• How to do Standing Splits

    Do you want to learn how to do the standing splits? This challenging yoga pose is a great way to improve your flexibility and open your hips. In this post, you’ll learn more about the pose and step-by-step instructions that will get you started today.

    Benefits of standing splits

    There are a few benefits to doing this pose, including:

    • opening the hips
    • lengthening the hamstrings
    • increasing the blood flow to the brain
    • strengthening the legs
    • calming the nervous system
    • improving balance

    Contraindications of standing splits

    You should use caution or even avoid this pose if you have:

    • hip and knee injuries
    • low back problems
    • shoulder injuries
    • high blood pressure
    • low blood pressure

    How to do standing splits

    Stand on your mat with your feet together and your legs straight.

    Bend forward putting both hands on the ground with the palms flat on the floor.

    Push your weight into your right leg, raising your left leg behind you.

    The key to getting a good standing split is to engage your right glute, lifting your right sitting bones to power your left leg up.

    Lift with your left leg as high as you can, pointing your left toe toward the ceiling.

    Push weight into your arms and drop your head down so your forehead is toward the shin.

    Stay here for five breaths and slowly release it. For more details about the pose watch this video lesson from Kino.


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  • How to do Parivrtta Surya Yantrasana (Compass Pose)

    Do you want to improve your balance and strengthen your core? If so, parivrtta surya yantrasana is the pose for you! This pose is also known as compass pose. It can be a little tricky to get into at first, but with practice, you will be able to do it like a pro.

    This is a good hip opener that combines strength and flexibility. It’s a good pose to practice in preparation for putting your leg behind your head. Before we get started, let’s look at the benefits and contraindications of compass pose.

    Benefits of parivrtta surya yantrasana

    • Strengthens the core muscles
    • Stretches the shoulders, chest, and hips
    • Improves balance and coordination
    • Increases spinal flexibility
    • Improves posture

    Contraindications for parivrtta surya yantrasana

    • Shoulder injury
    • Low back pain
    • Slipped disc
    • Sciatica
    • Groin injury

    Now that we know a little bit more about parivrtta surya yantrasana, let’s get into it!

    How to do compass pose

    Sit on your mat. Bend your left knee and bring your left foot in close to your groin.

    Bend your right knee, so the foot is in front of your left foot.

    Bring your right leg up, and while supporting it with your hand, pivot the hip joint into external rotation.

    The key with this pose is to get your thigh as close to your shoulder as possible. So grab hold of your calf muscle and pick up your leg and place it on the shoulder.

    Settle your right sitting bone into the ground.

    Stack your right knee onto your right shoulder and bring the right hand out to the side, so the arm is straight and the hand is resting on the ground.

    Reach up with the left hand and grab your right foot.

    Bring your head behind the ankle like you’re going to put your leg behind your head, but instead straighten the leg.

    Bring your leg into your body with your left hand. Push your right shoulder against the right leg. Tighten your core.

    Stay here for five breaths and come out of the pose slowly.

    Watch this video with Kino for more detail about doing the pose.

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  • How to do Tittibhasana (Firefly Pose)

    Tittibhasana or firefly pose is a pose in the Ashtanga yoga second series. In this post, you’ll learn how to do tittibhasana and discover the benefits of doing the pose.

    This powerful arm balance gives you practice lifting your body off the ground. It’s fun to try because it requires both flexibility and endurance.

    Benefits of tittibhasana

    The benefits of firefly pose include:

    • Strengthening the shoulders, arms, and wrists
    • Stretching the chest and front of the body
    • Stimulating the abdominal organs

    Contraindications of tittibhasana

    The contraindications of firefly pose include:

    • Wrist injury
    • Shoulder injury

    If you have any wrist or shoulder injuries, please consult your doctor before doing this pose.

    How to do firefly pose

    Here’s how to do tittibhasana:

    Traditionally you would jump into this pose, but because we’re just starting out, we’ll move into it slowly from standing.

    Stand with your feet a little wider than hip-width. Fold forward and put your hands on the ground.

    Bring your shoulder between your legs.

    Bend your knees so your thighs are resting on top of your upper arms. Your hands are flat on the ground with the fingers pointing forward.

    Engage your core and inhale and straighten your legs.

    Squeeze your thighs toward each other into your body.

    Keep your collarbone broad.

    Lift from your core.

    Stay here for five breaths before slowly coming out of the pose.

    For more detail about how to do the pose watch this video with Kino.

    Now you’re ready to give firefly pose a try. Remember to be patient with yourself and keep trying. These poses come with practice. You might have to work on your flexibility and strength before you can get into this pose. That’s okay. No one was born doing this pose. We all had to practice.

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  • How to Do Purvottanasana (Reverse Plank Pose)

    Looking to add a challenging new yoga pose to your practice? Look no further than purvottanasana, or reverse plank pose. This intense posture offers a range of benefits for the body and mind, from improved strength and flexibility to better focus and concentration. Before you get started, it’s important to understand the contraindications of purvottanasana and how to safely perform the pose. With proper preparation and execution, however, you are in for an amazing experience!

    Benefits of Purvottanasana

    There are many benefits to be gained from practicing purvottanasana. This pose is excellent for building strength in the arms, shoulders, and core muscles. It also helps to improve posture and increase flexibility in the spine. Additionally, purvottanasana can help to calm the mind and relieve stress.

    Contraindications of Purvottanasana

    While purvottanasana offers many benefits, there are some contraindications to be aware of before attempting the pose. People with wrist injuries or carpal tunnel syndrome should avoid this posture. Additionally, those with high blood pressure should not practice purvottanasana. If you have any concerns about whether or not this pose is right for you, be sure to consult with a qualified yoga instructor.

    How to Do Purvottanasana (Reverse Plank Pose)

    Now that you know the benefits and contraindications of purvottanasana, it’s time to learn how to do the pose! Follow these step-by-step instructions to safely perform reverse plank:

    This pose works with the internal rotation of the thighs. It’s important that you pay attention to what’s going on with your feet.

    Sit on your mat with your legs stretched straight out in front of you.

    Press the base of your big toes into each other.

    Point your toes and roll them into each other. Don’t let your ankle bones touch but make sure they’re spiraling in toward each other.

    Keep your legs active by lifting your kneecaps and spiraling your thighs in toward each other. Don’t squeeze the thighs together.

    Lean back so your sacrum is on the ground.

    Place your hands behind you on the floor with your fingers pointing toward you.

    Your shoulders and elbows are reaching back. Bring the shoulder blades together.

    Inhale and lift the chest, bringing your hips up and forward.

    Lift through the pelvis and bring your body up into a straight line.

    Engage your core muscles and continue to press into your palms and feet to lift your hips higher. You should now be in a reverse plank position with your body in a straight line from head to heels.

    Hold the pose for 5 breaths, then slowly lower your hips back to the ground and release.

    purvottanasana is a great way to build strength and flexibility while also calming the mind. Be sure to practice this pose safely and with proper guidance from a qualified yoga instructor. With regular practice, you will soon be enjoying all the benefits that purvottanasana has to offer!

    Watch this tutorial with Kino for more detail about how to do the pose.

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  • 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: Eka Pada Sirsasana (Leg Behind the Head Pose)

    This pose isn’t so much about putting your foot behind your head as it is about opening up your hips. Opening your hips helps you release physical and emotional tension.

    Eka Pada Sirsasana also strengthens your neck, allowing energy to surge into your body and give you clarity of thought.

    If you don’t have a comfortable lotus position, don’t try this position. This posture isn’t for everyone. You need to put in the foundational work to be able to get into Eka Pada Sirasana, but if you really try this with patients you will eventually see the results you’re looking for. It might take you 20 years but if you’re willing to put in the work you will get there. Keep the faith and keep practicing along the way.

    Make sure you warm up before you try this.

    Start by sitting on your mat with your legs straight out in front of you. Bend the right knee and let it fall open. This is the first step to getting your leg behind her head.

    Think of your knee is a signpost telling you what your hip is doing. It needs to be in external rotation so you need to make sure your knee is falling open completely and pointing out to the side.

    The second most important thing is the position of the pelvis. Suck your belly in and pivot to the back of your sitting bones. You need a little bit of roundness in your back but not too much. If you’re crunching down, you risk damaging the vertebrae in your back.

    As you attempt this posture you need to make sure you respect your leg and hip joint. Yoga is a conversation between your conscious mind and your body.

    Now place your ankle on top of your left thigh so your hip can fall open. This is almost like a seated version of a pigeon puts. Activate your lower abs and now hold onto your foot with your left hand and your knee with your right hand and bring your leg up toward your chest. If your shinbone cannot come up in touch your chest, you’ll know that you’re not ready to try to put your leg behind your head.

    Stay here for a little while and cradle your shinbone against her chest.

    Now move your foot up a little bit. Make sure you relax your hips. Hold on to your foot and knee and then slide down to the hip crease. Bring the instep of your foot to your forehead. You may just stay here or if you feel like you can you are ready to progress to putting the foot behind the head.

    Inhale and move your knee to the side. Roll your right shoulder down to slide it underneath your leg. Now place the sole of your foot near your ear. Drop your head down–not your chest just your head.

    Reach behind your back with your left hand and grab the foot. Now wiggle up so you can move your shoulder forward in front of your leg, so your right elbow touches the thigh.

    If there’s pain in the knee then back off. Keep pulling with the left hand on your foot. Once you are in the position look up and your head will hold your leg in place and bring your hands to prayer position.

    Watch this video with Kino for more detail about how to do Eka Pada Sirsasana or Leg Behind the Head Pose.

    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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  • 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: 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!