• How to do Supported Bridge Pose

    Do you feel stiff and tight in your hips? Then you need to know how to do supported bridge pose. This pose offers a host of benefits, including improved flexibility and range of motion, increased blood flow and better circulation, and relief from tension in the hips and lower back. Plus, it’s easy to do!

    Read on for step-by-step instructions on how to perform this pose safely and effectively, but first let’s look at the benefits and contraindications for the pose.

    Benefits of supported bridge pose

    The benefits of this pose include the following:

    • Improved flexibility and range of motion in the hips
    • Increased blood flow and circulation
    • Relief from tension in the hips and lower back

    Contraindications for supported bridge pose

    Pregnancy

    • High blood pressure
    • Glaucoma or other eye conditions
    • Neck injuries or pain

    How to do supported bridge pose

    Now that you know the benefits and contraindications of supported bridge pose, let’s look at how to do the pose.

    To begin, lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.

    Then slowly raise your hips up off the floor and place a block under your sacrum (tailbone). You can use the block on the first or second position, but if you want it higher, use two blocks. One block in third position won’t give you enough stability in the pose.

    Once you feel stable, straighten your legs and let your arms relax at your sides.

    This is an amazing way to open the front of the hips. Once you’re in position, simply relax and breathe deeply for up to five minutes.

    To release the pose, remove the block and slowly lower your hips back down to the floor.

    And that’s how to do supported bridge pose! Give it a try next time you’re feeling stiff and tight in your hips. You’ll be amazed at how good it feels.

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  • How to do Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend)

    Uttanasana, or standing forward bend, is a fundamental yoga pose that is often repeated in your yoga practice. Even though the pose might seem simple at first, there are a few things to remember when you attempt it. In this post, we’ll give you step-by-step instructions for doing the pose.

    Before we look at how to do uttanasana, let’s look at the benefits and contraindications.

    Benefits of uttanasana

    The benefits of standing forward bend include:

    • Stretching the hamstrings, calves, and hips
    • Strengthening the thighs
    • Improving circulation in the legs
    • Calming the nervous system

    Contraindications for uttanasana

    There are a few contraindications to consider before doing this pose. If you have any of the following conditions, please consult your doctor before practicing standing forward bend:

    • Low blood pressure
    • Headache
    • Insomnia
    • Migraine

    How to do standing forward bend

    Start in mountain pose (tadasana) at the front of your yoga mat.

    Engage the quadriceps to gently pull the kneecaps up. Don’t let your knees be hyperextended.

    Lengthen through the spine.

    Inhale and raise your arms overhead, keeping your shoulders down away from your ears.

    Exhale and hinge forward at your hips, keeping a flat back. You can place your hands on the ground, on blocks, or on your shins. Let your arms hang down and grab opposite elbows if you can’t reach the ground.

    Stay in the pose for 5-10 breaths. To release the pose, inhale and lift your torso back up to standing.

    Now that you know how to do uttanasana, give it a try!

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  • How to do Samasthiti

    Let’s look at how to do samasthiti. In the Ashtanga yoga method, samasthiti is the neutral standing pose that you come back to again and again when doing any of the series in the method. In other styles of yoga, this neutral standing position is called tadasana or mountain pose.

    When you perform mountain pose with conscious awareness it can improve your posture and give you a better understanding of how to stand eventually with your body aligned for optimal movement and health.

    Before we look at how to do mountain pose, let’s look at the benefits and contraindications of the pose.

    Benefits of samasthiti

    Even the simplest yoga poses have benefits. Here are some benefits of doing mountain pose.

    • Improves posture
    • Strengthens the legs
    • Awareness of your body
    • Improves alignment

    Contraindications for samasthiti

    Avoid this pose if you have the following:

    • Vertigo
    • Migraines
    • High blood pressure
    • Low blood pressure

    How to do samasthiti

    Now let’s look at how to do mountain pose or how to do tadasana.

    Begin by standing with the base of your big toes and your heels touching.

    Activate your quadriceps to gently raise the kneecaps.

    The pelvic floor and low belly are active and drawn in.

    The pelvis is in a neutral position. Don’t tilt it or tuck it under. Stand with it neutral.

    The spine is also neutral. Don’t over arch it.

    Don’t splay your ribs out. Keep them slightly drawn in.

    Raise your chest slightly and let the shoulders roll naturally down the back.

    Brings you arms naturally down by your side.

    Keep the gaze forward.

    Don’t tense up in this posture. It’s a natural resting state. There should be no tension in your body. The activation that happens in this pose is only slight.

    Most other yoga styles refer to this pose as tadasana, but in Ashtanga, tadasana is a completely different pose.

    To find out more about how to do samasthiti and about the Ashtanga version of tadasana watch the video with Kino.

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  • How to do Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Upward Facing Dog)

    Learning how to do urdhva mukha svanasana or upward facing dog is important because it is part of many vinyasa flows. It is a back-bending posture that you will return to again and again in your practice.  This posture brings you into spinal extension while lifting the thighs off of the ground. If you need help lifting up off the ground you can practice a modified up dog with blocks.

    Let’s look at the benefits and contraindications for the pose before practicing it.

    Benefits of urdhva mukha svanasana

    There are many benefits of upward facing dog. Here are a few:

    • Strengthen back muscles
    • Stretches and strengthens the wrists
    • Encourages articulation and length in the spine
    • Opens the chest
    • Stimulates the internal organs
    • Improves posture

    Contraindications for urdhva mukha svanasana

    Not everyone should practice this pose. Let’s look at the contraindications for upward facing dog.

    • Wrist injury
    • Carpal tunnel syndrome
    • Low back injuries
    • Shoulder problems

    If you are pregnant, you should avoid this pose.

    How to do urdhva mukha svanasana (Upward Facing Dog)

    Lay face down on your mat. Your legs are active and straight out behind you. Engage your quadriceps and lift your kneecaps off the ground.

    Suck your belly in and engage your core.

    Place your hands on the floor next to your body at the center of your ribcage. Your fingers are facing forward.

    Lift your chest up and squeeze your elbows in toward your body.

    Keep your pelvic floor and core strong as you inhale and lift your hips and thighs off the ground by straightening your elbows.

    Don’t squeeze into your back. Instead, lift the pelvis up and forward.

    Send the center of your chest up and forward.

    Keep your glutes relaxed.

    Watch this short tutorial with Kino to better understand how to do the posture.

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  • How to do Uttana Padasana (Raised Leg Pose)

    So you want to know how to do uttana padasana or raised leg pose. Well, you’ve come to the right place. In this post, you’ll learn about the benefits and contraindications of the pose, and you’ll get step-by-step instructions teaching you how to do raised leg pose. At the end of this post, there are video instructions you can follow.

    Some people find this pose to be very challenging, but understanding the alignment will make it more accessible to you. This posture combines strength and flexibility. You’ll be in a spinal extension with the arms and legs raised. While doing the pose the weight of your body should be distributed in your core. You’re not dumping weight into your head. Instead, you’ll be lifting through the chest and core.

    Before going into more detail about how to do raised leg pose, let’s look at its benefits and contraindications.

    Benefits of uttana padasana

    • Strengthens the spine
    • Improves spinal flexibility
    • Tones the abdominals
    • Strengthens the legs and hips
    • Stretches the shoulders
    • Boosts your energy

    Contraindications of uttana padasana

    Even though this pose has a lot of benefits, there are people who should be cautious when attempting it or even avoid it completely. Avoid this pose if you have:

    • Back pain or back injury
    • Neck problems
    • High or low blood pressure
    • Injury of the pelvis
    • Severe spondylitis

    You should also avoid the pose if you are pregnant.

    How to do Uttana Padasana (Raised Leg Pose)

    Lay down on your mat.

    Bend your elbows and lift through the core, arching your back and bringing your spine into extension.

    The top of your head is on the ground, so your neck is also in extension.

    Don’t dump weight into your head and neck. Instead, lift through the core to raise your spine off the floor.

    Suck in your belly and press your sitting bones into the ground.

    Inhale and lift your legs and arms. Lift all of your weight up and forward.

    Bring the palms of the hands together. Press the big toe mounds together. Internally rotate the thighs and press the elbows toward each other.

    Stay here for eight breaths. When you’re done, slowly exit the pose.

    Watch the video with Kino for more details.

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  • How to do Lolasana (Pendant Pose)

    Do you want to know how to do lolasana or pendant pose? In this pose we’ll show you how to do this powerful pose and tell you all about the benefits of practicing it.

    Lolasana is a pose that requires arm and core strength. If you are practicing Ashtanga yoga and need help learning how to jump through and jump back pendant pose is essential to mastering that skill.

    Strength comes with time and practice. Just because you can’t get into pendant pose now doesn’t mean you never will. It may take time to get that true feeling of lifting that comes with the pose.

    Before we look at how to do this powerful pose let’s look at the benefits and contraindications.

    Benefits of lolasana

    • Increases spinal flexibility
    • Increases hip flexibility
    • Strengthens the core
    • Strengthens the shoulders
    • Improves wrist flexibility
    • Helps improve focus

    Contraindication of lolasana

    You shouldn’t do this pose if you have the following conditions:

    • Hernia
    • Wrist injury
    • Shoulder injury

    You should also avoid this pose if you’re pregnant.

    How to do lolasana

    Sit on your mat with your legs folded beneath you.

    Put your hands on the ground next to you so your fingers are lined up with your knees. Your palms are on the ground with your fingers facing forward.

    Lean into your hands, bringing your shoulders forward.

    Lift your hips up and back.

    Squeeze your knees up into your chest and bring your feet up toward your glutes so you lift completely off the ground.

    Engage the core and press into the shoulders.

    If you have a hard time getting off the ground, you can use blocks to help yourself get more lift.

    Pendant pose requires strength. It takes practice to get off the ground, so keep trying. You learn more about lolosana in this class with Kino.

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  • How to do Vrikshasana (Tree Pose)

    If you want to work on your balance vrikshasana (tree pose) is perfect for you. This simple pose is commonly practiced in yoga sequences. No matter how good your balance is now, you can do a version of this posture in your practice. When you try the pose, be aware that the key to being able to balance is stability in the core. So, engage your core to make balancing a little easier. It’s okay to use a chair or wall to help you find your balance when you’re first starting out.

    Before we look at how to do vrikshasana, let’s look at the benefits and contraindications of the pose.

    Benefits of Vrikshasana

    • Strengthens your feet and ankles
    • Strengthens your core
    • Improves balance
    • Tones the leg muscles
    • Strengthens the glutes
    • Stabilizes the pelvis

    Contraindications of vrikshasana

    • Hip replacement
    • Vertigo
    • Migraines
    • Arthritis in the knees or hips

    How to do vrikshasana (Tree Pose)

    Stand on your mat in mountain pose. Feel your weight evenly distributed on the soles of your feet. You’ll start by balancing on the right leg.

    Root your right leg into the ground and shift your weight to that leg. Feel the weight distribute across all four corners of your right foot.

    Engage your quadriceps pulling your kneecap upward.

    Externally rotate your left hip and lift your left foot. Put the toes of your left foot on the floor and the heel of your left foot on your right ankle.

    Bring your hands together in front of you in prayer.

    Your left knee should be pointed out to the left side.

    Draw your belly firmly in and engage your core.

    Stand up tall by lifting up through the crown of your head.

    This is the first stage of tree pose. If you have difficulty balancing, you can stay here for five breaths.

    When you’re ready, you can bring your foot up and rest it on the side of your calf for more of a challenge.

    If you want even more of a challenge, you can bring your foot up to the inside of your right thigh.

    Don’t rest your foot on the knee joint. That can stress your knee. You should only put your foot either above or below the knee.

    Stay here for five breaths. Slowly come out of the pose and repeat it on the other side.

    For more detailed instructions about how to do tree pose, watch this video with Joseph.

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  • How to do Anjaneyasana (Low Lunge)

    Do you want to learn how to do Anjaneyasana? Low lunge or crescent moon lunge is a great way to release the front of the hips and give a good stretch to your quads. This makes the posture great to practice if you are learning how to do front splits. It’s also excellent for opening up your hips after you’ve been sitting all day. The posture is one that you’ll come across often in yoga sequences, so whether or not you want to get into a front split eventually, it is still a good pose to be familiar with.

    Before we look at how to do the pose, let’s find out the benefits and the contraindications.

    Benefits of anjaneyasana

    Here are just some of the benefits of crescent lunge pose.

    Releases the hips

    • Opens the chest
    • Stretches quads and hamstrings
    • Stretches and strengthens core muscles
    • Heart opening
    • Strengthens the legs
    • Stretches the shoulders

    Contraindications for anjaneyasana

    There are some contraindications for crescent lunge. If you have these conditions, you should avoid the pose.

    • Knee injury
    • Hip injury
    • Groin injury
    • Low back problems
    • High blood pressure

    How to do anjaneyasana

    Starting from downward facing dog, step your right foot forward between your hands.

    Place the sole of your foot on the floor between your hands and bend your right knee to a 90 degree angle. Stack the knee over the ankle, so you’re in a runner’s lunge.

    Place the back knee on the ground with the foot pointing behind you.

    Square your hips and engage your core as you raise your torso up along the centerline of your body.

    Bring your hands together overhead and look up at the thumbs.

    Your legs and core should remain active in the pose. Your shoulders are down the back, and your ribcage is lifted.

    Stay here for 5 breaths before slowly coming out of the pose and repeating it on the other side.

    Watch this video with Adrian for more tips about how to do anjaneyasana.

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  • How to do Utkatasana (Chair Pose)

    Do you want to learn how to do utkatasana or chair pose? Well, you’ve come to the right place. This strengthening posture is part of many yoga sequences. It helps realign your body, creating both physical and mental stability. Specifically, this posture corrects imbalances in the pelvis. Before we look at how to do the pose let’s look at its benefits and contraindications.

    Benefits of Utkatasana

    Chair pose quite a few benefits, including:

    • Correcting imbalances in the pelvis
    • strengthening the core, legs, shoulders, and arms
    • Stretching the lower back
    • Toning the hips and lower abdomen
    • Stimulating circulation
    • Building endurance

    Contraindications of Chair Pose

    Utkatasana is a useful posture, but as with most postures, if you have certain conditions, you shouldn’t do it. People with these issues should avoid the pose or use caution when attempting it.

    • Knee injuries
    • Hip injuries
    • Ankle injuries
    • Back problems
    • High or low blood pressure
    • Headaches

    How to do utkatasana

    Start by standing in mountain pose with your feet together. The bases of your big toes are touching. Your hands are at your sides.

    Lift your kneecaps and engage your pelvic floor. Suck in your low belly.

    Use your fingers to find the creases at the front of your hips. Now bend through your hip creases by pulling the heads of your femurs into their sockets.

    Squeeze the knees toward each other.

    Sink down as far as you can in this position. Spiral the thighs toward each other and keep your belly sucked in.

    Lift your ribs slightly forward without letting them splay out.

    Bring your hands in front of your chest in prayer position.

    Inhale and raise your hands above your head, squeezing the elbows toward each other.

    Look up at your thumbs.

    Don’t bend the elbows and bring the hands back, and don’t hold the hands too far forward.

    The more you sink down into your hip joints, the more you’ll be able to lift through the arms.

    Stay in this pose for five breaths, and then slowly release it.

    For a more detailed explanation of the posture watch this video from Kino.

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  • How to do Prasarita Padottanasana (Wide-Legged Forward Bend)

    This pose might seem simple at first glance, but knowing how to properly do prasarita padottanasana or wide-legged forward bend will lay a solid foundation for the other forward bends in your practice. It’s natural to look at the simplicity of this posture and dismiss it, but the standing poses in the Ashtanga primary series are healing and therapeutic. They should be done with intention. In this post, we’ll look at the benefits and contraindications of wide-legged forward bend and give you step-by-step instructions on how to do it.

    Benefits of prasarita padottanasana

    This pose functions as a forward bend and an inversion and has many benefits, including:

    • Stretching and strengthening the legs
    • Stretching and releasing the spine
    • Easing backaches
    • Strengthening the feet and ankles
    • Toning the abdominal organs
    • Calming the mind
    • Opening the hips

    Contraindications of prasarita padottanasana

    If you are pregnant, you should use precautions doing this pose and avoid it during the later stages of pregnancy. People with the following conditions should not do this posture:

    • Hernia
    • Herniated disc
    • Groin injury
    • Ankle injury
    • High or low blood pressure
    • Glaucoma
    • Detached retina
    • Sinus congestion

    How to do wide-legged forward bend (prasarita padottanasana)

    Start by standing in mountain pose at the front of your mat.

    Inhale and step out to the right. So you’re facing the long edge of your yoga mat. Your feet are parallel, and your toes point straight in front of you.

    Put your hands on your hips.

    Exhale and lift your kneecaps by slightly pulling upward with your quadriceps.

    Engage your pelvic floor.

    Inhale and look up, creating length through the center line of your body.

    Exhale and fold forward, hinging from your hips.

    Place your hands flat on the floor between your legs.

    Inhale, and keeping your hands on the floor, look up. Keep your back straight and lift the chest to look forward.

    Don’t let your sitting bones spread apart. If you do, you’ll overstretch your hamstrings. Instead, keep them in a neutral position. The fold comes from hingeing from the hips and pulling your pubic bone back.

    Exhale and fold. Shift your weight forward so you can rest your head on the floor.

    Keep your thighs active by squeezing them in toward each other.

    Your shoulder blades are down your back, and your shoulders are away from your ears.

    Take five breaths here and then slowly come out of the posture.

    Watch this video with Kino for more details about how to do prasarita padottanasana.

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