• 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: 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.

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  • 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!