Archive for the ‘Calendar Themes’ 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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Today is Makar Sankranti; Celebrate with Kite Pose!

January 14, 2013

butterfly kiteMakar Sankranti (Sanskrit: Shankramana = to begin to move) is a Hindu festival celebrated by many people to celebrate the New Year.  Sankrant, usually celebrated on January 14 is based on the solar calendar (most festivals are based on the lunar calendar). Makar Sankranti is the day when the Sun enters and begins to ascend into the Northern Hemisphere. The Sun represents knowledge, spiritual light and wisdom. During Makar Sankranti we are reminded to turn away from the darkness of delusion, and begin to enjoy a new life.  Our bright inner light begins to shine brighter and brighter as we gradually grow into purity, wisdom, and knowledge.

Kite Festivals are a popular way to celebrate Makar Sankranti.

KITE POSE 1 – Patangasana
(this asana is basically Warrior 3 with airplane wings)

HOW TO:

Begin in Tadasana (Mountain Pose).

Take a step forward with your Right leg.

Raise arms next to your ears as you transfer your weight into your Right leg.

Lift your left leg off the mat, and slowly hinge forward from the hips.

Your raised leg, torso and arms should be parallel to the floor. Arms back to sides like airplane wings

Drishti (eye gaze) is out over your front fingers.

(Repeat with the Left leg forward)

 

KITE POSE 2 – Falling Star (aka Soaring Eagle)

HOW TO:

Begin in 5-pointed star pose (legs 3-4 feet apart, arms at sides parallel to the floor)

Transfer your weight to your right leg

Hold for several Breaths

Return to 5 pointed Star

Repeat on the Left side

Makar Sankranti Blessing:
May the Makar Sankranti fire burn all the moments of sadness and bring you the warmth of joy, happiness and love”

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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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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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Chandra Namaskara B (Moon Salutation B)

December 6, 2011

Mountain Pose (Tadasana)

Inhale Arms up, Exhale fold forward, Inhale look up

Exhale, Step LEFT foot back into a lunge and drop your left knee, arms up, hands in prayer (modified Crescent lunge)

Exhale lower arms and step Right leg back into Down Dog

Inhale drop knees in Table (look up)

Exhale into child’s pose (balasana)

Inhale tall kneel, arms in the air (hips off heels)

Exhale child’s pose with elbows next to your ears and hands in prayer behind your head (Praying child’s pose) hold

Release your arms, palms to the floor

Inhale slide chest forward into upward-facing dog

Exhale into Down Dog

Inhale Left foot forward; drop right knee arms up (modified crescent lunge)

Step your right foot forward into a standing forward fold

Inhale look up, Exhale fold forward

Inhale back up into tadasana

Repeat on the other side.  One round of Chandra Namaskar B

See Moon Salutation A (Chandra Namaskar) Post Here

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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

More Calendar Theme Yoga Poses

More Table Poses Coming soon…. 

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WORLD PEACE DAY NOVEMBER 17 Celebrate with a Peaceful Yoga Practice

November 16, 2011

Shanti, Santhi or Shanthi (from Sanskrit शान्तिःmeans peace, rest, calmness, tranquility, or bliss)

In honor of World Peace Day, try a Peaceful Yoga Practice:

Begin in Salutation Seal (Anjali Mudra or Hrdayanjali Mudra) for a few minutes of Centering:
Come to a comfortable seated pose, bring your hands together in Prayer Position at Heart’s Center.
Insure your hands and fingers line up, press your hands together gently.
Bow head slightly

Try chanting the Buddhist Compassion Mantra  ” OM MANI PADME HUM” (translation: ‘Hail the jewel in the lotus’)

Switch the cross of your legs for balance

Do a few Cat & Cow Stretches to warm up your spine

Rainbow Side Stretch (each side)

Seated Twist (both sides)

Transition into table,

Thread the needle stretch (each side)

Down Dog, Walk the Dog

Rag Doll

Recenter, perhaps repeat ” OM MANI PADME HUM”  (3x’s)

Active Crescent Moon Side Stretch

Come to the top of your mat
*Beginning Sun Salutation A to Down Dog

Step your Right Foot forward into Lunge
Bring your Left hand to your left hip, Left Heel rotates Down to the mat,
Invert your Right hand (Palm Facing Up),
Inhale into Peaceful Warrior (variation of Warrior 1)-hold for a few breaths

Straighten your Right Leg, turn hips and torso to the left side and add a mini side stretch toward your back leg,
Peaceful Triangle (variation of Triangle)-hold for a few breaths

Inhale back to torso center

Exhale and transition into Lunge (Right Foot forward)
One hand on either side of your front foot, up on your back toes or down on your back knee.

Step your Left Foot next to your Right foot

Look up with a flat back,

Exhale Fold Forward

Inhale reverse Swan Dive Back to Tadasana

Repeat from * with Left Leg forward

Half Moon Balance (Modification:  Hold Left Foot with Left Hand) -each side

Goddess

Yoga Squat

Table

Down Dog 

Child’s Pose

Roll to Sit
Fish Pose
Knees to Chest
Bridge or Wheel
Happy Baby
Rotated Stomach Posture

Savasana-” OM MANI PADME HUM”  (3x’s)

 

 

 

 

—————————-

Peaceguy’s Prayer

May the people on this planet be changed.
Changed from hatred to love,
Changed from greed to giving,
Changed from selfishness to selflessness,
Changed from apathy to action,
Changed from jealousy to joy over someone’s accomplishments,
Changed from intolerance to acceptance,
Changed from being destructive to being constructive,
Changed from fighting to peace,
Changed from killing to protecting life,
Changed from censorship to freedom,
Changed from ignorance to education,
Changed from fearing our differences to rejoicing our variety.

May we each take it upon ourselves to feed the hungry, cure the sick,
house the homeless, educate the illiterate, love the unloved,
compete to do the right thing instead of winning at any cost,
make heros that teach our children to
make the world a better place instead of glorifying violence and war,
stand up and speak out against things that are wrong
instead of sitting back and waiting for someone else,
demand honesty from our governments,
demand honesty from ourselves.

May we each take responsibility for our own actions
and realize that by refusing to change ourselves,
we condone all the evils in the world.
If one person changes they teach others by example,
who in turn change and teach more,
one person becomes as a pebble rolling down a mountain,
picking up more pebbles as it continues,
becoming an avalanche of change.
It can happen, it must happen, it will happen.

(To make this prayer work, you have to change yourself. 
Copyright 1997 Don Morris. Feel free to use this anywhere and any place. All I ask is to reference this website if you do.)

LEARN MORE about Peace Guy’s Mission HERE 

 Please note International Peace Dayis always celebrated on September 21.

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