• Weekly Pose Tutorial: Bakasana (Crane Pose)

    Bakasana or Crane Pose is an arm balance done with your arms straight as opposed to the crow pose which is a bent elbow arm balance. It is a foundational arm balance in your yoga practice. Once you get this pose and are able to do it well, you’ll be able to take the same strength tools and apply them to any arm balance.

    Arm balances require strength, pressing up from the shoulders and pulling up from your core. So let’s approach this arm balance from those two perspectives. One of the things with this pose is that there is a lot of pressure on the wrist. So the more you bring your shoulders away from your hands the more space you’ll create in your wrists.

    From a squatting position, your hands come forward flat on the mat.

    Place your knees as close to the armpits as possible.

    Send your shoulders forward and lift your feet off the ground.

    Your arms are straight not bent.

    One of the main differences between the Crow Pose and the Crane Pose is the positioning of the knees. For the Crow Pose your knees are on the outside of your shoulders and for the Crane Pose your knees are in your armpits.

    Watch this video for more detailed instructions.

    By Omstars

  • Yoga Pose Tutorial: Baddha Konasana C (Bound Angle Pose)

    Baddha Konasana C or Bound Angle Pose is also known as Cobbler’s Pose.

    The benefits of this pose include toning your internal organs by increasing blood circulation and life energy while stretching and releasing the hips. Many people have a lot of tightness in the hips and low back. This tightness can be a major cause of low back pain.

    Let’s look at how to do Baddha Konasana C.

    Start by bending your knees and bringing them in close to your chest with the soles of your feet on the floor.

    Now drop your knees out to the side, allowing your hips to rotate externally.

    Place the soles of your feet together.

    When you do this, your knees may be elevated, and your back may round. Try to keep your back straight and place blocks or bolsters beneath your knees for added support.

    You never want to feel pain in the knees in this pose. If you do, use higher blocks or bolsters to elevate your knees to the point where you feel no pain.

    You may feel bands of tension in the inner thighs. This is what you want to release during the pose.

    Baddha Konasana C is not a passive pose. You must activate your legs in the pose. To do this, root down to the base of your little toe. Activate your ankles, and spread the soles of your feet open like a book.

    As you activate your feet, they’ll naturally want to move away from the pubic bone, but in this pose they should be as close to the pubic bone as possible.

    Now get rid of any roundness in the back or tilting under of your pelvis. Lift up through your pelvis until you come to the very top of your sitting bones.

    Press your thumbs on the mound of your big toes and curled fingers around your foot.

    Lift through the center of your chest. Send your pubic bone back as you send your chest forward and roll forward on your sitting bones, bringing your chin to the floor.

    If you can’t bring your chin to the floor yet, come forward as far as you can while maintaining the pose.

    When we approach flexibility, be sure to remember to have calmness, ease, patience, and kindness.

    Watch this tutorial from Kino for a better understanding of how to do Baddha Konasana C.

    By Omstars

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  • Yoga Pose Tutorial: Astavakrasana (Eight Angled Pose)

    Astavakrasana or Eight Angle Pose is an arm balance from the challenging Ashtanga Third Series. It is an asymmetrical arm balance. That means you do the arm balance with your legs over to the right and then with your legs over to the left. Ironically, it’s used to create symmetry in the body. You’ll find that it’s easier for you to do on one side than the other. By working on the pose on both sides over many years of practice, slowly each side will equal out.

    If you do only symmetrical arm balances, you can subconsciously favor one side over the other. Asymmetrical balances show you which side is stronger than the other, so you work on each side equally. Over many years of practice, you will find more balance as you work on both sides.

    While doing the pose itself is relatively accessible, all of the traditional entry points are pretty challenging. You need flexibility and strength to do this pose.

    Let’s start by doing the pose on the right side.

    Start out sitting on the ground with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground a little wider than hip’s width apart.

    Put your hands on the ground. Your right arm is between your legs and in front of your hips. Your left arm is outside your left leg.

    Place the right calf on the right shoulder.

    One of the easiest ways to enter the pose is the leave the left foot on the ground as you press into your arms and send your hips up and back.

    Now hook your left foot around your right foot and straighten your legs.

    Then slowly reach your chest down and bend the elbows. Lift the legs up. Shoulders forward. Your hips are up and your belly is in.

    To make it a bit harder. Hook your feet together before you lift up. Then straighten your legs.

    Watch Kino’s Encyclopedia of Yoga class about the pose to find out how to work your way up to getting into Astavakrasana.

    To see traditional entries and exits of the pose watch Kino’s video below.

    By Omstars

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  • Yoga Pose Tutorial: Ardha Matsyendrasana or Half Lord of the Fishes Pose

    Ardha Matsyendrasana or Half Lord of the Fishes Pose is a seated spinal twist that brings you into the center of the body and helps you access the deep space of the pelvic bowl. In any twisting posture, the hips are your foundation so avoid twisting from the pelvis. Instead, empty out the pelvis and twist from the thoracic spine. In this posture that is very important. 

    To enter the pose on the right side fold your left knee underneath you so your left heel is next to your right hip. Make sure there is no discomfort in the knee. Your knee should line up with your sternum. 

    Cross your right leg over your folded left leg with the sole of your foot on the ground. Take a moment to settle your hips between the open space between your left foot and left hip. Both sitting bones are on the ground.

    Make sure both of your knees are lined up along the centerline. Your sternum, pubic bone, and knees should all be lined up. Keeping all these points aligned will make sure your right foot isn’t too close to the pelvis. You should be able to see your toes ahead of your right knee.

    Inhale and suck the belly in. Drop the right hip down. Allow a gentle internal rotation of the right hip and hug your torso close to your thigh.

    Wrap your left arm around your right leg and twist to the right, looking over the right shoulder. 

    To take it deeper suck the belly in and lift the ribcage around the right thigh. 

    Place your right hand on the ground.

    Drop the left shoulder in front of the right knee and reach down to grab your foot. If you can’t reach the foot reach down to the ground.

    Lift your chest and bring your right hand behind your back and find the top of your left thigh.

    Slowly release yourself from the pose and repeat on the other side.

    If you feel any intense pain in your knee or hip joint back off the pose. 

    Ardha Matsyendrasana purifies the digestive system. It also realigns the sacrum and brings energy into the center of the body. 

    Watch Kino’s video below for more detailed instructions.

    Yoga is a journey into the center of yourself. Never judge yourself. Regardless of what shape your body can make appreciate the process of finding the pose. 

    By Omstars

    Sign up for an Omstars membership to take your yoga practice to the next level.

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  • Yoga Pose Tutorial: Janu Sirsasana B

    This week’s pose is Janusirsasana B or also called Head-to-knee pose B.

    Start in Janu A with your knee out 90 degrees.

    Lift your pelvis off the floor and push your body forward over your right foot until your pelvis rests on top of your heel. Allow your perineum to contact the heel of the foot and rest here.

    Your sit bones are off the floor.

    Keep your right foot flexed so the toes point forward to your left foot.

    The left leg is active and straight.

    When the right foot is in position, fold forward over your left leg.

    Grasp your wrists around the left foot as your reach forward in the bend.

    Align your torso and pubic bone along the centerline of your body, facing forward as much as possible.

    Janu B provides a deep stretch through the sacrum and the lower back or QL’s.

    Now try the other side.

    Check out Kino’s excellent YouTube description for greater detail.

    By Dr. Bruce E. Barkus

    Dr. Bruce E. Barkus came to yoga, like most people, to become more flexible, get stronger and reduce stress. Low and behold he fell in love with all the other benefits yoga provides. He has been very consistent with a daily practice for the last eleven years and has come to look at it as part of his daily routine. Bruce’s certifications are Yoga Alliance RYT 500 through Asheville Yoga Center and 500 hours of Ashtanga Training for teachers with Miami Life Center. He teaches Ashtanga at Level Yoga in Vero Beach Florida and at Asheville Yoga Center. Over time, his students started asking for more details on poses and the benefits of a daily practice, so he started doing the pose of the week. There have been many that have guided his yoga practice, including Kino MacGregor, Tim Feldmann, Doug Keller, David Keil, Manju Jois, Stephanie Keach, and Lewis Rothlein. The poses he shares are primarily from the Ashtanga Primary Series as he finds the basic postures build a solid foundation for all the advanced poses.

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  • Yoga Pose Tutorial: Janu Sirsasana A or Head-to-Knee Pose

    This week’s pose of the week is Janu Sirsasana “A” or Head-to-Knee Pose A.

    The FOCUS of head-to-knee pose is really the extension of the sternum toward the knee. You should try your best to get extension in the back and avoid rounding.

    Rotate your right hip joint externally, while pointing your knee out to the side at a 90-degree angle.

    Try to relax the hip joint so the ball and socket can open and release.

    The sole of your right foot is resting against your inner left thigh and the right heel rests close to the pubic bone.

    Constantly roll your upper thigh toward the back of your pelvis while elongating your inner thigh muscles. It sounds like a lot but really it is not.

    Once you have the external rotation of the right thigh, fold your pelvis as far forward as possible and align your torso OVER your left thigh.

    Your heart, sternum, and public bone should be aligned and centered toward the left knee.

    Reach your chin to your left shin and gaze toward the toes of your left foot.

    Kept the left leg engaged and active.

    Hold for five breaths and do the other side.

    Remember, never force a pose but advance your practice with effort and ease. Check out Kino’s YouTube on the pose. It is only 3:18 but will give you a deeper understanding of the asana.

    By Dr. Bruce E. Barkus

    Dr. Bruce E. Barkus came to yoga, like most people, to become more flexible, get stronger and reduce stress. Low and behold he fell in love with all the other benefits yoga provides. He has been very consistent with a daily practice for the last eleven years and has come to look at it as part of his daily routine. Bruce’s certifications are Yoga Alliance RYT 500 through Asheville Yoga Center and 500 hours of Ashtanga Training for teachers with Miami Life Center. He teaches Ashtanga at Level Yoga in Vero Beach Florida and at Asheville Yoga Center. Over time, his students started asking for more details on poses and the benefits of a daily practice, so he started doing the pose of the week. There have been many that have guided his yoga practice, including Kino MacGregor, Tim Feldmann, Doug Keller, David Keil, Manju Jois, Stephanie Keach, and Lewis Rothlein. The poses he shares are primarily from the Ashtanga Primary Series as he finds the basic postures build a solid foundation for all the advanced poses.

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  • Yoga Pose Tutorial: Tiryang Mukha Ekapada Paschimattanasana or Three-Limbed Forward Fold

    This week’s pose seems harder to say than to do but fortunately, Tiryang Mukha Ekapada Paschimattanasana translates to the three-limbed forward fold. This pose elevates the awareness of the bandhas, helps to internally rotate the hip joints, and gives a great stretch on the quads/hamstrings.

    While rotating your thighs inward, bend your right knee back and point your right toes back.

    Let your right hip sink to the floor with your heel outside your buttock.

    TIP: if you move your right calf out of the way, you can get a more comfortable bend in the right knee.

    Your thighs remain parallel and your knees are close together.

    Reaching forward, wrap your hands around the left foot and bring your chin to your left shin.

    Draw your belly back and in and engage your pelvic floor to gain stability in the asana.

    Press your left calf and left heel into the floor as you activate your energy.

    Ground your right sit bone and the top of your right foot into the floor.

    The Drishti for this pose is the toes on the left foot.

    After 5 breaths release and work the other side.

    Never force a pose and gradually it will come. Use effort and ease with your breath to move your practice along.

    Check out my teacher, Kino’s YouTube video below. The pose starts at 6 minutes and 25 seconds into the video.

    By Dr. Bruce E. Barkus

    Dr. Bruce E. Barkus came to yoga, like most people, to become more flexible, get stronger and reduce stress. Low and behold he fell in love with all the other benefits yoga provides. He has been very consistent with a daily practice for the last eleven years and has come to look at it as part of his daily routine. Bruce’s certifications are Yoga Alliance RYT 500 through Asheville Yoga Center and 500 hours of Ashtanga Training for teachers with Miami Life Center. He teaches Ashtanga at Level Yoga in Vero Beach Florida and at Asheville Yoga Center. Over time, his students started asking for more details on poses and the benefits of a daily practice, so he started doing the pose of the week. There have been many that have guided his yoga practice, including Kino MacGregor, Tim Feldmann, Doug Keller, David Keil, Manju Jois, Stephanie Keach, and Lewis Rothlein. The poses he shares are primarily from the Ashtanga Primary Series as he finds the basic postures build a solid foundation for all the advanced poses.

    Start your 14-day Free Trial with Omstars Today!

  • Yoga Pose Tutorial: Purvattanasana or Upward Facing Plank

    Welcome to the pose of the week Purvattanasana, also called Upward Facing Plank Pose. This is a great pose that extends and strengthens the back while also countering all the forward bends so far in the primary series.

    Place your hands about a foot behind your pelvis with palms flat on the floor and the fingers facing forward.

    Inhale as you lift your pelvis UP AND FORWARD.

    Be sure to engage your inner quads with your active, lifted kneecaps.

    Point your toes and press your feet toward the floor with an inward rotation.

    Open your heart toward the ceiling by lifting your chest high.

    Draw your shoulder blades down and arm are straight.

    Lift the upper back. If your neck is comfortable look to the back wall.

    Remember to never force a pose and let it come naturally over time.

    Check out my teacher Kino’s YouTube video that is only (2:18 Minutes) and well worth the watch.

    By Dr. Bruce E. Barkus

    Dr. Bruce E. Barkus came to yoga, like most people, to become more flexible, get stronger and reduce stress. Low and behold he fell in love with all the other benefits yoga provides. He has been very consistent with a daily practice for the last eleven years and has come to look at it as part of his daily routine. Bruce’s certifications are Yoga Alliance RYT 500 through Asheville Yoga Center and 500 hours of Ashtanga Training for teachers with Miami Life Center. He teaches Ashtanga at Level Yoga in Vero Beach Florida and at Asheville Yoga Center. Over time, his students started asking for more details on poses and the benefits of a daily practice, so he started doing the pose of the week. There have been many that have guided his yoga practice, including Kino MacGregor, Tim Feldmann, Doug Keller, David Keil, Manju Jois, Stephanie Keach, and Lewis Rothlein. The poses he shares are primarily from the Ashtanga Primary Series as he finds the basic postures build a solid foundation for all the advanced poses.

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  • Yoga Pose Tutorial: Parsvottanasa or Pyrimand Pose

    The pose this week is Parsvottanasana also called Pyramid or Intense side stretch pose. It’s all the same thing.

    For this pose hold your elbows or hands in prayer.

    This pose has a relatively short stance with feet about 2.5 feet apart. The back-foot points out 45 degrees and the front heel aligns with the arch of the back foot. This is important as it helps square the pelvis toward the back of your mat.

    Draw your belly in and lift your sit bones as you fold forward pressing the feet and legs into the floor for energy.

    Ground all three corners of both feet for stability.

    KEEP YOUR PELVIS AND SACRUM LEVEL AS POSSIBLE. Keep the sternum in line with the front knee while reaching forward and down.

    Keep your chest open as you press the heels of your hands together in prayer.

    Bring your forehead toward the knee and gaze toward the nose OR chin to shin, if you are flexible enough, and gaze toward the toes.

    Check out Kino’s excellent YouTube below.

    Ashtanga is one of the authentic representations of Patanjali’s sutra that is still alive and active. The system is precise and relevant but open to all with modifications. With each asana we focus on a smooth steady breath with concentration called drishti. Never force the pose but use effort and ease to progress. Always back out of any pose that causes a sharp pain. The emphasis shifts from posture to breath in a steady progression of building strength and flexibility.

    By Dr. Bruce E. Barkus

    Dr. Bruce E. Barkus came to yoga, like most people, to become more flexible, get stronger and reduce stress. Low and behold he fell in love with all the other benefits yoga provides. He has been very consistent with a daily practice for the last eleven years and has come to look at it as part of his daily routine. Bruce’s certifications are Yoga Alliance RYT 500 through Asheville Yoga Center and 500 hours of Ashtanga Training for teachers with Miami Life Center. He teaches Ashtanga at Level Yoga in Vero Beach Florida and at Asheville Yoga Center. Over time, his students started asking for more details on poses and the benefits of a daily practice, so he started doing the pose of the week. There have been many that have guided his yoga practice, including Kino MacGregor, Tim Feldmann, Doug Keller, David Keil, Manju Jois, Stephanie Keach, and Lewis Rothlein. The poses he shares are primarily from the Ashtanga Primary Series as he finds the basic postures build a solid foundation for all the advanced poses.

    Start your 14-day Free Trial with Omstars Today!

  • Yoga Pose Tutorial: Parsvakonasana or Extended Side Angle

    As we continue the journey of Ashtanga yoga, we find that the practice helps us to build strength and flexibility. Using the breath and the drishti (concentration) we create a balance in the body that settles the mind with long slow breathing with the inhales and exhales in coordination with the movement. Vinyasa actually means “the marriage of breath and movement”. We continue to work the asana pose with effort and ease, never forcing the movement and always working with mindful intention.

    Today we look at Parsvakonasana “A”, also known as Extended Side Angle Pose.

    You stand with a relatively WIDE pose, about the distance of one leg with the front heel aligned with your left arch for stability.

    BEND the front knee until it is over the right ankle making the front thigh PARALLEL with the floor. Don’t worry, it takes time to get there.

    Sink deep into the front hip joint and release your torso down and externally rotate your thighs.

    Reach your upper arm overhead and draw your shoulder blades down the back while gazing at the upper fingertips.

    Eventually, you build a straight line from the knife-edge of the back foot to the tips of your fingertips.

    Please do check out the excellent YouTube Video from my teacher Kino as she walks us through the asana step by step. It’s only 3.17 minutes and really makes the asana come to life.

    Patience may one of the greatest tools in our yoga journey as we TRY to practice more and more difficult poses. JUST TRY! Some days we can catch the pose and some days we don’t. It’s all good, just continue to focus on the breath and the movement to reap the benefits. PRACTICE!!!

    By Dr. Bruce E. Barkus

    Dr. Bruce E. Barkus came to yoga, like most people, to become more flexible, get stronger and reduce stress. Low and behold he fell in love with all the other benefits yoga provides. He has been very consistent with a daily practice for the last eleven years and has come to look at it as part of his daily routine. Bruce’s certifications are Yoga Alliance RYT 500 through Asheville Yoga Center and 500 hours of Ashtanga Training for teachers with Miami Life Center. He teaches Ashtanga at Level Yoga in Vero Beach Florida and at Asheville Yoga Center. Over time, his students started asking for more details on poses and the benefits of a daily practice, so he started doing the pose of the week. There have been many that have guided his yoga practice, including Kino MacGregor, Tim Feldmann, Doug Keller, David Keil, Manju Jois, Stephanie Keach, and Lewis Rothlein. The poses he shares are primarily from the Ashtanga Primary Series as he finds the basic postures build a solid foundation for all the advanced poses.

    Start your 14-day Free Trial with Omstars Today!