Ustrasana

English Name : Camel Pose
 
Step by Step Instructions :
 
1.
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Kneel on the floor with your knees hip width and thighs perpendicular to the floor. Rotate your thighs inward slightly, narrow your hip points, and firm but don’t harden your buttocks. Imagine that you’re drawing your sitting bones up, into your torso. Keep your outer hips as soft as possible. Press your shins and the tops of your feet firmly into floor.
 
2.
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Rest your hands on the back of your pelvis, bases of the palms on the tops of the buttocks, fingers pointing down. Use your hands to spread the back pelvis and lengthen it down through your tail bone. Then lightly firm the tail forward, toward the pubis. Make sure though that your front groins don’t “puff” forward. To prevent this, press your front thighs back, countering the forward action of your tail. Inhale and lift your heart by pressing the shoulder blades against your back ribs.
 
3.
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Now lean back against the firmness of the tail bone and shoulder blades. For the time being keep your head up, chin near the sternum and your hands on the back of your pelvis. Touching the hands to the feet simultaneously while keeping the thighs perpendicular to the floor. If you need to, tilt the thighs back a little from the perpendicular and minimally twist to one side to get one hand on the same-side foot. Then press your thighs back to perpendicular, turn your torso back to neutral, and touch the second hand to its same-side foot. *If you’re not able to touch your feet without compressing your lower back, turn your toes under and elevate your heels.*
 
4.
See that your lower front ribs aren’t protruding sharply toward the ceiling, which hardens the belly and compresses the lower back. Release the front ribs and lift the front of the pelvis up, toward the ribs. Then lift the lower back ribs away from the pelvis to keep the lower spine as long as possible. Press your palms firmly against your soles (or heels), with the bases of the palms on the heels and the fingers pointing toward the toes. Turn your arms outwardly so the elbow creases face forward, without squeezing the shoulder blades together. You can keep your neck in a relatively neutral position, neither flexed nor extended, or drop your head back. But be careful not to strain your neck and harden your throat.
 
5.
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Stay in this pose anywhere from 30 seconds to a minute. To exit, bring your hands onto the front of your pelvis, at the hip points. Inhale and lift the head and torso up by pushing the hip points down, toward the floor. If your head is back, lead with your heart to come up, not by jutting the chin toward the ceiling and leading with your brain.
 
** Variations
 
Video :

 
Muscles Activated :
–   Psoas, Abdominal, and deep cervical flexor muscles have to contract eccentrically.
–   Simultaneously, Middle and Lower Trapezius have to concentrically contract
 
Benefits :
–   Physical
o   Stretches your neck, chest, abdomen, thighs, hip flexors (psoas), groins, and ankles.
o   Strengthens your back muscles, gluteal muscles, and arm muscles (triceps).
o   Improves the blood circulation in your head and heart.
o   Helps thyroid related issues as the thyroid glands are activated when you stretch your neck and throat during backbend.
 
–   Mental
o   Rejuvenating to the mind
 
–   Spiritual
o   Stimulates the root (Muladhara), sacral (Svadhisthana), Solar Plexus (Manipura) and heart (Anahata) charkas.
 
Precaution & Contra-indications :
–   Knee pain
–   Have recently undergone a knee /any internal organ surgery
–   Lower back pain (mild or severe)
–   High or low blood pressure
–   Migraine
–   Insomnia
–   Pregnancy
 
Counter Pose :
–   Balasana, Child’s Pose
 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Lyndalou (200hr Yoga TTC, 07/14 Weekend)
 

Supta Padangustasana

English Name : Reclining Big Toe Pose
 
Step by Step Instructions :
1.
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Lie supine on the floor, legs extended.
 
2.
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Bend your right knee into your chest and place your right thumb and bunny fingers around the big toe.
 
3.
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Without disturbing your left leg, actively stretch and raise the right leg until it forms a 90-degree angle to the floor.

If you’re unable to straighten both legs, or if your right buttock lifts off the floor, *use strap to assist*.

As you press the front of your left thigh into the floor, turn it inward so that the inner thigh remains grounded, keeping the left leg extended. If the front of the left thigh pops up, pause and press it back down.

4.
Extend your right leg towards the ground, making sure that your right buttock is grounded. Move the right thighbone down to ground the right hip socket, do not drop your feet to the ground. Also keep your shoulder blades on the floor. Broaden across the chest and collar bones, let go of any tension in the face, neck and throat. Now bend your right elbow a bit and see whether you can bring your right foot closer to your head. Go slowly so that you don’t lose the extension of your left inner leg and the length in your right waist. The closer your right foot comes toward your head, the more you have to press your left thigh down and your right hip grounded into the floor. Let all of these actions determine how high to take the right leg, spread your awareness throughout all the aspects of the pose while stretching that leg.
 
5.
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Hold the pose for 5 breaths, then bring the leg back to vertical and slowly lower down towards the left leg.
 
6.
Repeat on the left.
** Variations
 
Video :
http://youtu.be/fG_bfylqraY
 
Muscles Activated :
–   Back muscles
–   Hamstrings
–   Hip Flexors (psoas)
 
Benefits :
–   Physical
o   Stretches hips, inner thighs, hamstrings and calves
o   Alleviates stiffness in lower back and some kinds of backache
o   Aligns pelvis
o   Relieves arthritis pain in hips, knees, sciatica and menstrual discomfort
o   Stimulates the prostate gland
o   Improves digestion
o   Therapeutic for high blood pressure, flat feet, and infertility
 
–   Mental
o   Calms the mind
o   Relieves stress
 
–   Spiritual
o   Stimulates the root (Muladhara), sacral (Svadhisthana) and Solar Plexus (Manipura) chakras.
 
Precaution & Contra-indications :
–   Hamstring tear
–   Menstruation
–   Pregnancy
–   Diarrhea
–   High blood pressure
–   If you have a tight thoracic spine: Put a folded blanket under your head
 
Counter Pose :
–   Supta Padangustasana
 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Lyndalou (200hr Yoga TTC, 07/14 Weekend)
 
 

Yoga Selfies

Yoga Selfies

Are Yoga selfies cultivating feelings of friendliness, calling for validations, tempting injuries or mocking ancient practice?

In posting a photo and inadvertently seeking friend’s and followers’ fanfare, it abolishes yoga’s original purpose.

One may question the true intention.

A competition for an extreme asana against a stunning backdrop?
To be a winner in the latest craze of anasas challenges?
Affirmation for the asanas we practice so hard to perfect?
Yogis who are simply displaying their love for asanas?

Where we should be exploring the depths of the Self, we are instead demanding attention to our outward form.
    
Are we are doing a disservice to yoga by putting these pictures out there. It’s showy and basically everything that the practice is not supposed to be about — “Look at me and these awesome poses I can do!”

While we can argue that these pictures can be used as teaching tools, for self improvement or simply an art form. Evidently, it’s hard not to be impressed by the complicated and sophisticated asanas.             

Debatable topic this is, I find myself sitting on the fence for this one. Personally, I get inspired by some of these pictures, at the same time, the narcissistic nature of selfies makes me wonder if the yoginis get much Santosha from it.    

Yoga selfies, yay or nay?

Lyndalou (200hr Yoga TTC, 07/14, weekend)

What got me started on Yoga?

A compulsive inclination to stretch out this rigid body of mine.

I am an adrenalin junkie, very much into extreme sports. While wakeboarding was my passion, whiplash, strained and tight muscles were the payoffs for the thrills I seek.

To fuel my passion, I was focused on training to be stronger, failing to see flexibility as an asset.

My first yoga lesson was 16 years ago, at this gym I was a member with. Ignorant to what Yoga is about or any of its philosophies, I picked a Yoga class because of the word “cardio”.

Yes, the idea was to “stretch” but how could I resist the chance to slip in a little “cardio” into my workout? Ashtanga it is!

Then the class was small and intimate, variations and adjustments a plenty. No fear of yogisweat flanking on you from close proximity.

I recall when I was holding some of the poses, in my mind, I was thinking, “the poses look simple enough, why am I shaking like a leaf?!”

That one hour left me enervated and boy… the ending pose couldn’t better describe how I felt — the “dead man pose”.

Little did I realise, I actually fell asleep, and no, there wasn’t any snoring, the teacher confirmed that. I walked out of the class with a smile on my face, feeling energised, yet calm and relaxed; almost euphoria like.

What I felt resonated with my body, mind and soul, I love it. That day opened the gateway to Yoga for me, since then, I never turned back.

Namaste 🙂

Lyndalou (200hr Yoga TTC, 07/14 weekend)