• How to do Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog)

    Adho mukha shvanasana, or downward facing dog, is a yoga pose that is often used in sun salutations. It is a great pose for stretching and strengthening the body. Adho mukha shvanasana is repeated so often in your yoga practice that it holds the foundation keys for good forward bending and good alignment in your shoulders for all arm balances.

    Before we look at how to do downward facing dog, let’s look at the benefits of downward dog.

    Benefits of Adho Mukha Shvanasana

    Downward dog is a great pose for stretching the hamstrings, calves, and Achilles tendon. It also helps to strengthen the arms and shoulders.

    This pose can help to relieve back pain by lengthening the spine. Additionally, downward dog is a good pose for improving digestion and relieving stress.

    Contraindications for Downward Dog

    If you have any injuries in your shoulders, wrists, or arms, be careful with this pose. You might want to avoid this pose when you have a headache. A

    How to Do Adho Mukha Shvanasana

    To come into downward dog, start from all fours. Tuck your toes and lift your hips up to the sky. Keep your feet hip-width apart and your hands shoulder-width apart.

    Press into your hands and lengthen your spine. Draw your navel towards your spine to help with this.

    Press into your hands and feet to gently lift your hips up and back. You want about a 45-degree angle at your hips.

    Roll your shoulders down your back.

    Root down through your feet with your heels reaching to the mat.

    Your back is straight and your navel is drawn in.

    Try to evenly distribute your weight between your hands and feet.

    Let your head relax downward.

    Look at your navel or the top of your thighs.

    Your arms should be engaged. Your shoulder girdle is firm but open.

    Stay here for five even breaths.

    To come out of the pose, lower your hips back down to all fours and release your feet.

    There you have it! A simple guide on how to do downward facing dog. Be sure to listen to your body and only go as far as you feel comfortable. Watch the video with Kino for a more detailed description of the pose.

  • How to do Pasasana (Noose Pose)

    Pasasana or noose pose is the first pose of the Ashtanga yoga intermediate series and is a combination of a deep twist and a deep squat. You’ll need a good grasp of both of these elements to begin.

    Just like other twisting poses, pasasana helps detoxify the internal organs. It also helps prepare the shoulders and back for deep back bending.

    Doing a twist in a deep squatting position gives you stability in your legs, providing the foundation you need for more challenging poses.

    To get into the twist needed for this pose, you will need flexibility and articulation of the thoracic spine. Many twists require you to raise through the centerline and pivot along the body’s central axis. Pasasana is different because it requires a lateral stretch that moves your body off the centerline so you can bind around both of your legs.

    Benefits of Pasasana

    This twisting pose has many benefits. They include:

    • Strengthens your thighs
    • Strengthening your ankles and knees
    • Detoxifies and stimulates internal organs
    • Stretches back muscles
    • Stretches shoulders
    • Relieves back and neck pain
    • Increases lung capacity
    • Helps with digestion

    Contraindications for pasasana

    Avoid doing pasasana if you have ankle injuries, knee injuries, back injuries, or herniated discs.

    How to do pasasana with a block

    To get a good idea of how to do the pose you can practice it while sitting on a block.

    Sit on a block with your knees bent in front of you and your soles on the floor.

    Shift your knees slightly to the right while keeping your heels down on the floor. Your chest is forward close to the thighs.

    Suck your belly in and move your torso to the left. Place your left hand on the ground and move your entire torso to the side.

    Fold your chest down on the outside of the left thigh. Next, drop your right shoulder down around the outer edge of the left knee.

    You can stay here with your hands in prayer or go for the bind.

    When you are ready to bind, you’ll know because your elbow is past the plain of your shin.

    Reach your right arm around the legs and your left arm around your back. Catch your hands, grasping them together. Look over to the left.

    Use the block as your foundation to prevent twisting of the hips.

    Release slowly and repeat the pose on the other side.

    Pasasana without a block and the heels up

    This version of pasasana will work on balance and help you develop the strength you need to do the full version of the pose. If you have a problem with your ankles, you can use a rolled-up towel or even roll up your mat to support your heels.

    You’re not on the balls of your feet in this pose. Your weight is still pressing down through your heels even if you cannot get your heels onto the ground.

    Just like when you were sitting on the block, shift your torso to the side to get that lateral stretch.

    Make sure your chest comes all the way around to the outside of your thigh.

    Bring your right hand down and around your legs. When you’re first trying to do this, you can place your hand on the ground to the outside of your right leg to make sure you’re balanced before going into the bind.

    Pivot slightly forward. Lift the left arm and bring it around your back.

    Lift your right hand off the ground. Bring your fingers toward each other to do the bind.

    If you can, drop your heels to the floor.

    Strengthen through your legs and through the pelvic floor. Hold the pose for a few breaths before slowly coming out and repeating it on the opposite side.

    How to do pasasana with flat feet

    Starting from a squat with your legs together and your feet flat on the floor, bring your left hand to the ground to study yourself and bring your torso to the left side of your legs.

    Take your right shoulder down to the outside of your left thigh.

    Your right hand reaches around your legs using the internal rotation of the shoulder.

    Your left hand reaches behind your back.

    Bring your hands together and look over your left shoulder.

    Suck your belly inside. Firm your pelvic floor. Stay firm through your legs. Balance and breathe.

    Now slowly come out of the pose and repeat it on the other side.

    Pasasana is a very challenging pose. You can work on it for years and still feel like you need to work on some more.

    Never fight or force the body. All flexibility is about patience. Wait for your body to release and be ready for the pose. You can’t rush the body. If you want to know more about the noose pose, watch this video with Kino.

  • How to do Hanumanasana (Yoga Splits)

    If you’re looking to improve your flexibility, look no further than the hanumanasana yoga pose! This challenging pose is great for stretching out the hamstrings and improving overall flexibility.

    In Ashtanga yoga,  you don’t start to integrate hanumanasana into your practice until the later part of the third series. So it is considered an advanced posture.

    This pose is dedicated to Hanuman, the monkey deity. It’s a powerful pose because according to tradition Hanuman bestows many blessings. The blessing of doing Hanumansana is more flexibility in your back and hips.

    If you have tight hamstrings and hip flexors you’ll need to work on your flexibility in those muscles before giving this pose a try. It’s important to make sure you’ve properly warmed up before attempting this pose.

    What are the benefits of hanumanasana?

    Hanumanasana is a deep forward bend. Practicing it will increase your flexibility in your:

    • Hamstrings
    • Groin
    • Hips
    • Pelvis
    • Low back
    • Calves

    Hanumansana stimulates the abdominal organs and activates the core. It strengthens the spine, improves digestion, and relieves stress. Additionally, it can help relieve symptoms of fatigue, anxiety, and depression.

    What are the contraindications for Hanumanasana?

    Avoid Hanumanasana if you have any knee, ankle, groin, hip, or hamstring injuries. Pregnant women should avoid the pose because it puts pressure on the pelvis and groin.

    How to do Hanumanasana.

    Traditionally you move into hanumanasana from downward dog. Make sure you are warmed up before you start. Do a few sun salutations to generate some internal heat.

    From downward dog, look forward as you inhale and lift your right leg.

    Exhale and bring your right leg out in front of you between your hands. Your leg is straight and your toe is pointed. Orient your pelvis forward.

    Lower yourself to the ground with both your front and back legs straight. Opening through the hips, groin, and pelvis.

    Make sure your hips are square forward when you are in the pose. It’s important to do the pose correctly so you don’t get into bad habits.

    Use the strength of your legs. You want to keep your engaged. Don’t just sink into the floor.

    Point your toes.

    Bring your hands overhead, palms together and look up at your hands.

    Stay for five breaths before repeating it on the other side.

    The secret to doing any difficult posture is figuring out where you need to work and working on that with patience and kindness. You can’t rush the journey. Your body will open when it’s ready to. Watch the video with Kino for more details about doing this pose.

  • How to do Simple Bridge Pose

    Backbending is an important part of your practice because it gets the energy flowing through your spine. Backbends help increase spinal flexibility and can even lift your mood.

    Simple Bridge pose is a good introductory pose to help you incorporate backbends into your practice. It is beneficial for your spine and hips.

    Benefits of Simple Bridge Pose

    When you perform bridge pose, you are working to strengthen your hips, glutes, and hamstrings. This is a great pose to help improve flexibility in your spine and can help relieve back pain. Bridge pose also helps to open up the chest and shoulders.

    Here are some of the benefits of doing simple bridge pose:

    -This yoga pose strengthens your back and spine.

    -It can help relieve pain in the neck and upper back.

    -It stretches hip flexors.

    -It can help improve circulation.

    -It is a great way to relieve stress and anxiety.

    Contraindications for Simple Bridge Pose

    If you are suffering from high blood pressure, bridge pose is not recommended. If you are pregnant, avoid this pose or speak with your doctor before attempting it.

    How to Perform Simple Bridge Pose

    Step One: Lie flat on your back with your feet hip-width apart and parallel to each other. Your knees are bent and the soles of your feet are flat on the floor.

    Step Two: Move your feet so they are as close to your buttocks as you can comfortably get them. Your arms are at your sides with your palms down. Try to get your fingertips to touch your heels.

    Step Three: Inhale and press into your feet to lift your hips off the ground. Send your hips up and forward. Do not squeeze your glutes.

    Step Four: Roll your shoulders under and let your spine lift. If you are comfortable here you can roll your shoulders under even more and grab your ankles.

    Step Five: Hold for five breaths, then release and lower your hips to the ground.

    So, if you are looking for a simple yoga pose that offers many benefits, give simple bridge pose a try! You won’t be disappointed. Watch this video with Kino for more details about how to do simple bridge pose.