Posts Tagged ‘Warrior poses’

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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Pain as a badge of honor … Life lesson learned today

October 7, 2011

Since January, I’ve had a lot of back pain.  I slipped a disc and I am still not totally feeling better.  This pain has become a part of my daily life and has really hindered my lifestyle.

My Mother and Grandmother both have back pain.  Interestingly, both were recently told by two different doctors that they each have one leg that is longer (or shorter) than the other.  The damage can’t be reversed, but by simply adding a lift to one shoe, the pain will be lessened and the damage won’t increase.  My mother, excited by the news and ready for some relief, added the lift.  My grandmother thought it was too much trouble.

I had a doctor appointment today.  I relayed the above story to my Doctor and asked her if she could tell if my legs are the same length.  She had me walk, sit, lay down and generally compared my legs.  I told her I couldn’t believe my grandmother, suffering all this time when there is an easy way to feel better.

Test to see if your legs are uneven Here.

It turns out, my legs are about even.  That is not my issue.

She then said I should have a foot scan to determine if I need orthotics.  She said, if i needed them and got them they would really help.  I told her that I had the scan (as did my husband) in the beginning of the summer.

Bob’s scan was (mostly) fine.  No special orthopedics recommended at this time, but my scan showed a big discrepancy in how I stand on my feet.  My stance makes my hips lopsided and with every step I ma getting more and more out of alignment.    This has a huge impact on my hips and back causing pain

The foot scan doctor went over all the options for custom orthotics.

I didn’t want the cheapest junky pair, and I don’t do leather, so that left me with one option.  They cost about $300 and are totally customize to help with my specific stance.  I didn’t order them at the time.

My Doctor looked at my like I was crazy!  She said, ‘um, what did you just tell me about your grandmother?  You were upset that there is something that can help and it’s as easy as sticking something in her shoe and instead of doing that she walks around in constant pain???  WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU ARE DOING????’

She was right.  I am the same.  I used the cost as my excuse to not order the inserts…

$300 seems like so much money.  Since my back issue started, I get regular adjustments from the chiropractor and I have regular physical therapy  appointments to keep the pain bearable.  Insurance hasn’t covered these visits since about Feburuary. the appointments cost $70 bucks, and I have been paying this out of pocket regularly for 8 months to make the pain tolerable.  The inserts could potentially resolve the issue.

UGH.  Do I want the pain?  Do I think it makes me better than people that seem to walk around pain free?

Lesson (if not learned) at least accepted in this instance-I ordered the orthopedics.

I hope they help the pain and I hope I can what?????

Learn to accept help? Realize I don’t need to be in pain? That carrying around an unnecessary burdon makes me: stupid. Not strong. Not better.

  • What are you carrying around that you can set down?
  • What do you have that someone else can help with?

It is ok to be happy.  It is ok to ask for and take help.

If you can relieve your pain be it mental or physical, let it go.

Let Go.
Let Go.
Let Go.

I am crying as I write this.  Realization can be painful.  It is hard for me to admit that i am doing the same things as my grandmother.

Try this simple little meditation:

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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


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


More Poses for Hips, Click Here

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Yoga for the Hips and Hams

February 9, 2011

Savasana for Centering

Neck Rolls

Active Bridge Pose

Knees to Chest

Eye of the Needle Pose & Twist (Both Legs)

Knees to Chest

Spinal Rolls


Down Dog

3 Leg Down Dog & Hip Opener (Both Sides)

Mountain – Recenter


*Sun Salutation A to Down Dog

Right Foot Forward…

Warrior 1

Lunge (one hand on each side of right foot)

Lift Right Arm into a Twist to the right (Remain up on toes)

Hands to floor, Drop Left Knee & Toes to floor

Modified Crescent Lunge (Keep hips sinking forward)

Bring hands to the floor on the inside of the right foot

Allow your right knee to the move out to the side, rolling onto the outside of the right foot-look up

Bring right knee back to center

Bring one hand to each side of the right foot (Modified Lunge)

Begin to shift Hips back, straightening the right leg

Lower hips to floor

Half Hero-Forward fold

Inhale-look up

Right Knee to HalfPigeon

Sleeping Pigeon

Come back to Half Pigeon

3 leg Down Dog

Dog at a Hydrant- look up

Down Dog

Feet to hands

Look Up

Standing Forward Fold

Inhale arms up

Mountain Pose

Repeat from * with Left leg forward.

Dancers Pose to

Figure Four Balance (Both Sides)

Come down into a Squat

Cobblers Pose

Rainbow Side Stretch

Cobblers Forward Fold

Seated Straddle

Forward Fold

Cobbler’s Pose

Cobbler’s Balance

Release Legs, windshield wipers


Reclined Hero

Hero Forward Fold

Release Legs, windshield wipers

Seated Forward Fold

Fish Pose

Lay Back

Happy Baby

Knees to chest

Twist (both Sides)


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Become a Yoga Warrior with Virabhadrasana

November 10, 2010

Virabhadrasana  (veer-ah-bah-DRAHS-anna)

Vira = Hero; Bhadra = Auspicious; Asana = Body Pose

Virabhadra = the name of a fierce warrior created by Shiva. Virabhadra had a thousand heads, a thousand eyes, and a thousand feet, wielding a thousand clubs.

Warrior Poses are not meant to honor violence.  Warrior Poses bring strength and power into our lives.  We learn to battle ignorance and ego.  We learn to fight for truth and justice.

Some Warrior Pose benefits include:  strengthening lower back and body, opens the chest, neck and shoulders, increases endurance and core strength, helps with balance and concentration.

There are three main Warrior Poses and several other variations.

Virabhadrasana I, II, III (Warrior I, II, III)

Virabhadrasana I (Warrior I) Right leg forward; Take a wide stance, Right Toes forward, Left foot turned in slightly.  Either line up your front heel and back heel, or line up your front heel with the instep of your back foot.  Hips and torso are turned forward; sink into the front leg, bending the front knee over the front ankle.  Adjust your stance so that you knee and ankle remain in alignment. Then, Choose your hand position.  Hands can be in prayer and heart’s center, the arms can be raised over head, perhaps you would like to interlace your fingers with the index fingers pointing up.  Drishti (eye gaze) is up at your extended fingers. (Repeat with the Left leg forward)

Virabhadrasana II (Warrior II) also known as Proud Warrior: Legs are in same position as in Virabhadrasana I (Right leg forward).  Avoid allowing the right knee to turn in. Then, turn torso to the Left.  Arms are extended out straight out to the sides at shoulder height, arms parallel to floor. Drishti (eye gaze) is out over the fingers of your front hand.  (Repeat with the Left leg forward)

Virabhadrasana III (Warrior III): 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 can also be back at sides like airplane wings).  Drishti (eye gaze) is out over your front fingers. (Repeat with the Left leg forward)

Ok, now that you have the basic warrior poses down, lets add some variations.

Asana Variations for Virabhadrasana I (Warrior I):

Peaceful Warrior: Legs and torso are in Warrior I.  With the Right leg forward in Warrior I, Left hand comes to the Left Thigh, the Right hand and arm rise above the head from the shoulder.  The Right hand faces backwards.  The heart and chest are open. (Repeat with the Left leg forward)

Humble Warrior: Legs and torso are in Warrior I.  With the right leg forward, bring both hands behind the back, and interlace the fingers.  Add a little mini backbend opening the chest.  Drishti is up where a ceiling a wall would normally meet. (Repeat with the Left leg forward)

Humble Warrior Forward Fold: Begin with Humble Warrior, then hinge forward at the hips bringing the forehead close to the mat, raise interlocked hands and arms into the air. (Repeat with the Left leg forward)

Open Hearted Warrior: Begin with legs and torso in Warrior I.  With the right leg forward and both arms overhead, begin to lean back opening your chest and bring your arms into a wide ‘v.’ Drishti is up and shoulders are relaxed. (Repeat with the Left leg forward)

Twisted Warrior: Begin with legs and torso in Warrior I.  With the right leg forward bring your right arm under the left arm, then either bring the back of your arms together or twist the right arm around the left (Eagle Arms).  Drishti is up.  (Repeat with the Left leg forward)

Twisted Warrior Forward Fold: Begin in twisted Warrior, then hinge forward at the hips bringing your elbows to the outside of the right knee. Arms are parallel to the mat.  (Repeat with the Left leg forward)

Asana Variations for Virabhadrasana II (Warrior II):

Archer Pose Warrior: Begin with legs and torso in Warrior I.  With the right leg forward, bring both arms up to shoulder height, parallel to the floor, and over the bend right leg.  Slowly begin to pull the left arm back (as if pulling an arrow back on a bow).  As your left arm pulls across the chest, open the left shoulder and hip into a Warrior II position.  Left elbow remains bent and the forearm is parallel to the floor.  Drishti is out over the right arm. (Repeat with the Left leg forward)

Dancing Warrior (Revolved or Reverse Warrior): Begin in Warrior II pose.  With the right leg forward, drop the left hand to the left leg and sweep the right arm up into the air.  The right fingers can be pointed up, or you can add a little side stretch by bending side torso towards the back leg and bringing the right forearm nest to the ear.  Drishti is up to the right fingers. (Repeat with the Left leg forward)

Asana Variations for Virabhadrasana III (Warrior III):

Twisted Warrior III: Begin in Warrior III pose.  Balancing on the right leg, bring the right arm under the left arm in eagle arms.  Arms remain parallel to the floor.  Drishti is to the floor. (Repeat with the Left leg forward)

Are there any Warrior Variations I forgot?  Please let me know.
Need some help with some of the Sanskrit Terms?  CLICK HERE

See more POSE FOCUS posts HERE.

Coming soon Trikonasanas.
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