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Archive for the ‘yoga practice’ Category

pose of the week…child – pindasana…

child’s pose – pindasana

Pindasana is a very good posture to do after a forward bend such as Duttanasana or Dog. It can also feel very good for your back after doing a back bend.

Benefits: Lengthens the spine and promotes relaxation in the body. Increases flexibility in the hips. Gives more space to the top of the ankles.

Contraindications: If you have knee problems, go into this posture very slowly and discontinue if you experience any discomfort. You could try placing  a cushion between the pelvis and the feet to lessen pressure on the knee joint. This might also be useful to do if you have varicose veins.

If it’s sore at the front of the ankles, place a rolled up blanket or towel underneath them.

Practice: Come into a kneeling position and gently fold the upper body forwards over the knees. You can either rest the forehead – on your folded forearms – a cushion or two – or on the floor  – if it feels comfortable.

The arms can rest infront of you or be placed alongside the body…

Give into gravity… Relax…Feel the back widening each time you breathe in. When you breathe out – the spine lengthens.

Rest in this posture as long as it feels good to be in…

When you feel ready to come out – walk your hands towards your knees to bring the upper body up and then lengthen the back of each leg out – toes on the ground, with the heel lengthening away.

pose of the week – sitting with wide legs – upavistha konasana…

wide leg sitting – upavistha konasana

Benefits:  Can strengthen the muscles around the knees and help this area from feeling so vulnerable. Also strengthens the abdominal muscles and can improve flexibility in the hips and hamstrings.

Contraindication: This is generally a very safe posture to practice, but if it feels a strain keeping the upper body upright,  place a cushion just underneath your tailbone. This will give you some extra support and make the posture feel much more pleasant to do.

As with all poses of the week – if it doesn’t feel good to be in – don’t do it for now (until you have the advice of an experienced yoga teacher…)

Practice:  Sit on the floor with your legs comfortably wide. Placing hands wherever they feel relaxed – resting on the belly, or on the thighs…

Allow your hips and legs to be heavy and feel the sitting bones very much in contact with the ground…

Have an awareness of your spine being long and gently lengthening upwards.

Breathe easily and freely…

Stay in this posture as long as you feel happy being here…

pose of the week… cobra – bhujangasana…

cobra – bhujangasana

BENEFITS:  Strengthens the back muscles. May be beneficial for sciatica. Can be good for rounded shoulders as it encourages opening in front of the collarbones. Increases flexibility in the whole of the spine.  Is said to sometimes help stomach aches…

CONTRAINDICATIONS: Obviously pregnancy puts some restraints on practicing this posture!  Mother’s to be who normally practice this posture will find up until 12 weeks comfortable to do – but listen to your body – and don’t do it if it feels like an effort. We are all unique and different, so only practice if it feels good to do…

PRACTICE: Lie prone with the hands either side of the chest to begin with. The more comfortable the posture becomes – the further down the body your hands can go when preparing for the pose. Keep your eyes looking towards the ground. (You can shut them if you want to…)

Take a journey around your body and see if there is anything still holding. If there is then imagine you are breathing into it. Visualise the area softening and releasing.

Relax and breathe freely and easily…

Notice your hands and the contact they have with the ground…

Feel your spine moving as you breathe…

When you are ready, next time you breathe out engage your thigh muscles. Allow the legs to become heavier and lengthen the tailbone away.

As the upper body becomes lighter, ground the hands and allow  your arms to push you up.

Keep the elbows a little bent – so the arms don’t lock and become stiff . Keeping the arms bent will have the added benefit of helping them to strengthen.

Be aware of keeping the front of the chest and shoulders, wide and free.

Keep length at the back of your neck by allowing the chin be lower (rather than higher).

Enjoy your long spine, strong, (but not locked) arms and broad open shoulders. Breathe and stay for as long as it feels good to do…

Come down gently and then rest in child for a few breaths…

pose of the week… savasana – corpse pose…

Savasana with knees bent…

BENEFITS: Lengthens the spine. Relaxes the body, mind and spirit. Beneficial for the many systems of the body – especially the immune system. Relieves stress.

CONTRAINDICATIONS: This is one of the safest yoga postures you can do, but as with all postures of the week, only practice if it feels comfortable… Often late in pregnancy lying on your back can make you breathless. This is because the heaviness of the uterus can compress a large blood vessal  (the vena cava) when supine. This will lessen the blood flow to the heart which will cause a drop in blood pressure and decrease the amount of blood getting to your baby.

You will feel the discomfort almost immediately if  it isn’t going to be a good posture for you or your baby.

PRACTICE: Savasana can be done at any time – but is often practiced briefly at the beginning of some yoga classes and usually always at the end of a session for between 5 – 10 minutes.

Lie on your back and gently hug your knees towards you.

Have an awareness of your breathing and then gently let your knees fall away from you as you breathe out. Place the feet on the ground about shoulder width apart.

If you are doing savasana at the end of a class you might like to straighten your legs…

Give the weight of your body to the ground and breathe…

Let every part of you be heavy and weighted…

Really trust that the ground is there – so you can fully be supported by it and let go. The body can then widen and broaden – especially on the in breath…

Allow the joints to be quiet…and a softness to flow over you – an easiness, a release, a relaxation….

Breathe… and have an awareness of the spine gently lengthening each time you breathe out.

When you are ready to finish, slowly wake the body up and roll over onto your side. Stay here for at least half a minute, to allow your body to adjust before coming upright.

When you are ready to sit up – use your hands to help you get up. This will protect your abdominal muscles and keep your spine nice and long.

 

pose of the week – tadasana – mountain pose…

tadasana…

Tadasana is one of the basic standing postures in yoga.

BENEFITS: Good for lengthening and realigning the spine.  May ease backache. Can improve leg and abdominal tone.

CONTRAINDICATIONS: Tadasana seems to be one of the safest postures to do – but as with all the poses of the week – only practice if you feel well and if the position feels comfortable for you to do.

PRACTICE: Stand with your heels directly underneath your sitting bones – a little narrower than your hips. Have the outside edges of your feet comfortably parallel. Take a moment to breath and then allow the lower half of your body to become heavier, so that the feet can really imprint themselves in the ground. In contrast to the earthing of the pelvis, feet and legs, the upper half of the body becomes lighter and is very much attracted upwards. Breathe easily and freely and enjoy the feeling of length and solidity…

pose of the week… angry cat – bidalasana…

BENEFITS: Increases flexibility of the spine. Tones and strengthens the abdominal and back muscles.

CONTRAINDICATIONS: If you have weak wrists or carpal tunnel syndrome, you might like to rest your forearms on some cushions or a low chair.  As with all poses of the week – if something doesn’t feel comfortable – don’t do it.

PRACTICE: Be on all fours making sure that the knees are directly underneath the hips and the hands are underneath the shoulders…. Spread the fingers wide with the thumbs reaching in towards each other. Take a moment to bring awareness to your breathing… The next time you breathe out imagine you are bringing your navel towards your spine and arch up. Then when you breathe in allow the belly to drop creating a downward arch. Be aware of keeping space at the back of the neck and not lifting the head too high.

Carry on arching up on the out breath and arching down on the in breath as long as it feels good for you to do…Finish on an upward arch breathing out….

Come to kneeling and rotate the wrists both ways. Then relax in Child’s posture for a few breaths…

pose of the week… little bridge – setu bandhasana

BENEFITS:  Lengthens the spine – especially in the lower back. Can help ease lower back ache.  Helps to open the front of the shoulders. Tones the abdominal muscles. Very relaxing and can relieve stress.

CONTRAINDICATIONS: Most mother’s to be will find lying on the back, uncomfortable to do towards the end of pregnancy – anytime from 30 – 40 weeks. You will know when it isn’t beneficial for you and your baby, as you will feel very breathless and ‘have’ to roll over onto your side. As with all poses of the week, only practice if it feels good to do…

PRACTICE: Lying on your back, gently hug the knees towards you. This will give you a nice long spine.

Take a moment to breathe…

When you feel ready – the next time you breathe out,  place your feet on the ground about hip width apart, fairly close to your pelvis. Take a moment to establish the feeling of your feet on the ground…

On an exhalation emphasize your footprints – This will lighten the pelvis and bring the back of your waist to the floor.

When you breathe in – relax everything.

The next time you breathe out, push your feet into the ground a little more so that your pelvis begins to rise up with some of the lower spine. When you breathe in, come down vertebra, by vertebra until the pelvis is back down on the floor again and relax completely.

Carry on with these movements of pushing the feet into the ground as you breathe out and releasing everything as you breathe in.

To get even more space in the lower spine visualize the tailbone being pulled away as your pelvis rises up. Keep this image of the tailbone being pulled away as the hips come down as well.

Only go as high with the pelvis as feels comfortable and stop when you have had enough…

When you are finished, gently hug your knees towards you and take a gentle rock from side to side. Take a moment to breathe…