Basic Practice: Freeing the Pelvis and Ribcage in Twists

sq_basics
In this twisting practice, the goal is to elongate the trunk and spine so that the pelvis and rib cage can move freely with a certain amount of independence from each other. To help this happen, focus on folding cleanly at the hip crease without collapsing the chest and rounding the back, or without pushing the chest forward and gripping the back. In each of the asymmetrical pose--be they standing, seated or reclined--allow the pelvis and the chest to turn away from each other.

The Sequence:


Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

Child’s Pose

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Vajrasana (Downward Facing Thunderbolt Pose)

Reclined Glute Stretch

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose) simple variation
• Do the pose with the knees bent and a block between them.
• Do five sets, rolling the pelvis from side to side without holding. Exhale the pelvis out to the side, inhale it back in.
• On the last set, hold the pose for several breaths on each side.

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Pashchima Baddha Hastasana (Elbows Clasped behind the Back) in Tadasana (Mountain Pose)
• Do both crossings.

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose) with the elbows clasped behind the back

Parivrtta Trikonasana (Revolved Triangle Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Dandasana (Staff Pose)

Marichyasana 3 (Marichi’s Pose 3) sitting up on a block or blankets

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) legs only into a forward bend

Ardha Matsyendrasana 1 (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose 1) sitting up on a block or blankets

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose) passive variation
• Lie on the floor and release into the pose.

Viparita Karani (Upside Down Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


Bookmark and Share
|

Basic Practice: Releasing the Legs and Hips

sq_basics
In this practice the goal is to soften the whole area of the upper leg/lower abdomen and back/hips by grounding down into the legs and feet. As the legs and feet ground, allow the torso to release as a unit away from the hips towards the head.

The Sequence:

Pashchima Baddha Hastasana (Elbows Clasped behind the back) in Vajrasana (Thunderbolt Pose) with a blanket behind the knees

Urdhva Baddhanguliyasana (Upward Bound Fingers Pose) in Vajrasana (Thunderbolt Pose) with the toes turned under

Vajrasana (Thunderbolt Pose) with the ankles crossed

Vajrasana (Thunderbolt Pose) with the top of one foot crossed over the arch of the other

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) variation
• Come into the pose with a rolled up blanket or a block under the balls of the feet to create a calf stretch.
• Do the pose with the knees a little bent for about a minute, then pull the thighs up to straighten the legs and hold for the same length of time.
• Keep the center of gravity shifting forward.

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart
• Step back out of the previous variation and place the feet flat without lifting the head up.

Tadasana (Mountain Pose) with a block between the thighs

Urdhva Hastasana (Upward Hands Pose) with a block between the thighs

Tadasana (Mountain Pose)/Urdhva Hastasana (Upward Hands Pose) variation with a block between the thighs
• Put the hands on the hips and, keeping the torso stacked up, flex the ankles to come into a mini-squat. Do not lean forward or back. Hold this position for a few breaths.
• Raise the arms overhead. Hold this position for few breaths.
• Rise up into Urdhva Hastasana by both grounding down into the feet and lifting up through the torso.

Utkatasana (Furious Pose) with a block between the thighs
• Put the hands on the hips and, keeping the torso stacked up, flex the ankles to come into a mini-squat. Do not lean forward or back. Hold this position for a few breaths.
• Hinge forward from the hip crease, keeping the weight centered on the feet and without pushing the chest and back forward or tucking the tailbone. Hold this position for a few breaths.
• Raise the arms overhead. Hold this position for a few breaths.
• Sink deeper into the pose and hold.
• Come out of the pose through Urdhva Hastasana.

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with a block between the thighs.
• Put the hands on the hips and, keeping the torso stacked up, flex the ankles to come into a mini-squat. Do not lean forward or back. Hold this position for a few breaths.
• Hinge forward from the hip crease, keeping the weight centered on the feet and without pushing the chest and back forward or tucking the tailbone. Hold this position for a few breaths.
• Sink deeper into the legs and hinge further forward to place the hands on the floor. Hold this position for a few breaths. Place the hands on a block if necessary.
• Draw the block up to straighten the legs into the full pose.

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)
• Come into the pose with the front leg a little bent.
• Straighten the leg once in the pose by reaching down into the foot and pulling the thigh and hip up.

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with a block between the thighs.
• Come into the pose from the squat as above.

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose) variation with the arms down
• Come into the flat back variation of pose with the front leg a little bent.
• Straighten the leg once in the pose by reaching down into the foot and pulling the thigh and hip up.
• Release the head and arms down.

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with a block between the thighs.
• Come into the pose from the squat as above.

Prasarita Padottanasana 1 (Widespread Feet Pose 1)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with a block between the thighs.
• Come into the pose from the squat as above.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Child’s Pose

Adho Mukha Vajrasana (Downward Facing Thunderbolt Pose)

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) legs only into a forward bend, if possible

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Viparita Karani (Upside Down Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


Bookmark and Share
|

Practice Lab: Working with an Advanced Practice from "Light on Yoga", Part 13 [Light on Yoga]

sq_adv
[Part 1 of this series, in which we pick apart an advanced sequence from “Light on Yoga”, can be found here.]

In this practice, the second of our sequences edited for time, we are focusing on the twists and the deep hip openers.

The Sequence:

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Arm Balance/Back Bend Vishamanyasa:
Urdhva Kukkutasana (Upward Cockerel Pose)
Viparita Chakrasana (Inverted Wheel Pose)
Parshva Kukkutasana (Side Cockerel Pose)
Viparita Chakrasana (Inverted Wheel Pose)
Parshva Bakasana ( Side Crow Pose)
Viparita Chakrasana (Inverted Wheel Pose)
Dwi Pada Koundinyasana (Two Leg Koundinya’s Pose)
Viparita Chakrasana (Inverted Wheel Pose)
Eka Pada Koundinyasana 1 (Single Leg Koundinya’s Pose 1)
Viparita Chakrasana (Inverted Wheel Pose)

Ankle-to-Knee Cycle:
[Do each of the following four hip openers all on one crossing and then all on the other.]

Ankle to Knee Pose
Revolved Ankle to Knee Pose
• Twist to the side of the top foot.
Side Ankle to Knee Pose
• Extended forward over the side of the top foot.
Ankle to Knee Pose

Yogadandasana (Yoga Staff Pose)

Eka Pada Mulabandhasana (Single Leg Root Lock Pose)
• Also known as Janu Shirshasana C in the Ashtanga Vinyasa Primary Series.

Mulabandhasana (Root Lock Pose)

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Kandasana (Knot Pose)

Ardha Matsyendrasana 1 (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose 1)

Pashasana (Noose Pose)

Paripurna Matsyendrasana (Full Lord of the Fishes Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


Next time, our edited practice will feature the inverted back bends.


Related Posts:

Practice Lab: Working with an Advanced Practice from "Light on Yoga,” Round-Up


Bookmark and Share
|

Practice Lab: Working with an Advanced Practice from "Light on Yoga", Part 12 [Light on Yoga]

sq_adv
[Part 1 of this series, in which we pick apart an advanced sequence from “Light on Yoga”, can be found here.]

Up to now we have been dissecting our advanced practice and exploring sequences to help us master the more challenging transitions and poses featured there. The full practice is quite long and very demanding from an endurance perspective. For the next few weeks we will take the practice as it stands and break it down into shorter pieces which will allow us to cycle through all the important parts over a series of days, rather than all in one big chunk. Each of these shorter practices will also include a few poses to prepare the body for the more advanced work,

In this first practice, the focus is elements of the arm balance vishamanyasa, the deep groin and hamstring openers and the deep forward bends.

The Sequence:

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana (Half Bound Lotus Intense Stretch Pose)

Prasarita Padottanasana 1 (Wide Spread Feet Pose 1)

Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Arm Balance/Back Bend Vishamanyasa:
Bakasana (Crow Pose)
Viparita Chakrasana (Inverted Wheel Pose)
Eka Pada Koundinyasana 2 (Single Leg Koundinya’s Pose 2)
Viparita Chakrasana (Inverted Wheel Pose)
Eka Pada Bakasana 1 (Single Leg Crow Pose 1)
Viparita Chakrasana (Inverted Wheel Pose)
Eka Pada Bakasana 2 (Single Leg Crow Pose 2)
Viparita Chakrasana (Inverted Wheel Pose)

Hanumanasana (Hanuman’s Pose)

Samakonasana (Straight Angle Pose)

Supta Trivikramasana (Reclined Three Strides Pose)

Yogadandasana (Yoga Staff Pose)

Kandasana (Knot Pose)

Ardha Matsyendrasana 1 (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose 1)

Yoganidrasana (Yoga Sleep Pose)

Dwi Pada Shirshasana (Two Legs Behind the Head Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


Next time we’ll focus on the deep hip openers and the twists.


Related Posts:

Practice Lab: Working with an Advanced Practice from "Light on Yoga,” Round-Up


Bookmark and Share
|

Practice Lab: Working with an Advanced Practice from "Light on Yoga", Part 11 [Light on Yoga]

sq_adv
[Part 1 of this series, in which we pick apart an advanced sequence from “Light on Yoga”, can be found here.]

In our final exploration of the more challenging poses of our sequence, we are going to have a look at both the twists, culminating in Paripurna Matsyendrasana (Full Lord of the Fishes Pose), and the extreme hip flexions, Yoganidrasana (Yoga Sleep Pose) and Dwi Pada Shirshasana (Both Legs Behind the Head Pose).

These poses all require a lot of space around the hip joint. The inner thighs and the gluteals need to be opened up for the proper placement of the legs.

The Sequence:

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Shirshasana Cycle:
Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)
Parshva Shirshasana (Side Head Stand)
Parivrttaikapada Shirshasana (Revolved Single Leg Head Stand)
Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose) in Head Stand)
Upavishtha Konasana (Seated Angle Pose) in Head Stand
Eka Pada Shirshasana (Single Leg Head Stand)
Parshvaikapada Shirshasana (Single Leg to the Side Head Stand)

Sarvangasana Cycle:
Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)
Halasana (Plough Pose)
Karnapidasana (Pressure in the Ear Pose)
Supta Konasana (Reclined Angle Pose)
Parshva Halasana (Side Plough Pose)
Parshva Karnapidasana (Side Pressure on the Ear Pose)
Urdhva Padmasana (Upward Lotus Pose)
Pindasana (Embryo Pose)
Parshva Pindasana (Side Embryo Pose)

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose)

Supta Padangusthasana Cycle:
Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1) with the head down
Supta Padangusthasana 3 (Reclined big Toe Pose 3)
Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)
Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1) with the head up

Ankle-to-Knee Cycle:
[Do each of the following four hip openers all on one crossing and then all on the other.]

Ankle to Knee Pose
Revolved Ankle to Knee Pose
• Twist to the side of the top foot.
Side Ankle to Knee Pose
• Extended forward over the side of the top foot.
Ankle to Knee Pose

Ardha Baddha Padma Pashchimottanasana (Half Bound Lotus Intense West Stretch Pose)

Bharadwajasana 2 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 2)

Ardha Matsyendrasana 1 (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose 1)

Marichyasana 4 (Marichi’s Pose 4)

Paripurna Matsyendrasana (Full Lord of the Fishes Pose)

Eka Hasta Bhujasana (Single Hand and Arm Pose)

Dwi Hasta Bhujasana (Both Hands and Arms Pose)

Kurmasana (Turtle Pose)

Supta Kurmasana (Sleeping Turtle Pose)

Yoganidrasana (Yoga Sleep Pose)

Dwi Pada Shirshasana (Both Legs Behind the Head Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


For the next few weeks, we will look at ways to break our advanced sequence down into smaller chunks with appropriate necessary preparation for each of the main practice sections.


Related Posts:

Practice Lab: Working with an Advanced Practice from "Light on Yoga,” Round-Up


Bookmark and Share
|

Practice Lab: Working with an Advanced Practice from "Light on Yoga", Part 10 [Light on Yoga]

sq_adv
[Part 1 of this series, in which we pick apart an advanced sequence from “Light on Yoga”, can be found here.]

The next challenge that we must tackle in our sequence is a collection of three deep outward rotations of the thigh in the hip socket: Yogadandasana (Yoga Staff Pose), Mulabandhasana (Root Lock Pose) and Kandasana (Knot Pose). Each of these poses are quite tricky, as they require not only open hip joints, but also mobile knees, lower legs, ankles and toes.

The Sequence:

Vajrasana (Thunderbolt Pose) with a blanket behind the knees

Vajrasana (Thunderbolt Pose) with the toes turned under

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) with the shins together

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) with the heels apart

Upavishtha Garudasana (Seated Eagle Pose)
• Sitting on the floor, cross the right leg over the left as for Garudasana (Eagle Pose).
• Turn to your left, bringing the right knee across the body and onto the floor. Turn to face the floor, supporting yourself on your elbows and walk the trunk around to face the wall behind you. Hold this pose for half a minute.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Vrkshasana (Tree Pose)

Utkatasana (Furious Pose)

Garudasana (Eagle Pose)

Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana (Half Bound Lotus Intense Stretch Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Shirshasana Cycle:
Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)
Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose) in Head Stand
Upavishtha Konasana (Seated Angle Pose) in Head Stand
Eka Pada Sarvangasana (Single Leg Head Stand)
Parshvaikapada Sarvangasana (Single Leg to the Side Head Stand)

Sarvangasana Cycle:
Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)
Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose) in Shoulder Stand
Upavishtha Konasana (Seated Angle Pose) in Shoulder Stand
Supta Konasana (Reclined Angle Pose)
Halasana (Plough Pose)
Urdhva Padmasana (Upward Lotus Pose) in Shoulder Stand
Pindasana (Embryo Pose) in Shoulder Stand

Janu Shirshasana (Head of the Knee Pose)

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

Ankle-to-Knee Cycle:
[Do each of the following four hip openers all on one crossing and then all on the other.]

Ankle to Knee Pose
Revolved Ankle to Knee Pose
• Twist to the side of the top foot.
Side Ankle to Knee Pose
• Extended forward over the side of the top foot.
Ankle to Knee Pose

Bharadwajasana 2 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 2)

Ardha Baddha Padma Pashchimottanasana (Half Bound Lotus Intense West Stretch Pose)

Eka Pada Mulabandhasana (Single Leg Root Lock Pose)
• This is also known as Janu Shirshasana C in the Ashtanga Vinyasa Primary Series.

Yogadandasana (Yoga Staff Pose)

Baddha Konasana Cycle:
Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose) at the wall
• Come into the pose sitting up on one or two folded blankets with the back against the wall.
• Hold for 1 to 2 minutes.
Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose) at the wall with a block between the feet
• From the above position, place a block between the feet.
• Hold for 1 to 2 minutes.
Kandasana (Knot Pose) at the wall with the feet on a block
• From the above position, place the block under the feet.
• Hold for 1 to 2 minutes.
Mulabandhasana (Root Lock Pose) at the wall
• Take the block away and turn the toes under and the heels up.
• Place a wedge between the heels and the pubic bone and use it to gently lever the heels away from the body.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Utkatasana (Furious Pose) with the back against the wall and a block between the thighs
• Make sure to keep the knees directly over the ankles.
• This will help to strengthen and stabilize the knee joint. (See Sandy Blaine’s excellent “Yoga for Healthy Knees.”)
• Hold for 30 to 60 seconds.

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose) with a roll under the bottom of the thighs
• Have the roll under the thigh bones just above the knees and press down into it, activating the lower thigh muscles.
• This is another excellent knee stabilizer.

Shavasana (Corpse Pose) with the legs elevated, either on a chair or a bolster


Next time we’ll look at the final two sections of our practice, the deep twists and forward bends.


Related Posts:

Practice Lab: Working with an Advanced Practice from "Light on Yoga,” Round-Up


Bookmark and Share
|

Practice Lab: Working with an Advanced Practice from "Light on Yoga", Part 9 [Light on Yoga]

sq_adv
[Part 1 of this series, in which we pick apart an advanced sequence from “Light on Yoga”, can be found here.]

Our advanced sequence truly features a bit of everything. After all the arm balances and all the back bends comes lots of deep work in and around the hip joint. The three poses that we are focusing on this time—Hanumanasana (Hanuman’s Pose), Samakonasana (Same Angle Pose) and Supta Trivikramasana (Reclined Three Strides Pose)—are each a variation of a deep split, requiring length and freedom in both the font of the hip joint, the hip flexors, lower abdomen and quadriceps, behind it, in the buttock, the lower back and the hamstring, and in the inner thighs.

The Sequence:

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose)

Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior Pose 1)

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)

Padangusthasana (Big Toe Pose)

Padahastasana (Hand Under Foot Pose)

Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana (Half Bound Lotus Intense Stretch Pose)

Urdhva Prasarita Ekapadasana (Single Leg Extended Up Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Shirshasana Cycle:
Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)
Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose) in Head Stand
Upavishtha Konasana (Seated Angle Pose) in Head Stand
Parivrttaikapada Shirshasana (Revolved Single Leg Head Stand)
Eka Pada Shirshasana (Single Leg Head Stand)
Parshvaikapada Shirshasana (Single Leg to the Side Head Stand)

Supta Virasana (Reclined Hero Pose)

Sarvangasana Cycle:
Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)
Halasana (Plough Pose)
Supta Konasana (Reclined Angle Pose)
Eka Pada Sarvangasana (Single Leg Shoulder Stand)
Parshvaikapada Sarvangasana (Single Leg to the Side Shoulder Stand)
Eka Pada Setu Bandha (Single Leg Bridge Pose)
Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose in Shoulder Stand)

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Upavishtha Konasana (Seated Angle Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) legs only into forward bend

Janu Shirshasana (Head of the Knee Pose)

Parivrtta Janu Shirshasana (Revolved Head of the Knee Pose)

Lunge Series:
Lunge with the hands on the floor and the back knee up
Lung with the hands on the floor and the back knee down
Lunge with the hands on high blocks and the back knee down
Lunge with the hands on high blocks and the front foot on a low block
Lunge with the hands on high blocks and the back toes on a low block

Hanumanasana (Hanuman’s Pose)
• If you are unable to do the full pose, bringing the pelvis down to the floor, stack a bolster and/or blankets up underneath you so that you are able to rest completely down on them, allowing the muscles to release completely, without having to negotiate holding you up.

Samakonasana (Same Angle Pose)
• Similarly here, stack the props up underneath as high as necessary to fully support you with your legs out to the side.

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1) with a belt around the foot and the back on the floor.

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1) holding on to the big toe and lifting the head

Supta Trivikramasana (Reclined Three Strides Pose)
• If you are unable to do the full pose with the back on the floor, lift the torso up to clasp the heel with both hands. Either stack bolster and/or blankets up under your back to support your torso, or reach the waist towards your head and widen the back towards the floor without the support.

Virasana (Hero Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


Next time will go further into hip and groin territory exploring Yogadandasana (Yoga Staff Pose), Mulabandhasana (Root Lock Pose) and Kandasana (Knot Pose).


Related Posts:

Practice Lab: Working with an Advanced Practice from "Light on Yoga,” Round-Up


Bookmark and Share
|

Basic Practice: Releasing the Buttocks, Outer Hips and Thighs

sq_basics
In this practice, focus on using the inner thighs to support the legs in order to help the outer hips and thighs soften and widen. In all the poses, be very clear where the torso ends and the legs begin, in the hip joint. Whenever the the hip flexes, turn the torso as a unit up and over the top of the thigh without tilting the pelvis forward or back.

The Sequence:

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Child’s Pose)

Child’s Pose

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) feet apart

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) with the shins together

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) with the heels apart, forward bend without the arms

Upavishtha Garudasana (Seated Eagle Pose)
• Sitting on the floor, cross the right leg over the left as for Garudasana (Eagle Pose).
• Turn to your left, bringing the right knee across the body and onto the floor. Turn to face the floor, supporting yourself on your elbows and walk the trunk around to face the wall behind you. Hold this pose for half a minute.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Tadasana (Mountain Pose)

Urdhva Hastasana (Upward Hands Pose)

Utkatasana (Furious Pose)

Garudasana (Eagle Pose) legs only

Garudasana (Eagle Pose) arms only

Garudasana (Eagle Pose) full pose

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Virabhdrasana 2 (Warrior Pose 2)

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Vajrasana (Thunderbolt Pose) with a blanket behind the knees

Virasana (Hero Pose) with a blanket behind the knees

Viparita Karani (Upside Down Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


Bookmark and Share
|

Intermediate Practice: The Psoas and the Quadratus Lumborum in Twists

sq_int
Once again we are thinking about the quadratus lumborum and the psoas, this time in Padmasana (Lotus Pose) variations and twists. As you perform the sequence below consider the following ideas:
  • Elongate the psoas by lengthening behind the pubic bone, navel and sternum. Think of grounding/moving towards the legs the lesser trochanters, the lower attachment of the psoas, while widening and lifting/moving towards the head T12, the upper attachment.
  • Soften and widen the quadratus lumborum. To help this, soften and widen the buttocks and lengthen them toward the siting bones, while also softening and widening the lower lattisimus dorsi and lengthening them towards the head.
  • Soften the abdomen and allow it to fall back into the quadratus lumborum.
  • When twisting, initiate the movement in the quadratus lumborum, widening it and wrapping it around.

The Sequence:

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Child’s Pose with a roll under the abdomen

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose)
• Have a block between the thighs and the calves belted at the thickest place.
• Press the inner thighs outwards away from the bloc, keeping the hip creases wide. Anchor the feet into the block.

Hip stretch in a chair

Shirshasana Cycle:
Urdhva Dandasana (Upward Staff Pose)
Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)
Parshva Shirshasana (Side Head Stand)
Parivrttaikapada Shirshasana (Revolved Single Leg Head Stand)
Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)
Parivrtta Baddha Konasana (Revolved Bound Angle Pose)

Sarvangasana Cycle:
Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)
Halasana (Plough Pose)
Karnapidasana (Pressure on the Ear Pose)
Supta Konasana (Reclined Angle Pose)
Parshva Halasana (Side Plough Pose)
Parshva Karnapidasana (Side Pressure on the Ear Pose)
Pindasana (Embryo Pose) with the legs in Ardha Padmasana (Half Lotus Pose)
Pindasana (Embryo Pose) with the legs in Padmasana (Lotus Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

Ankle-to-Knee Cycle:
[Do each of the following three hip openers all on one crossing and then all on the other.]

Ankle to Knee Pose
Revolved Ankle to Knee Pose
• Twist to the side of the top foot.
Side Ankle to Knee Pose
• Extended forward over the side of the top foot.
Ankle to Knee Pose

Marichyasana 3 (Marichi’s Pose 3)

Ardha Matsyendrasana 1 (Half Lord of the Fishes 1)

Malasana (Garland Pose)

Marichyasana 1 (Marichi’s Pose 1)

Marichyasana 2 (Marichi’s Pose 2)

Pashasana (Noose Pose)

Marichyasana 4 (Marichi’s Pose 4)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) over a bolster

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


Bookmark and Share
|

Intermediate Group Class: Separating the Femurs from the Trunk

sq_int
To make the quality of the poses softer and more holistic, instead of moving from the muscle, or even the connective tissue, think of moving from the bone. Specifically, think of moving from the femurs and the humeri, while directing the trunk and the spine towards the head (or away from the head if inverted). This sequence occasionally uses the rope wall.

The Sequence

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose) on the ropes

Rope Sequence:
Urdhva Dandasana (Upward Staff Pose) on the ropes, 3 minutes
Shalabhasana (Locus Pose) on the ropes, 1 minute
Urdhva Dandasana (Upward Staff Pose) on the ropes, 3 minutes

Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana 1 (Extended Hand to Foot Pose 1) on the rope wall

Shirshasana Cycle:
Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1), 5 minutes
Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)
Upavishtha Konasana (Seated Angle Pose)
Eka Pada Shirshasana (Single Head Stand)
Parshvaikapada Shirshasana (Single Leg to the Side Head Stand)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Virabhadrasana 2 (Warrior Pose 2) with the bent leg thigh supported on a chair

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose) with the bent leg thigh supported on a chair

Chair Hip Sequence:
Single Leg Ankle-to-Knee forward bend on the chair
• Sitting in the chair, put one ankle on the opposite thigh, just above the knee, and fold forward.
Bharadwajasana 2 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 2) in the chair
• Sitting in the chair, bring one leg into Ardha Padmasana (Half Lotus Pose) and bind.
Adho Mukha Ardha Padmasana (Downward Facing Half Lotus Pose)
• Sitting in the chair, bring one leg into Ardha Padmasana and fold forward.

Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana (Half Bound Lotus Intense Stretch Pose) chair variation
• Without binding, come into the pose with the hands on the chair for balance.
• First, extend out into a flat back, then fold forward.

Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana (Half Bound Lotus Intense Stretch Pose)

Matsyasana (Fish Pose)
• Lying back over a bolster.
• Any leg variation.

Uttana Padma Mayurasana (Intense Stretch Lotus Peacock Pose) over a block

Upavishtha Konasana (Seated Angle Pose)

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Sarvangasana Cycle:
Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)
Salamba Sarvangasana 2 (Shoulder Stand 2)
Niralamba Sarvangasana 1 (Unsupported Shoulder Stand 1)
Niralamba Sarvangasana 2 (Unsupported Shoulder Stand 2)
Halasana (Plough Pose)
Urdhva Padmasana (Upward Lotus Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


Bookmark and Share
|

Level 1 Group Class: Standing Twists

sq_basics
In this practice we need to find balance in the standing poses by using the strength of the inner thighs. This has the added benefit of allowing the outer hips and thighs a chance to soften, which, in turn, allows the trunk to elongate, allowing for a more effective twist.


The Sequence:

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet hip width apart

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Child’s Pose

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Virabhadrasana 2 (Warrior Pose 2)

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) kegs only into a forward bend

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)
• Flat back first, then into forward fold.

Parivrtta Trikonasana (Revolved Triangle Pose) with the hand on a block

Virabhadrasana 3 (Warrior Pose 3) variation
• Come into the pose with both hands on high blocks.

Parivrtta Ardha Chandrasana (Revolved Half Moon Pose) with the hand on a block

Parivrtta Trikonasana (Revolved Triangle Pose) with the hand on a block

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Child’s Pose

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) over a bolster

Parshva Bharadwajasana (Side Bharadwaja’s Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


Bookmark and Share
|

Level 1 Group Class: Lengthening the Sides to Balance the Spine in Twists

sq_basics
For the spine to twist it needs to be fully elongated with the curves balanced. The easiest way to achieve this is to make sure that the sides of the trunk are elongated and parallel to each other. Then there will be room in the trunk for the twisting action.

The Sequence

Reclined Hip Stretch Sequence

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) legs only into forward bend

Parivrtta Supta Padangusthasana (Revolved Reclined Big Toe Pose)
• Have the foot resting on a block. Keep the hips/pelvis facing the block.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Child’s Pose

Virabhadrasana 2 (Warrior Pose 2)
• Come into the pose with the arms raised alongside the ears, then bring them down into position.

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)
• Flat back position with the hands on blocks only.

Parivrtta Trikonasana (Revolved Triangle Pose)
• Come into it from Parshvottanasana.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose) with the knees bent

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose) working on straightening the legs

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) over a bolster

Viparita Karani (Upside Down Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


Bookmark and Share
|

Level 1 Group Class: Strength of the Ribs and Core

sq_basics
I’m getting a little backed up here with the old class sequence posts. Hopefully this week I can get caught up. Here’s a Level 1 sequence where the focus is finding strength not just in the abdomen, but in the rib cage as well, providing strength and connection for the legs and the arms.

The Sequence

Side Stretch at the wall
• Stand with the feet together about eight to twelve inches away from the wall and lean the right hip, waist and ribs against it. Reach the right arm up. Pause here for a few breaths.
• Come up onto the balls of the feet. Stay here for a few breaths.
• Slowly drop the right heel, resisting up through the ribs and arms to lengthen out the right side of the waist. When the right heel is down, drop the left.
• Bend the right elbow and clasp it with the left hand. Draw the upper arm bone up towards the ceiling. Hold here for a few breaths.
• Take the tip of the elbow up and over the top of the head while keeping the outer armpit moving into the wall. Hold here for a few breaths.
• Turn the chest a slightly into the middle of the room to send the stretch towards the back. Hold here for a few breaths.
• Release and repeat on the second side.

Urdhva Baddhanguliyasana (Upward Bound Fingers Pose) with the back against the wall
• Keep the side of the waist and the side rib cage moving back into the wall.
• Do not let the chest and rib cage follow the arms up.

All Fours
Plank Pose
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Child’s Pose

Lung with the back knee up
• Place the hands flat on blocks, pressing them firmly and evenly down

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Lung with the back knee up
• Fingertips to the floor

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)
• 3 sets.

[Do the following sequence as a continuous flow]

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart
• Clasp the elbows and draw the upper arms down towards the floor.
Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart
• Bend the knees and place the hands flat on the floor, in front of the feet if necessary.
• Press the palms down and draw the hips up, shifting the weight forward. (You might not be able to fully straighten the legs,)
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
• Hop back into the pose.
Plank Pose
• Hold for 30 seconds.
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart
• Hop forward into the pose.
• Clasp the elbows and change the crossing. Draw the upper arms down towards the floor.
Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the hands flat on the floor
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
• Hop back into the pose.
Plank Pose
Plank Pose with the toes pointed
• Hold for 30 seconds.
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart
• Variations as above.
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Plank Pose
Plank Pose with the toes pointed
Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana (Upward Facing Dog Pose)
• Hold for 30 seconds.
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart
• Variations as above.
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Plank Pose
Plank Pose with the toes pointed
Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana (Upward Facing Dog Pose)
Plank Pose with the toes pointed
• Press up from Up Dog.
• Hold for 30 seconds.
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Child’s Pose

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) legs only with forward bend

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) arms and legs

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)
• Back against the wall.

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)
• Back against the wall.
• Block between the feet.

Dandasana (Staff Pose)

Upavishtha Konasana (Seated Angle Pose)
• Upright seated position only

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose in Shoulder Stand)
• 3 blankets under the shoulders and the feet on a chair.
• 2 repetitions, holding for 30 to 60 seconds each time.

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)
• Sitting on the blankets and resting the arms and head on the chair.

Shavasana (Corpse Pose) with the legs on the chair


Bookmark and Share
|

Level 1 Group Class: Hips and Hamstrings

Warrior Pose 2
In this practice we are thinking about opening up the back of the leg and stretching the hamstrings in the belly of the muscle where the fibers are most flexible. In each of these poses, think of widening the backs of the thighs and moving the thighbones into the hamstrings as you deepen the hip creases and lengthen the sides of the trunk forward.

The Sequence

Reclined Hip Stretch Sequence

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Child’s Pose

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Lung with the back leg straight

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Child’s Pose

Supta Padangusthasana (Reclined Big Toe Pose) variation with block
• Hold a block against the middle of the hamstring.
• Draw the knee into the chest, deepening the hip crease, while reaching through and anchoring the opposite leg.
• After a few breath press the thigh bone into the block and straighten the leg by reaching up through the inner thigh/inner foot.

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the toes up
• Do the pose with the ankle flexed and the toes/balls of the feet up on a block or a blanket roll.

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Tadasana (Mountain Pose)

Urdhva Baddhanguliyasana (Upward Bound Fingers Pose) in Tadasana (Mountain Pose)

Virabhadrasana 2 (Warrior Pose 2)

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Virabhadrasana 2 (Warrior Pose 2) INTO Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)
• Come into the flat back position with the hands on blocks.
• Bend the knee and deepen the hip crease.
• Straighten the leg by moving the thigh bone into the hamstring. Stretch the sides of the trunk forward.
• Walk the hands and blocks forward.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Child’s Pose

Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose in Shoulder Stand) on a chair
• Come into Setu Bandha with three blankets under the shoulders and the feet on the chair.
• Widen and lift the hamstrings up into the thigh bones.
• Repeat.

Halasana (Plough Pose) with the feet on a chair
Eka Pada Sarvangasana (Single Leg Shoulder Stand) with one foot on the chair
Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)
• Sit on your shoulder stand blankets and lean forward resting the forearms and forehead on the chair.
• Do both sides.

Shavasana (Corpse Pose) with the lower legs resting on the chair


Bookmark and Share
|

Level 1 Group Class: Lengthening the Trunk for Twists

Marichi's Pose 3
In this class we worked primarily on lengthening the sides of the trunk evenly to lengthen and free the spine in the twists. As a second idea, we worked on taking the twist from the upper trunk (the navel and chest), turning the lower abdomen and hip away from the direction of the twist.

The Sequence

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
• Have a block between the thighs and pull it back.
• Grip the edges of the mat and pull them forward.

Child’s Pose
• Hands on blocks.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Child’s Pose

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Lunge with the back knee up

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Parivrtta Parshvakonasana (Revolved Side Angle Pose)
• Simple variation with the arm/hand down inside the front leg.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Child’s Pose

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) forward bend with the legs only

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)
• Hands on blocks.
• Only to the flat back position, not the full forward fold.

Parivrtta Trikonasana (Revolved Triangle Pose)
• From the flat back Parshvottanasana with the hands on blocks.
• Do this twice on both sides.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Marichyasana 1 (Marichi’s Pose 1) twist only, without binding

Marichyasana 3 (Marichi’s Pose 3)

Ardha Matsyendrasana 1 (Half Lord of the Fishes 1)

Pashasana (Noose Pose) heels on blankets

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) over a bolster with the ankles belted

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


Bookmark and Share
|

Reclined Hip Stretch Sequence

I presented this series the other day in a Level 1 Group Class post, but I didn’t describe it very well. Here is an illustrated version. Hold each stage for 30 to 60 seconds. Do each stage on one leg, then repeat on the second.

Part 1

IMG_4564
• Lie with the legs bent and the hands on the lower abdomen.
• Become aware of the release in the lower abdomen with each exhalation.
• Soften and release the lower back, the hips, the buttocks and the pelvic floor.

Part 2

IMG_4565
• Place one ankle on the opposite thigh, take hold of the legs and draw them in towards you.
• Keep the sitting bones dropping towards the floor.
• Use the strength of the arms, keeping the leg muscles passive.

Part 3

IMG_4566
• Roll over onto your side and place the foot flat on the ground.
• Roll the thigh away from you so that the shin and knee point up towards the ceiling.
• Lengthen the waist towards the head.

Part 4

IMG_4567
• Either cross the legs and open out into a twist.
• If the twist pull sharply on the buttocks or the lower back, uncross the legs rest one thigh on the other.
• Return to the first position for a few breath, feeling the effects of the stretches before continuing on with the other leg.
• When you have finished both sides, keep the abdomen soft as you roll over to the right and press yourself up.


Bookmark and Share
|

Practice Lab: Vamadevasana 2

We sort of made this sequence up as we went along, but it turned out to be remarkably restorative. Vamadeva is the name of the aspect of Shiva that is the preserver, is female in gender and associated with the element of water.

The Sequence


[Do the following sequence all in one go, keeping the head down throughout]
Rope Shirshasana
Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)
• Place the hands on the floor, push up half way.
• Untangle the legs from the ropes and press all the way up into Hand Stand.
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart
Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)
• 5 min.

Supta Virasana (Reclined Hero Pose)

Pigeon Pose forward bend

Pigeon Pose forward bend
• Place a thin mat or blanket roll under the front ankle.

Pigeon Pose forward bend
• Increase the height under the front ankle.

Eka Pada Raja Kapotasana 1 (Single Leg King Pigeon Pose 1) with Bhekasana (Frog Pose) back leg

Vamadevasana 2 (Vamadeva’s Pose 2)
• We found it extremely helpful to start in Bharadwajasana 2 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 2) with the Padmasana (Lotus Pose) leg high on the opposite thigh and the foot aiming at the navel. Keeping that height, then think more of pressing the Bhekasana foot down onto the other.
• It’s also helpful to lean really far over onto the greater trochanter of the Padmasana leg.

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Parivrtta Trikonasana (Revolved Triangle Pose)

Parighasana (Gate Pose)

Parivrtta Trikonasana (Revolved Triangle Pose)

Marichyasana 3 (Marichi’s Pose 3)

Pashasana (Noose Pose) facing the wall
• Place the hands on the wall, both for support and to help deepen the twist.

Ardha Halasana (Half Plough Pose)
• 5 min.

Ardha Pindasana (Half Embryo Pose)
• With your Ardha Halasana set-up, cross the legs into Padmasana (Lotus Pose) and rest them on the chair.
• 60-90 sec each crossing.

Adho Mukha Shavasana (Downward Facing Corpse Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


Bookmark and Share
|

Intermediate Group Class: The Pelvic Floor in Forward Bends

Half Bound Lotus Intense West Stretch Pose
As with last week’s class, we are balancing and strengthening the pelvic floor. On top of the actions we were working on last week, in the seated forward bends we will be trying to keep the pelvic floor horizontal. If, say, it is tipped to the left, widen and lift the front of the pelvic floor from behind the left side of the pubic bone while you also widen and descend the pelvic floor from behind the right side of the pubic bone. You will probably find that the pelvic floor will tilt towards the center of gravity, the side you are turning to in a side pose or the straight leg in a pose such as Janu Shirshasana (Head of the Knee Pose).

The Sequence

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart
• Place a block between the feet and belt the calves at the thickest part.
• Press the calves out into the belt while anchoring the feet back into the block.
• Balance out the thighs by widening from behind the pubic bone across the hip creases and from in front of the tailbone across the buttock creases, where the buttock and hamstrings meet.

Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana 1 (Extended Hand to Big Toe Pose 1) with the foot on a ledge

Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana 2 (Extended Hand to Big Toe Pose 2) with the foot on a ledge
• Make this pose a little more like Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose) by walking the standing leg further out than the hi[ and turning it in.

Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana 1 (Extended Hand to Big Toe Pose 1) with the foot on a ledge
• Bend forward and take hold of the foot.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

[Perform the following Supta Padangusthasana sequence all on one leg, then all on the other]
Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)
Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)
Parivrtta Supta Padangusthasana (Revolved Reclined Big Toe Pose)
Supta Padangusthasana 3 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 3)
Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1) raised head variation

Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)
• Three attempts, once with each leg and once with both legs.

Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)
Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose) in Head Stand
Upavishtha Konasana (Seated Angle Pose) in Head Stand
Eka Pada Shirshasana (Single Leg Head Stand)
Parshva Eka Pada Shirshasana (Single Leg to the Side Head Stand)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)
Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose) in Shoulder Stand
Upavishtha Konasana (Seated Angle Pose) in Shoulder Stand
Supta Konasana (Reclined Angle Pose)
Halasana (Plough Pose)
Eka Pada Sarvangasana (Single Leg Shoulder Stand)
Parshva Eka Pada Sarvangasana (Single Leg to the Side Shoulder Stand)

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)
Parshva Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Side Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)
• On each crossing of the legs, extend forward, turn to the right and then the left, return to the middle.

[Do each of the following hip openers all on one crossing and then all on the other]
Ankle to Knee Pose
Side Ankle to Knee Pose
• Extended forward over the side of the top foot.

Janu Shirshasana (Head of the Knee Pose)

Ardha Baddha Padma Pashchimottanasana (Half Bound Lotus Intense West Stretch Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


Bookmark and Share
|

Level 1 Group Class: Softening the Outer Hips and Thighs

Half Moon Pose
The outer hip, outer upper thigh area often gets very thick and tight, not least because the outer hip rotators also serve as stabilizers for the hips. In this class we will try and stop the outer hip rolling up towards the head, shortening the waist. In each of these poses think of rolling the outer hip away from the head to lengthen the waist whenever you are folding at the hip.

The Sequence

Reclined Floor Stretch Sequence
• Reclined Glute Stretch: place one ankle on the opposite thigh, take hold of the legs and draw them in towards you with the strength of the arms, keep;ing the leg muscles passive.
• From the above position, roll over onto your side and place the foot flat on the ground. Roll the thigh away from you so that the shin and knee point up towards the ceiling.
• Either cross the legs or rest one thigh on the other and open out into a twist.
• Hold for 30 to 60 seconds in each of these positions, then repeat on the other side.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) leg variation
• Instead of sitting down between the feet, bring the ankles and shins together with the feet pointing back behind you. Put the hands on blocks to support yourself and sit back on the heels.
• Keep the shins and ankles together, even if this means you are not able to get the hips very far down.

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Urdhva Hastasana (Upward Hands Pose)

Vrkshasana (Tree Pose)

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Virabhadrasana 2 (Warrior Pose 2)

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Virasana (Hero Pose)

Bharadwajasana 2 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 2) simple variation

Bharadwajasana 1 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 1) simple variation

Parshva Parvatasana (Side Mountain Pose) over a bolster

Viparita Karani (Upside Down Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


Bookmark and Share
|

Practice Lab: Separating the Ilio-Psoas

Pasted Graphic
This week’s practice was not particularly complicated in terms of the poses I worked on, but I ended up focusing on quite a high level of detail. I’ve always had trouble in my sacrum, psoas and pelvic floor, and the whole area has been particularly troublesome in the past few weeks. I went to Phoenix to teach the fine folks at Gravity Center and the air travel pretty much did me in, hence all the attention to the lower body of late.

Ideally, as you go through the sequence keep in mind all of the factors presented here. If, however, you are only beginning to become familiar with this area and it’s too much to focus on straight away, work with one or two of the ideas, building up slowly. I’ve arranged the actions in an ordered progression, from what should be mastered first to finishing touches.

In essence, we are balancing the movement around the hip joint by anchoring through the femur head (top of the thigh bone) and balancing the work of the ilio-psoas muscles.

The Lesser Trochanters and the Hip Joint

First we need to stabilize the base. Strengthen and anchor the legs by moving the lesser trochanters in each of the following directions:
  • Move them away from each other.
  • Move them away from the midline of the body.
  • Move them towards the feet or the floor.
In some poses, these might all be the same direction, depending on the arrangement of the legs. When working with the lesser trochanters there is often a tendency to roll the thighs in as well, so make sure to keep the hip creases (where the thigh and abdomen meet) and the buttock creases (where the buttocks and hamstrings meet) evenly wide.

With the femurs properly grounded, center the weight evenly around the entirety of both hip joints. You might think of the wall of connective tissue that wraps the joint, balancing the weight around it. Just this part can requite a huge amount of vigilance, as we often have habitual movement patterns in the hips an legs that are very easy to fall back into unawares.

The Iliacus and the Psoas

Think of separating these two muscles. Strengthen and lengthen the psoas up the length of the body from the lesser trochanters towards the head. Think of widening the iliacus outwards away from the psoas and down towards the lesser trochanters.

In addition, to create spaciousness in the lower back, think of moving both muscles back, away from the front body.

When working with the psoas, people who tend to be more tucked back in the pelvis may well have to lengthen down through the lesser trochanters more as they draw up and back through the psoas. People who tend to be more tilted forward may have to draw up and widen back away from the lesser trochanters more.

The Pelvic Floor and the Lower Ribs

Soften and widen the fan of the pelvic floor as evenly as possible. Draw up the length of the body towards the head from behind the pubic bone. Soften and widen the lower ribs from the xyphoid process around and back towards the spine.

Once you have each of these actions working, build them up in your poses and cycle through them one to three times in each pose.

Additional Thoughts

For variety, you might also think of working with the psoas major and minor, lengthening the fibers of psoas major down towards the feet and psoas minor up towards the head (or reversing it if that works for you, perhaps if you are more tucked). Working with just psoas major, you could direct the lower fibers (say from L3 down) forward and down towards the feet while drawing the upper fibers (L2 to T12) up towards the head, or vice versa if it suits your body more.

The Sequence

Vrkshasana (Tree Pose) with the knee at the wall

Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana 1 (Extended Hand to Big Toe Pose 1)
• Foot on a rope wall hook or some other ledge.
• Upright variation.

Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana 2 (Extended Hand to Big Toe Pose 2)
• Foot on a rope wall hook or some other ledge.
• Triangle Pose variation with the standing foot a little further out and turned in.

Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana 1 (Extended Hand to Big Toe Pose 1)
• Foot on a rope wall hook or some other ledge.
• Forward bend variation.
• If you can, put more height under the foot to make it above hip height.

Virasana (Hero Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Padangusthasana (Bog Toe Pose)

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)

Prasarita Padottanasana 1 (Widespread Feet Pose 1)

[Perform the following Supta Padangusthasana sequence all on one leg, then all on the other]
Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)
Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)
Parivrtta Supta Padangusthasana (Revolved Reclined Big Toe Pose)
Supta Padangusthasana 3 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 3)
Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1) raised head variation

Virasana (Hero Pose)

Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)
Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose) in Head Stand
Upavishtha Konasana (Seated Angle Pose) in Head Stand
Eka Pada Shirshasana (Single Leg Head Stand)
Parshva Eka Pada Shirshasana (Single Leg to the Side Head Stand)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)
Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose) in Shoulder Stand
Upavishtha Konasana (Seated Angle Pose) in Shoulder Stand
Supta Konasana (Reclined Angle Pose)
Halasana (Plough Pose)
Eka Pada Sarvangasana (Single Leg Shoulder Stand)
Parshva Eka Pada Sarvangasana (Single Leg to the Side Shoulder Stand)

[Do each of the following three hip openers all on crossing and then all on the other]
Ankle to Knee Pose
Revolved Ankle to Knee Pose
• Twist to the side of the top foot.
Side Ankle to Knee Pose
• Extended forward over the side of the top foot.

Janu Shirshasana (Head of the Knee Pose)

Ardha Baddha Padma Pashchimottanasana (Half Bound Lotus Intense West Stretch Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


Bookmark and Share
|

Practice Lab

Reclined Big Toe Pose 1
Today’s practice involves a combination of reclined poses and Padmasana (Lotus Pose) as a preparation for inversion variations.

The Sequence

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Reclined big Toe Pose 2
[Perform the following Supta Padangusthasana sequence all on one leg, then all on the other]
Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)
Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)
Parivrtta Supta Padangusthasana (Revolved Reclined Big Toe Pose)
Supta Padangusthasana 3 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 3)
Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1) raised head variation

Revolved Reclined Big Toe Pose
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Pincha Mayurasana (Forearm Stand) at the wall
• 2 repetitions.

Pincha Mayurasana (Forearm Stand) in the middle of the room
• 2 repetitions.

Recliend Big Toe Pose 3
Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)
Parshva Shirshasana (Revolved Head Stand)
Parivrttaikapada Shirshasana (Revolved Sing Leg Head Stand)
Eka Pada Shirshasana (Single Leg Head Stand)
Parshvaikapada Shirshasana (Single Leg to the Side Head Stand)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart
Reclined Big Toe Pose 1 (variation)

[Do each of the following three hip openers all on crossing and then all on the other]
Ankle to Knee Pose
Revolved Ankle to Knee Pose
• Twist to the side of the top foot.
Side Ankle to Knee Pose
• Extended forward over the side of the top foot.

Bharadwajasana 2 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 2)

Adho Mukha Ardha Padmasana (Downward Facing Half Lotus Pose)

Ardha Baddha Padma Pashchimottanasana (Half Bound Lotus Intense West Stretch Pose)
• Do the bound variation for 30 seconds or so, then unbind and reach forward to take hold of the extended foot.

Matsyasana (Fish Pose)
• Simple variation, lying back flat with the legs in Padmasana (Lotus Pose).

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)
Halasana (Plough Pose)
Eka Pada Sarvangasana (Single Leg Shoulder Stand)
Parshvaikapada Sarvangasana (Single Leg to the Side Shoulder Stand)
[Do this Padmasana series all the way through on both sides with the legs crossed one way, then the other]
Pindasana (Embryo Pose)
Urdhva Padmasana (Upward Lotus Pose)
Parshva Pindasana (Side Embryo Pose)
Parshva Padmasana (Side Lotus Pose)
Eka Pad Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Single Leg Bridge Pose in Shoulder Stand) Drop-Back
Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose in Shoulder Stand) Drop-Back
• 3 repetitions.
Halasana (Plough Pose) with the arms overhead holding the feet

Janu Shirshasana (Head of the Knee Pose)

Viparita Karani (Upside Down Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


Bookmark and Share
|

Intermediate Group Class

Seated Angle Pose in Head Stand
The pelvic floor can be thought of as having a fan-like shape, with the hinge of the fan at the tailbone and the spokes at the pubic bone and the sitting bones. Keep the fan as wide and as balanced as possible in the following poses. Whenever taking the leg out to the side, initiate the movement in the pelvic floor by opening up the pelvic fan.

Consider the following actions to keep the pelvic floor balanced:
  • People who are habitually tucked under in the pelvis tend to be gripped in the back of the pelvic floor. They will need to stretch back from the perineum (center of the pelvic floor) to the tailbone.
  • People who are habitually tilted forward in the pelvis tend to be slack or over-stretched in the front of the pelvic floor. They will need to firm and lift from behind the pubic bone.
  • Widen the hip creases (the fold at the top of the thigh) and the buttock creases (where the buttocks and the backs of the thighs meet) evenly. Tuckers might have to widen the buttock creases more, tilters the hip creases.
  • People with an imbalance in the hips for one reason or the other might have to widen the hip and buttock creases and open the pelvic fan on one side more than the other.
  • Keep the pelvic floor either horizontal or vertical, parallel or perpendicular to the backs of the legs, depending on the pose.

The Sequence


Rope Shirshasana (Head Stand)
or
Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)
• Belt the calves at the thickest part and put a block between the feet.
• Press the calves out into the belt and anchor the feet into the block.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
• Belt the calves at the thickest part and put a block between the feet.
• Press the calves out into the belt and anchor the feet into the block.

Virasana (Hero Pose)

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose) sequence with the back against the wall
• Stage 1: Have a folded blanket behind the lower back.
• Stage 2: Remove the blanket, bring the back to the wall and put a block between the feet.
• Stage 3: Place the block under the feet.

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)
• Have the descended leg’s foot at the wall, pressing into it firmly.
• Support the raised leg on a block so that the hips stay absolutely level,
• Start with the raised leg bent as you bring it to the side. Balance the pelvic floor and then straighten, balancing once again in the finished pose.

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)
• Have the descended leg’s foot at the wall, pressing into it firmly.
• Bring the straight leg out to the side.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Eka Pada Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Single Leg Hand Stand)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)
Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose) in Head Stand
Upavishtha Konasana (Seated Angle Pose) in Head Stand
Eka Pada Shirshasana (Single Leg Head Stand)
Parshvaikapada Shirshasana (Single Leg to the Side Head Stand)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)
Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose) in Shoulder Stand
Upavishtha Konasana (Seated Angle Pose) in Shoulder Stand
Halasana (Plough Pose)
Supta Konasana (Reclined Angle Pose)
Eka Pada Sarvangasana (Single Leg Shoulder Stand)
Parshvaikapada Sarvangasana (Single Leg to the Side Shoulder Stand)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


Bookmark and Share
|

Level 1 Group Class

Bound Angle Pose
Opening Wall Stretches
• Shoulder Stretch at wall: Place the forearms and elbows on the wall with the palms together. Make a right angle at the hips with the feet under the pelvis hip width apart. Draw the inner thighs back and reach the arms forward.
• Parshvottanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the arms up the wall.
• Utkatasana (Furious Pose) with the hands at the wall.

Utkatasana (Furious Pose) with the feet apart INTO Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Virabhadrasana 2 (Warrior Pose 2) INTO Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart
• Bend the knees slightly to lengthen the trunk.

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose) INTO Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

Baddha Konasana (Seated Angle Pose) upright with the hands by the sides

Baddha Konasana (Seated Angle Pose) upright with the hands by the sides
• Place a block between the feet.

Bharadwajasana 1 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 1)

Upavishtha Konasana (Seated Angle Pose) upright with the hands by the sides

Parshva Upavishtha Konasana (Side Seated Angle Pose) upright with the hands by the sides

Reclined Glute Stretch
• Lie on the back with one ankle on the opposite thigh. Draw the legs in.

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) legs only with forward bend

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose) with forward bend

Upavishtha Konasana (Seated Angle Pose) with forward bend

Parshva Upavishtha Konasana (Side Seated Angle Pose) with forward bend

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)
• Feet on blocks, holding ankles with a belt.

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1) with the feet on the wall

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


Bookmark and Share
|

Intermediate Group Class

Marichi's Pose 6 or F
Developing the theme of working with latissimus dorsi and pectoralis major, in this practice we are going to look at twists. If you remember from previous practices, the lats continue through the back of the armpit to the upper arm bone, just as the pecs continue through the front of the armpit attaching right next to the lats on the bone. We will be taking our twists from these two muscle groups, so that means we need to take the armpit into consideration as well as we turn. In addition, the whole lumbar/sacral area tends to get a bit thick and fibrous. We need to ensure that the lat fibers widen and move towards the head in a uniform manner, rather than getting stuck and crunched in that area.

Consider the following actions as you go through the poses:
  • Soften and widen the palms, the pecs and the lats.
  • Think of the inner and outer armpits as four pillars of connection and support of the arms into the trunk. Distribute the weight and/or stretch evenly between each of the four pillars of the armpits.
  • Soften and widen the deltoid (the shoulder cap muscle), wrapping it around the shoulder joint.
  • Hollow out the armpit deep into the joint.
  • Stretch the apex of the armpit, where the lat and the pec come together, towards the palms as you either take the sternum towards or away from the head, depending on the pose. Generally, when the arms are overhead move the sternum away from the head. When they are in front of you, move them towards the head. When the arms are clasped behind the back, widen the sternum and move it deeper into the body.
  • Initiate twists in the lat--the left lat, for example, when turning to the right-- and complete the thought by widening the opposite--the right when turning to the right--pec.
  • Complete the twist by firming the back of the left armpit (when turning right) and moving it across the body, while widening the front of the right armpit.

The Sequence

Shoulder Stretch at wall: Place the forearms and elbows on the wall with the palms together. Make a right angle at the hips with the feet under the pelvis hip width apart. Draw the inner thighs back and reach the arms forward.

Utkatasana (Furious Pose)
• Do the pose with a block between the thighs.
• Set yourself up close to a wall so that you can place your elbows and forearms on the wall without leaning forward any more than you would normally be in the pose.

Parivrtta Hasta Padangusthasana (Revolved Hand to Big Toe Pose) with the raised foot on a ledge

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
• Have the hands up on blocks set to the lowest level. You might want to set yourself up with the blocks against a wall and the mat folded over the blocks if you find yourself slipping.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
• Have the feet up on the lowest level blocks.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
• Hands on the blocks turned up one level.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
• Feet on the blocks turned up one level.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
• Hands on the blocks turned up to the highest level.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
• Feet on the blocks turned up to the highest level.

Uttanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose) with the feet apart
• Have the hands flat on the floor on either side of the feet. If you are unable to get the whole of the hand down, put blocks underneath.

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose) with the hands on blocks
• Two stages: first the hands under the shoulders; second the arms alongside the ears.

Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand) with the hands on blocks

Bharadwajasana 2 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 2)
• Simple variation with the Padmasana (Lotus Pose) leg in Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose) against the inner thigh of the opposite leg instead. Bind with a belt around the foot.

Parivrtta Trikonasana (Revolved Triangle Pose)
• Have the hand that is on the floor flat on a block turned up as high as you like.

Bharadwajasana 2 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 2)
• Either the full variation, if possible, or some other modification as necessary.

Parivrtta Trikonasana (Revolved Triangle Pose)
• Have the hand that is on the floor flat on a block turned up as high as you like.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)
Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose) in Head Stand
Upavishtha Konasana (Seated Angle Pose) in Head Stand

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)
• Support the thigh with a block, bolster or blankets.

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)
• Back against the wall, sitting up on blankets as necessary to get the sitting bones underneath you.
• Place a narrow-folded blanket behind the lower back.
• Spend half the time with arms down by the sides, then raise the arms overhead.

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)
• Back against the wall, sitting up on blankets as necessary to get the sitting bones underneath you.
• Remove the blanket in the back and place a block between the feet.
• Spend half the time with arms down by the sides, then raise the arms overhead.

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)
• Back against the wall, sitting up on blankets as necessary to get the sitting bones underneath you.
• Place the block under the feet.
• Spend half the time with arms down by the sides, then raise the arms overhead.

Utthita Marichyasana (Extended Marichi’s Pose) variation
• Bind the arms as if twisting away from the bent leg in Marichyasana 1 (Marichi’s Pose 1).

Utthita Marichyasana (Extended Marichi’s Pose)

Marichyasana 5 (Marichi’s Pose 5) twist only
• Bind the arms and twist away from the raised knee.

Marichyasana 6 (Marichi’s Pose 6)
• Two stages: first with the elbow to the outer knee; second binding the arms, using a belt if necessary.

Chatushpadasana (Four Feet Pose)

Reclined ankle-to-knee glute stretch

Chatushpadasana (Four Feet Pose)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Chatushpadasana (Four Feet Pose)

Viparita Karani (Upside Down Pose)
• 5 to 10 min.

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)
• 5 to 10 min.


Bookmark and Share
|

Level 1 Group Class

Belly Turning Pose (Knees Bent)
Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)
• Do both leg crossings.

Matsyasana (Fish Pose)
• Simple variation, with the legs in Sukhasana (Comfortable Pose), lying back flat on the ground holding onto the elbows with the arms overhead.
• Do both leg crossings.

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)
• Sitting up on blankets.

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)
• Sitting up on blankets.
• Block between the feet.

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose)
• Legs only, with forward bend if possible.

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Dolphin shoulder/chest opener

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Dolphin shoulder/chest opener
• Second interlock of the fingers.

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)
• Foam block between the feet.
• Holding onto the sids of the mat.

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)
• Foam block between the feet.
• Hands under the shoulders as if about to do Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward Bow Pose).

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)
• Foam block between the feet.
• Arms alongside ears with hands under sandbags or free weights to anchor upper body.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose)
• Hands under sandbags or free weights to anchor upper body.
• Knees bent.

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose)
• Hands under sandbags or free weights to anchor upper body.
• Knees bent as you begin, then work on straightening the legs.

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose)
• Hands under sandbags or free weights to anchor upper body.
• If able, with the leg straight. Otherwise repeat the previous version.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)
• Feet on blocks.
• Holding on to the ankles with a belt.
• Three repetitions, holding for 30 to 60 seconds each.

Reclined buttock stretch

Viparita Karani (Upside Down Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


Bookmark and Share
|

Level 1 Group Class

Cow Face pose with the legs together
This week we took some time to stretch out and warm up all the leg joints. Then we broke down forward bends into three elements:
  1. Folding at the hips.
  2. Lengthening forward through the sides of the body.
  3. Stretching out the backs of the legs.
Instead of starting with the legs straight, we came into poses with the legs bent, focusing on the depth of the hip crease and the length in the sides of the trunk. Then we practiced straightening the legs, but without losing the first two elements. That meant that we were not necessarily doing the poses with the legs fully straightened.

The Sequence:

Vajrasana (Thunderbolt Pose) with the elbows clasped behind the back
• Come into the pose with the ankles belted together and a blanket behind the knees.

Vajrasana (Thunderbolt Pose) with the arms in Urdhva Baddhanguliyasna (Upward Bound Fingers Pose)
• Curl the toes under.

Vajrasana (Thunderbolt Pose)

Calf massage:
• Come to all fours and take one shin and wedge it into the crack behind the opposite knee.
• Gently press down on the back of the knee to widen and release the flesh there.
• Work your way down the back of the calf in three or four stages, pressing into the soft tissue and releasing any knots.
• End with crossing one ankle on top of the other and sitting back.
• Repeat on the second side.

Arch massage:
• Sit back with one instep pressing into the opposite arch.
• Hold this position for 30 to 60 seconds, releasing the flesh of the arch.
• Repeat on the other side.

Vajrasana (Thunderbolt Pose) with the toes curled under
• This should be a little easier now.

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) variation
• The common variation is to cross one knee behind the other and sit back in between the heels.
• In this variation, press the shins together and sit back without letting them come apart.
• Do this variation twice. The first time, support your self with a block. The second, try to balance.

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose)
• Do the common variation, keeping the hips level, sitting up on a block or blankets to achieve this if necessary.

Seated Garudasana (Eagle Pose) twist.
• In a seated position, cross the right leg over the left and hook the foot behind the left ankle.
• If you are unable to hook the foot, press the shins together.
• Roll to you left, so that the right leg is on top and walk the upper body around to the left so that it lengthens out behind you.
• hold for 30 to 60 seconds and then do the other side.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Utkatasana (Furious Pose) with a block between the thighs

Utkatasana (Furious Pose) with a block between the thighs INTO Uttanasa (Intense Stretch Pose)
• Once in Uttanasa bend the legs, deepen the hip creases and lengthen the sides of the trunk down towards the floor.
• Work on straightening the legs without losing the depth in the hip crease, perhaps not straightening them all the way in the pose if necessary.

Virabhadrasana 2 (Warrior Pose 2) INTO Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose) INTO Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose) INTO Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose) INTO Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose) flat back only
• Start with the front leg a little bent to get the depth in the hip crease.

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose) flat back only INTO Virabhadrasana 3 (Warrior Pose 3) INTO Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose) full pose

Vajrasana (Thunderbolt Pose with a blanket behind the knees

Virasana (Hero Pose) with a blanket behind the knees and the hips on a block.

Virasana (Hero Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Dwwnward Facing Dog Pose)

Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand) on the chair

Ardha Halasana (Half Plough Pose) on the chair

Shavasana (Corpse Pose) legs on the chair


Bookmark and Share
|