Letting Go

In my earlier days when practicing a yoga posture, I began to notice that I held my breath, particularly if I was doing something that I found mentally or physically challenging. Your yoga practice can reveal much to you about yourself and how you respond or react to every day things in life. I recall asking my yoga teacher at the time about that and she kindly shared, that if I focused on the exhale, the inhale would naturally follow. It took time for me to understand what a powerful metaphor, this reality is. Recently I was thinking about drinking…

Yoga and Emulating

I was teaching a yoga class recently, which included several students new to yoga asana (postures). As I introduced the next posture, I offered a modified pose more suitable for beginners. To my observation, everyone in the class moved into the more advanced pose. It made me question why? When offered two options, why did everyone chose the most advanced? I reflected on emulating. We learn so much about ourselves on the yoga mat. As people we spend much of our time copying what other people are doing, perhaps it’s a tool of survival, learning that is instinctual – a force…

Navasana – Boat Posture (Modified)

Pronounced NAH-VAHS-anna, nava means boat.  This is boat posture (modified). This posture is found in the seated sequence of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga (primary series). It is recommended to seek the guidance and supervision of a qualified yoga teacher when practicing yoga postures. Sitting on a yoga mat, pull the flesh away from under the sit bones.  Lift the pelvic floor up.  Lift in the lower back.  Lengthen the spine vertebrae by vertebra with the top of the head reaching towards the sky.  The shoulders are broad, with the shoulder blades reaching down the back towards the waist. Inhale, drawing the navel up…

Prasarita Padottanasana A – Feet Spread Out Intense Stretch Posture A

Pronounced pra-SAH-ree-tah pah-doh-tan-AHS-anna, meaning feet spread out intense stretch posture. This posture is found in the standing sequence of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga and is one of 4 in the Prasarita Padottansasana series, A-D. It is recommended to seek the guidance and supervision of a qualified yoga teacher when practicing yoga postures. Standing at the front of the yoga mat in Tadasana (Mountain Posture), inhale stepping the right foot towards the back of the mat.  This is a wide step with the outer edges of the feet parallel.  The feet are firmly rooted into the ground.  Do not lock the knees.  The arms…

modified side angle posture in yoga

Utthita Parsvakonasana – Extended Side Angle Posture (Modified)

Pronounced oo-TEE-tah parsh-vah-cone-AHS-anna, this is Extended Side Angle Posture. This posture is found in the early stages of the Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga standing sequence.  Here I will discuss a modified version of this posture which does not require props. It is recommended to seek the guidance and supervision of a qualified yoga teacher when practicing yoga postures. Begin by standing at the front of a yoga mat in mountain posture (tadasana).  The pelvic floor and bandhas are engaged – with the navel pulling inwards, towards the spine. On an inhale, take a wide step, stepping the right foot towards the back of the mat, with…

Utkatasana, fierce, powerful pose, yoga

Utkatasana – Fierce Posture

Pronounced OOT-Kah-Tahs-anna, Utkata means powerful or fierce. This posture is found in the standing sequence of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga. It is recommended to seek the guidance and supervision of a qualified yoga teacher when practicing yoga postures. Utkatasana is entered into with an inhale.  The feet are firmly rooted into the ground, with the toes, ankles and knees touching.  The sit bones (two bony points in the bottom) are reaching towards the ground (as if sitting on a low chair).  The pelvic floor and bandhas are engaged – with the navel pulling inwards, towards the spine. Whilst keeping this foundation,…

Asana Explored

Raja yoga is the science of the mind and its primary text, The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali provides that the goal of yoga is ‘chitta vritti nirodhah’.  Translated from Sanscript this means ‘restraint of the modifications of the mind stuff.’ Patanjali divides yoga practice into 8 stages or limbs, known as Ashtanga or eight –limbed yoga.  Each are of equal value, are necessary and should be maintained in yoga. The 3rd limb is called ‘asana’, which Patanjali defines as ‘comfortable and steady posture’.  This can be any posture, whether standing, sitting or lying down that one can maintain in comfort for…