your kneecaps and pressing the tops of your thighs up. Draw your belly in and up to support your spine. On an exhalation, draw the elbows in as you lower down to Chaturanga …

Plank Pose

Another basic, everyday asana is the good old plank pose aka Ardha Chaturanga Dandasana. While it is a pose that does not neccessarily look too exciting, it often proves to be challenging. Not only does plank pose require a certain amount of strength (arms & core), its biomechanics are also more complex than first expected. Understanding the dynamics of plank pose is definitely worth the effort though as this asana builds a strong foundation for your yoga practice and is extremely beneficial for your overall posture and strength. How to get into the pose: Come onto the floor on your hands and knees. Place your wrists right under your shoulders, with the creases of your wrists parallel to the short end of your mat. Spread your palms. Step both legs back, parallel and hip distance apart, grounding all ten toes. Reach your heels back and firm the legs by lifting your kneecaps and pressing the tops of your thighs up. Reach your sternum forward and your tailbone back towards the space between your heels. Push the …