Posts filed under ‘Posture Tip of the Month’

June 2009 Posture Video: Dancer’s Pose

June’s posture of the month is Dancer’s Pose, also known as Natarajasana or Lord of the Dance Pose (hello Michael Flatley!)

(not-ah-raj-AHS-anna)

*Benefits of this Posture Include:

  • Stretches the shoulders and chest
  • Stretches the thighs, groins, and abdomen
  • Strengthens the legs and ankles
  • Improves balance
  • **Makes you feel really freaking cool/awesome
  •  

    *Benefits courtesy of Lord of the Dance Pose on Yoga Journal
    **Benefit courtesty of me

    I was SO excited when I discovered June’s posture of the month is Dancer’s Pose. This is truly one of my most favourite poses, and probably one of the most recognized yoga poses out there. A Google images search for “yoga” brings up several images of Dancer’s Pose.

    The amazing thing about Dancer’s (as it is often referred to in class) is just how much is going on at the same time. It really requires focus, concentration, stability, core strength and of course, balance as you are ultimately doing a back-bend, kick-back and forward extension all while balancing on one leg (easy, no?!). Not to mention the fact that you feel like a beautiful and powerful Dancer (hence, the awesome-ness of it).

    A defining moment for me in this pose came when I really listened to what the teacher was saying to “lift up” in this pose. To keep your eyes up and to elongate your body before beginning the pose really helped me be able to take this my body further into this pose and really begin to develop the beautiful shape that is recognized in this posture.

    Beginners might want to practice near a wall to help with balance, or use a strap around your raised ankle to help get deeper into the pose and your own bliss.

    Another amazing thing about this pose (and many poses in Yoga for that matter) is that they are continually evolving. Eventually with Dancer’s Pose (or so I am told) you should eventually be doing the splits in the air. I can’t wait to get to that level! I’ll keep you posted on my progress…

    In the meantime, I’ll continue to focus and remember to relax, smile and to continue pushing and challenging my body in Dancer’s Pose to get the amazing benefits from this posture.

    What are your favourite poses? What poses make you feel really freaking cool?

    Video courtesy of Moksha Yoga

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    December 31, 2009 at 6:02 pm 1 comment

    May 2009 Posture Video: Spinal Twist

    May’s posture of the month is half spinal twist, also known as Ardha Matsyendrasana (ARE-dah MOT-see-en-DRAHS-anna)

    I believe this posture is also called Half Lord of the Fishes Pose, although I am not familiar with that name myself.

    *Benefits of this posture include:

    • Stimulates the liver and kidneys
    • Stretches the shoulders, hips, and neck
    • Energizes the spine
    • Stimulates the digestive fire  in the belly
    • Relieves menstrual discomfort, fatigue, sciatica, and backache
    • Therapeutic for asthma and infertility

    *Benefits courtesy of Half Lord of the Fishes Pose on Yoga Journal

    Spinal twist is a pose I always look forward to near the end of class. By this time I am nice and warmed up and sweaty, and being able to twist so deeply is a really nice and relaxing feeling. I really feel that this is a detoxifying type of pose and like to imagine “squeezing out” all of the bad things and toxins from my system.

    I personally bend my bottom leg in this pose (as shown in the video) however if you do not have this flexibility, it is best to have your bottom leg straight and extended.

    In the next year I hope to learn to “bind” my hands in this pose, which is basically to loop your arm through your top leg so that you can clasp your fingers together. I think it also looks kind of pretzel-like!

    What poses do you consider to be detoxifying? What poses do you look forward to in class?

    Video courtesy of Moksha Yoga

    December 31, 2009 at 6:00 pm Leave a comment

    April 2009 Posture Video: Powerful Pose

    April’s posture of the month is Powerful Pose, also known as Utkatasana or Chair Pose
    (OOT-kah-TAHS-anna)

    *Benefits of this posture include:

    • Strengthens the ankles, thighs, calves, and spine
    • Stretches shoulders and chest
    • Stimulates the abdominal organs, diaphragm, and heart
    • Reduces flat feet

    *Benefits courtesy of Chair Pose on Yoga Journal

    I think I still have yet to discover the benefits of powerful pose. I’m quite wobbly when I try to go up on my toes, and only recently have managed to actually bend my knees when in this pose.

    I have to remind myself though that you have to learn to walk before you can run, and Powerful Pose is one of those poses for me that helps me remember that. I can’t always rush things (especially not my body when it’s not ready to go there!) and it’s often valuable to take your time and build a foundation for future success (in life and on the mat).

    Taking things slowly, building foundations for the future and letting your body be where it’s at are some of the most important lessons I have gained from yoga.

    What is the most valuable lesson you have learned from yoga? What poses do you take slowly?

    Video courtesy of Moksha Yoga

    December 28, 2009 at 7:47 pm Leave a comment

    March 2009 Posture Video: Camel

    March’s posture of the month is Camel, also known as Ustrasana
    (oosh-TRAHS-anna)

    Interesting fact: ustra = camel

    *Benefits of this posture include:

  • Stretches the entire front of the body, the ankles, thighs and groins, abdomen and chest, and throat
  • Stretches the deep hip flexors (psoas)
  • Strengthens back muscles
  • Improves posture
  • Stimulates the organs of the abdomen and neck
  • *Benefits courtesy of Camel Pose on Yoga Journal

    Now, I personally love camel pose. It has never been a challenge for me to bend backwards and touch my toes (not in some freaky waiting at the photocopier in the office way, but definitely while on the yoga mat in class). I love giving in to this posture and allowing myself to feel open and free while getting a great stretch and opening my lungs, however I have also had my fair share of feeling dizzy, nautious and overwhelmed in this pose.

    While reading more about camel pose, I came to realize that this is one of the postures that can most often be dreaded by beginners. Literally bending backwards into the unknown, opening one’s heart when we generally are quite protective and guarded of our heart and our emotions can bring about a lot of fear and anxiety for new yogis. Camel is known for releasing strong emotions and can sometimes leave yogis angry or in tears.

    By taking a leap of faith (literally backwards), trusting your body and yourself, and opening yourself up to giving and receiving love, I hope that you will come to realize all of the amazing benefits of this pose and all that it has to offer. Just like life’s challenges, yoga poses that seem challenging or unattainable at first only make us stronger.

    Beginners are encouraged to curl your toes under and come to the balls of your feet to make your heels more accessible.

    One needs to be cautioned that this pose should be practiced later in your routine after most of the muscles are warmed up, limber and you have worked on the back and shoulders.

    Yoga Pose Tip: Singing always helps! Why not sing “Alice the camel has 4 humps” song when in this pose…in your head of course as not to disturb fellow yogi’s in practice!

    Video courtesy of Moksha Yoga

    Happy yoga-ing!

    November 12, 2009 at 12:01 pm Leave a comment

    February 2009 Posture Video: Warrior II

    February’s posture of the month is Warrior II, also known as Virabhadra
    (veer-ah-bah-DRAHS-anna)

    Yoga Journal has many great descriptions on their site of various postures and also written step-by-step directions on how to execute each pose for those of you that may want to print and read the instructions. Also great features of this site are further details about this pose such as what the anatomical focus should be (shoulders), contradictions and cautions, as well as beginners tips for tackling this pose.

    Benefits* of this posture include:

  • Strengthens and stretches the legs and ankles
  • Stretches the groins, chest and lungs, shoulders
  • Stimulates abdominal organs
  • Increases stamina
  • Relieves backaches, especially through second trimester of pregnancy
  • Therapeutic for carpal tunnel syndrome, flat feet, infertility, osteoporosis, and sciatica
  • *Benefits courtesy of Warrior II Pose on Yoga Journal

    When I first started yoga, I found this pose very challenging and always dreaded the point in class when we got to this pose. My thighs shook and my belly stuck out and my back foot stretched to stay on the mat while I strained and silently cursed my way through what seemed like eternity while holding this pose. Slowly over time (and with continued practice and determination!) I have come to realize the beauty in Warrior II and have learned to relax into it. I maybe even (gasp!) decided that I actually kind of love this pose.  

    It also helps if you can pretend that it’s your ex-boyfriend in front of you while you gear up to spear him with your laser-like gaze. Hey, whatever works for you, right?!

    Get your warrior on!

    Video courtesy of Moksha Yoga

    What do you love and loathe about Warrior II?

    November 11, 2009 at 4:32 pm Leave a comment


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