Archive for the ‘Asanas’ Category

2016 is a year of the Monkey! Celebrate with Hanumanasana (monkey pose)

February 5, 2016

“Gung Hay Fat Choy!” (Happy New Year in Cantonese)

2016 is the Year of the Monkey! Celebrate with Monkey Pose!

Monkey is the 9th sign in the Chinese Zodiac, following the sheep.
In Hatha Yoga, Monkey Pose is Hanumanasana (hah-new-mahn-AHS-anna).

Monkey Pose is named for the Hindu monkey god, Hanuman

Monkey Pose helps to stretch the groin, thighs, hips, and hamstrings.
Monkey_Pose
Monkey Pose (Hanumanasana) this is a basic split asana where your legs are ‘split’ forward and backwards.

Monkey Pose may be easier to do on a hard (uncarpeted floor) without a yoga mat – try it while wearing socks.
You may also want to place a cloth under each knee.

HOW TO:
Come to a tall kneel
Step right foot forward
On your next exhale lean your torso forward and bring your hands to the floor
Slowly slide your right foot forward and your left leg back
Stop before you feel pain, only go to where you are comfortable
Hold pose for about 30 seconds, then switch sides

FULL EXPRESSION:
Work towards having both front and back legs straight.
Your torso should be straight and your hands should rest comfortably on the floor

Modifications:
Not ready for a full split? Try placing a block under your front thigh.
This will help support your body

You can also place each hand on a block instead of placing your hands on the floor

Half Monkey  (this is also called Modified Pyramid or Kneeling Runner’s Stretch) – Keep back leg  at 90 degrees. Slide Front foot forward. Hands rest on either side of your calf.

TAKE IT FURTHER:
Variation 1:
When you have mastered the split and are comfortable,
raise your arms in the air (King Monkey)
Dristi or gaze is at your finger tips

Variation 2:
Come to Full expression of monkey pose
Fold forward out over your front leg

Variation 3:
Twisted Monkey – twist towords your front leg

Variation 4:
Open Hearted Monkey – Add a chest expansion

Variation 5:
Peaceful Monkey – Inhale arms into the air
If right leg is in front, lower left arm, left hand to left leg opening the heart chakra

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Yoga pose for New Year’s Day – Gate Pose

December 31, 2012

January 1, New Year’s Day is dedicated to Janus the god of gates, doors and beginnings. 

Celebrate the beginning of a new year with GATE POSE.

gate pose, ParighasanaGate Pose:  Parighasana. (par-ee-GOSS-anna) parigha = an iron bar or beam used for locking or shutting a gate.

How to:

Come to a tall kneel

Extend your right leg out to the side

Inhale, Raise your left arm

Exhale, side stretch out over your right leg

Bring your right arm to the inside of your right leg.  Use the leverage of your arm against your leg to help deepen the stretch, opening your heart chakra to the sky.

Hold for several breaths, then, switch sides

GateVARIATIONS:
-Bend your Right Knee and place your Right foot on the floor (instead of extending your right leg fully)

-Your right hand can reach down your right leg, possibly holding onto your right ankle.

 Revolved Gate Pose

Come to a tall kneel

Extend your right leg out to the side

Inhale, Raise your left arm

Exhale, twist to the right, and bring your left arm to the back of your right leg. Left arm is in the air

Hold for several breaths, then, switch sides

Bound Revolved Gate Pose

Same pose as above,

Then, bring your right arm behind your back and your left arm under your right leg

Clasp hands or wrists

Seated Gate Pose:

Come to a wide knee low kneel

Extend your right leg out to the side (half straddle, your left leg is bent with your calf under your thigh-low kneel)

Inhale, Raise your left arm

Exhale, side stretch out over your right leg

Bring your right arm to the inside of your right leg.  Use the leverage of your arm against your leg to help deepen the stretch, opening your heart chakra to the sky.

Hold for several breaths, then, switch sides

Grab a partner….

Double Gate 1:

Come to a tall kneel several feet apart from each other

Extend your legs so that the side of your foot touches the side of your partner’s foot

Inhale, raise your arms (opposite of your extended leg)

Exhale, side stretch out over your extended legs

Hold hands or wrists with your partner

Hold for several breaths, then, switch sides

Double Gate 2:

Come to a tall kneel next to your partner (hip to hip)

Extend your legs out to the sides (legs that are not touching your partner)

Rise your arm (the arm closest to your partner)

Exhale and side stretch out over your extended legs

Hold for several breaths, then, switch sides

Double Latched Gate:

Come to a tall kneel facing your partner

Come to Gate pose (mirror image, person A extends their right leg, person B extends their left leg)

Bring your extended/supporting arm to your partners extended leg (your partner brings their extended/supporting arm to your extended leg)

Hold the hand or wrist of your partner (use the hand that is opposite of your extended leg)

Hold for several breaths, then, switch sides

Related Post:  Celebrating the New Year with Traditions to Bring Love and Luck!

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As the United States Celebrates it’s Independence, observe this holiday with a Patriotic yoga Practice.

July 3, 2012

Freedom is nothing but a chance to be better.  ~Albert Camus

Center-seated

Set an intention to be free:  Free from worry, free from hate, free from jealousy, free from whatever you need to let go of in your life.

We must be free not because we claim freedom, but because we practice it.  ~William Faulkner

Warm ups:

Seated Figure Four (Eye of the Needle) toe separation, ankle roll.

Twist

Side Stretch

Repeat on opposite side

Eagle Arms – raise and lower

Table

Down Dog

Rag Doll

Tadasana:

Recenter, repeat Mantra

Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves.  ~Abraham Lincoln

Soaring Eagle (Shooting Star – Acticve Balance)

Don’t quack like a duck, soar like an eagle.Ken Blanchard

Eagle Balance

Flow:
*Mountain
Inhale Arms Up
Exhale Fold Forward
Inhale, Look up, Flat back
Exhale, fold forward and step Right Leg Back
Side Angle, Windmill Arms to Reverse Warrior – Repeat 3 times
Step back leg in to Standing split
Look up with a flat back
Exhale fold forward
Inhale Reverse swan dive
Repeat from * on the opposite side

Eagle at Rest (Sleeping Eagle)

Flow to Table

Cat / Cow

Child’s Pose

Squat, Praying Mantis

Proposal Pose

Hip Flexor Stretch

Repeat on opposite side

Sit:
*Half Lord of the Fishes Twist
Lower Legs
Tangled Shoelaces
Fun Turnaround
Repeat From*

Roll back to Floor

Bridge

*Bridge with Figure Four
Lower hips, eye of the needle (legs into chest)
Legs Cross Twist
Repeat From *

Wheel

Both Knees to chest

Bear Pose

Savasana

“The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.”  ― Coco Chanel

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Tension Tamers – Shoulder Solutions

June 6, 2012

As with all yoga, you should not feel pain.  If you are experiencing pain, back off from the asana.  Only go deep enough that you feel the stretch.

Shoulder Circles

  • Begin with your arms at your sides or your elbows bent
  • Bring your shoulders forward then, up, back and down
  • Moving in a counter clockwise direction
  • Breath
  • Repeat 3-5 times
  • Switch circles to a Clockwise rotation
  • Repeat 3-5 times

Shoulder Shrugs

  • Begin with your arms at your sides
  • Inhale, tense your muscles – curl your fingers into tight fists, bend your elbows and squeeze your shoulders up to your ears
  • Exhale, relax and release your shoulders, hands and body
  • Repeat 3-5 times

Shoulder Blade Pull Backs:

  • Begin In Mountain Pose, arms at your sides
  • Inhale, bring your shoulders to your ears
  • Squeeze shoulder blades together (while holding your breath)
  • Exhale, relax and release shoulders
  • Repeat 3-5 times

Bird Wings

  • Come to a low kneel
  • Arms at your sides, fingers touching the floor
  • Inhale, bend your elbows (arms at a 90 degree angle to the floor)
  • Exhale, squeeze your shoulder blades together
  • Inhale
  • Exhale and release
  • Repeat 3-5 times

Arm Swings

  • Begin in Tadasana, arms at your sides
  • Swing your right arm in an arc in front of you, into the air
  • Bend your elbow and pat your self gently on your back
  • Return your arm to your side
  • Repeat 10-12 times
  • Repeat with your left arm

Cow Face Arms

  • Inhale, raise your right arm into the air (forearm next to your ear)
  • Exhale, Bend you elbow and bring your hand to your back
  • Bring your Left arm behind your back
  • Bend your elbow (left hand up)
  • Clasp fingers-Bind (if you are unable to bind, use a strap:  hold the strap in your right hand. The strap dangles down your back.  Grasp the strap with your left hand)
  • Straighten your spin, right elbow pointing up
  • Hold for several breaths
  • Switch sides

Eagle Arms

  • Bring your arms to shoulder height
  • Wrap your right arm under your left arm, elbows bent
  • Try to bring the palms of your hands together
  • Inhale, lift your arms
  • Exhale and lower
  • Repeat several times
  • Repeat on opposite side with Left arm Under Right arm.

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Frog Pose for Leap Day!

February 29, 2012

Leap Year occurs about every four years in order to keep our calendar in sync with the seasons.

Celebrate Leap Year with Frog Pose:
Stretches hips, groin and inner thighs

Begin in table Pose
Slide knees out as wide as is comfortable
Align ankles and knees and Turn feet outwards
Try to transition to your forearms
On your next exhale, begin pushing your hips back as far as is comfortable
Hold for a few breaths
Gently transition back into table pose or lower body to the floor

Extended Frog Pose…
Extend your arms farther out in front of you,
lowering your chest closer to the floor

Take it deeper….
Begin in Sphinx pose (belly on the mat, forearms on the floor)
Bend both knees
Reach hands back and hold feet
Fingers point in the same direction as your toes
Lift elbows into the air (pointing to the ceiling)
Gently press the soles of your feet towards the floor
Life your chest as high as possible
Hold for several breaths
Slowly return to your belly

Half Frog…

Begin in Sphinx
Bend left knee
Reach back with your left hand and hold your left foot
Fingers point in the same direction as your toes
Lift elbows into the air (pointing to the ceiling)
Gently press the soles of your feet towards the floor
Life your chest as high as possible
Hold for several breaths
Repeat on the opposite side.

Another Frog Pose:
Begin in a low kneel
Slowly slide your knees out to the sides
Keep your toes touching (behind you)
Place your hands on the mat, palms down
Slide your hands under your knees
Hold for several breaths

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Welcome to the Year of the Dragon! Celebrate with Dragon Pose!

January 23, 2012

“Gung Hay Fat Choy!” (Happy New Year in Cantonese)

The Dragon is the 5th sign in the Chinese Zodiac, following the Rabbit.

If you were born in 1904, 1916, 1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988 or 2000 your sign is the dragon.  Find your Chinese Zodiac Sign HERE.

Celebrate the New Year with Dragon Pose (Yin Yoga Variation of Runner’s Lunge)

Dragon Pose is great for the hips, groin, quads and can help with sciatica.

How to:

Baby Dragon (Modified Lunge)

Begin in Down Dog
Step your Right Foot forward, between your hands
Bring your Right knee directly over your right ankle.
Drop your Left Knee to the floor
Hold
Repeat on the Left

Variation:

If you want to go deeper….

Opt. 1:  Bring both hands to the Big toe side of your front foot
Opt. 2:  Bring your Forearms to the floor on the big toe side of your front foot: Baby Dragon Flying Low
Opt. 3:  Bring the top of your head to the floor on the big toe side of your front foot

Baby Dragon Flying High (Balancing Modified Lunge)

Begin in Baby Dragon
Bring your Hands to your Right knee
Hold
Repeat on the Left

Twisted Baby Dragon (Twisted Modified Lunge)

Begin in Baby Dragon
Bring your Left hand to the Big toe side of your right foot
Raise your Right Arm
Open your Right Arm out to the Right Side (twist to the side of the front leg)
Hold
Repeat on the Left

Variation:

Opt. 1:  Bend your Left Knee and hold your Left Foot with your Right Hand

Baby Winged Dragon (Modified Lunge with Hip Opener)

Begin in Baby Dragon
Bring both hands to the inside of the right foot
Allow your right knee to roll out to the right side
Come onto the little toe side of the Right Foot

Variation:

Opt. Bring your hands to Blocks

If you want to go deeper….

Opt. 1:  Bring your Forearms to the floor on the big toe side of your front foot
Opt. 2:  Bring your Forearms to the floor on the big toe side of your front foot, then use your right hand and apply a gentle pressure to your right knee, pushing out.

As always, BACK OFF IF THERE IS ANY PAIN!

Dragon Pose (Lunge)

Begin in Down Dog
Step your Right Foot forward, between your hands
Bring your Right knee directly over your right ankle.
Up on your Left toes, Left knee remains off the floor
Hold
Repeat on the Left

Variation:

If you want to go deeper….

Opt. 1:  Bring both hands to the Big toe side of your front foot
Opt. 2:  Bring your Forearms to the floor on the big toe side of your front foot-Dragon Flying Low
Opt. 3:  Bring the top of your head to the floor on the big toe side of your front foot

Dragon Flying Low (Balancing Lunge)

Begin in Dragon Pose
Bring your Hands to your Right knee
Hold
Repeat on the Left

Variation:

Opt. 1:  Bring your hands together in Prayer Position at Heart’s Center
Opt. 2:  Bring your arms over your head, interlace your fingers, index fingers pointing up
Opt. 3:  Begin in Opt. 2 and add a mini back bend

Twisted Dragon Pose (Twisted Lunge)

Begin in  Dragon
Bring your Left hand to the Big toe side of your right foot
Raise your Right Arm
Open your Right Arm out to the Right Side (twist to the side of the front leg)
Hold
Repeat on the Left

Variation:
Opt. 1:  Bend your Left Knee and hold your Left Foot with your Right Hand

Winged Dragon  (Lunge with Hip Opener)

Begin in Dragon Pose
Bring both hands to the inside of the right foot
Allow your right knee to roll out to the right side
Come onto the little toe side of the Right Foot
Hold
Repeat on the Left

Variation:

If you want to go deeper….

Opt. 1:  Bring your Forearms to the floor on the big toe side of your front foot
Opt. 2:  Bring your Forearms to the floor on the big toe side of your front foot, then use your right hand and apply a gentle pressure to your right knee, pushing out.  As always, BACK OFF IF THERE IS ANY PAIN!

Dragon Split
Begin in Baby Dragon
Slowly slid your Right foot forward, straightening out the Right Knee

Variation:
Opt:  Place a block under your right thigh

If you want to go deeper….
Opt: Slowly fold forward out over your Right Leg

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Bear Pose to celebrate Winnie the Pooh Day (The Birthday of Winnie’s author A.A. Milne)

January 18, 2012

“Don’t underestimate the value of Doing Nothing, of just going along, listening to all the things you can’t hear, and not bothering.” -Winnie the Pooh

I love the wisdom of Winnie the Pooh (and his friends).  I have read the A.A. Milne books and the Benjamin Hoff  books, “The Tao of Pooh” an the “The Te of Piglet.”

“The hardest part is what to leave behind, … It’s time to let go!”

So much of what A.A. Milne’s characters have to say is great advice and perfect for the Yoga Mat.
“Just because an animal is large, it doesn’t mean he doesn’t want kindness; however big Tigger seems to be, remember that he wants as much kindness as Roo.” –Winnie the Pooh

To celebrate A.A. Milne’s Birthday ( born the 18th of January 1882), and his beloved characters, let’s practice…

Bear Pose:

Lay on your back

Raise both arms and both legs into the air

Rotate your wrists and ankles

“Always watch where you are going. Otherwise, you may step on a piece of the Forest that was left out by mistake.”

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A Prayerful Yoga Practice & the Anjali Mudra

January 4, 2012

Today we will be working on the Anjali Mudra.
Brings hands together in prayer position at heart center.  Your hands should be lined up evenly.  Press hands together slightly.

Come to a comfortable seated position with hands in Anjali Mudra for a few minutes of Centering.

Spend a few minutes for warm up asanas

Comet to Tadasana with hands in Anjali at heart center (near the back of the mat)

Begin Flow:

Tree Right leg up hands in Anjali Mudra

Step right leg forward in Warrior I hands in Anjali Mudra

Step Left foot forward, Chair Pose

Transition to Twisted Chair Right side

Return to Chair

Forward fold

Lunge (left leg back) hands in Anjali Mudra

Prayerful Triangle

Exhale Revolved Side Angle (hands in Anjali Mudra) – hold

Transition to Lunge

Step back into plank, lower

Child’s Pose

Garland Pose (heel down squat, hands in Anjali Mudra)

Forward Fold

Roll up to Mountain

Repeat on the opposite side

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November 27th is Pins and Needles Day! Celebrate with Thread the Needle Poses!

November 26, 2011

In honor on Pins and Needles Day, try Thread the Needle Poses!

Thread the Needle from Table Pose

Come to Table Pose: hands and knees.
Wrist and Shoulders in alignment and Knees and Hips in alignment.  Top of feet flat

*Allow your weight to sink into your Right Hand,

Lift your Left Hand off the mat, Palm facing Up

Slide your Left arm under your right Arm

Allow your Left Shoulder and side of your head to come to the mat

Inhale and raise your Right Arm in to the air or

Bend your Right elbow, bringing your Right back of your Hand to your Left Hip

Repeat on the opposite side.

Thread the Needle from Child’s Pose

Come to Child’s Pose: Table, then push hips back onto your heels, arms extended, Then follow from ‘*’

Variations

Thread the Needle BALANCE           

From Table Thread the Needle Pose…

Thread the Needle ‘*’ then Lift Leg (if your right arm is raised, raise Left Leg)

Hold

Repeat on Opposite Side

Thread the Needle BALANCE with a Bind

Come into Thread the Needle Balance Pose

Bend the knee of your Right raised leg

Reach back with your Right Hand

Hold your Right Foot with your Right Hand (bind)

Press your Foot into your hand

Squeeze your shoulder blades together and

Turn your heart Chakra up

Drishti is to the ceiling

Repeat on the Left Side

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More Table Poses Coming soon…. 

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If you have an open mind you will have an open heart, but to help the process along, let’s try some Openhearted Yoga

November 21, 2011

Start in a seated position for a few minutes of Centering

Set an intension for your practice.

Try this one from Pamela Leavey, “I am grateful for the new experiences in my life. My open mind and open heart reap many rewards.”

Climbing Stretch

Rock the baby (cradle the baby)

Switch the cross of your legs

Cat and cow (seated pose)

Rainbow Side Stretch

Chest expansion

Twist to each side

Chest expansion

Come to a low kneel , and Ride the Camel:
Inhale, tall kneel, cow
Exhale, low kneel, cat.
Continue to move at your own pace, moving with your breath- Inhaling into a tall keel Cow, Exhaling into      a low kneel cat, flowing from one pose to the other.

Transition into Table, curl your toes under and come to Down Dog.
Walk the Dog

Table

Child’s pose with chest expansion

Table

Down Dog

Openhearted modified lunge (each side)

Down Dog

Walk hands to feet,

Ragdoll

Roll up to Tadasana (Mountain Pose)

Recenter, repeat your intention “I am grateful for the new experiences in my life. My open mind and open heart reap many rewards.”

Come to the top of the mat in Mountain Pose

*Beginning Sun Salutation to Lunge (left foot back)

Openhearted lunge

Chaturanga

Down Dog

Openhearted warrior 1 (right foot forward)

Release hands, windmill arms to the floor (lunge)

Chaturanga

Down Dog

Three Leg Down Dog (right leg into the air)

Right knee comes past the chest to ½ Pigeon

Openhearted pigeon

Release hands, hands to the floor, curl your left toes under

Three Leg Down Dog (right leg into the air)

Down Dog (recovery)

Right foot forward into lunge

Step left foot in, look up with a flat back

Exhale forward

Inhale reverse Swan Dive to standing

Repeat from * stepping back with the right foot

Dancer Pose Balance

Standing forward fold chest expansion

Inhale back to standing, little mini back bend at the top, release arms

Wide legged standing forward fold chest expansion

Release arms, hands to floor

Wide legged standing forward twist (each side)

Come to a Tall Kneel

Camel Pose

Rabbit Pose

Child’s pose

Inhale to a low kneel

Side Stretch each side

Staff Pose

Forward Fold

Staff Leg lift each side

Roll to back

Knees to chest, rock from side to side

Shoulder Stand

Fish

Knees to chest, twist to each side

Corpse Pose

Savasana
Repeat your intention “I am grateful for the new experiences in my life. My open mind and open heart reap many rewards.”

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