Techniques 4 Poses

My yoga practice started mainly in the confines of my home, watching videos on Alomoves and Yoga International. With the daily practice, my strength definitely improved significantly over the 2.5 months – but I still found some postures hard to perform without a yoga instructor’s corrections on technique. When circuit breaker lifted and I could go back to yoga studios, my instructor gave some advice on a few bad habits I had (and am still trying to get rid of).

Here are some of the tips I’m incorporating, sharing these in hope that it benefits you too 😊

  • Chaturanga:
    1. Start with ashtanga namaskar (knees chest chin) to build strength -> chaturanga with knees down -> full chaturanga, especially if you have weak arms like I do.
    2. Don’t dump your neck down! Slide the side of your neck back – you can look forward instead of down to help with this.
    3. Keep the weight balanced on all your fingers and palms – turn your palms such that the index finger points to the front of the mat and are parallel. This will help keep your elbows closer to your body.
  • Bakasana (crow pose):
    1. Sit in malasana (yogic squat) and reach your arms out in front of you. Bend your elbows like chaturanga arms, rest your knees on your triceps or if possible, higher up (at your armpits).
    2. Lift 1 leg up and then the other. Look forward to the front of your mat.
    3. Round your back and press the toes together.
  • Urdhva dhanurasana (wheel pose):
    1. Keep your feet parallel to each other and toes pointing to the back of the mat. If your toes point outward, you can experience back pain.
    2. Try to keep weight mainly on the legs (heels of feet pressing down into the mat) as your legs are much stronger than your arms.
    3. For a variation with heels lifted off: When you lift your heels up, look up at ceiling instead of looking behind you (through your arms). This will create more space. When you ground your heels, you can look back again.
  • Sirsasana (headstand):
    1. Traditionally, you interlock your fingers and place the crown of your head there (this is the flattest part of your head). Another way for a stronger hold is to interlock your fingers and press the palms together, place the crown of your head right behind it.
      Then lift your hips up and walk closer to your head.
    2. To lift, you can lift 1 knee up and a time and keep both knees close to your chest. When you can maintain balance here, you can slowly lift one knee at a time. Another way is to engage your hip flexors and lift 1 leg up (straightened). The other leg should follow and lift.
    3. To get alignment right, you can ask someone to help place their hand between your feet for you to squeeze tightly. This should help automatically align your hips over your shoulders.

Arm balances, backbends and inversions can’t be rushed, and we need time to learn the foundations so we don’t hurt ourselves in the process. So embrace the journey of getting there, all while getting to know ourselves a little bit better. Regardless of whether the pose was performed, be proud of how you have shown up on your mat today and for your progress, no matter how small it seems. Namaste!