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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52 Poses: 17/52: Parsvottanasana

25eba5c45cbbdfe0fc4e133c7515660fParsvottanasana....or Pyramid Pose.

Not of my favorites at all. 422e3017ffa1edd7647f65316d2cbb2a

Hips are square, spine extended, shoulders back, back heel solidly planted. All the while your hamstrings are stretching an ungodly amount. Don't get me wrong, it's a good pose. But eek, it's difficult.

Here's Christina Sell demonstrating some variations...looks simple, but OMG:

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

Can't wait to practice with her this summer....hurry up June!

 

 

Poses: 15/52: Prasarita Padottanasana

photo Prasarita Padottanasana A...ahhh I love it. I used to hate the prasarita variations, but lately, I'm loving them. Something really clicked recently and my head is grazing the floor in all variations...EEK.

David Garrigues gives us a tutorial in his Asana Kitchen...such a typically bizarre Ashtangi...I love it

[vimeo 69746094 w=500 h=281]

The B, C, and D version of this pose simply change the position of your arms. C version and I are pretty much always fighting. I know that nothing will change in my life when my hands hit the floor, but I can still chase this goal right? 65c27ac20de56a498bebbaff731fe7d9

A lightbulb went off during my practice the other day...it doesn't necessarily take a ton of shoulder flexibility to get the hands to the floor, but a better connection to your feet, legs, and core. More flexibility in the hamstrings and back will help get hands down, not focusing solely on shoulder rotation.

Happy folding!

Oh and as if you needed another reason to love Jared Leto, but here you go

 

 

 

Poses: 14/52: Marichyasana I

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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:

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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: 9/52

photo (6) BALANCE. Utthita Padangusthasana II or Extended Hand to Big Toe Pose. Very literal translation on this one. And it's hard. I'm not gonna lie, it's also one of my most favorite poses....but I love to balance on one leg, so there you go.

When I starting to regularly practice Ashtanga in Edinburgh, I got fixated on this pose and its point in the Primary series. I wanted to do it without any balance checks and thought it would never happen...and as usual, I was proven wrong. I do have some tips (other than just practice, practice, practice) for getting a solid version of this pose.

1. The lifted leg does not have to be straight to achieve success! Tight hamstrings are real.

2. Concentrate on your standing leg...make it straight and strong and lift up through your psoas and hip flexors. It can sometimes help a ton to come off your mat and stand on a hard floor: 2014-01-21 11.15.04

3. Externally rotate your hip open before taking it over to the side.

4. Actively draw your low belly (uddiyana bandha) in throughout the pose.

5. Relax your face and smile...move your gaze very last.

Here's a great tutorial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=bY3qvUuBXK8

 

Poses 2014: 7/52

photo (3) Trikonasana or Triangle. One of the most basic standing postures right? Yes, it is a fundamental posture. Is it basic and simple? NO WAY! There is a lot going on in this posture. It's balance, a strong stretch in the hamstring, external rotation in the hips joints, core work, and a spinal twist.

There are many ways to do Trikonasana and it often depends on the style of yoga you're practicing.

In the Ashtanga tradition, the stance is shorter and you aim to grab your big toe in the first two fingers and no props are used: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=kPW2V4OYOMo In Iyengar yoga, the stance is long:

bakstriko And then you have me...a former Ashtanga devotee who now dabbles in several styles, including Iyengar. I have a short stance here, but am not grabbing my toe because it feels a little forced in my body to do so (sometimes...other days...it's fine...just another example of how yoga is different every time you get on the mat).

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"Triangle is foundational because it utilizes the entire body."

Poses: 6/52

photo Ahhhh....Everyone's favorite right?

Paripurna Navasana or Full Boat Pose. It's so great even Marilyn Monroe loved it: Marilyn-Monroe-Boat-pose-Navasana

Could her alignment be a little bit better? Goodness yes. That rounded spine and tucked pelvis she's got going on....that's what we're trying to avoid. She's awesome, but it should look more like when Carrie-Anne Moss does it...you remember her from the Matrix?! db07c1b1d08b41f38c9018a8904863e5 Sometimes Navasana goes easy and other days it makes me want to die. However, I always try to remember something one of my favorite teachers, Kathryn Budig, says:

"You aren't going to die in Boat Pose."

It doesn't last long (unless you're an Ashtangi) and you'll be so happy you did afterwards. So hold on tight, lift your chest, and keep that boat outta the water!

Yoga: Summer 2013

Photo Apr 15, 6 45 11 PMYoga. I'm planning on doing and teaching a whole bunch of it this summer. I plan to study as much as possible, i.e. read a bunch from these books and try to practice (in some form) every day. 

I'm adding a couple new things to my schedule at the studio  and I'm going to be teaching a couple classes in Louisville as well! What I've finally learned this year (especially since discovering YogaGlo) is that this practice is not linear. You have great days, okay days, and down right crappy days. Aches and pains (dang left hip!) can force you to focus on things you don't naturally gravitate towards (backbending) and that is a good thing. I've officially left the Ashtanga vinyasa system for straight up vinyasa classes with Iyengar mixed in. Don't get me wrong, I still love Ashtanga and would practice it regularly if I lived near this teacher, but I don't, so my virtual instructors Kathryn Budig, Tiffany Cruikshank, Christina Sell, and Dice Iida-Klein along with various local teachers have taken over.

I look forward to a summer full of yoga with a little bit of Ashtanga thrown in there (I mean, come on Kino Macgregor is going to be at Yoga East again!) However, I am not going to give myself any specific yoga goals for the summer (I know, crazy right?!). I am just going to take it one day at a time.

If you're a local reader and want to come practice with me, here's my teaching schedule:

2nd & 4th Monday 5:45pm – 7:00pm Restorative Yoga

Tuesday 9:00am – 10:00am Yoga II *starts May 28th

Tuesday 6:00 – 7:00 pm Yoga for Healthy Living

Wednesday 4:00 – 5:00pm Yoga II 

Thursday 6:00 – 7:00 pm Yoga for Healthy Living

Saturday 9:30 – 10:30 am  Flow Yoga

In addition to these ongoing classes, I'll be offering three workshops, which will be $15.00

Strengthen Your Core                Saturday, May 25   11:00am – 12:30pm Upper Body and Arm Strength    Saturday, June 1     11:00am – 12:30pm Developing a Home Practice        Saturday, June 15   11:00am – 12:30pm

Hope to see you soon if you feel like yoga-ing in Kentuckiana!