Archive for the ‘Poses’ Category

Who let the Dogs out? Another day another Down Dog Pose and a few variations.

August 3, 2011


Let explore Dog Yoga Poses, beginning with the one everyone is familiar with….

Down Dog or Adho Mukha Svanasana (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

Start in Table Pose (hands under shoulders, knees under hips
Curl your toes under and straighten your legs in an inverted ‘V’ pose (straighten legs without locking your knees)
Press into your Palms and Heels (heels coming to the floor or working towards the floor)
Raise your sit bones into the air
Upper Thighs roll inward
Press the base of your index fingers into the mat
Head is between your arms (avoid allowing your head to hang)

Supported Dog Pose
     Raise your hands off the floor by placing your hands on a block or rest your hands on the seat of a chair.

Wrist Pain?
     Roll your fingers into fists or roll up your mat so that the base of your hands is higher than your fingers.
You can also try placing your hands on a yoga wedge

Try some Down Dog variations:

Walk the Dog
Come to Down Dog
Pedal your legs, bending first one knee then the other.
This is an active pose

Three Leg Down Dog
     Begin in down Dog
Lift your Right Leg off the mat
Try to lift your right leg to hip height as if being pulled by the right ankle
Hold for several breaths
Lower your leg on an exhale and switch sides

Dog at a Hydrant
     Begin in Three Leg Down Dog (Right Leg in the air)
Bend your Right knee bringing your Right Foot towards your Right Hip
Hold for several breaths
Lower your leg to Down Dog on an exhale and switch sides

Dolphin Pose (Forearm down dog)
     Begin in a forearm table, Elbows under your shoulders, fore arms on the floor
Curl your toes under and straighten your legs

Half Dolphin (I find this more challenging than Full Dolphin Pose)
     Begin in Down Dog
Lower your Right Forearm to the mat
Hold for several breaths, then switch sides


Twisted Dog
     Begin in Down Dog
Lift your Right Arm off the Floor
Bring your Right arm in front of your body
Hold onto you your Left Leg with your Right hand
Pull your Chest to the Left
Drishti is up to the ceiling
Hold for several breaths, then switch sides


Core Strengthening Down Dog
     Begin in Down Dog
Bring your Right Knee to your Belly
Hold for several breaths, then switch sides


Balancing Down Dog
     Begin in Down Dog
Bring your Right Hand to Right Ankle
Raise your Left Leg
Hold for several breaths, then switch sides


Other Dog Poses

 Up Dog or Upward Facing Dog (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana)
     (This pose is a more challenging variation of a Cobra Pose)
Lie on your belly
Bring your hands under your shoulders
Curl your toes under
Inhale, press into your hands
Straighten your arms
Lift your head, neck, shoulders, chest and torso off the mat
Thighs are firm and legs are a few inches off the mat
Tip Head up slightly
Drishti is where a wall and ceiling would normally meet

Puppy Pose or Extended Puppy Pose  (Uttana Shishosana)
     (this pose is a combo of Down Dog and Extended Child’s Pose)
Begin in Table Pose
Walk your hands forward a few inches
Push Hips halfway back towards your calves (hips and buttocks remain in the air)
Forehead to the floor
Elbows remain off the mat
Keep a slight curve in your back
Hold for a few breaths, then rest in Child’s Pose

See more POSE FOCUS posts HERE.

More Spirit Animal Posts HERE 

 

 

 

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Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle – three corner or three angle posture)

July 29, 2011

I ran into Isosceles. He had a great idea for a new triangle! – Woody Allen

A triangle has three sides and is made of straight lines. it’s the simplest polygon.
A triangle may be classified by how many of its sides are of equal length or by what kind of angles it has.

Trikonasana is a standard standing asana used in most yoga styles. Triangle Pose is a  great stretch for your knees, thighs and ankles, hips hamstrings and calves.  It helps relieve stress and improves digestion.  It’s a good asana for back pain relief and can be done through the second trimester of pregnancy.

Let’s start with a basic, standard Triangle Pose:

Take a nice, wide stance (feet are 3-4 feet apart)

Rotate your feet:  Right foot points to the right.  Left foot turned in slightly.  Either line up your heels or the heel of your front foot and the instep of your back foot.
Inhale, Raise your arms to shoulder height, parallel to the floor

Exhale and reach your Right arm out over your right leg.  Bend from the hip/pelvis* (not the waist) out over your straight Right leg.

Your Right hand can rest on your leg, ankle or big toe side or little toe side of your foot.
Raise your Left arm to the sky.

Drishti or gaze is at your left fingers or down to your right toes.

Hold for several breaths, then switch sides.

You can come to Triangle Pose from Mountain or Lunge Pose

The focus in Triangle is to keep your shoulders and hips in alignment.  It does not matter where your right hand rests.  Try practicing this asana against a wall for proper alignment (keeping your heels, hips, shoulders and head against the wall).

*Find your pelvis:  Have a seat on a hard surface. The two points on your bottom are your ‘Sit Bones,’ Place your hand on your hips this is your pelvis, bend at this joint.

Now that we have mastered Trikonasana let’s try some variations:

Supported Triangle:
Option 1:  Place your supporting hand on a block or chair seat

Option 2:  Bend your front knee slightly, place your support hand above your knee


With a Bind:
Half Bound – Come into triangle.  Lower your Left arm behind your back reaching to your inner Right thigh.

Bound Triangle (Baddha Trikonasana) – Come into triangle.  Lower your Left arm behind your back, Bring your Right arm in front of and under your Right thigh.  Clasp hands behind your back. (use a strap if a full bind can not be accomplished)

Prayerful Triangle:
Come to a standard Triangle Pose

Bring hands together in prayer position at heart center


Extended Triangle:

Come into triangle, bring your Right (supporting hand) to the outside of your Right foot.  Lower your Left Arm next to your Left Ear.  Left Fingers are pointing to the front of the room, Drishti is up.

Parivrtta Trikonasana (Revolved Triangle or Reverse Triangle):
Take a nice, wide stance (feet are 3-4 feet apart-this asana is easier with a shorter stance)

Rotate your feet:  Right foot points to the right.  Left foot turned in slightly.  Either line up your heels or the heel of your front foot and the instep of your back foot.

Inhale, Raise your arms to shoulder height, parallel to the floor

Exhale and turn (twist) your torso to the Right.  Square hips to front edge of mat as much as possible.  Ground into your left heel

On your next Exhale, bend forward from your hips and reaching your Left Hand to your Right leg or ankle, floor or block on the outside of your Right leg

Right Arm is extended up to the sky

Drishti is to the right fingers or down to the right toes

Peaceful Triangle:
Take a nice, wide stance (feet are 3-4 feet apart-this asana is easier with a shorter stance)

Rotate your feet:  Right foot points to the right.  Left foot turned in slightly.  Either line up your heels or the heel of your front foot and the instep of your back foot.

Inhale, Raise your arms to shoulder height, parallel to the floor

Exhale, reach your Left arm down your left leg to your calf.

Open your heart Chakra in a mini backbend, reaching your Right arm up and back.  Right fingers point behind you, forearm is next to your Right ear.

Drishti is to the sky

Hold for several breaths, then switch sides.

Wide Angle Triangle:
Come to Five Pointed Star:  nice, wide stance (feet are 3-4 feet apart).  Toes remain pointing forward.  Arms shoulder height and parallel to the ground

Exhale, Twist from the waist and windmill your arms.  Lower your Left hand to the floor (or block or chair seat) between your feet.  Your Right arm is extended straight up

Drishti is to your raised arm

Hold for several breaths, then switch sides.

Balancing Triangle or Tumbling Triangle
Take a nice, wide stance (feet are 3-4 feet apart-this asana is easier with a shorter stance)

Rotate your feet:  Right foot points to the right.  Left foot turned in slightly.  Either line up your heels or the heel of your front foot and the instep of your back foot.

Inhale, Raise your arms to shoulder height, parallel to the floor

Transition your weight to your Right foot and slowly begin to raise your Left leg into the air

Lower your Right hand to your Right Calf

Hold for several breaths, then switch sides.

This pose is similar to half moon balance, except your hand is on your calf (instead of the floor) and you don’t rotate your hips open.

Similar Poses:
Gate Pose is like a kneeling triangle
Half Moon Balance is like tumbling triangle
Revolved Half Moon Balance

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Hip Help with Pigeon Poses

July 22, 2011

Seated Centering

Torso/Hip rolls, press down on knees to anchor sitz bones (each direction)

Rainbow Side Stretch (each side)

Seated Eye of the Needle :  toe stretch and ankle rolls>
Lower legs to > Half Lord of the Fishes Twist (each side)

Table, wag tail, and allow hips to lower towards the floor

Down Dog
Left foot back, drop back knee, hip flexor stretch
Modified lunge, inner thigh stretch (each side)

Rag Doll, roll to mountain

Recenter

Pigeon Flow
*Beginning of sun salutation A to Down Dog…
Down Dog, RIGHT Leg up > 3 leg Down Dog (7 breaths)
Dog at a hydrant  (3 breaths)
Right knee to Half Pigeon  (7 breaths)
Pigeon Cobra  (3 breaths)
Sleeping Pigeon  (7 breaths)
Twisted Pigeon  (3 breaths)
Hands to floor for half pigeon, curl Left toes under and step back to
Down Dog (3-5 breaths)
Step Right foot forward, then left
Lookup with a flat back
Fold Forward
Roll up to Mountain
Repeat from * with LEFT leg up in 3 legged Down Dog

Fig. four balance (forward fold)

Portrait pose legs  :  twist to each side & back bend (each side)

Cobblers Pose  :  Balance

Seated Straddle, Right knee bent, side stretch, backbend
repeat with left knee bent

Forward fold

Roll back to mat

Bridge :
*Eye of needle variation with Right leg up, lower hips
Cross leg twist
Reclining tree
Repeat from *

Full Bridge or wheel

Happy Baby

Inversion of choice

Savasana

More Poses for Hips, Click Here

Click here for more Asanas for Ailments

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Arbor Day is here again, Let’s try some Tree Pose Variations…

April 28, 2011

The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago.  The next best time is now.  ~Chinese Proverb

Arbor Day: (Arbor is Latin for Tree) is an annual event in countries all over the world that encourages people to get out, plant and care for trees.

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After you are done planting your trees, honor them with Vrksasana!

TREE POSE (vrksasana) is a standing posture that focuses on Balance, it stretches and strengthens calves, thighs and ankles.

Begin in Mountain Pose (Tadasana).

Allow all of your weight to sink into your right foot.

Begin to raise your left foot into kickstand, (left heel on the right ankle, left toes on the floor) or bring your left foot onto your right calf, or bring your left foot all the way up to your right thigh.

When you find your balance (concentrate your attention onto a stationary object),

Grow your Branches (arms) anyway you like:
Hands together in prayer position at heart center
Hands together over your head
Arms over your head in a ‘V’ position
Interlace your fingers and press your palms to the sky
Bring your elbows parallel to the floor (Palm Tree).

Repeat on the opposite side.

Want to make it more challenging?  Try closing your eyes in balance poses.

Tree Pose Variations:

Swaying Palm Tree
Come to a Tree Pose
On your next exhale bend towards your bent knee and hold.
Repeat on opposite side

Twisted Tree 1
Come to a Tree Pose
Extend arms out in ‘T’ position at shoulder height.
Then, on your next exhale twist torso towards your bent knee. Hold
Repeat on opposite side

Twisted Tree 2
Come to a Tree Pose
Cross your arms into 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).
Repeat on opposite side with Left arm Under Right arm.

Tumbling Tree
Tumbling tree is basically Warrior III with a chest Expansion
From Tadasana, take a step forward with your left leg
Come onto your Right toes
Interlace your fingers behind your back
Slowly transition your weight onto your left foot
Begin to raise your right leg into the air
Full expression:  Body is in ‘T’ position with arms raised into the air (fingers interlaced)
Repeat on opposite side

Tree Plank
Tree plank is a side plank with your top leg in Tree Pose
Begin in Down Dog
Roll onto the outside of your Right Foot
Raise your Left Arm into the air
Bend your Left Knee and place your Left Foot on your Right Calf or Thigh
Repeat on opposite side

Reclining Tree Pose
Corpse Pose
Bend Right knee, Right foot on the Floor
Exhale and open your Right Knee to the Right side
Hold for several breaths
Inhale Right knee to center
Switch Sides

 

Do you know of more Tree Pose Variations?  Please share.

How to plant a tree, CLICK HERE.

Become an Arbor Day Foundation Member ($10) and receive 10 FREE TREES!

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.
~Joyce Kilmer, “Trees,” 1914

More Calendar Theme Yoga Poses

ARBOR DAY 2010 Post

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Pyramid Pose for Passover

April 19, 2011

Passover is upon us, it’s the day when god helps the Israelites escape Slavery in Egypt.

Pyramid Pose – Parsvottanasana (Standing Runners Stretch, Intense Stretch)

Begin in Tadasana (Mountain Pose)

Turn your Left foot out slightly, and step your Right foot forward (about the length of your normal stride).

*Hips remain square to your front leg.

Inahale

As you Exhale fold forward out over your front leg.

Your hands can be reaching towards the floor, your hands can be on the floor, or you can bend your front knee slightly and place your hands above your knee

Hold for several breaths

Inhale come back to standing

Rotate feet so that your Left foot is now forward, and repeat from *

Variation:  Interlace your fingers behind your back and add a chest expansion when folding forward


Modified Pyramid Pose: (Kneeling Pyramid, Kneeling Runners Stretch)

Begin in a tall kneel

Extend your right leg.  Leg is straight toes are pointed up

Exhale and fold forward out over your right front leg

Hold for several Breaths

Repeat on the Left

Camel Pose – Ustrasana

Begin in a tall kneel, knees are hip width apart

As you exhale Slowly lean back into a Back Bend

Bring your hands to your heals and hold for several breaths

Your Drishti (eye gaze) is at the ceiling

Inhale and come back to a tall kneel

Variation: Try bringing your hands to your hips if your heels are too far away.  You can also try half camel, one hand to heel and other arm raised (each side).

Release from Camel Pose with Child’s Pose, hold for several Breaths.

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Celebrate Palm Sunday with Palm Tree Yoga Pose

April 15, 2011

Palm Sunday 2011 is April 17.  Christians celebrate Palm Sunday the one-week before Easter.  It marks the day Jesus entered into Jerusalem. The palm tree was considered a symbol of victory and well-being. Before Ash Wednesday (of the next year), the Palm is burned and used as a symbol of penitence during Lent.

The Palm Tree was also sacred to the Greek god Apollo.

PALM TREE POSE
Palm Tree Pose is a great spinal alignment pose.  It lengthens your entire body.  It opens your heart and chest.  Palm Tree energizes and releases tension as it strengthens your arms and legs.

Palm Tree Pose (Talasana)

Begin in Mountain Pose

Inhale, raise arms over head (palms facing each other), and rise up onto toes

Breathe

Inhale and straighten your entire body reaching up

Exhale bend back slightly

Drishti (gaze) is on fingers

Hold for a few slow deep breaths

Exhale-lower arms and heels

Return to Mountain Pose

Palm Tree Variations…

Kundalini Palm Tree Pose

Same as above, but legs are wider than hip width apart, toes turned out slightly

Swaying  (or Swinging) Palm Tree Pose (Tiryaka Tadasana)

Palm tree with side stretch to each side

Tree Pose Variation-Palm Tree

Come to Tree Balance Pose

Inhale arms up

Exhale elbows down to shoulder height, arms at a right angle (upper arms parallel to floor).

Palms facing forward, fingers spread

Wall/Palm Tree Variation

Begin in Mountain Pose

Inhale arms up into the air

Exhale elbows down to shoulder height, arms at a right angle (upper arms parallel to floor).

Palms facing forward, fingers spread

Slowly walk backwards until your entire back is against a wall

Concentrate on aligning your body with the wall

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Yoga For Lower Back Pain

April 5, 2011

Yoga For Lower Back Pain

For the past couple of Months my lower back has been in pain.
Yoga has definitely brings some relief.

Back pain comes from a variety of reasons everything from Injuries to Bad Posture.

(Obviously, you should consult a Doctor before beginning any type of exercise.  Consult a Doctor for diagnosis and treatment of pain and injuries.)

Begin with a few moments of centering

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Today we are going to begin in Corpse pose
Full Supine Stretch

*Right Knee in to Chest
Straight Right leg in towards Chest
Open Right leg to Right side for Reclined Big Toe Pose
Straight Right leg in towards Chest
Right leg across body for Twist
Straight Right leg in towards Chest
Repeat from *

Active Bridge Pose

Bridge Pose

Both Knees in to Chest

Wind Relieving Pose

Knees to Chest

Spinal Rolls to Squat

Table

Cat/Cow

Down Dog

Plank

Cobra to Child’s Pose 5-11 x’s

Down Dog

Rag Doll

Mountain Pose

Right  Side:
Triangle
Pyramid with Chest Expansion
Side angle

Five Pointed Star
Wide Leg Standing Forward Fold
Wide Leg Standing Forward Fold twist (Each Side)

Left Side:
Triangle
Pyramid with Chest Expansion
Side angle

Eagle

Eagle at Rest

Sun Salutation to Belly

Locust

Locust with Chest expansion

Child’s Pose

Sit

Half Lord of the Fishes Twist

Forward Fold

Fish Pose

Knees to Chest

Bridge

Happy Baby

Spinal Twist

Corpse Pose

More Asanas for Ailments, Click Here.

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Celebrate van Gogh’s Birthday with: Ear Pressure Pose – Karnapidasana

March 30, 2011

I wish they would only take me as I am– Vincent van Gogh

Today, March 30 is Vincent van Gogh‘s birthday (1853).

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One of my all time favorite artists, Dutch born Post-Impressionism painter, van Gogh is best known for is bright colored emotionally stimulating masterpieces.  His best know works include:  Starry Night, Sunflowers and Self Portraits.  van Gogh had a long history of depression and mental illness, resulting in his death by a self inflected gunshot wound.  He is also well known for cutting off  a portion of his left ear. (There has been some debate recently about who actually cut off the artist’s ear, some think it was Paul GauguinRead More Here).

To Celebrate van Gogh’s Birth and (possible) famous self inflected Ear Mutilation…

Try:

Ear Pressure Pose (Karnapidasana)
Also known as Knees to Ears or Deaf Man’s Pose

Begin by laying back

From Shoulderstand
bend you knees down towards your forehead (only going as far as is comfortable). Release your arms to the mat, palms down.

Ear Pressure Pose (Karnapidasana)
Hold this asana for a few long slow deep breaths, gently roll down onto your back when finished.

Pull Knees to Chest for a spinal release.

Please note: it takes time to totally achieve this asana, don;t worry, with time and practice, your needs will slowly get closer and closer to the floor.  before you know it, you will be in full expression of this pose.

View more Yoga Themes HERE

Here are some of my favorite van Gogh quotes:

“As we advance in life it becomes more and more difficult, but in fighting the difficulties the inmost strength of the heart is developed.”

“Conscience is a man’s compass.”

“Even the knowledge of my own fallibility cannot keep me from making mistakes. Only when I fall do I get up again.”

“Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.”

“I feel that there is nothing more truly artistic than to love people.”

“There is no blue without yellow and without orange.”

“What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?”

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St Patrick’s Day, Drunk Yoga

March 17, 2011

Saint Patrick’s Day is here once again…Celebrate with YOGA.

March 17th has become a popular green beer drinking holiday in the US.
(CLICK HERE for instructions on making Green Beer)

IRISH YOGA (as defined my Urban Dictionary)
After a night of HEAVY drinking and passing out in a very strange position…
man 1: he was do drunk he fell back off his chair with his head on the floor and his ass still on the seat
man 2: like Irish yoga?

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If you are not willing to take your chances with drunk yoga, try the asanas sober:

Begin with a few minutes of Centering

Transition into Table for Cat Pose & Cow Pose

Garland Pose (wide squat)

Rag Doll

Mountain Pose

Beginning Sun Salutation A
Mountain Pose, Inhale arms up, Exhale Forward Fold, Inhale, look up with a flat back, exhale and step back into Down Dog.

*Three Leg Down Dog (Right Foot off mat)
Dog at a Hydrant
Three Leg Down Dog
Bring your (right)Knee between your hands
Release your Left leg down to the mat-Half Pigeon Pose
Sleeping Pigeon

Half Pigeon
Curl your Right toes under and step your right leg back into Three Leg Down Dog
Repeat from * with Left foot off the mat

Twisted Tree (2) Balance Pose:  Tadasana, allow your weight to sink into your right Leg, Bring your Left Leg into Tree Pose. When you have found your balance, extend your arms out in T position at shoulder height.  On your next exhale, twist your upper body to the Left.  Repeat with Left Leg in Tree, twisting to the right.

Mountain Pose

Down Dog

Belly Rest for a moment

Locust

Child’s Pose

Forearm Table

Dolphin

Child’s Pose

Have a seat

Seated Forward Fold

Roll down to mat

Bridge Pose

Bring Knees to chest, rock from side to side

Plow Pose

Happy Baby

Twist, rotated Stomach posture

Savasana

My husband and I are both Irish and we actually met on Saint Patrick’s Day, 1995.  I had just turned 21 and we went out in search of Green Beer. We never found it.  In fact, we didn’t have our first green beers until last year at Blind Hartman’s Tavern (check out BHT, they have an awesome band, Black Hat Boris that plays there every 6 weeks or so).  We always celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day as an Anniversary, so if you celebrate too, try some Yoga Twists to help feel better the morning after.

May the long time sun
Shine upon you,
All love surround you,
And the pure light within you
Guide your way on.
(Irish Blessing, and a Kundalini yoga farewell)

History of Shamrock, Leprechaun, and the Blarney’s Stone

Cute St Patrick’s Day ideas for kids (and kids at heart)

Please note, the photos above (in slide show) are not my images.  I have not been able to determine their origin.  They have been re-posted several times all over the web.

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Beware the Ides of March Yoga Themes and Corpse Pose

March 15, 2011

There is so much going on in March, and lots of fun Yoga tie-ins.
March comes in like a lion…(Click Here for Lion Yoga Post)
March 2nd is Dr Seuss’ Birthday…(Click Here for Seuss Yoga)
March is National Woman’s History Month…(Celebrate your inner Goddess Post Here)
Lent Began on March 9…(Fasting, Abstinence and Yoga Post Here)
Yesterday was Pi Day…(Pi day….1/2 Circle Yoga Pose Post Here)
———————————————————-

…and that brings us to today:
The Ides of March

Lets spend some extra time in Corpse Pose – Savasana!

Lay down on your back in any comfortable Dead Man’s Pose

Legs Extended, allow the feet to fall out to the sides
(Knees Bent, Feet on the floor if that is better for your back)
Arms are at your sides, hands lower than your heart
Palms Facing up in a gesture that is open and receptive
Press into your elbows and tuck your shoulder blades under
Tip Your chin so your spine is nice and long
Settle in, close your eyes (try an eye pillow to allow sense withdraw)
Make any adjustments you need to allow you to relax and release into the pose
(you can cover yourself with a blanket, put on socks or a sweatshirt)
Begin to Focus on your Breath
Breathing in and out through your nose
Allowing your Belly, Ribs & Chest Expand on the inhale
Allow your Chest, Ribs & Belly to relax on the exhale
Focus on your Breath, Breathing in and out.

If you like you can do a Guided Meditation, or try a Self Guided Relaxation.

Here’s an easy Relaxation Exercise:

Inhale, and as you exhale relax and release into the floor while mentally thinking the number 12.

Take another slow full deep breath in, exhale, relax and release a litter further, mentally thinking 11.

Continue on in this way, focusing on your breath, mentally counting backwards, and relaxing and releasing with each breath out.

If you find that you reach Zero and your mind or body is still racing, simply begin again at 12.

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March 17, Saint Patrick’s Day…(Post Coming soon)
March 19, 2011 is a ‘Supermoon‘….(Celebrate with Chandra Namaskar)
March 20 is the Vernal Equinox(Yoga for Balance)

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