• Top Three Yin Yoga Postures to Relieve Stress

      Puppy Pose is perfect for stretching out tired shoulders and tight lower back muscles. Supta Baddha Konasana is a therapeutic pose that allows your mind and body to truly relax and heal. Viparita Karani is the ultimate pose for all over stress relief and healing.  

    Puppy Pose

    Puppy Pose is perfect for stretching out tired shoulders and tight lower back muscles. A nice long hold in this asana helps relieve tension in the body and mind. Start off in table top pose and then slowly extend the arms forward. Align the hands as close together as possible. Exhale as you send the top of the forehead towards the ground. Be sure the hips are slightly open and that your body weight is evenly distribute between the hands and legs. Stay for minimum five breaths but up to a few minutes. To deepen the pose, try sending your chest towards the ground instead of your forehead (but avoid pressing too much weight on to the chin).

    Supta Baddha Konasana

    Supta Baddha Konasana is a therapeutic pose that allows your mind and body to truly relax and heal. Start off in Constructive Rest pose with your sacrum resting on the ground. Place two blocks wider than your hips width apart. Exhale as you send your knees outwards and rest your thighs on the blocks. If you need a little extra support for your back, use a bolster under the spine. Close your eyes and breathe deeply. Hold the pose for a minimum of 30 seconds but up to five minutes.

    Viparita Karani

    Viparita Karani is the ultimate pose for all over stress relief and healing. To practice this pose, lie on your back and slowly fold your legs in towards your chest. Extend the legs upwards, engage your quadriceps and point your toes. Relax your shoulders and be sure that your sacrum is pressing into the ground. If it’s uncomfortable to lift the legs in the air, then rest your legs and feet against the wall. Hold for minimum 30 seconds, but up to five minutes. This pose is great for long days of standing, sitting or walking. Viparita Karani calms the nervous systems and helps your body and mind release tension.

    By Kino MacGregor

    Practice LIVE with Kino MacGregor on Omstars!

    International yoga teacher, Kino MacGregor has over 20 years of experience in Ashtanga yoga & 18 years of experience in Vipassana Meditation. She is one of a select group of people to receive the certification to teach Ashtanga Yoga & practice into the Fifth Series of Ashtanga Yoga. With over 1 million followers on Instagram & over 500,000 subscribers on YouTube & Facebook, she spreads the message of yoga around the world. To Kino, yoga is more than making shapes. It is a daily ritual where people tune deeply into their spiritual center & experience the peace of the Eternal Divine. Her goal is to make the tools of traditional yoga accessible for all different sizes, shapes, ethnicities, & ages. She believes yoga is truly for everyone. Learn more from and connect with Kino on Instagram!

  • Encyclopedia of Yoga: Utthita Parsvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

    This standing pose builds a sense of gravity, a sense of foundation through the center line. It tones up the legs, and energizes the whole spine. This is wonderfully therapeutic for when you feel low energy and you’re looking to stimulate the body. Sometimes can be treatment for headaches. If you notice yourself feeling a little bit dizzy, or woozy, this powerful standing pose can really help you bring yourself back into your center line.

    Your own leg length.

    Move the legs apart about the distance of your own leg’s length. If you were blessed with long, beautiful legs go ahead and use that full length of one of your legs. Start off with the feet parallel.

    Feel that solid foundation.

    Rotate the right hip externally, aligning the right heel with the left arch. Then dropping the right femur into the socket, bend your knee over the ankle. Keep the belly in. Feel that solid foundation through the legs. Drop the right forearm on the right, inner thigh. Press into your left heel.  Find that connection through the left side body. Make sure the knees aren’t past the toes.  If your knees are past the toes, you need a wider stance. Belly in. Sitting bones, heavy.

    Roll through the rotation.

    Probably the most important thing to think about is how you raise your arm. If you don’t roll the shoulder around, then when you raise the arms, you can hike the shoulder up. You always want to roll through the rotation. Practice that a couple times. Let your arms swing down. Root into the legs, and then roll through. Let that shoulder blade drop down and around.  That’s the rotation that you want. Belly in, maintaining the rotation, then you can open the side body.

    Root the heel.

    Even though we’re leaning to the right, the work happens on the left side.  You’re working by grounding into the left heel.  You can choose to stay right here and go no further.  If you feel it, you’re going to glide your torso down on the outside. Fingertips press into the ground. Root the heel of the left foot down. And then, if you feel it, flattening that right hand, rotating the right shoulder forward.  And gripping deeply into the inner body.

    Calm the mind.

    Feel a sense of pressure, and push, using the strength to ground the outer edge of your left heel. This foundational standing pose helps calm the mind, and keep you real grounded. Put in the work with five deep breaths, in all the standing poses, and you’ll be able to keep your center in every breath. I hope you keep the seed of faith and inspiration to do your practice, every day. Namaste.

    By Kino MacGregor

    Learn More poses from Kino on Omstars.com

    International yoga teacher, Kino MacGregor has over 20 years of experience in Ashtanga yoga & 18 years of experience in Vipassana Meditation. She is one of a select group of people to receive the certification to teach Ashtanga Yoga & practice into the Fifth Series of Ashtanga Yoga. With over 1 million followers on Instagram & over 500,000 subscribers on YouTube & Facebook, she spreads the message of yoga around the world. To Kino, yoga is more than making shapes. It is a daily ritual where people tune deeply into their spiritual center & experience the peace of the Eternal Divine. Her goal is to make the tools of traditional yoga accessible for all different sizes, shapes, ethnicities, & ages. She believes yoga is truly for everyone. Learn more from and connect with Kino on Instagram!

  • Yoga Pose Tips: Upward Facing Dog

    Upward facing dog is the first posture where you start to establish the patterns for back bending.  It’s the patterns that are going to eventually help you get into the deeper and more advanced back bends.

    When I’m stuck in an advanced posture I always go back to its building blocks in basic postures, which are conveniently placed at the beginning of every Ashtanga yoga sequence. I imagine this will be a lifelong process of going back to the foundations and finding more subtler experiences of them. Which is why I think an intro class can serve any level. It’s intended for beginners but there’s something to learn for any level practitioner when slowing things down and allowing ourselves the space to rediscover the inner workings of a basic posture.

    Establish the patterns for back bending.

    It’s important to create the right foundation right from the beginning with upward facing dog. In order to do that, we’re going to come into a sphinx position, to start to understand some of the movement mechanics involved in upward facing dog. Where your forearms are on the ground, and your elbows are underneath your shoulders.  First thing, you’re going to point the toes, and press the tops of the feet into the mat.  Engaging the legs, and lifting the knee caps. And then you’re going to pull the lower belly in, towards the spine.

     

    Create space in the front side of the body, a main objective of back bending.

    And this part is really important. You’re going to press the elbows down. Shoulders down.  You are going to sort of like drag the elbows back towards your ribs.  You’re pushing the elbows back towards the ribs.  That gives you the leverage to push the ribcage forward, and up, away from the hips. This helps to create space in the front side of the body, which is one of the main objectives in back bending.  Pressing the tops of the feet into the mat, engaging through the legs, and then moving the elbows back.  Ribcage forward, stretching the front side of the body.

    Translate the principles of Sphinx into Upward Facing Dog.

    Translating these same principles into upward facing dog, you bring your hands underneath the shoulders.  Straighten the arms. Press the shoulders down.  Tops of the feet on the mat.  Press into the tops of the feet.  Engage through the legs.  Drag the hands back.  Ribcage forward, as you pull the lower belly in towards the ribs. Shoulders down, and breathe.

    Practice with Monica Arellano

    By Monica Arellano

    Monica Arellano is a Level 2 Authorized teacher in the Ashtanga Yoga Method; a formal blessing received by her teacher R. Sharath Jois in Mysore, India. She first connected with the practice of yoga in 2010, looking for a more peaceful way of being. When she found her way to Miami Life Center in 2014 she began a regular Ashtanga Yoga practice and soon after completed a 2 year apprenticeship program under Tim Feldmann. Today she continues to practice, teach and travel regularly to Mysore, India to learn yoga directly from the source. 

    Monica’s teachings are informed by the knowledge carried on from her teachers and the first-hand experience from her daily asana and meditation practice. Her classes emphasize the breath, alignment, proper foundations and methods of concentration; in hopes of exploring the deeper intention of Asana and the resulting expression in each student’s unique body and mind. In this space, she believes we can deconstruct unhealthy patterns, facilitate healing on many levels, and find our way back to the most honest version of ourselves.

  • Yoga Pose Tips: Virabhadrasana III – Warrior Three

    Do what feels best in your body. Modify as needed
    to make this practice your own.

    Warrior Three Pose Tips

    • Square the hips toward the earth
    • Soften the shoulders away from the ears
    • Lengthen the arms forward or out like airplane arms
    • Ground down through the standing foot
    • It’s always okay to have the lifted leg just an inch off the mat to practice with the balance.

    Practice with Ajay Tokas on Omstars

    Learn More about Warrior III on Omstars with Kino MacGregor

  • Encyclopedia of Yoga: Virabhadrasana A (Warrior I)

    Virabhadrasana is named after the Warrior Virabhadra who, in traditional Indian mythology, was created out of a lock of the Hindu God, Shiva’s, hair–one of his dread locks that he threw down to the Earth. And when that dread lock hit the plateau of the Earth, Virabhadra landed, holding the sword of Dharma above his head, making the shape of Virabhadrasana A.

    Energizing the Body

    Warrior One (Virabhadrasana A) is a really important posture for stimulating the cardio vascular system. As your arms are raised above your and your legs are firmly pressed into the ground, you’ll find your heart rate goes up and is challenged. This brings health into the heart organ while at the same time increasing circulation through the body. This posture also helps strengthen the legs, strengthen the back, and gives space in between each of the joints of the spine greater preparing you for back bending which needs that same strength in the legs and that same strength through the whole spine. Warrior One is a really important pose for energizing the body. It can be mildly therapeutic for light states of depression.

    Positioning the Legs

    Vira Bhadrasana A starts off with a firm foundation through the legs, and it is traditionally considered to be a balancing pose which means that by gazing up at the thumbs, as you maintain the solid foundation of your legs, you’re beginning to work on balance. Rooting down through the center line. First thing to think about is to really look at the position of the legs. You want to have the distance of about one of the length of your own legs in between your feet.

    Angle the Feet

    The warrior pose is best done with a back foot at about 45-degrees forward. If you go beyond 45-degrees forward what will happen is your heel starts to come a little bit off the ground, and we want to make sure that your heel is pressed into the ground. Your right heel aligns with the left arch. This is the most advanced foot position in the warrior poses. If you notice that you’re finding yourself a little off balance, you can align your heels with each other. Those are the two most common places that you would really keep your feet. Either heels aligned with each other, or heel aligned with the arch.

    Square Your Pelvis Forward

    Square your pelvis forward without any torque on knee. Take a step back about the distance of one of your own legs length. Strengthen through the legs. Draw the belly in. Press down through the base of your big toe, the little toe, and the heel. Lifting the knee caps up, and then square your pelvis as forward as possible.

    Allow the Natural Curvature of the Spine

    From the empty space of the inner body, start to push back from the belly button through the front of the left hip, all the way down through the base of the left big toe. Activating firmly the left leg, as your foundation in the pose will help you. We want to allow the natural curvature of the lower back, but not a hyper-extension of the lower back. Keep the tailbone in a neutral position.

    Let Your Energy Reach Down

    From the emptiness in the pelvic bowl start to pull the right femur in. If you feel that you can go a bit further down, you can allow that to happen. Never jut the knee forward, always pull the knee in. Let your energy reach down. The back heel should remain on the ground, that back edge of the foot on the ground.

    Hands in Prayer

    Hands in prayer. From the rib cage and up, start to lift the ribs up through the center line, draw the elbows towards each other, which is going to help externally rotate the shoulders.

    Rise Up Through the Center Line

    And then inhale, rise up through the center line. Gaze up at the thumbs.

    Modify if Uncomfortable

    If this is at all uncomfortable for your neck, you can open the hands and look forward. Your quadriceps should be burning. Allow it to burn.

    Back to Standing

    Exhale, hands down. Straighten the right leg, and come on back to Samasthiti.

    Keep in Mind the Spiritual Journey

    To be a warrior you must have patience, you must have endurance, you must have bravery.  And you must have a kind and compassionate heart.  To be a warrior of Dharma, a warrior of goodness in the world, you can’t just be fierce.  You need to, at the same time, keep wisdom and compassion in equal parts and in equal measure in your heart.  As you are finding the sense of stability that will help you stay in proper alignment for the full depth in Virabhadrasana A, you will notice that a whole spiritual wealth opens up to you at the same time. Keep these alignment pointers in mind, but really keep in mind the spiritual journey of what Virabhadrasana A means to you.

    By Kino MacGregor

    Learn More from Kino on Omstars.com

    International yoga teacher, Kino MacGregor has over 20 years of experience in Ashtanga yoga & 18 years of experience in Vipassana Meditation. She is one of a select group of people to receive the certification to teach Ashtanga Yoga & practice into the Fifth Series of Ashtanga Yoga. With over 1 million followers on Instagram & over 500,000 subscribers on YouTube & Facebook, she spreads the message of yoga around the world. To Kino, yoga is more than making shapes. It is a daily ritual where people tune deeply into their spiritual center & experience the peace of the Eternal Divine. Her goal is to make the tools of traditional yoga accessible for all different sizes, shapes, ethnicities, & ages. She believes yoga is truly for everyone. Learn more from and connect with Kino on Instagram!

     

  • Encyclopedia of Yoga: Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose)

    Yoga comes from India, and especially India’s historic past.  If you have ever made the trip to India, one thing that is definitely ubiquitous on the streets of India are, cows. This is a pose that always brings me right back to the spiritual heart of the practice and the trips that I have made to study with my teacher in Mysore.

    It is traditionally translated as the “cow facing pose” or “the cow pose.” Another way to think about this posture is what the cow–the Go–actually symbolizes. The cow is the sacred symbol of the being, like the Earth, which is willing to give more than she receives.

    The Lesson of Patience and Kindness

    We could think about Gomukhasana as teaching us the lesson of patience and kindness, of respect and, really, sustainability. In the easy version of the pose, if you start off from a comfortable seated position, you will pick your knees up, and then layer your right knee over the left. Drawing the left knee in.

    First, the knees are elevated. Then, come forward until the knees kind of stack on top of each other. You can let the feet open as much as necessary, as to be comfortable for you.  If it is easier for you, you can grab your feet and bring them in.  This will increase the demand of the internal rotation of the hips.

    Even though your knees kind of point to the side, they are actually rolling towards each other in the ball and socket of the hip joint to create a foundation. It may feel like you want to tilt back, but to move into Gomukhasana, you want to lift your sacrum up and forward so you almost feel like you are about to lift your sitting bones off the ground. Don’t lift them off the ground, but feel as though you are about to lift them off of the ground.

    Then, place your left hand on top of the right knee.  Your right hand on top, and just a nice, easy chin down. Keep a little activation in the legs, and draw the belly in. Moving into this version of Gomukhasana is almost a meditative pose. There is a softness in the body. A softness. A calm, inner awareness. If you notice there is any tension in the front of your hip, see if you can soften a little bit, keeping the activation in the pelvic bowl.

    Creating Length and Space

    Work on challenging Gomukhasana. Take your right hand up, reaching it back behind you.  holding onto your right elbow with the left hand, and then just, layer it back. Then, drop the left arm down, and see if it is possible to reach your hands for each other, behind your back. It may not be possible, so you could just leave the hands in position, and we will hold here for just a moment. Nice breath in, soften through the shoulders, and create length and space through the center line. Let it go down. You are noticing an internal rotation of the left shoulder, and an external rotation of the right shoulder.

    Openness in the Shoulders

    If that was impossible for you, another option to create some openness in the shoulders, is to sort of do the Eagle arm position.  Your right hand, and the left hand layers, raising the arms up. In this version, you are going to look up at the thumbs, finding the center line.  This is that not-stressful version. Do not hit it too hard, just let your body kind of ease its way into the pose. If the easy Gomukhasana is not really comfortable for you, just work on whatever level is appropriate for where you are at.

    Work on the Balance

    The cow facing pose, Gomukhasana, from Ashtanga Yoga, comes at the end of the second series, which is a challenging series. We will start off in the relaxed cow position. The knees cross over each other, using that internal rotation. To get yourself into that full, kind of, elevated, lifted Gomukhasana position, you want to come all the way forward.  Your knees almost layer on top of each other.

    Cross at the top of the thighs. Instead of the feet apart, just bring the feet towards each other. Drawing the belly in, settle the hips gently down. As you settle the hips gently down, you will feel like there is nothing to sit on. You are actively squeezing the legs into each other, and you are squeezing the knees down. Settling your hips back onto your feet, avoid rounding your back, and then, perch yourself forward in the same way.  Keep your hips close to your feet. Take your hands down onto your thighs, work on the balance.

    Interlock the Fingers

    Only if you work on the balance, then, lean forward, and interlock your fingers under you knees. You can round your back to get the grip, but then, pop your chest forward. This balance is very precarious. Gaze down the bridge of the nose, holding it there for a moment.

    The Full Posture

    Then, you can layer yourself forward by squeezing the knees slightly forward, keeping your sternum oriented in line with the pubic bone. Pubic bone, forward.  Your legs should feel a little active. Your pelvic floor should be on. Avoid rounding the back, but pop the chest forward.  Like that easy version of Gomukhasana, right hand reaches back, left one around, and find that center line. Lift the chest up, and forward.  Now, the gaze up, here, is real precarious, because you feel like you do not have that stable foundation of your hips down.  You are really actively squeezing yourself into the pose. I always seem to almost lose the balance when I look up. You want to find a small spot and gaze at that spot. Then gently release it, taking your hands down. Come on down to that easy version of Gomukhasana.

    Gomukhasana, the cow facing pose, will help you find a calm and even center. When you have that tightness in your shoulders, what can happen is that, your shoulders kind of cave in and collapse the heart. As you practice Gomukhasana, your heart center opens. Your heart expands. The shoulders relax and you can find the happy freedom, the trusting heart of the spiritual center, really, of the sacred. Remember that when you are practicing a deceptively simple pose, like Gomukhasana, there are hidden benefits along the spirit that will start to shine through as you begin to practice. I hope you keep the seed of peace in your heart, and the inspiration to practice everyday. Namaste.

    By Kino MacGregor

    Why do you practice yoga? Kino Macgregor Ashtanga Yoga teacher, OMstars

    Learn More from Kino on Omstars.com

    Kino MacGregor is a world renowned Ashtanga Yoga teacher, the author of several yoga inspired books, including The Yogi Assignment, and founder of OmStars.com. Practice the Ashtanga Yoga Full Primary Series online with Kino to get started on your journey today.

  • Encyclopedia of Yoga: Ardha Matsyendrasana (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose)

    This is the pose that is dedicated to the Sage known as, Matsyendranath. Sometimes people call this pose, Lord of the Half Fishes Pose.  You can take those individual words, Matsya, meaning fish, and Ardha, meaning Half. Contained in, Matsyendranath, is also the word for King, or ruler.  You have all those put together for quite a powerful posture.

    This seated spinal twist brings you into the center of the body, and helps you access the deep space of the pelvic bowl.

    Foundation and Alignment

    In a twisting posture, the hips are your foundation. You want to avoid twisting from the pelvis, and instead, empty out the pelvic bowl. Twist from the thoracic spine.  In this posture, it is very important. To enter the pose on the right side, fold your left knee underneath. You want to make sure that your knee feels good.  If there is any discomfort in the knee, there is a modification (below). Close the knee joint and bring it all the way in.  You will notice that the knee lines up with the sternum. Right foot on top. Take a moment, and settle your hips in between the open place between your left foot and the left hip–both sitting bones are on the ground. You want to see both of the knees lined up along the center line.  Make sure that you can see your toes ahead of your right knee. 

    Entering the Twist

    Inhale, as you suck the belly in. Drop the right hip, down. Allow a gentle, internal rotation of the right hip. Hug your torso close to your thigh. Gently wrap your left arm around, holding onto the right side, looking over the right shoulder. Pointing the left foot, both sitting bones down, look over your right shoulder. This is nice and easy.  If you don’t want to go any further, all is good.

    Pivoting Deeper 

    Slowly suck the belly in. Begin to lift the rib cage all the way around the right thigh. You can press on the thigh, and pivot around. Take your right hand on the ground. Drop the left shoulder in front of the right knee. Reach down. Hook the shoulder under, spinning the armpit, up. Grab the foot by spinning the armpit, down. If you can’t reach your foot, you can hold onto the knee, or leave your hand on the ground. Lift your chest up, keep your left shoulder down. Lifting the chest up, reaching around. The second option, is simply to leave your right hand behind you, looking over the right shoulder.

    The Full Posture

    If you feel comfortable, inhale, lift your chest up, and exhale. Reach around, taking your right hand and just kind of wiggle it around until you can find the top of the left thigh. Look over your right shoulder.

    Modifying When Necessary

    This is a way that you can repeat this pose, and relieve any burden that may be too stressed on your knee. Simply cross the foot over, leaving a relatively big space. In this version of the posture, I would keep it relatively simple. Work on bringing your chest close to your thigh, and twisting along the center line. Don’t worry about binding your hands.

    Remember the Journey

    Remember that yoga is a journey into the center of your self. Never judge yourself by the success or failure of your body, to make a shape. We’re interested in the journey.  So, regardless of what shape your body is able to make, dive down into the inner experience.  And tune in to the power of the ancient tradition of yoga, which is really what this pose represents. Keep the seed of inspiration to practice, every day.

    By Kino MacGregor

    Learn More from Kino on Omstars.com

    Kino MacGregor is a world renowned Ashtanga Yoga teacher, the author of several yoga inspired books, including The Yogi Assignment, and founder of OmStars.com. Practice the Ashtanga Yoga Full Primary Series online with Kino to get started on your journey today.

  • Downward Dog: Reexamining What is Habitual

    I teach a broad range of classes, from basics to hot vinyasa to honey flow (and if that intrigues you, check out my website!). Joining those classes on any day are a range of yogis from beginners to advanced to fellow teachers, those with whom I have practiced for years and those I meet for the first time.

    Now for the surprise. I break down downward dog to every single student in every single class. Only a day-one yogi has never been in downward dog, so of course, it is my honor to introduce that yogi to this foundational pose.

    And most yogis who have been in downward dog many times can still benefit from the grounding instructions, “sharpen your arms, bring your toes up to engage the front of the legs, don’t worry about touching your heels down to the ground.”

    But what about the advanced yogis? What about fellow teachers in my class? Is there a purpose to breaking down a pose they do dozens of times each and every day? Yes. And it is a reason that extends far beyond downward dog and even more broadly than yoga.

    Things we do again and again become habitual. In fact, it is a great evolutionary survival mechanism of our brains that we can approach familiar movements with an automaticity that reserves our precious brain power for novel endeavors.

    But this automaticity exacts a toll. It can be hard to be mindful in the habitual. Reexamining the things we do regularly can give them a renewed sense of purpose. So no matter how many times you have been in downward dog, make it feel like your first.

    • Feel the even weight of your body between your limbs.
    • Sharpen your legs, sharpen your arms, and extend the side of your trunk.
    • Push the front of your thighs towards the back of your thighs and lift your hips upwards and backwards.
    • Feel the stretch extend from the soles of your feet, through your calves and into your hamstrings. Let that lengthen your spine.
    • As you fold forward, sending your unique energy inward, accept that calming effect on your nervous system and allow yourself to look within. I bet you’ll like what you find. 

    By Ahmed Soliman

    Check out Ahmed’s Mindful Alignment course on Omstars

    Practice with Ahmed LIVE on Omstars

    Before I found yoga and began teaching, I was a wildlife biologist and environmental scientist. Serving the natural environment and helping to recover endangered species was my way of giving to a greater good. This is a concept that I’ve carried daily into a yogic lifestyle, both in teaching and in practice. I seek to serve this community in a way that supports strength, healing, and sustainability. After having multiple knee surgeries due to a car accident, I myself sought these qualities from my own encounter with yoga. I had to transition from contact sports like soccer to the safer and deeper space that the practice provides. A continuing student of Iyengar yoga, vinyasa, and meditation, I believe that awareness of breath, knowledge of the body, and mental focus on the mat lead to mindfulness and living harmoniously off the mat. I draw from my own experience and the study of human anatomy to offer a safe and grounded space for practitioners. I endeavor to help them explore their physical boundaries with a focus on intelligent alignment, awareness of breath, and steadying or relaxation of the mind. I have studied with Nikki Costello, Nikki Vilella, Magi Pierce, and other influential teachers. I am an ERYT-200 hour yoga alliance certified teacher with additional specialized training in anatomy, meditation and yoga nidra. Connect with Ahmed on Instagram or http://yogisoli.com/

  • Co-activate Your Psoas and Quads in Trikonasana

    Sometimes doing just one pose can set you up for the whole day. Let’s look at Trikonasana, or Triangle Pose, and a powerful cue for stabilizing your pelvis and lumbar.

    Understanding tips like this one also sharpens your knowledge of anatomical and bio-mechanical principles. The principle at work here is that of muscle co-contraction. This cue co-contracts or activates two separate muscles, namely, the psoas and quadriceps of the forward leg. As a consequence, you will feel a deep stability in your hip joint and a connection from your leg to your lumbar spine.

    Extend your forward leg knee by contracting the quadriceps. At the same time, press down with your torso through the arm into the hand, and onto your shin. This activates your psoas (and iliacus), tilting the pelvis over the forward leg and, by lumbopelvic rhythm, drawing the lumbar out of hyperflexion. Feel how this connection stabilizes your pelvis and lumbar and awakens the forward leg in the pose.

    Figure 1

    In the beginning, it may be difficult to get the hang of activating your psoas. Get a feel for this by bending the knee and pressing down on the thigh through your elbow as shown here. Click here for an entire series of poses you can use to awaken your psoas.

    Figure 2

    I hope you enjoy this cue. Think about what’s happening bio-mechanically while you work with this. Thanks as well to everyone for your support of the folks in Panama City who were affected by Hurricane Michael. Check back next week to see how to integrate the back leg into this cue for Trikonasana

    By Ray & Chris of The Daily Bandha

    Ray Long MD FRCSC is a board certified orthopedic surgeon and the founder of Bandha Yoga.

    Chris Macivor is a 3D Graphic Dessigner and illustrator who has been involved in the field of digital content creation for well over ten years.

    This article was originally posted on www.dailybandha.com. If you would like more practice with Trikonasana, check out the tutorial below on Omstars.com.

    Patricia Amado’s Trikonasana Tutorial on Omstars

  • Yoga for Menstruation: 6 Yoga Poses That Help Your Period

    As someone who has had to seek medical intervention in the past, I can tell you that the most consistent relief I’ve had has happened since I have had a consistent yoga practice.

    Menstruation can be hard. Whereas it’s normal and expected once girls hit puberty, those 5-8 days can be dreadfully, frighteningly painful for many women. From anxiety to mood swings, lower back pain to crippling abdominal cramps, nausea and diarrhea to constipation. As someone who has had to seek medical intervention in the past, I can tell you that the most consistent relief I’ve had has happened since I have had a consistent yoga practice. Try adding yoga to your daily routine and see how it helps. You can also try these yoga poses for menstruation. They will help to relieve symptoms of bloating, heavy bleeding, PMS and lower back pain.

    Supta Baddha Khonasana

    This is a reclined variation of Butterfly Pose. You can also place a cushion, bolster or blanket under your back, the entire length of the spine. Hands can be flat on the ground, palms up. Or, you can place one hand on the heart, the other on the lower pelvic belly. Breathe. This pose opens up the hips and groin area and helps to relieve traditional lower abdominal cramps. Stay here for 5 minutes.

    Legs Up The Wall

    This pose is especially helpful for those of us who struggle with lower back pain associated with our period. It supports the lower back and the relaxed position, with the spine flat on the ground, eases compression in the lower back area. If a wall is not available, feel free to choose a similar variation but with the knees bent and feet drawn close to the glutes. Stay in this position for 5-10 minutes.

    Bound Angle/Cobbler/Butterfly Pose

        

     

    Bound Angle Pose works by opening and massaging the pelvic area of the body. This pose can also help with heavy bleeding. You can sit with the spine straight, grabbing the feet. Or, place several blankets, a bolster or a cushion underneath the torso and come into a folded variation. Hold for 5-10 minutes.

    Sideways Cat Stretch

    From all fours: inhale center, exhale, try to bring the head to the glutes. Alternate, left and right sides.
    The aim here is to help the pelvic muscles to relax and ease the discomfort that results in cramping pain when those muscles contract. Repeat 5 times on each side.

    Supine Twist:

    Supine twists are great for relieving the symptoms associated with menstrual cramps. They aid by easing the discomfort in the lower pelvic region and also stimulating blood flow and circulation. The stretch on the lower back and hips is also quite soothing. Add a bolster, cushion or folded blankets under the bent leg to make yourself more comfortable. Then stay in this pose, on each side, for 3-5 minutes.

    Savasana

    Menstruation often comes with a roller coaster of emotions. Savasana relaxes and calms the nervous system and helps to balance the emotions. Hold Savasana for 5 minutes.

    Happy period.

    By Sasha Daley

     

    I started practicing yoga in 2015. I had a pain in my knee and, after searching Google, figured I had nothing to lose by trying. I watched my life and relationships become transformed by my practice. So much so that I pursued my 200 HR certification with Bodhi Yoga Academy in 2018. I advocate yoga and it’s transformative, healing properties for all peoples and all bodies. I see yoga as a safe space, a place where we forget who we think we are, who we’re expected to be; it is where we allow the body, the mind, the breath to be so perfectly intertwined that we can just be. Being a teacher is great. Being a student of the practice is, by far, my greatest accomplishment.