• How to do Setu Bandhasana

    Setu Bandhasana can seem a little scary at first. The name of the pose means bridge and it prepares you for getting into deeper back bending poses. Think of it as a stable bridge

    It’s important that you warm up before attempting Setu Bandhasna. That’s why it is situated toward the end of the Ashtanga Primary Series.

    Don’t be afraid of what’s happening in the neck in this pose. You get the deep bend in the cervical spine by activating your neck muscles, but if you have herniated discs in your neck or problems with your neck you’ll want to skip this posture.

    To prepare for this pose lay on your back. Bring the heels together and spread the toes apart so they’re pointing opposite sides. Your heels are touching. Your heels should be quite far away from the pelvis. Further away is better than closer. Now let your knees flop out to the side. Then activate your inner thighs a little to raise your knees up.

    Put your hands onto the ground so your hands are at your hips and push your elbows into the ground. Put your head back so the crown of your head is on the floor.

    Your upper back is lifted up off of the floor.

    Your hands are on your thighs. You’re not dumping weight into your head. You’re pressing into your elbows activating and your thighs.

    This is the pose you can use to prepare. This is not the full expression of the pose yet, but If this is a lot for you just stay here for five breaths. Wait until you’ve built more strength before you try to get into the full posture.

    To get into the full expression of the pose, start by laying on your mat with your heels together and your feet pressing out pointing out. The crown of your head is on the ground.

    Now you can get up in one of two ways. Bring your hands up over your head and use them like training wheels to help you lift your body off the ground. If you lift up in this way be careful not to push too much with the shoulders because then you’ll have problems transitioning into the more complete expression of the pose.

    Another way to get into the pose is to start from where we were before with your head pressed into the ground and your hips still on the ground. Reach both hands out to the sides. Now activate the back muscles and your leg muscles. Inhale and lift up so the crown of your head is on the ground.

    For the traditional entry into Setu Bandhasana, you lay on your mat with your heels touching and toes point away from each other. Your hands are crossed over your shoulders. Then you activate the back muscles and the leg muscles and lift your hips so you can roll up onto the top of your head lifting your body.

    Watch the following video where Kino gives you a more detailed description of how to get into Setu Bandhasana.

    By Omstars

  • Weekly Pose Tutorial: Gomukhasana (The Cow Facing Pose)

    Gomukhasana is an important posture in the Ashtanga Yoga Second Series and involves a deep movement inside of the hip joints. You might be familiar with it from other styles of yoga also. This pose teaches us a lesson of patience, kindness, respect, and reverence for life. As we develop these things we become better beings and we treat the world around us better.

    To get into Gomukhasana sit on your mat. Bend your right leg so your heel is to the outside of your left hip and your knee is on the ground pointing straight out in front of you.

    Now bring your left leg over your right leg so the heel is next to the right hip. Stack your knees on top of each other.

    Lift your sacrum up and forward so it almost feels like you’re about to lift your sitting bones off the ground.

    Now take your right hand up. Bend your elbow and reach your hand behind your head and down your back.

    Take your left arm out to the side so your palm is facing behind you. Bend your left elbow and bring your hand up your back.

    Try to clasp your right and left hands together behind your back. If you can’t reach you can use a strap or hold onto your shirt.

    Stay in this position for five breaths before slowly coming out. Watch the video with Kino below for more details about the Gomukhasana.

    By Omstars

  • Weekly Pose Tutorial: Bhekasana (Frog Pose)

    Bhekasana or frog pose allows you to lengthen through the front body while engaging through the back body. The first thing you need to understand is that this is a backbending pose. It traditionally comes in the Second Series or Intermediate Series of Ashtanga.

    Bhekasana brings up a little bit of fear in people about what is happening in the knees. It requires an internal rotation of the thighs and deep knee flexion.

    We’ll look at the safe way to enter the posture so no matter what your level of flexibility, you will be able to achieve the pose. It’s not about forcing your body. It’s about listening and learning from the messages your body sends you. If you try to bend your knees too hard in this pose it won’t work. Again you should not force anything.

    Lay on your stomach and in a relaxed manner bend your knees. Let your calf lazily come out to the sides just a bit so there is an internal rotation in your hips. Don’t bring your feet up to your butt. They should be on the outside of your hips.

    Draw in your belly and press your iliac crest into the ground. Draw your thigh away from the ground.

    Now reach your right arm back and place the “L” of your hand between the base of your thumb and base of index finger on your foot. Press on the foot and flip your grip to push your foot down. Do the same thing on the left side.

    Don’t force anything. Your hands are simply holding your feet in place. Don’t jam your foot down. You’re gripping but not forcing.

    Lift your quadriceps and press your iliac crests into the ground. Allow yourself to have space in your knee joint.
    Make space through the back.

    The center of the chest is up and forward and the knees are back and away from the body. Your thighs are off the ground.

    When you are ready to come out of the pose release it slowly.

    Watch this video with Kino to get a better idea of Bhekasana.

    By Omstars

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