Tag Archives: asana of the week

Asana of the week: Viparita Karani

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Viparita Karani

Supported Viparita Karani

Viparita Karani

Viparita = turned around, reversed, inverted
Karani = doing, making, action

The pose described here is a passive, supported variation of the Shoulderstand-like without the risk to your neck.

Step by step:

Getting Into Legs Up the Wall Pose:

Lie on the floor near a wall and practice deep, steady breathing. Exhale and swing your legs up onto the wall so that your heels and sitting bones are supported against it. If you have any discomfort in your lower back, adjust your body slightly back from the wall so that your sitting bones are not touching it. Rest your head on the mat or floor, keeping your spine straight, and bend your knees a little so your kneecaps won’t lock.

When using support- If you have any lower back pain, support your body by placing a yoga block or folded blankets on the ground beneath your back. When positioning your support, you must consider its height and its distance from the wall. If you are not very flexible, your support should be lower to the ground and farther from the wall. If you are flexible, keep your support higher and closer to the wall. Keep a gentle arc in your torso from the pubis to the top of the shoulders.

If your neck feels strained, place a small, rolled-up towel under it.

Release the weight of your belly toward the back of the pelvis, deeply into the torso. Soften the eyes and turn them down towards your heart. After you come out of this restorative pose, be sure to lie on your side for a few breaths before sitting upright with your back against the wall, then slowly rising to your feet.

Source/Reference

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Awesome Benefits of Viparita Karani:

Reversing Gravity. The restorative nature of this posture gets blood flowing to parts of the body that need it, making it good for most any ailment including arthritis, high or low blood pressure, respiratory ailments, and menopause.

Go downtown. Alleviates menstrual cramps! For those of you lacking ovaries, this is also good for your little swimmers- it helps testicular and semen problems.

Feet. Relieves sore feet, legs, and ankles. Unlike sitting, which keeps the blood stagnant in your feet and partially cut off by your bent knees, this pose gets 100% weight off your feet to give them some relief.

Inversions calm anxiety. This is an extremely relaxing pose. No matter what’s going on, if I throw my legs up the wall and give my brain some much needed blood flow, I feel better. More benefits of inversions here.

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I prescribe this pose to everyone I know. Whether it’s headaches, sore feet and legs, anxiety, Viparita Karani is soothing and symptom free. Best of all- it gives you a time out from your day to just be.

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Asana of the Week: Flip Your Dog!

Flippin’ the dog

I couldn’t find a specific Sanskrit name for this, but I believe it’s a variation of Camatkarasana or ‘wild thing’ pose. A beautiful heart opener and upside-down-dog. I fully intend to bring this into a full wheel some day…

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Asana of the week: plow

Hala Asana! Working on getting my back straighter

Hala-Asana

Since the past few weeks have been dominated by discussion of power moves and invigorating flows, I decided to select an asana that just feels damn good.

I love plow. I love how it’s normally towards the end of a class so you can tell you’ve crossed the desert and are almost to the promised land of savasana.

There are so many good things going on here:

Jalandhara bandha. Also known as the chin lock, which stimulates your thyroid and metabolism as you press your chin to your chest.

Spine therapy. An amazing, elongating stretch through your back and spine as gravity opens you up.

Inversion. The benefits of inversions are amazing from increased circulation to feeling sharper mentally. A post about them here!

I like to bring my hands to my toes at first, breathe and relax into it. Then I bring my arms to my sides and bind my hands behind my body; compressing my neck to my chest like crazy. A step by step guide to plow pose here.

Watch it. Women on their mentrual cycles should not do plow pose. I don’t know why, I’ve just been told this by many teachers. Anyone know why?

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asana of the week- wheel

my wheel… more of an ellipse.

Chakrasana

Oh yes, we’re back-bending on this fine Friday. I recently did a yogathon at Urban Yoga Spa– two hours of hot power vinyasa, two hours of hot hatha, and two hours of yin/yang yoga. Sometimes I think I’m a special brand of insane. During the first two hours of power vinyasa, we did 5 wheel poses.

The teacher, Odessa, quoted Baron Baptiste saying: “Wheels are like pancakes. The first two are never any good” So we did two more. And when called up for the fifth, she invigorated us with another Baptiste quote. “This last wheel…is the difference between walking out of this room, and FLYING out of this room.”

I can’t say no to that, I want to fly.

  • Begin setting up for bridge pose, heels drawn close enough to the sit bones that you can brush your heels with your fingers.
  • Bring your hands mat-width next to your ears with your fingers pointing towards your feet.
  • Press into the four corners of your feet, inhale and on your exhale life your tailbone to the sky.
  • Push firmly into your hands and forearms to lift yourself up. I like to take a little pit-stop with the crown of my head on the floor, so I can go up with strength rather than momentum.
  • Draw the shoulder blades down the back, straighten the arms as much as possible.

More articulate instructions here.

Troubleshooting. If you think you’re going to die, stick with bridge for a while strengthening your back by NOT clenching your glutes. If your low back is yelling at you, make sure your feet are parallel in a number 11 and experiment walking them closer or further from you.

More. Come to your tippy toes, bring one leg into your chest and straighten it to the sky. Repeat on the other side. If this still hasn’t got you sweating, try some wheel pushups by simultaneously bending arms and legs…as if you’re doing an upside down pushup on the ceiling?

I’m still perfecting this one, any tips?

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Asana of the week- side plank

Vasisthasana

vasisthasana

Sorry to be throwing so many pesky planks your way, but this is a true power move. Everything is working here, every muscle is alive. It incorporates strength, balance, and it introduces us to our obliques. Again, no amount of bicycle crunches pack that much of a punch.

  • Begin in plank. Bring your heels together and pivot onto your right heel, stacking the left on top.
  • Open your body to the side, reaching your arm up stacking your joints.
  • Squeeze your right side to the sky.
  • Look up into your palm.
  • Repeat on your left side.

Troubleshooting. If you’re having problems with balance, place the toes of your top leg behind your bottom leg into a variation of wild thing pose.

More. To really fire up that core, take your top foot to tree pose, OR lift it so it is parallel to the ground. To really get going- take your top foot to tree pose and leave it there, then pivot to a regular plank pose and do three complete pushups. Repeat on the other side.

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Asana of the Week- Dolphin Plank

Makara Adho Mukha Svanasana

Dolphin Plank

Planks are hard. But planks change your body. No amount of crunches will give you the results that dolphin plank will. Shaking is good, and be sure to BREATHE. This is a really simple move, but it’s sure to get you bikini ready.

  • Begin in Down Dog. Shift your weight forward to plank pose so that your shoulders are over your wrists.
  • One at a time, lower your forearms to the floor with your palms facing down. Place your elbows where your hands were, and spread your fingers wide. You want your body to be in one straight line, with your heels over your toes.
  • Keep the muscles in your tushy relaxed, draw your shoulders away from your ears, and gaze between your hands.

Troubleshooting. If you’re not feeling it in your abs, suck your belly into your spine and hold it there. If your back hurts, lift your bum and readjust your shoulders. Keep your neck long without straining.

More. Lift your right leg, lift your left leg. Alternate straightening your arms one at a time keeping your tush from dropping to protect your low back. Tap your knees to the ground and squeeze them up twenty times. Go longer than you think you need to.

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