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Monday
May012017

May Pose of the Month - The Wheel

URDHVA DHANURASANA AKA CHAKRASANA 
(
OORD-vah don-your-AHS-anna)
Urdhva - upward    Dhanura - bow

 

The Wheel, as it is commonly called, is one of the most beautiful and elegant yoga poses. A perfect balance of flexibility, strength and courage is required. It can produce exhilarating feelings. It is recommended by senior yoga teachers that this pose is practiced regularly, “ with love and persistence”


FOCUS & INTENTION:
Back strength and flexibility, chest expansion.


“In normal life the spine degenerates with age. The body becomes shorter and lacks vitality. Bending backward counteracts this process. The spine remains long and pliable and the inner organs open and stretch. The brain is energized through being inverted. The mind remains alert and cheerful.”

 ~ Yoga The Iyengar Way

 1990 Edition p. 139

 

BENEFITS: The Wheel “ strengthens the erectors, the hamstrings, and the quadriceps, as well as those muscles in the hips and buttocks, such as the gluteals and the external rotators. This pose stretches the abdomen and chest muscles; increases the flexibility of the upper back, shoulders, and wrists; and counters the effects of sitting for long periods of time. In addition, it can strengthen the bones in the back and help the spine retain its youthful freedom of movement. Research indicates backbends stimulate the bones of the back to retain their calcium, thus helping to prevent osteoporosis in these bones.”

~ 30 Essential Yoga Poses For  Beginning Students And Their Teachers
by Judith Lasater, 2003 Edition p. 115
 

 

PRECAUTIONS:

  • “ Wheel pose can be considered an inverted pose because your head position is below your heart. If you have high blood pressure you may want to limit your time in this pose and work into it slowly and gradually.

  • Limit your time in the beginning if you feel discomfort in your wrists and shoulder joints.

  • Do not perform the pose if you have recently had heart, shoulder, or back surgery.

  • If you feel discomfort in your lower back, do not lift as high up in the pose, and remember to keep your toes pointing forward, or turned slightly toward each other. “

~ Yoga at Your Wall
by Stephanie Pappas, 2009 Edition, pp. 107 - 108

 

FURTHER PRECAUTIONS: “ Avoid this pose and its variations during menstruation, and during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy. If you have repetitive strain injury (RSI) in one or both wrists, then do not practice this pose or its variations.”

~ 30 Essential Yoga Poses For Beginning Students and Their Teachers
by Judith Lasater p. 115

 

 

Friday
Mar312017

April Pose of the Month - Eagle Pose

GARUDASANA
(gah-roo-DAH-sah-nah)
Garuda - king of birds

 

FOCUS & INTENTION: Leg strength and flexibility, balance, bringing energy toward the midline of the body

 

The Eagle articulates all the major joints of the body. Although challenging, the posture’s many benefits justify the discipline required to master it. Start by simply working with the arm position which braids the forearms like two strands of rope. If you cannot bring the palms together, grasp the wrist or thumb of the upper hand. Interlacing the fingers and wriggling the hands back and forth is one way to gradually join the palms. Circling the elbows with the arms in Eagle position offers a great arm or shoulder stretch. Work with the legs in a similar fashion. At first, simply cross the legs at the knees and don’t worry about wrapping the lifted leg around the calf of the standing leg. Explore wrapping the legs together when sitting in a chair at home or work. Gradually work to hook the big toe just above the ankle and just under the calf muscle.


~ Kripalu Yoga: A Guide to Practice On and Off the Mat
by Richard Faulds and Senior Teachers of Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health

 

BENEFITS:

  • Promotes shoulder, arm and upper back flexibility

  • Strengthens the muscles of your inner thighs, quadriceps and chest

  • Stretches the ankles


PRECAUTIONS: Don't force your ankles, arms or wrists into the wrapped position.

Wednesday
Mar012017

March Pose of the Month: King Dancers Pose


 
NATARAJASANA
(not-ah-raj-AHS-anna)
Nata - actor, dancer, mime Raja - king

 

FOCUS & INTENTION: Balance, back flexibility, leg strength and flexibility

 

“The Dancer requires that you learn to maintain a dynamic balance, pressing the foot strongly back into the hand while extending through the fingertips. It is a good example of an asymmetrical posture that is practiced on both sides to restore balance between the right and left sides of the body... Provided you keep the shoulders, chest and hips square to the front, the Dancer provides a deep stretch to the shoulders, chest and abdomen.”

~ Kripalu Yoga: A Guide to Practice On and Off the Mat
by Richard Faulds and Senior Teachers of Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health

 

BENEFITS:

  • Promotes leg, shoulder and back flexibility

  • Increases chest and lung expansion

  • Stretches the quadriceps muscles of the legs

  • Strengthens the hamstrings and gluteus muscles


PRECAUTIONS: Keep your knees and toes in alignment to prevent knee strain.

Tuesday
Jan312017

February Pose of the Month: Legs Up The Wall Pose

Viparita – inverted  Karani – action
(vip-par-ee-tah car-AHN-ee)

This gentle restorative pose is perfect at the end of a long day or after a run. Its a relaxing inversion that speeds recovery by draining fluids from the legs, stretching the hamstrings, and relieving tired legs and feet. Using a bolster/cushion under your hips can make this pose even more restful. If you’re stiffer, the support should be lower and placed farther from the wall; if you’re more flexible, use a higher support that is closer to the wall.

Tip: 
Sitting sideways against the wall will make it easier to lay back and bring your legs up. If you are stiffer, you can be further away, with the just heels resting on the wall. 

More Benefits:

  • Alleviates nervous exhaustion
  • Regulates blood pressure
  • Helps stress-related headaches and migraines
  • Brings relief to palpitations, breathlessness and asthma
  • Alleviates arthritis pain
  • Relieves indigestion, diarrhea, and nausea
  • Prevents varicose veins
Monday
Nov072016

November Pose of the Month: Warrior III

This is the third and most difficult warrior pose. It combines strength and dynamism with firm balance.

Benefits

  • Promotes leg and back strength
  • Builds Stability and balance
  • Strengthens the hamstrings  and gluten muscles.
  • Encourages determination and confidence.

 

Precautions

* Keep your knees and  toes in alignment to prevent  knee  strain; especially in the standing leg.

* Slightly  bend the  knee  of the  standing  leg if you feel  discomfort  or you have  the tendency to  hyperextend  your knee  joints.

* Your best prop  is a  wall. Move slowly and  consciously when attempting to press your  foot  into the wall.
SOURCE: "Yoga at your  wall", Stephanie Pappas.

 

Reflection

Executing the techniques correctly is only  the  start of  Yoga. Gradually  the mind must also  become involved  and it is  necessary to  develop  concentration and willpower. Concentration involves focusing the mind on the postures,paying attention to detail, and maintaining balance. Willpower overcomes flagging  concentration and strength, and recharges  the postures with energy. In  this  way, mind and body work  together. 

SOURCE : B.K.S. Iyengar " Yoga,The Iyengar Way."


About the Sanskrit Name

VIRABHADRASANA  III 
(veer-ah-bah-DRAHS-anna)

Vira - bravery, courage

Bhadra - blessed, auspicious

Asana - posture, pose