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Yoga Preparation

Yoga Asana Series

Standing Warmups

These are some of the standing warm-ups that help to prepare the muscles for exercise. They can be done as a prelude to yoga or any physical activity as they help to release tightness form the body, warm the muscles helping to maintain flexibility and function of the body. As such, they can be done every day for general well-being and maintaining a clear mind. They are also good for those with respiratory problems.

Remember; no stretch should be uncomfortable. If you experience discomfort, please get help.

Foot flexion: Combines an exercise in balance and maintaining ankle mobility.

From Tadasana, extend one foot forward and consciously try to: stretch the ball of

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Dandasana

Yoga Asana Series

Seated Staff Pose

BKS Iyengar in Dandasana

Like all poses, Dandasana has a foundation; that is the sitting bones on the floor (or cushion) the legs extended and ideally having the inner ankle bones together, the back lifts up and the pelvis will tilt forward so the spine will balance vertically.

One of the purposes of this pose is to provide an anatomical perspective while lengthening through the back for the legs and extending upwards through the spine. To achieve this the front leg muscles and abdominal muscles are also exercised.

How to:

Sit on the floor with legs together and extended in front of you as with your feet flat as if against a

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Yoga Essentials

Cautions – Health and Safety in Yoga

As with any exercise, one must be physically capable of performing it without risk of injury. This means that if you have any physical problem, you should seek medical advise before commencing any yoga exercise.

Some exercises may cause a little discomfort if you overstretch. A good way to avoid over stretching is to have a scale on 1 to 10 where 1 is no feeling and 10 is pain. So in practice stretch in the 3 – 7 range on your comfort scale.

Any pain experienced doing yoga is an indication you are doing the pose incorrectly or that you have some ailment. You must ease back from the pose and get

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Surya Namaskar

Yoga Asana Series

Classical exercise routine

Surya Namaskar or sun salutations are an ideal everyday warm up or stand alone workout; the classic series of exercises can be done in a few minutes to get your energy flowing, or can be repeated as a comprehensive workout. These Youtube videos are examples that you can follow with allowance for your level of health and fitness.

If you think about it, if the heat and light from our son were extinguished, life on earth as we know it would terminate within about 18 hours. Our ancestors regarded the sun is the source and sustainer of life, and as such it was a deserving of appreciation and veneration. So the first

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Ustrasana

Yoga Asana Series

Camel pose or extending backwards

Ustrasana is a beginner level back extension which is not to be confused with simply bending backwards as the name often implies. The whole idea is to extend and lengthen one’s spine upwards so that it can freely flex without creating any compression or discomfort in the spine.

The ease of performing this asana comes with the softening or lengthening of one’s front thigh muscles. As you go into the posture, avoid pushing the pelvis forwards. Before attempting this exercise, please read the page on bending backwards.

Instruction

Place the feet and knees hip width apart with toes under as in the right image Place the hands

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Utkatasana

Yoga Asana Series

Not for feint hearts

Caution, anyone who has heart problems risks over-straining the heart in this pose and should avoid it.

This asana is often referred to as the chair pose because it resembles the action of sitting. However utkatasana as well as working the legs, also works all the internal structures of the torso and pushes the heart to work more strongly. There are several levels to this exercise, the first is with the feet apart and parallel to each other, the knees bend and the hips drop back but unlike many descriptions, the idea is to hold the arms and torso as upright as possible.

As one sinks into the pose, one’s weight will

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Partner Yoga

Moving from Doing together to Being together

Partner yoga has been termed AcroYoga. There are many aspects and methodologies of which the most common is supporting and being supported in the performance of yoga asana. Yet it can also involve meditation and non-contact activities. But all aspects of acroyoga involve body to body and mind to mind communication at a subtle level beyond everyday consciousness.

By practising asana together as for instance in this right image, one develops trust and confidence in one’s partner which in turn fosters a better relationship. Where partners are of similar stature and flexibility, the practice is generally more balanced but when one is more supple, more stronger or of a different stature, some of

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Yoga and Health

Yoga Asana Series

The technology of being human

The word Yoga means ‘the perfected state of universal oneness or spiritual completion’ but it’s also used to describe the activities, the exercises leading to that state.

Beginning with the physical, the first aspect of yoga is asana comprising all the physical exercises. These exercises condition the body creating freedom of movement, improved muscle tone and overall balance within one’s physical structure.

Yoga asana are designed to exercise every muscle in the body so that the muscles are contracted, twisted, squeezed and relaxed to push out toxins and then the muscles are relaxed. By twisting the torso, the internal organs are also gently affected so that the circulation of energy and

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Virabhadrasana 1

Yoga Asana Series

Developing structural foundation

Virabhadra 1 is the first of a set of three of asana’s referred to as warrior poses. These foundational poses help to develop strength, tenacity, balance, alignment and balance core energy.

In simple terms this pose is a powerful lunge which strengthens the shoulders, arms, thighs, ankles and the muscles of the back; expands the chest, lungs and shoulders; tones the hip flexors, abdomen, and ankles; develops stamina and endurance in thighs and core muscles; stimulates abdominal organs and digestion; improves balance and concentration.

This image right is a good representation of the pose performed by a novice and in practise, it is regarded as an intermediate asana and not performed until one

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Asana and Movement

Yoga Asana Series

Activating connections for safety and dynamic freedom of movement

t.krishnamacharya in Tadasana

The earth is the basis of our body and therefore all our movements must begin in relationship with the earth. We can begin to understand this connection through our feet when standing in tadasana.

In this pose, when we stand tall and open, the toes are soft and sensing. The sensations felt in the toes communicate with the brain as to the nature of the bodies balance and position in space. The weight balance in general is that about 80% will be on the heel and the other 20% will extend into the ball the foot while the

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