Sun Salutation B

I’ll be posting four versions of the Sun Salutation Series (Suryama Namaskars). Sun Salutations are a great way to stretch your major muscles, develop concentration, and create energy by building heat within the body. When you don’t have a lot of time but are looking for a satisfying yoga pick me up, try doing this series 3-5 times! [Read more...]

Boat – Navasana

Boat Yoga Pose-Navasana
Starting from Staff Pose, with your legs extended out in front of you, feet together, the backs of your thighs pressing into the mat.

  • Bend your knees and place your hands on your shins.
  • Sit up tall, roll the heads of your arm bones back and lengthen from the pelvis out through the crown of your head.
  • Inhale, lean your torso back to balance on your sit bones, lift your feet off the floor so that your calves are parallel with the floor. Flex your feet and bring your hands behind your knees.
  • Exhale, straighten your legs so that your feet are eye level, release your hands from the backs of your legs and straighten your arms, holding them at shoulder height, palms facing.
  • Extend from your pelvis down to the soles of your feet, and from your core to the crown of your head. Draw your naval to your spine. Think about bringing your shoulder blades further down your back.
  • Hold the pose and take a few unstrained breaths.

Reverse Warrior - Viparita Virabhadrasana

Reverse Warrior Yoga Pose-Viparita Virabhadrasana
Start from Warrior II (left knee bent, head turned to look out over your left middle finger)

  • Keep your left knee bent as you exhale and simultaneously slide your right arm down the side of your right leg and raise your left arm towards the sky.
  • Your left arm should be in line with your ear, turn your gaze to look up over your left elbow.
  • Hold the pose and take a few steady breaths

Extended Side-Angle – Utthita Parsvakonasana

Extended Side Angle Yoga Pose-Utthita Parsvakonasana
This pose is commonly instructed before or after Warrior II. One great standing series is to go from Warrior II into Reverse Warrior than to Extended Side-Angle into Triangle, but for the purposes of this guide, I’ll begin from Mountain Pose.

  • From Mountain Pose, step your feet wide apart (approximately 3-4 feet).
  • Inhale and raise your arms up to shoulder height.
  • Turn your right foot in to about a 90 degree angle and turn your left foot out directly to the side.
  • Exhale, bend your left knee so that it comes directly over your left ankle.
  • Bend your left arm and rest it on top of your left thigh.
  • Stick your butt out as far as you can behind you (exaggeratedly so) and than tuck your left butt cheek under as tight as you can (I know if sounds crazy, but trust, you’re working to get your thighs in proper alignment and getting the most work out of your legs this way!) and bring that booty back in line with your torso.
  • Raise your right arm up overhead, bringing it in line with your ear (think about trying to draw your shoulder back and hollow out the armpit) and turn your head to look up towards your right elbow.
  • For a greater challenge and a deeper stretch straighten your left arm, and lower the fingertips down to the outside edge of your left ankle.
  • Lift and spread your toes to ground your feet and create length, than lower your spread toes back down to the mat.
  • Hold the pose for several steady breaths than inhale and come up.
  • Repeat on the other side.

Standing Back Arch – Urdhva Hastasana

Standing Back Arch Yoga Pose-Urdhva Hastasana (variation)

  • Begin in Mountain Pose.
  • Inhale, bring your arms up overhead, shoulder width apart, palms facing, fingers spread wide.
  • Exhale and gently curl your spine backwards, to create the standing back arch.
  • Tuck your tailbone under slightly and continue to maintain the strength and length created in mountain pose.
  • Imagine energy being pulled up from the ground through the arches in your feet, shooting up your entire body and out through your fingertips.
  • Take a breath and than on the next inhale slowly begin to straighten yourself back up to tall mountain.
  • Exhale and bring your hands together at your heart.

Triangle – Utthita Trikonasana

triangle yoga pose - Utthita Trikonasana
This pose is often included with the Warrior series. I often include it after Warrior II, but for the purposes of this pose guide, we’ll start it from Mountain Pose.

  • Stand in Mountain Pose
  • Step your feet wide apart (about 3-4 feet)
  • Inhale and raise your arms out to your sides, shoulder height, roll the heads of your arm bones back
  • Turn your left foot directly out to the side, and look down to align your left heel with the arch of your right foot.
  • Shift your hips to the right exhale and extend your torso to the left so that your fingertips go out past your toes and lower your left arm down the outside of your left leg (to the floor or at your shin, or if you have a block, you can place the block to the outside of your left ankle and lower your hand down to the block).
  • Lift and spread your toes apart. Engage the muscles in your legs by lifting  arches, shins and thighs
  • Turn your chest towards the ceiling and bring your right arm directly over the left shoulder.
  • Turn your head to look up towards the ceiling
  • Hold the pose and take several steady breaths
  • Inhale to come up and be sure to repeat this pose on the side.

Warrior III – Virabhadrasana III

Warrior III (Virabhadrasana III)
You can come into Warrior III from Warrior I or II, but for the purposes of this guide, lets begin in Mountain Pose at the front of your mat.

  • Keep your feet at hips distance as you step your right foot back about 3-4 feet (it’s ok to keep your back heel lifted for this pose)
  • Exhale and bend your left knee so that it floats over your left ankle at a 90 degree angle. To stay in good alignment here, keep your knee in line with your middle toe and your neck in line with your spine
  • Bend your torso forward over your left thigh and carefully extend your arms out in front of you in line with your ears, palms facing each other, fingers spread wide like a starfish (Note: If you find that your having difficulty balancing, you can extend your arms out to your sides, like an airplane instead, this may help once you come fully into the pose)
  • Find a spot on the floor in front of you to gaze at, keep your focus on that spot as it will help you to stay strong and steady
  • Inhale and simultaneously begin to straighten your left leg, lift you torso and bring your right leg up behind you
  • Flex your right foot
  • Rotate your right leg inward so that your knee and toes point down towards the ground and descend your right hip so its near level with your left
  • Think of lengthening your body from the tips of your fingers all the way out through the arch of your right foot
  • Remember to keep your neck in line with your spine here. You may need to tip your chin a bit to get the length in your back
  • Hold the pose and take a few breaths
  • Continue to engage all the muscles in your legs to come out of the pose and slowly lower your back leg down
  • Repeat on the other side!

 

 

Upward-Facing Dog – Urdhva Mukha Svanasana

Upward-Facing Dog (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana)

  • Coming from four-limbed staff, hands slide back so that your forearms are perpendicular with the mat
  • Spread those fingers wide (again think starfish!)
  • Point your toes and draw your legs together muscularly
  • Lengthen the sides of your body, shrug your shoulders up towards your ears as you lift your shoulders up and away from the floor to bring the shoulder blades closer to your spine
  • Press your hands down, inhale and straighten your arms, to draw your spine into a backbend
  • Roll the heads of your arm bones back to prevent shrugging
  • Press all ten toenails into the mat, engage your thigh muscles and lift your knees off the mat so that only your hands and the tops of your feet press into the floor
  • Take 3-5 breaths

Half Moon – Ardha Chandrasana

Half Moon (Ardha Chandrasana)

Half Moon:

You can come into Half Moon from any of the Warrior series, but for the purposes of this guide, lets begin in Mountain Pose

  • Step your right foot back (about 3-4 feet) and turn your torso to the right
  • Your back foot (right foot) should be turned to a 90 degree angle, your front foot should point forward to the front of the room
  • Look down at your feet, the heel of your left foot should be in line with the arch of your right foot
  • Inhale and raise your arms so that they are at shoulder height and parallel with floor,  make sure to roll the heads of your arm bones back so that your chest remains open
  • Exhale and bend your front (left) knee until its directly over your ankle, make sure your left knee lines up with your middle left toe
  • Place your left fingertips about 10-12 inches in front of your left foot (note, this might be a great place to use a block, if this is your first time, definitely place the block on the floor in front of you at this distance and place your fingertips on top of the block), and look down towards your left hand
  • Bring your right hand down to your hip, this will help with your balance
  • Inhale, straighten your left leg and simultaneously lift your your inner right thigh up and parallel to the floor, engage the toes of your right foot
  • Find your balance here and if your feeling strong, slowly begin to extend your right arm up above your right shoulder, careful you might get a little wobbly
  • Turn your head to gaze up at your right hand
  • Take a few breaths here (4-5) or whatever you can do

To come out of this pose:

  • Bring your right hand back down to your hip
  • Turn your gaze back down to the floor
  • Exhale and bend your left knee, slowly bring your right leg down behind you

Change! What is it good for?

 

Wow, hi everyone! Long time no update!

 

So, its been forever since I’ve posted anything personal. I think it’s going to take awhile to get used to having a place where I put my thoughts down for the world to read, but there is so much going on right now, that I felt like maybe today was a good day to start sharing!

[Read more...]