• How to do Virabhadrasana A (Warrior 1)

    Virabhadrasana A or Warrior 1 is an important pose for the cardiovascular system. Your heart rate goes up, increasing your circulation when your arms are raised above your head and your legs are firmly pressing into the ground.

    Warrior 1 also helps strengthen the legs and back while increasing space between the vertebrae. It prepares you for back bending which requires that same strength in the legs and articulation through the spine. Warrior 1 is a very important pose for energizing the body. It can be mildly therapy when you’re experiencing light states of depression.

    This pose helps you build a firm foundation for the legs. It is originally considered a balancing pose because you are gazing up at your thumbs as you maintain the solid foundation of your legs.

    Start by standing at the front of your mat. Now step back with your right foot. It is important to have an appropriate distance between your feet. You want to have the distance of about the length of one of your legs between your feet. Doing that tailors the pose to your own height.

    Externally rotate your back foot at a 45° angle. Your front foot is pointed forward. Ideally, your front heel will align with your back arch. If you find it too hard to balance this way you can align your heels with each other to give you a slightly wider stance.

    Bend your front knee at a 90° angle, so your thigh is parallel to the floor.

    Square your pelvis forward without torquing your knee. Keep as much forward direction in your pelvis as possible.

    Strengthen through your legs. Think about pressing your big toe little toe and heel evenly into the mat. Push back from your belly button through your hip. Allow the natural curve curvature of the lower back while keeping the tailbone in a neutral position.

    Rise up through the centerline of your body from the emptiness in your pelvic bowl. Pull the femur of your front leg in. Never let your knee jut forward. Let your energy sink down. Your back heel should remain on the ground. Root down.

    Hold your hands in front of you in prayer. Now rise up through the centerline of your body. Bring your hands straight up overhead with the palms continuing to press together. Now, look up at your thumbs.

    If it’s uncomfortable for your neck you can open your hands and look forward.

    To come out of the position lower your hands. Straighten your front leg. Step out of the position.

    Watch the video with Kino for more details about how to do Virabhadrasana A.

    By Omstars

  • How to do Mukta Hasta Sirsasana A (Tripod Headstand)

    In the traditional Ashtanga yoga practice, there are 3 variations of the unsupported headstand. Today we’ll be covering the most popular version. Mukta Hasta Sirsasana A is commonly known as the Tripod Headstand. This is a really important posture for building strength in alignment in your shoulders and in the centerline of your body.

    This pose will be easier for you if your shoulders are strong. In all headstands, you want to find the centerline alignment. That means your pelvis is stacked over your chest, and your chest is stacked over your head. Everything must be balanced in the centerline.

    When you do this pose, the flattest part of your head, the very top of it is on the ground. When you have your head in the right position on the floor you should feel no tension in your neck muscles.

    To begin your journey into this headstand, you have to stabilize the shoulders while lifting your body up into the centerline. The ideal way to come up is to activate the deep muscles of the low belly.

    Let’s practice doing the first version of Mukta Hasta Sirsasana A. Kneel on the ground and put your hands on the floor in front of your shoulder-width apart. Your elbows will bend in line with your wrists and shoulders to place the top of your head on the ground. You’re making an equilateral triangle shape with your head and hands.

    Now that your head is on the ground come up onto your feet and straighten your legs. Walk your legs in as close to your hands as you can. This is the first version of the pose.

    If you feel like you’re ready to move deeper into the pose, you can come into a tripod egg shape from there by sending your hips forward and up so you can come up onto your toes. Bend one leg and place it on the top of the tricep of the arm on the same side. Don’t let it sink down, but press and squeeze it up. Now bring your other leg up with your knee on your tricep. Balance here.

    If you feel comfortable here, pull both knees up and in so they are off your triceps and bent, floating against the front of your body. Keep your shoulders strong. Stay balanced on the centerline. If this stage of the pose feels good to you, you’re ready to take it further.

    Now straighten your legs up over your head. Find your centerline, so your legs are over your hips, your hips are over your chest, and your chest is over your head. Your shoulders and arms are strong. Your core is activated. Press the bases of the big toes together. Pull the ribs in. Activate the transverse abdominals. Open the shoulders while continuing to get them active.

    When you’re ready to come down, slowly bend your legs back down to your triceps like you started out in the tripod egg shape. Then put your feet back on the ground and slowly come out of the pose.

    Once you’re comfortable doing this version of the pose, you’re ready to enter the pose in the traditional way. To do that, put your hands and head on the ground. Remember that you’re making an equilateral triangle shape here. Walk your legs forward. Bring them close to the body. Suck your belly in. Spiral your elbows in. Roll the hips forward, pulling the thighs close to the body. Engage your pelvic floor and send the hips forward. When you reach the halfway point where your hips are beyond the vertical axis, slowly tuck the tailbone as you open the front of your hips. Lift the legs straight up into the air. Lift the kneecaps. Tuck the tailbone slightly, pull the ribs in and activate the transverse abdominals. Stay here for five breaths.

    To come out of the pose, suck the belly in and roll through the hip joints as you slowly bring your feet back to the floor.

    Watch this video with Kino for more details about doing Mukta Hasta Sirsasana A.

  • How to do Parsvakonasana A (Extended Side Angle Pose)

    Parsvakonasana A or Extended Side Angle Pose tones the legs while energizing the entire spine. Once you learn how to do Parsvakonasa A, you’ll find it wonderfully therapeutic when you feel low in energy.

    This pose stimulates the body and can sometimes help with headaches. If you find yourself feeling dizzy or woozy it can bring you back into balance.

    Start standing with your legs three to four feet apart depending on your height. Turn your right foot out to the front of the mat.

    Bend your right leg so your knee is stacked over your ankle.

    Put your right forearm on your right thigh just above the knee.

    Open through the chest and circle your left arm up so your arm is over your head. So, you’re trying to make a diagonal line with your body.

    Ground into the left heel. You can choose to stay here. But if you want to take it deeper, take your right hand to the outside of your right foot. Bring your fingertips to the ground. Root into the heel of your foot.

    If you can, flatten your hand completely onto the ground. Activate your pelvic floor. Strengthen your legs. Hold for a few breaths. Then slowly come up out of the pose and repeat on the opposite side.

    For more details about  Parsvakonasana A or Extended Side Angle Posewatch the following video with Kino.

    By Omstars

  • Weekly Pose Tutorial: Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)

    Dhanurasana or the Bow Pose is one of the most traditional backbends. You’ll find this pose in every traditional yoga style.

    As you do Dhanurasana, you should feel energy rising through the center channel of your body. The pose strengthens and hones the muscles in your back and purifies your digestive system.

    Backbends are therapeutic for minor depression because as you move into position you get in touch with vital emotions and hopefully make peace with them. This pose can help to tune your mind and spirit to the deeper meaning of life.

    Dhanurasana is found in the Ashtanga Second Series. You need to have a solid foundational practice in order to integrate this pose into your daily yoga routine.

    When you do Dhanurasana you’re lifting your whole body off the ground. The idea is to think about your body creating a circular motion energetically. To do this you have to create space in the spine. As you create more space you can go deeper into the pose.

    To get into Bow Pose lay on your stomach. Gently bend your knees so your heels go toward your buttocks.

    Reach back and grab your ankles.

    Inhale and lift up.

    Draw the belly in and keep your knees as close together as you can.

    Pressure your iliac crests into the ground. Roll your shoulders forward.

    Breathe from your diaphragm but keep the breath in your lungs. You need to feel stable and rooted down in the pose.

    For more details watch this video from Kino.

    By Omstars

  • Weekly Pose Tutorial: Chakrasana (Backward Roll)

    Chakrasana is a transition pose that can be difficult to figure out at first, but it’s an important part of the practice. Today we’ll break it down so you can start using it in your practice.

    When you think about this pose think about a wheel. A wheel has an axis point. In Chakrasana your body also has an axis point–your shoulders. So when you roll backward think about sending your body around the axis point of your shoulders. You’re not sending your body up. You’re going around.

    You need a good amount of hamstring and upper back flexibility to do this pose properly. If you have long hair, you shouldn’t have your hair in a ponytail or a bun because they will make your head move to the side and could injure your neck.

    If you have any kind of herniated disc or neck issues this is contraindicated for doing this pose.

    If you have a healthy neck, this pose can actually release neck tension. It can also help you learn how to lift your pelvis through the centerline. Gives you a good sense of directionality so you can feel where you’re going without always seeing it.

    To prepare for Chakrasana, you need to come into a shape that’s almost like Plow Pose.

    Start out laying on your back. Now bring your legs up overhead. Bend your elbows and bring your hands down so they are near your ears.

    If you can’t get into Plow Pose, you don’t have the flexibility to do the Chakrasana yet.

    Now draw your elbows in and suck in your belly. On the exhale, flip your body all the way over, using your shoulders as an axis.

    Don’t push hard with your arms to get yourself to go over. You’re moving on a lateral plane and not an up-and-down plane.

    Now here’s a more advanced version.

    Lay on your back with your knees bent.

    Prepare by bending your elbows and placing your hands next to your ears.

    Exhale tighten your pelvic floor. Inhale bring your legs up and all the way over your head.

    Roll completely over and land directly in Chaturanga Dandasana.

    Before you attempt this make sure you have enough room behind you to land in Chaturanga without hitting anything.

    Remember you’re thinking about rolling the axis of your wheel around the shoulders.

    The most important things to remember is that it’s a lateral motion and not upward. You’ll feel the full length of your body traveling back.

    Watch the video from Kino below to get a better idea of how to do the pose.

    By Omstars

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