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Posts tagged ‘kind yoga’

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 – 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…

pose of the week – sphinx

sphinx

pose of the week… warrior – virabhadrasana I

Virabhadrasana I

BENEFITS: Improves body strength – especially in the thighs and shoulders. Increases  hip flexibility and can help one to feel more confidant!

CONTRAINDICATIONS: Practice very gently if you have any knee conditions. Don’t hold the posture for too long if you have very high, or very low blood pressure.  As with all poses of the week – if something doesn’t feel comfortable – don’t do it.

PRACTICE: Stand sideways on your mat or be on a non slip surface. Take a large step to your right…

Check that the outside edges of your feet are parallel to each other. Bend one knee and then the other a few times…

Come to still and be tall and grounded. Take a moment to breathe…

Notice how open and in which direction your pelvis and shoulders are facing – You want to keep them like this throughout the posture….

Turn your left toes 90 degrees out to the side and bend your left knee (make sure the knee is going in the direction of your toes)

Raise your arms in line with your shoulders and look past your left fingertips. Be grounded, tall and brave… Breathe…

Stay for a minute or two or as long as it feels comfortable and good to be doing…

pose of the week… dog – adho mukha svanasana…

dog pose - adho mukha svanasana

BENEFITS: Lengthens hamstrings and increases strength in the wrists, shoulders and arms. This posture is great for the circulation and can give you extra energy.

CONTRAINDICATIONS: If you have high or low blood pressure, only stay in the posture for a short while – say one breath to start with. Any back condition, keep the knees a little bent to soften the pose. As with all postures of the week, only practice if it feels comfortable and good to do…

PRACTICE: Begin on all fours… spread the fingers and thumbs wide. Then find a relaxation in the hands and just let them be heavy on the ground.

Tuck the toes under and breathe in to prepare…

As you breathe out, bring the pelvis up into the air.

Relax the head and keep the knees bent to begin with.

Notice how your body feels and then begin to move in. Whatever feel good for your body to do. Bending and straightening the legs if that feels okay… Bending each elbow (dogs have four legs!), Maybe coming right onto the toes. Moving the pelvis from side to side…Have a little play…

At some point you could find some stillness in dog. Imagine a string attached to the back of the pelvis gently pulling you upwards…

Breathe and feel the body long, strong and lengthening…

Enjoy the strength and lightness of your body.

When you feel you’ve had enough, rest in child (kneeling with the upper body folded over the knees) and breathe…

* The above photo is of me doing a rather ‘short’ dog. To make the posture longer, simple walk the hands a little further away from the feet.