Monday, August 29, 2011

Pose of the Week: Bridge Pose

Whew!  Thought I wasn't going to be able to get online tonight what with all this post hurricane craziness!  This week's pose is Setu Bandha Sarvangasana, or, Bridge pose.  Not only will this pose help you to de-stress, it will also help you to release the tension held in the chest, shoulders, and neck.  Other benefits include improved digestion, reduction anxiety, fatigue, backache, headache, and insomnia and is beneficial for those suffering from asthma, osteoporosis, high blood pressure and sinusitis.

To begin, lie on your back on the floor, arms and palms flat on the mat alongside the body.  Bend the knees, and place the bottoms of the feet on the mat, bringing the heels in close to the sitting bones.  Pressing your arms and inner feet into the floor, tuck the tailbone, and lift the hips off the floor.  Continue lifting the hips until the thighs are about parallel to the floor.  Keep the inner thighs engaged and try not to let your knees splay out.  If comfortable, bring your hands together underneath you and clasp them together.  Begin to work your shoulder underneath you, opening your chest and sternum towards your chin.  Rest here and breathe for about 30 seconds.  When coming out of the pose, release your shoulders, and carefully roll down thorough the spine, keeping the abs engaged to protect the back. 

If you have any neck injuries or issues, avoid this pose or practice it under the guidance of an experienced instructor.

To make this a restorative pose, place a block or bolster under the sacrum (the large, triangular bone at the base of the spine) and rest the pelvis on it.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Monday's Pose of the week

The transition from August into September usually means a return to a hectic schedule, which can bring with it stress, fatigue and over stimulation.  This week's pose is a helpful tool to combat these conditions.  Balasana, or Child's Pose is a restorative pose that offers an opportunity to quiet the mind, go inside, and take a break from a hectic schedule.

To begin, kneel on the floor with your big toes touching, and sit on your heels.  Bring your knees about hip width apart.  Exhaling, lean forward over your thighs, and bring your forehead to rest on the floor.  Allow you arms to rest alongside the body with the palms facing up.  Stay here and breathe anywhere from 30 seconds to a few minutes.  If it's uncomfortable to sit on your heels, place a rolled up blanket between your thighs and calves.  If resting your forehead on the floor is not comfortable, place a block or pillow in front of you and rest forehead on that.  This pose should be avoided if you are pregnant, have diarrhea, or knee issues or injuries.

Enjoy, and remember to breathe deeply!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Pose of the Week: Mountain Pose

   Mountain Pose, or Tadasana, is a foundational pose in any yoga practice.  It serves as the starting point for many poses and sequences, but by itself can help to improve posture, reduce flat feet, ease sciatica, and strengthen knees, thighs and ankles.
  To practice Tadasana, come to a standing position.  Allow the arms to hang neutrally at the sides.  Look down at your feet, and position them so that the base of the big toes are touching, and the heels are slightly apart.  Sway back and forth, side to side, and explore the different extremes before coming to a standstill at center.  Firm the thighs and lift the knee caps.  Lengthen your tail bone towards the ground, and keep your abdominals engaged but not tense.  Slide the shoulder blades down the back and keep the shoulders back, but relaxed.  Float the head and the neck directly over the pelvis, and imagine a line of energy running through the mid line of the body.  Soften your eyes and your face, and breathe for 1 to 5 minutes. 

Monday, August 8, 2011

Yoga Pose of the Week

Starting tonight, every Monday night I will post a pose of the week.  Along with a picture, there will be a description of the pose.  I hope this will help you to learn the benefits of each pose, and maybe incorporate it into your own practice.
This week's pose is Ado Mukha Svanasana
Also known as Downward Facing Dog, it is one of the most known poses, and an integral part of any practice.  It does double duty as an energizing pose, and also one that becomes a resting pose during vigorous practice.  The Sanskrit is pronounced: AH-doh MOO-kah shvah-NAHS-anna.  If you have Carpal tunnel syndrome, or Diarrhea, please do not attempt this pose, and make your instructor aware of your condition.  If you have High blood pressure or a headache: Support your head on a bolster or block, ears level between the arms, after getting a doctor's OK to practice.  Also, if you are pregnant, please avoid this pose late term, and always get a doctor's approval before practicing while pregnant.

Begin on hands and knees, shoulders directly over wrists.  Tuck your toes, and push your hips up until you come into an inverted "V".  If you find your heels are very high off the mat, walk your feet in a bit until your are able to sink them a little further down.  Be sure to press your hands into the mat evenly, and also that your head and neck are relaxed, but between the arms.  Hold this pose anywhere from 1-3 minutes.