Poses: 45/52: Inverted Compass or "Super Soldier"

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This pose is CRAZY! Actually, it just looks kind of crazy. A new pose invented by breakdancer-yogi Lamonte Goode or better known on Instagram as @NightmareTales.

This guy is wild. I recommend following him just to let your jaw drop on a daily basis:

[embed]http://scontent-a.cdninstagram.com/hphotos-xfp1/t50.2886-16/10267590_717621181593998_535632646_n.mp4[/embed]

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It's about 50x easier than it looks. Here's how to get in:

[embed]http://scontent-b.cdninstagram.com/hphotos-xfp1/outbound-distilleryimage6/t0.0-18/OBPTH/41e094f8a7cd11e3b3a81282a24eee66_101.mp4[/embed]

If you need a more in depth tutorial, Kathryn Budig has a great 90 min class towards it on Yogaglo. As she says, "it looks contorted." Which it does, but it's not really at all and is super fun!

Poses: 42/52 + 43/52: Urdhva Dhanurasana + Viparita Dandasana

2014-09-28_1411933985 10362224_227054304171124_1994741967_n For the first time this year, I totally forgot to post a pose! Making up for it this week with two poses, similar to each other. One is obviously a gateway to the other.

For a long time Urdhva Dhanurasana, or full backbend, was a real challenge for me. It takes everything and it really takes it out of you. Exhausting.

Rather than write anything, the best possible source of information for these poses is Christina Sell. I still think of things I learned in her classes every single time I go up into a backbend.

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aGNK0q8nFJc[/embed]

For Dwi Pada Viparita Dandasana, this trick of hers changed everything for me

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M0YtgleEN4g[/embed]

Unfortunately I've been sidelined on these postures for the past couple weeks due to a pulled muscle in my chest due to coughing (I know right?!?!). It's finally almost gone, so hopefully I'll be wheeling before too long.

Poses 38/52: Yoga to sleep better

1530654_704311836312798_787134053_n This week we look at poses that help us sleep better. I'll be honest, I've never had any trouble sleeping. I know it seems like a humble brag, but I sleep hard. Since I was a kid, I've LOVED getting into bed and as soon as my head hits the pillow, I'm OUT. And, I usually don't bat a lash until morning when my alarm goes off. I know....I do not take this for granted and if I ever had a kid, I'm in for a rude awakening...no pun intended.

I was asked by Casper to feature my favorite poses for sleep. About a year ago I started doing 20 to 30 minutes of yin yoga before bed. It has made a huge difference in my practice. Flexibility is something I continually struggle with and stretching before bed has really helped. Here are some of my favorite resources for bedtime yoga:

Night Cap Pratice with Kathryn Budig Unfortunately, you have to be a YogaGlo subscriber to take advantage of this one. It's awesome. I use it ALL the time.

 Viparita Karani, or Legs-up-the-Wall pose

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I love this pose...not much to it, just throw your legs up the wall and get your bum as close to the wall as possible.

Upavishta Konasana -- Restorative style

restorativeforwardfold

This is my favorite thing ever right now. I'm still not fully back into my practice after having the plague...have been doing this one a lot lately. The more props the better.

Supta Baddha Konasana

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ptPMGkpr47g[/embed]

Or, try out this curated list of free sequences:

Yoga for Deep Sleep // Livestrong Woman

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bk71G6dXemc[/embed]

Bedtime Yoga // Yoga for Adrienne

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XOTGz-1vizY[/embed]

Bedtime Yoga // Ekhart Yoga

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CgcW_4vssvM[/embed]

This is not a sponsored post, but Andrew and I are in the need of a new mattress...I can't help but be tempted by Casper's products. Learn more here.

Poses: 37/52: Sukhasana

image Easy seated pose. Because that's what I need right now. Today is Friday and I've been home sick since MONDAY AFTERNOON. Not sure what nasty bug I caught,but man, it's been a rough week. Sometimes you need to just sit. I've also been doing a little more pranayama lately. Particularly, Nadi Shodhana, or alternate nostril breathing.

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xbbr6Udg1UA[/embed]

Hope everyone's doing alright out there. I'm slowly improving. Back to bed for me

Poses 36/52: Janu Sirsasana

3e97ed66a24352664be9a8f740a9f90c Head to Knee Pose. Janu Sirasana. Simple, but not...

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This pose shows up a lot in yoga. Like most poses, I was originally introduced to it in the Primary Series of Ashtanga yoga. It looks so simple, like a simple runners stretch. However, the longer you do yoga you realize how complex it is. The deeper you get into the stretch, the more complicated the sensations. It's a super strong hamstring stretch, big hip opener, stretches your back a ton, strengthens your core, and it is also a nice twist for the spine.

Yep, it's an everything pose....like every. other. single. one.

Poses 34/52: Eka Pada Rajakapotasana

2014-08-24 15.14.36 One Legged King Pigeon Pose. Whoa. This pose is major. Like, really. An insane backbend, ridiculous hip opener, bizarrely hard to balance, wild shoulder opener, and a CRAZY strong thigh stretch. I've avoided it for many years, but have been trying to focus on it more in the past month of so.

The other day I got closer than ever before...insta-evidence featured above.

2aef34d4a872cb3f2cb217788a9a01d1 79fb9bd8c21ea224d3b058ab16f2e891 4060194cfb82b79a2f5711ae51ca2017 You can't just learn this pose by itself...it requires a ton of yoga experience opening up a bunch of different areas of the body. However, Ekhart Yoga has a decent video giving some tips and tricks:

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WWJAlAM_Lyw[/embed]

Poses 33/52: Light on Yoga

scan0001 It is important to acknowledge that the global yoga community was fundamentally changed yesterday by the death of BKS Iyengar. He was one of the, if not the most influential, individuals responsible for bringing yoga to the Western world. His book, Light on Yoga, is the foundation for virtually every single hatha yoga class.

This book is staple for most yoga teachers. However, one of my favorite Iyengar quotes is: "That's a dead book. I'm a living teacher."

He always considered himself a student first that was constantly evolving. If anyone owns a copy of this book, you know the crazy photos. See:

simhasana

 

 

Poses 32/52: Salabhasana

10616420_567103710066510_2144891624_n I'm not even going to pretend. I hate this pose. Really, I do.

I'm not a huge fan of the "belly-down" backbends. I like bow pose okay, but Salabhasana or Locust?! Boo. Because I hate it so much, I tend to avoid it, which means I'm not very "good" at it. This summer, I made myself practice it regularly and, lo and behold, it got easy and less horrible!!?! Duh. Like everything in yoga, it doesn't get better unless you DO IT.

I do a Google image search on every one of my pose posts and I have to say that this one gave me some of the most varied results...all I can say is, what the what?!

images (1) images posture108 viparita_shalabhasana_by_odie1049-d6ckewb

 

If you need a thorough and more reasonable visual with excellent instruction, check out Yoga Journal's pose guide here.

Or watch Adrienne give you an eight minute tutorial on it here [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0kxczNm1xF4[/embed]

Happy lifting....it's tough to be happy when doing this pose, but try...it probably makes it easier.

Poses: 29/52: Sirasana A

10569975_1388923278021209_149601908_n Yes, that's me...doing half lotus in a HEADSTAND. I know, I know, I can't believe it myself. It was a year next month that I finally started headstanding. So crazy. So happy. I will never ever tell a student that fear is not real....because it IS. It held me back for many years. However, I'm glad it did. Because now that I'm not as scared, I've got all the other pieces of the puzzle. My core strength is there, shoulders, balance, etc. So it's play time....near a wall of course. C'mon, I'm not totally cured yet!

I've never really followed yoga celebrity Tara Stiles. This week I listened to an interview with her that I really enjoyed and I liked her approaches to headstand.

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IDoHCGeOO04[/embed]

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z6wtHly7ZNQ[/embed]

Headstanding is so rough. Yes, it's considered "the king of all asanas." But man, it's so scary! I have mad respect for anyone who is scared of it...because it is scary. Also, it's not safe for everyone. I think it's important to be very cautious with this pose.

d27838454e4d9296306d362d6c9db6fe tumblr_mewi23fgzj1r48gb2o1_250 headstand-group

 

photo sources: 1, 2, 3

Real quick--in other news, we now have official Yoga on Capitol Avenue studio shirts available!

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These are super soft, American Apparel tanks and tees. Tanks are $15, T-shirts are $20. Even if you've never been to my studio, live out of town, etc... but like the shirt, send me an email at yogaoncapitolavenue@gmail.com and I'll give you all the info!

 

Poses: 28/52 : Chaturanga Dandasana

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Ahhhhh yes. Four-Limbed Staff Pose, the old standby, Chaturanga Dandasana. I've shared them before, but I love Ryan Conrad's yoga illustrations. It is the building block for all other strength work in yoga (in my opinion). If you're just starting yoga and want to get stronger, work this pose like crazy. If you practice Ashtanga, that won't be a problem because you'll do at least 60 chaturangas  in the primary series alone (!!).

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sgbhYtKtJY0[/embed]

I find this pose to be one that scares off new students. When first instructed to do this, most people laugh and say "yeah right!" However, with a little diligence, it's easier than you think. Shoulder alignment is so important to do this pose safely. Because it is repeated so much in most vinyasa classes, it's important to be mindful of alignment. Here's a good article from Yoga Journal on this.

The other most important thing in order to master this pose? A sense of humor. For example, I really want this tank top

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52 Poses: 27/52 : Vasisthasana

5b33c9bbd6ec61bfcfb08503eb78e99b Vasisthasana or Side Plank. I love this pose!

This pose is the gateway to all arm balancing postures.

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The most important thing about this pose is also the place where most people commonly go wrong. The wrist in the bottom arm--it should be FORWARD of the shoulder, not right underneath.

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This will make you use muscles like serratus anterior to hold the pose, reduce wrist pain, and provide stability. And then, once you've mastered this simple form, it's time to start adding variations!

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One step at a time though! Happy (Side) Planking!

Poses: 23/52: Parsva Bakasana

IMG_4748 Parsva Bakasana or Side Crow or Crane. Yes, technically both hands are on the floor...up above I'm doing what's called "funky Side Crow" w/ a forearm variation. Here's on two hands...I love this picture from Cinthia Torres. She takes some amazing yoga photos. 9941834a2bef8dce791ad53142daa6ed

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4aVVPTXisRY&w=500&h=284]

The key is sending your weight FORWARD. You must tip so far forward that you are pretty much certain that your face is going to smash into the floor. But don't worry, that's what a yoga blanket crash pad is for! Also, do not look down when attempting this pose, but look forward. As shown above. Looking down and inward makes it just that much more challenging. Send your weight forward, look forward.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qK0p9y5hMFY&w=640&h=390]

 

Poses: 19/52: Bakasana

8514514Ahhhhh yes. One of my favorite poses ever! Crow!

Here's a great tutorial via YogaGlo:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TEXcXC8ME9Y&w=640&h=390]

Nothing prepares you for other arm balances like Crow pose...if you have a goal to get on your hands, do this pose again and again and again and again.

It strengthens the core like crazy...and your adductors and your shoulders and your arms 39c17a2350e79ed4c6c3af2cbeddb015

Of course this is also one of those poses that takes a million times of not doing it to eventually do it...don't give up. Keep trying and that moment when you lift up will be so much sweeter!

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Poses: 18/52: Virabhadrasana II

photo 4 Warrior II or Virabhadrasana II. Standard, classic, and can be very challenging if you want it to be!

warrior2_hip_reset

There are so many resources on the warrior poses...they are some of the most commonly seen postures in yoga. You really can't beat Yoga Journal's basic breakdown and how to. 

When I first starting doing yoga, I found virabhadrasana II to be kinda boring and also really hard to do at the same time...weird. In the beginning I struggled to hold my arms up without drawing the shoulders into the ears, my thighs burned, blah, blah, blah. 

Over the years I've come to really like this pose...but that doesn't mean I don't cheat sometimes: 2013-07-07 23.00.19

That thigh could totally be parallel to the floor...I just didn't feel like it ok! When you take a wide enough stance to truly bring the thigh parallel to the floor, it becomes a completely different posture and it is a doozy!

YogaGlo teacher and international wonder Noah Maze is quite a stickler on this. This video is great, showing the pose from all angles:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z_1XZ4RUkGE&w=640&h=390]

 

Happy Oaks Day Friday and 16/52: Vrksasana

oaks I really like this Someecard. It's Oaks day here in Kentuckiana. Unfortunately, school's still in for us on the Indiana side, so I'm headed to work. However, I've got a couple jars of mint simple syrup prepped in my fridge for when I get home. Woop!

Also, we're talking about tree pose today. Yay!

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I love that when I Google Vrksasana, or Tree pose, one of the first things to come up is a random photo of Prince Charles attempting said pose. And Ted Danson apparently 3ac7406cb1cccda7e2e003c50c8ec00f

But seriously, Tree pose is great and probably the most iconic posture of yoga. Whatever you do, don't copy what Mr. Danson is doing in the photo above. You never want to put your foot on your knee...either at the thigh or calf, but not the knee...it's a hinge, it doesn't move sideways people.

If you're looking to improve balance, start here. And this is a wonderfully thorough video on Tree...Thanks to Kayla for letting me know about Adrienne Mishler...she's awesome--great youtube channel if you're looking for a free yoga resource online.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yVE4XXFFO70&w=640&h=390]

Poses: 14/52: Marichyasana I

fdc0cc0727a9e6c7efae662ae9dceb11  

One of those annoying poses that's English name is just as hard to remember as it's Sanskrit. Marichyasana I or Pose Dedicated to the Sage Marichi A. Ha!

I love love love love love this pose. It appears in the Primary Series of Ashtanga. Super great twist, shoulder opener, hamstring lengthener, quad strengthener, and core work. Bandha yoga emphasizes the importance of engaging the quadriceps: blog33-2

 

There are a lot of hurdles to achieve a deep forward fold in this pose. Tight shoulders + hamstrings, or weak adductors. My one big tip: strongly stamp the foot that is closest to you into the floor...as if you were about to stand on it. That will bring more power into the upper body to fold forward.

Here's the link to Yoga Journal's step-by-step instruction.

Poses: 13/52: Malasana

a7b89284b9df11e3a9a60e6bb66871e9_8Malasana or Garland pose or the dreaded Yogi Squat. This is something that comes easy for some and others it is their nemesis...basically like anything in yoga.

Heels down is the challenge for most. There are tips and tricks...like a rolled mat under your heels:

dbddcc6a0833eb8e88a37cede6593583 My first true yoga teacher, Karen Breneman, in Edinburgh, Scotland is an amazing yogini...she will always be responsible for inspiring to jump headfirst into this practice:

[vimeo 75380369 w=500 h=281]

I keep track of her through social media now and couldn't help but share her instavideo from just a few months ago:

http://distilleryimage7.s3.amazonaws.com/c370474875ff11e38bdf124f524ee003_101.mp4

Of course I have nothing but the utmost respect for Karen, I just thought it is an amazing demonstration of how this can be challenging for anyone...even a crazy, crazy advanced practitioner.

Malasana is tricky. Here's how to do it...instructions from Yoga Journal:

Squat with your feet as close together as possible. (Keep your heels on the floor if you can; otherwise, support them on a folded mat.)

Separate your thighs slightly wider than your torso. Exhaling, lean your torso forward and fit it snugly between your thighs.

Press your elbows against your inner knees, bringing your palms to together resist the knees into the elbows. This will help lengthen your front torso.

To go further, press your inner thighs against the sides of your torso. Reach your arms forward, then swing them out to the sides and notch your shins into your armpits. Press your finger tips to the floor, or reach around the outside of your ankles and clasp your back heels.

Hold the position for 30 seconds to 1 minute, then inhale, straighten the knees, and stand.

Poses: 12/52: Tadasana

  Tadasana or Mountain Pose. Yeah, you could say it's just standing, but oh my it is so much more. Simple, yet not at all. For example, watch Noah Maze explain how to stand correctly:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=acEYAYxoRt8&w=640&h=390]

So it gets fairly detailed.

I needed something simple after our busy time away. So tadasana it is. However, a wonderful thing to practice? Finding tadasana in every single pose...headstand and crazy arm balances included. Phew....easier said than done.

How adorable is the illustration at the top of this page? Found it via Charlotte Bradley of Yoga Flavored Life...she has 108 more! That's amazing.

Poses 11/52: Astavakrasana

unnamedAstavakrasana...Looks crazy, but is actually (IMO) one of the easier arm balances. Required? Hips + shoulders + abs...flexibility, strength, and strength respectively. Also though, you need to be able to use your adductor muscles like crazy. This bit is often overlooked.

You must be able to squeeze your legs together so strongly that you squeeze your arm tight. Here's a 35 minute sequence designed to get you to astavakrasana:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9W-9mVrdm08?feature=player_detailpage&w=640&h=360]

And just Eight Angle pose by itself...love Tiffany!

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EE2rJdh8fDE&w=640&h=390]

I love this pose. For all y'all crazyheads out there...try working this transition...I'm in the process of fine tuning...getting there on one side, the other has a long ways to go. Illustrated nicely via instagram JessiicaJade: