muck_a_luck: (Yoga Jaya Mudra Sunset)
[personal profile] muck_a_luck
So, suddenly, this morning I seem to be able to do Bakasana. I did three repetitions, and it didn't feel like it has felt before, when it was like a precarious balance. It felt strong and secure, like I knew what I was doing (finally).

So what the heck happened?

Here are a couple of my thoughts about that.

I have been wallowing in Sadie Nardini routines for the last couple of weeks. This means that I have been doing her core sun salutations. I think that core plank (7) and the Down Dog/Plank waves (5) have made a huge difference in my abdominal strength. That allowed me to really lift my lower body up from the core to balance on my arms in a way that I just could not before. If you are trying to achieve Bakasana, I highly recommend that before you step your foot forward between your hands for any standing posture, you throw in three strong repetitions of core plank on that leg. Not only will it help develop the muscles you need for Bakasana, but it will also help you step your foot through more cleanly (if that is also a problem for you, which it certainly has been for me for years).

Also, the way Sadie presents Bakasana made me realize that I have been trying to balance on the wrong part of my arm. To get into Bakasana the right way, I really needed to dig deep in Malasana, so that my knees were pressing very high into the bicep, just below the shoulder, rather than trying to get a balance point around the elbow area.

Yoga Journal recently put out a Daily Insight related to Bakasana that emphasized that one of the biggest mistakes people make when they are failing at this pose is that they distribute their weight too high. Getting that core strength to be able to achieve the necessary lift to, counter-intuitively, stay low I think was really critical to me starting to get this posture.

Anyway. My thoughts on the changes that have happened for me to get to this posture, in case they make sense to anybody else.
muck_a_luck: (Yoga Camel)
[personal profile] muck_a_luck
The last week or so, I have returned to invest some time with Sadie Nardini: Core Strength Vinyasa Yoga Power Hour: Whole Body + Abs.

She has a great move for working on core development from a standing pose. She calls it Waterfall Warrior. See her instruct it at this link. Go to minute 8:19.

I really like the looks of her YouTube channel, which I have never explored.
purpletopaz: (Default)
[personal profile] purpletopaz
Hi fellow yogis,

I come to you all with a question. I have a medal plate in my head replacing a part of my skull from a brain surgery i had years ago. I'm not allowed to put any weight on my head. No headstands, no wheel pose, nothing like that. Nothing where there is any pressure on the crown of my head at all. I am cleared to practice inversions so long as they are forward facing (i.e. downward facing dog), but not backward where i could slip and fall onto my crown (i.e. fish). My instructors aren't so great yet at remembering to give me an alternate pose that acomplishes the same opening or release as some of the poses I can't do.

So, I come to you all for suggestions. For example, much of the time I do bridge instead of wheel, but that is starting to get boring as I'm also using it for fish. I'm clueless what to use in place of headstands. So any ideas would be greatly appreciated. Right now I'm going either into downward dog or child's pose which are both far from my ideal. I know I'm forgetting other poses I can't do. So, if specifics come to mind, please volunteer them. I haven't been doing yoga all that long - about a year. So my pose name retrieval is still rusty.
muck_a_luck: Exercise without the bellydance part (Yoga Animated)
[personal profile] muck_a_luck
Check this out on YouTube:

Lunar Movement Meditation from Shiva Rea, Yoga Shakti.

A lovely way to open a more relaxed practice, to warm up for or cool down from an abs workout, or just to release strain in your back during a tiring day at the office.
muck_a_luck: (Sun Salutation)
[personal profile] muck_a_luck
Practice Ideas: Using Reps to Develop the Core: Rocking; Reaching Back in Camel; Alternating Side Plank; Dolphin Pushups

Crossposted at [dreamwidth.org profile] sun_salutation.

Disclaimer: I am not a yoga instructor. I don't know anything about exercise safety or fitness instruction. I'm not even an advanced practitioner of yoga. But I have come to love yoga and am completely self taught.

You know your own body best, so please respect your known health conditions and use the variations offered by instructors that are best for you. Remember to balance where you are now with where you could be in the future. There is no perfect pose.


Using Reps to Develop the Core

Yoga as an exercise regime is body weight resistance training. By developing the strength to move your own body through the postures, you gain lean muscle.

As a vinyasa yoga girl (oh, you didn't notice?), I like power yoga and vinyasa instructors who can bring a little cardio to my yoga practice.

Here are a couple of moves I like that are also good for core.

Rocking on your back

From Rodney Yee – Power Yoga Total Body, we get rocking on your back. Mr. Yee does this after backbending as part of the supine counterpose sequence.

Lie on your back. Bring your knees in to your chest. Cross your right ankle over the left and grip your feet, one in each hand. Relax into the earth. Then, after several breaths, begin rocking – a little back towards Plow Pose (Halasana), then a little forward toward Easy Pose (Sukhasana). Make the rocking bigger, until you are coming all the way up to sit, and rocking all the way back on your shoulders. Then slowly decrease the rocking, making it very small until you stop again. Switch sides, crossing the left ankle over the right. Grip the feet. Begin rocking again.

When you return to resting, release the feet and begin rocking with a longer lever, extending your legs straight, and rocking forward into a full Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana), then back into a full Plow Pose. Repeat several times, finally coming forward into your favorite seated posture.

Reaching Back in Camel

I just got Jillian Michaels – Yoga Meltdown this weekend, and I am now going to suggest a couple of her moves, starting with doing "reps" in Camel (Ustrasana).

Come to your knees, arms extended directly out in front of you like a zombie reaching for brains.* On an exhale, reach your right arm back for your right heel. Feet can be in the position you usually use for Camel. Inhale, come up with strong legs and engaged core, reaching your right arm forward again. On an exhale, reach your left arm back for your left heel. Inhale, come up with strong legs and engaged core, reaching your left arm forward again. Repeat five or so times, then reach both arms back and hold Camel for your usual three to five breaths.

Concentrate on engaging your quads, using their power to lift and lower your upper body. Keep your abdominals active, allowing your shoulders to fall back with ease, lifting your heart toward the sky.

Alternating Side Plank

From Plank, flow to Side Plank (Vasisthasana) on your left. Hold a beat. Return to Plank. Flow to Vasisthasana on your right. Hold a beat. Return to Plank. And so on. I suggest five to eight reps, then hold the left side. You can flow through a vinyasa and immediately return to the alternating Vasisthasana, this time holding the right side, or you can proceed through some standing postures to give your arms a rest and return to the right side later in your practice. Just be sure to get both sides.

Concentrate not falling in the middle. Keep your hips pressing toward the sky, engaging your core, and keeping good from, though you are in an almost constant flow.

Dolphin Pushups

Finally, come into Plank, then drop to your elbows for Dolphin Plank. Clasp your hands together for stability. Exhale, pushing back into Dolphin. (If you are familiar with Dolphin already, you will notice that by alternating from Dolphin Plank to Dolphin, you will not get the usual angle in Dolphin. Your feet will be too far back to get the full hamstring stretch usually achieved.). Inhale, drop back into Dolphin Plank. Exhale, push back into Dolphin. After five to eight repetitions, hold Dolphin for about five to eight breaths. I suggest at this point walking the feet in to achieve the hamstring and shoulder opening that is usual for Dolphin.

Remember to keep your abdominals engaged, as you pull back into Dolphin using the power in your belly, then return to Dolphin Plank with the back straight, quads and abs active, keeping the strength, length and integrity in the spine.

Namaste.

* Sorry. Feeling a little punchy after doing yoga with Jillian Michaels. It's not a bad workout, but it's not very zen…
muck_a_luck: (Sun Salutation)
[personal profile] muck_a_luck
Practice Ideas: More Inversions; Vinyasa on One Leg with Crescent Lunge, Standing Split and Side Plank

Disclaimer: I am not a yoga instructor. I don't know anything about exercise safety or fitness instruction. I'm not even an advanced practitioner of yoga. But I have come to love yoga and am completely self taught.

You know your own body best, so please respect your known health conditions and use the variations offered by instructors that are best for you. Remember to balance where you are now with where you could be in the future. There is no perfect pose.


More Inversions

For everybody who is working on Plow and Shoulderstand, I stumbled upon Shiva Rea's Inversions from Yoga Shakti on You Tube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QBffP8trBs8. Did I mention this before?

Vinyasa on One Leg with Crescent Lunge, Standing Split and Side Plank )

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