Supported Fish posture.
This restorative posture was one I used to assist recovery from pneumonia. It feels very supportive as the chest is opened. Breathe long, slow, deep and even breaths. Stay for 20 or so breaths and then counterpose with a gentle forward bend. Legs don’t have to be in padmasana, you can keep them straight. A little lavender oil on the chest and throat was very calming and certainly seemed to help open the airways.
At the moment, I have 3 online Restorative classes on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays at 7.30pm. As some of you know, I began this slower yoga practice when I was dealing with an overwhelming, unpredictable energy and hyper vigilance was extreme. At that time, I found my normal fast paced Ashtanga practice less helpful and as much as I wanted to run, I found that needed to slow down and breathe into the anxiety rather than flee it.
I also found that reconnecting to nature was wonderful medicine. Slow down. Smell the heavenly, coconutty gorse that’s newly out, feel the wind on your skin and listen to the variety of birdsong.
Life. It really is quite the thing.
Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana translates to half bound lotus forward bend.
On the inhale lift the right leg and place it in half lotus and at the same time, reach behind your back and grab your big toe. If possible, forward fold on the exhale. Breathe 5 times, making sure to attend the breath, keeping it slow, steady and even. When coming up, inhale and lift the head, exhale there before coming fully up on the next inhale. Release and return to samastithi as you exhale. Repeat on the other side.
This yoga asana stretches the hamstrings and opens the hips. Tightness in either of those areas can make the balance of the posture more challenging, but do persevere with patience, it can also improve concentration and body
awareness. Ask for variations if you have any knee issues.
During this time, classes are available online. Remember that your breath can be used to calm your nerves and keep you centred. Counting the breath also helps to keep it smooth and even.
It’s just an idea, but I find shifting my focus to feeling and sending love to everyone instead of hooking into the panic and uncertainty feels so much better as I fall asleep. If you try, know that my love is being sent to you in return.
This week, let’s explore Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana, a standing on one leg balancing posture. From Sanskrit, it translates to upright hand-to-big-toe posture.
As we get older, especially if we haven’t taken care to exercise, our core muscles become weaker and we can become prone to falling. I’d say, regardless of age, it’s a good idea to start challenging your balance and keep those muscles toned. It’s easy to lose body confidence if we don’t keep using the movement we have.
Establish strong grounding by broadening the standing foot and lifting the arches. Press down with the big toe ball. Catch the big toe of the lifted leg, or if hamstrings are short take your knee. If possible, bow the chin to the shin as the leg extends straight in front, woah! tricky! especially for the 5 breath count before opening the leg to the side for another 5 breaths. Then we hold the leg, unsupported, in front for another 5 breaths. That’s right, 5 breaths and not a 1,2,3,4,5 quick count that we all like to pretend goes unnoticed..
It’s a very strong yoga posture and often a relief when done. Bloody hell. Yes, actually always.
Improved balance also brings calmness of mind.
Come and practice with me, see improvements for yourself and at the very least maintain the movement you have.
I opened an Etsy shop. Have a little look and feel free to share if you feel inclined 🙂
The posture we’re looking at this week is called Parsvottanasana. The translation from Sanskrit is intense side stretch. An idea is to give the posture particular attention as you practice this week, allowing deeper acquaintance. Feel the body and use your breath.
Step out and square the hips for this yoga asana and engage the quads to protect the hamstrings. Hinging from the hips and drawing the inner thighs towards each other, aim the chin towards the shin and keep both sides of the waist long. Ground the heel at the back and use the action between that heel and the toe ball of the front leg to steer the hips to square. Broaden the collarbones as the shoulders stay down and open.
This yoga posture lengthens the spine and legs and helps to correct rounded shoulders as well as improving balance. Keep your heart open!
Please do join the Ashtanga Yoga led class in the YMCA and notice the benefits for yourself. Beginners are welcome.
In the Ashtanga vinyasa sequence we have 4 wide stance forward bends. This set of asana improves balance, strength and flexibility.
We keep the feet strong by lifting the arches and taking care not to roll onto either the inner or outer edges and the toes are turned slightly in which gives freedom for the tailbone to move. The knees are lifted, but not locked, and the quads engaged allowing the hamstrings to fully lengthen and stretch. The posture also tones the abdomen and can relieve lower back pain. Lengthen from pubic bone to navel and navel to heart and avoid collapsing in on the front side of the body. Open heart! Remember!
Beginners are welcome!
YMCA Thursdays at 5.50pm
This extended side angle pose strengthens thighs, hips, knees and ankles while stretching the groin, spine, waist, ankles and shoulders. It is a strong, toning and energising posture that helps to build stamina.
On the inhale we step out to the right side and on the exhale lunge deeply, aiming to have the thigh parallel to the floor with the knee directly over the ankle and in line with the hip. Take care to avoid the knee drifting out of alignment. The back leg should stay strong, with quad engaged as the outer edge of the foot stays sealed to the floor with the inner arch lifted. Ideally, a crisp straight line is created from the foot at the back to the hand that is extending overhead.
Do come and practice! Thursdays at 5.50pm in the YMCA or Tuesdays at 6pm at Response. I’m also available privately or over Skype.
Along with strengthening the legs, core and spine and opening of the hips and groins, Trikonasana offers a deep stretch and toning to the waist – an area often neglected. On the inhale, from samastithi, step out to the … Continue reading →
On the inhale, catch your big toes then fold deeply on the exhale. Oh, hello hamstrings!
This is an intense forward bend, especially, it seems, on a cold any day morning. Pulling the big toe up while pressing it back down gives a line of action helping to increase the fold while lifting and broadening the shoulders from the ears, as you lift and spread the sit bones.
In Padahastasana we place our hands under the feet, intensifying the posture. Hamstrings are fully lengthened as the back of the body stretches. The wrists are also stretched which feels wonderful after the Sun Salutations and can counter daily activities such as repetitive use of computer mouse.
If hamstrings are short, go ahead and bend at the knees, so as not to put strain on the lower back
Come and try at the Led Class at the YMCA
or Mysore style self-practice at the Response Studio, Broughty Ferry.
More challenging than Surya Namaskar A, the 2nd Sun Salutation includes Warrior pose which increases stamina while improving balance and focus. Virabhadrasana strengthens the spine and bum while stretching the hip flexors – remember to put effort into your … Continue reading →
Good morning Sunshine! Surya Namaskar is an opportunity to greet and feel gratitude for our life giving sun and so, traditionally we face towards the East. The sequence warms and awakens the body, safely preparing us for the deeper following postures. However, the Sun Salutations can be practiced alone and if practiced regularly for 20 minutes or so, cardiovascular fitness is improved along with having a toning and strengthening effect on the body. Finding the discipline to practice regularly can also greatly improve our mood, body awareness and confidence.
EKAM – inhale – hands up
DVE – exhale – forward bend
TRINI – inhale – head up
CATVARI – exhale – jump back
PANCA – inhale – lift chest
SAT – exhale – push back – 5 breaths
SAPTA – inhale – jump forwards – head up
ASTAU – exhale – forward bend
NAVA – inhale – arms up
Led class Thursdays 5.50pm at the YMCA