Intermediate Group Class: Working with the Elbows

This class is carried on from the ideas in Practice Lab 1/27/09. The sequence is somewhat simpler, but the ideas are explained in more detail.

We carry a lot of emotion in the shoulders and, as a result, the muscles in the shoulders and neck become very reactive. It can be hard to work with the neck and shoulders directly. Consider the following ideas as you go through the following variations:


Balance the Elbow Joint

There are two general anatomical tendencies when it comes to the elbows:
• “O” arms, where the muscles in the chest, shoulders or arms are tight and the elbow joint does not quite extend as well as it should.
• “X” arms, where there is a pronounced carrying angle and/or a tendency to hyper-extend the elbow.

The goal is to balance out the stretch/weight carriage through the elbow joint. This will support the joint itself and will help distribute weight more evenly through the wrist/hand and shoulder.

“O” arms people should focus on moving the tip of the elbow towards the crack to open up the joint. “X” arms people should do the opposite, moving the crack towards the tip until the joint is balanced. (Note that for people with a pronounced carrying angle, it is only possible to balance the joint along this one axis. The arm will only look “straight” from one angle.)

Just because you have a particular tendency, it is important not to blindly do these actions. “O” arm people can quite easily lock out the elbow joint, just as “X” arms people can leave it slack and insufficiently open.


Position the Elbow Crack

In beginner classes we are often told to roll the crack of the elbow forward. This is not necessarily an improper instruction if the shoulders are tight, but, as with all things, it is possible to over-do it.

If you stand with your arms out straight in front of you and bend the elbows as if you were going to go into Pincha Mayurasana (Forearm Stand) you will notice that the cracks of the elbows do not point all the way forward. Nor do they point directly at each other. They aim approximately at the webbing between the finger and thumb. This is the ideal position for the elbow crack when the arms are straight. This will position the upper arm bone, the humerus, in an optimal position in the shoulder socket.

People with tight shoulders might have to roll the cracks forward a little more to get them into the right alignment, but people with loose shoulders might have a tendency to over-do.


Move from the Elbow and the Floating Ribs

In order to keep the muscle surrounding the shoulder joint and neck in a more supple and responsive state, think of initiating movement in the arm from the balanced elbow joint relative to the floating ribs. This will indirectly encompass many of the muscles in between the two reference points: the lats, the deltoids, pec minor, the biceps and triceps to name the major ones. Think of softening and widening the floating ribs and the muscles around them. Then reach evenly through the elbow joint, sending it towards the wrist and finger tips.


Support the Elbow from the Hand and Scapula

To create strength at either end of the arm so that you are able to work more softly with the elbow itself, work with the following directions:

Hand
• Lengthen the fingers forward out of the metacarpals.
• Widen and lengthen the palm.
• Roll weight into the index finger and thumb.
• Widen the wrist.

Scapula
• Strengthen and lengthen the inner border of the scapula down the back and away from the head.
• Widen the inner surface of the scapula.

When the arms are straight, if you are able to keep the elbow joint balanced, think of moving the whole joint outwards away from the midline of the body as you roll the weight in towards the midline in the hand and scapula. If you start to bend the elbows as a result of this additional action, either belt the elbows or ignore it for the time being.

When the arms are bent, think of moving the crack of the elbow deeper towards the tip as your lengthen through the wrists, hands and fingers at one end of the arm, and the scapula at the other.

In certain poses where the arms are bent, it can be helpful to work with rolling the cracks of the elbows away from the midline to either create more balanced strength in the upper body or more openness in the chest. Try it with these poses:

• Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)
• Chaturanga Dandasana (Four Limbed Staff Pose)
• Bharadwajasana 1 and 2 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 1 and 2)
• Gomukhasana arms (Cow Face Pose arms) in the arm behind the back
• Shirshasana 2 (Head Stand 2)
• Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)


Soften the Neck by Creating Space Inside the Skull

• Soften the roof of the mouth and dome it up towards the skull.
• When turning the head, turn it around the doming roof of the mouth.
• Soften and hollow out the eye sockets. Release the back of the neck by slightly pivoting the eye sockets down the length of the body around the eyeballs. (This is an idea from my friend and practice partner, Kristen Davis.)


The Sequence:

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)
• Lie back with the bolster across the back rather than along it.
• Support the head and arms as necessary.

Bharadwajasana 1 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 1)
• Turn head in both directions.

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)
• Block(s) under the pelvis, legs straight and feet at wall.
• Belt wrists.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
• On ropes if available.

Virabhadrasana 2 (Warrior Pose 2)

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Vashisthasana 1 (Vashistha’s Pose 1) Simple variation with knee down

Vashisthasana 1 (Vashistha’s Pose 1)

Bharadwajasana 2 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 2)
• Turn head in both directions.

Chaturanga Dandasana (Four Limbed Staff Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Pincha Mayurasana (Forearm Stand)

Prasarita Padottanasana 1 (Widespread Feet Pose 1)

Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 2)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


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Year of Yoga: Week 5



The practices are aimed at the basic level, suitable for anyone taking class on a regular basis. Regardless of your level, remember not to be reckless in your practice. Please consult your doctor before beginning any new exercise routine and do not attempt poses that you have not been taught in class by a competent instructor. The practices also include restorative work for a fully balanced expression of the yogic path.

The week’s sequences will be posted in advance of each week, giving you a chance to look them over and rearrange them according to your schedule. Wednesday’s practice will be a softer, restorative sequence. You should feel free to rearrange the order of the days, and even the practices themselves, according to your energy levels and your schedule. Take these sequences as suggestions and modify them as you will.

January 29


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) (3-5 min)

Utkatasana (Furious Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose)

Utkatasana (Furious Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose)

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Parighasana (Gate Pose)

Baddha Konasana ( Bound Angle Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Janu Shirshasana (Head of the Knee Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


January 30


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Virasana with Gomukhasana arms (Hero Pose with Cow Face Pose arms)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Prasarita Padottanasana 1 (Wide Spread Feet Pose 1) with the head supported as necessary
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) (3-5 min)
Intermediate Alternative: Supta Virasana (Reclined hero Pose) (3-5 min)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Marichyasana 1 (Marichi’s Pose 1)

Janu Shirshasana (Head of the Knee Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


January 31


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) (3-5 min)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) any simple variation, 3-5 rounds

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) any challenging variation, 3-5 rounds

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)

Paripurna Navasana (Full Boat Pose)

Ardha Navasana (Half Boat Pose)

Marichyasana 3 (Marichi’s Pose 3)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


February 1


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Bharadwajasana 1 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 1)

Bharadwajasana 2 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 2)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Supta Konasana (Reclined Angle Pose)

Parshva Halasana (Side Plough Pose)

Parshva Karnapidasana (Side Pressure on the Ear Pose)

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose)

Ardha Matsyendrasana 1 (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose 1)

Pashasana (Noose Pose)

Viparita Karani (Upside Down Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


February 2


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) (3-5 min)

Gomukhasana arms in Virasana (Cow Face Pose arms in Hero Pose)

Shalabhasana (Locust Pose)

Pashchima Namaskarasana Virasana (Hero Pose with Reverse Prayer Pose)

Makarasana (Crocodile Pose)

Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)

Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana (Upward Facing Dog Pose)

Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Child’s Pose

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


February 3


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Garudasana arms in Virasana (Eagle Pose arms in Hero Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Pashchima Namaskarasana Virasana (Hero Pose with Reverse Prayer Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Shirshasana (Head Stand) prep only
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) (3-5 min)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


February 4


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Child’s Pose over a bolster

Side Stretch over a bolster

Parshva Bharadwajasana (Side Bharadwaja’s Pose) over a bolster

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose) with the head supported on blocks

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) over a bolster

Viparita Karani (Upside Down Pose)

Ujjayi 1 (Victorious Breath 1 or simple breath awareness) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Ujjayi 2 (Victorious Breath 2 or gently extended exhalations) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Viloma 2 (Interrupted Breath 2 or a gentle pause at the end of each exhalation) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


Related Articles

A Year of Intermediate Yoga: Week 5


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Level 1 Group Class

widespread feet pose
This forward bend sequence stretches out both the hamstrings and the buttocks.

Opening Wall Sequence:
Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)
Parivrtta Trikonasana (Revolved Triangle Pose)
Parivrtta Parshvakonasana (Revolved Side Angle Pose)
• Each of these is a much simplified variation where the student has their hands on the wall in front of them.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Child’s Pose
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Lunge with back leg up and hands beside feet
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose)
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Child’s Pose
Adho Mukha Vajrasana (Downward Facing Thunderbolt Pose)

Utkatasana (Furious Pose) with block between thighs

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Utkatasana (Furious Pose)

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)
• First place forearm on thigh. Lengthen out underside of trunk.
• Keeping underside of trunk long, bring hand down to block or floor

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose)

Glute Stretch On Chair
• Sitting on a chair, place one ankle on the opposite thigh and lean forward

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)
• Only go as far as you are able to keep a flat back

Prasarita Padottanasana 1 (Widespread Feet Pose 1) preparation
• Hands under shoulders, back flat and lifted

Prasarita Padottanasana 1/Parshvottanasana sequence
• Starting in Prasarita Padottanasana, turn first to the right, bringing the feet closer together to do Parshvottanasana.
• Hold the pose there for a few breaths before turning back to the center and then doing Parshvottanasana on the other side.
• Go through this sequence twice, ending up and holding in Prasarita Padottanasana 1.

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand) with the feet on the wall

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


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Practice Lab

free hand head stand
I’ve been working with this new idea in my classes about using the elbows to release the shoulders and the head to release the neck.

We carry a lot of emotion in the shoulders and, as a result, the muscles in the shoulders and neck become very reactive. It can be hard to work with the neck and shoulders directly. Consider the following ideas as you go through the following variations:

For the shoulders:
• Think of balancing the elbow joint: stretch evenly through the tip of the elbow and the inner elbow (eye of the elbow)
• As you stretch the arms, instead of stretching through the shoulder joint, think of widening the floating ribs and stretching the shoulder joint away from them.
• Do not over rotate the shoulder joint when the arm is straight. Keep it in line with the webbing between index finger and thumb.

For the neck:
• Soften the roof of the mouth and dome it up towards the skull.
• When turning the head, turn it around the doming roof of the mouth.
• Soften and hollow out the eye sockets. Releaser the back of the neck by slightly pivoting the eye sockets down the length of the body around the eyeballs. (This is an idea form my friend Kristen.)

This is really only the tip of the iceberg of this idea thats been developing as I teach and work with it. If you’re interested in exploring it further, look out for the Intermediate Class Post later in the week.

The sequence:

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)
• Lie back with the bolster across the back rather than along it.
• Support the head and arms as necessary.

Bharadwajasana 1 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 1)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)
• Block(s) under the pelvis, legs straight and feet at wall.
• Belt wrists.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
• On ropes if available.

Virabhadrasana 2 (Warrior Pose 2)

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Ardha Chandrsana (Half Moon Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Vashisthasana 1 (Vashistha’s Pose 1)

Bharadwajasana 2 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 2)

Vashisthasana 2 (Vashistha’s Pose 2)

Bharadwajasana 2 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 2)

Chaturanga Dandasana (Four Limbed Staff Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose)

Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Pincha Mayurasana (Forearm Stand)

Prasarita Padottanasana 1 (Widespread Feet Pose 1) INTO Salamba Shirshasana 2 (Head Stand 2)
• Spend some time in both poses to establish the actions well.
• Come out of Shirshasana by returning to Prasarita Padottanasana

Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)
Salamba Shirshasana 2 (Head Stand 2)
Salamba Shirshasana 3 (Head Stand 3)
Baddha Hasta Shirshasana (Bound Hands Head Stand)
Mukta Hasta Shirshasana (Free Hands Head Stand)
Baddha Hasta Shirshasana (Bound Hands Head Stand) second interlock of arms
Salamba Shirshasana 3 (Head Stand 3)
Salamba Shirshasana 2 (Head Stand 2)
Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1) second interlock of fingers
• Do all these at a stretch, holding for 10-30 seconds on each side.
• Do poses with feet resting on wall to help balance

Viparita Dandasana (Inverted Staff Pose) over chair

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)
Salamba Sarvangasana 2 (Shoulder Stand 2)
Niralamba Sarvangasana 1 (Unsupported Shoulder Stand 1)
Niralamba Sarvangasana 2 (Unsupported Shoulder Stand 2)
Halasana (Plough Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)

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Intermediate Group Class

single leg king pigeon pose II
In this class the focus stays with the themes of the past few weeks:

• Strengthening and grounding the lesser trochanters and, wherever possible, moving them away from the midline of the body
• Moving the face of the sacrum (the inner surface of the bone that faces the organs) away from the lesser trochanters into the glutes
• Softening and widening the glutes (gluteus maximus) and the lats (latissimus dorsi)
• Lengthening the Ilia (pelvic bones) from top to bottom (rim to sitting bone)

The idea of softening and widening the latissimus and gluteals becomes especially important here. The muscles required to initiate and sustain the backbends lie deeper, closer to the bones than these two large, more superficial muscle groups. Gripping and hardening the lats and glutes will prevent the deeper muscles from functioning and the bones from moving with freedom.

The Sequence

Shoulder stretch at the wall
• fold forward at the hips and either rest the elbows on a ledge or place the forearms against a wall. Hold the position for a couple of minutes.

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose)
• Have a block between the feet and another between the inner thighs.
• Press the feet into the block and the inner thighs away from the block to strengthen the lesser trochanters and widen the glutes.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
• Block between the feet and the inner thighs.
• Press the feet into the block and the inner thighs away from the block.

Parivrtta Parshvakonasana (Revolved Side Angle Pose) simple variation with hand inside foot

Reclined Chest and Back Opener
• Lie back with a mat roll under the head and along the spine
• Have the arms alongside the head as for Vrkshasana (Tree Pose)
• Belt the upper arms to hug the arm bones close to the head
• Widen the lats and stretch evenly through the armpits

Virabhadrasasana 1 (Warrior Pose 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Pincha Mayurasana (Forearm Stand)

Lunge Sequence:
• Back knee down, hands on the floor
• Back knee down, hands on blocks under the shoulders
• Back knee down, front foot on one block, one hand on second block under shoulder so that trunk is lifted
• Back knee down, block under back foot, toes curled under, one hand on second block under shoulder so that trunk is lifted

Ardha Matsyendrasana 1 (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose 1)

Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)

Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)
• Take hold of the shins closer to knees

Parivrtta Parshvakonasana (Revolved Side Angle Pose)

Eka Pada Raja Kapotasana 2

Marichyasana 6 (Marichi’s Pose 6)

Padangustha Dhanurasana (Big Toe Bow Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose)

Karnipadasana (Pressure On The Ear Pose) with shins against the wall

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)

Related Articles
Practice Lab 1/19/09
Intermediate Group Class 1/15/09
Intermediate Group Class 1/8/09
Practice Lab 1/12/09

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Year of Yoga: Week 4



The practices are aimed at the basic level, suitable for anyone taking class on a regular basis. Regardless of your level, remember not to be reckless in your practice. Please consult your doctor before beginning any new exercise routine and do not attempt poses that you have not been taught in class by a competent instructor. The practices also include restorative work for a fully balanced expression of the yogic path.

The week’s sequences will be posted in advance of each week, giving you a chance to look them over and rearrange them according to your schedule. Wednesday’s practice will be a softer, restorative sequence. You should feel free to rearrange the order of the days, and even the practices themselves, according to your energy levels and your schedule. Take these sequences as suggestions and modify them as you will.

January 22


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) (3-5 min)

Virabhadrasana 2 (Warrior Pose 2)

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Prasarita Padottanasana 1 (Widespread Feet Pose 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Janu Shirshasana (Head of the Knee Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


January 23


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Virasana with Gomukhasana arms (Hero Pose with Cow Face Pose arms)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Prasarita Padottanasana 1 (Wide Spread Feet Pose 1) with the head supported as necessary
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Malasana (Garland Pose)

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Upavishtha Konasana (Seated Angle Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


January 24


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose)

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) any simple variation, 3-5 rounds

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) any challenging variation, 3-5 rounds

Bharadwajasana 1 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Matsyasana (Fish Pose) over a bolster

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


January 25


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Bharadwajasana 2 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 2)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Marichyasana 1 (Marichi’s Pose 1) twist only

Ardha Matsyendrasana 2 (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose 2) with Janu Shirshasana legs as an alternative

Parivrtta Janu Shirshasana (Revolved Head of the Knee Pose) with front leg bent if necessary

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Viparita Karani (Upside Down Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


January 26


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) any simple variation, 3-5 rounds

Gomukhasana arms in Virasana (Cow Face Pose arms in Hero Pose)

Shalabhasana (Locust Pose)

Pashchima Namaskarasana Virasana (Hero Pose with Reverse Prayer Pose)

Makarasana (Crocodile Pose)

Chaturanga Dandasana (Four Limbed Staff Pose)

Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)

Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)

Purvottanasana (Intense East Stretch Pose) full pose or table top variation

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


January 27


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) any simple variation, 3-5 reps

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) any challenging variation, 3-5 reps

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Shirshasana (Head Stand) prep only
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Eka Pada Sarvangasana (Single Leg Shoulder Stand)

Parshvaikapada Sarvangasana (Single Leg to the Side Shoulder Stand)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Supta Konasana (Reclined Angle Pose)

Parshva Halasana (Side Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


January 28


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Child’s Pose over a bolster

Side Stretch over a bolster

Parshva Bharadwajasana (Side Bharadwaja’s Pose) over a bolster

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose) with the head supported on blocks

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) over a bolster

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1) over a chair

Ardha Halasana (Half Plough Pose) over a chair

Viparita Karani (Upside Down Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


Related Articles

A Year of Intermediate Yoga: Week 4


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Level 1 Group Class

intense-east-stretch-pose
Throughout the class, focus on keeping the buttocks soft and the back wide.

• Shoulder Stretch at wall: Place the forearms and elbows on the wall with the palms together. Make a right angle at the hips with the feet under the pelvis hip width apart. Draw the inner thighs back and reach the armpits forward.

Urdhva Hastasana (Upward Hands Pose)
• Block between the hands
• Back against the wall

Utkatasana (Furious Pose)
• Come into a half squat with the back against the wall
• Hold a block between the hands and raise the arms overhead

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Child’s Pose

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Child’s Pose

Utkatasana (Furious Pose)
• Block between the thighs and the hands
• Start with the block reaching out in front of you to help widen the back, then raise the block overhead

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Utkatasana (Furious Pose)
• Block between the hands, legs together
• Start with the block reaching out in front of you to help widen the back, then raise the block overhead

Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior Pose 1)
• Block between the hands
• Start with the block reaching out in front of you to help widen the back, then raise the block overhead

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Lunge Sequence:
• Back leg up, hands on the floor
• Back knee down, hands on the floor
• Back knee down, hands on blocks under the shoulders
• Back knee down, front foot on one block, one hand on second block under shoulder so that trunk is lifted
• Back knee down, block under back foot, toes curled under, one hand on second block under shoulder so that trunk is lifted

Chest Opener
• Stand with feet apart, leaning back against wall.
• Bend knees and rest abdomen on thighs
• Hold onto a belt with hands behind the back
• Bring the arms overhead

Purvottanasana (Intense East Stretch Pose) with legs bent
• Hands on blocks

Ardha Matsyendrasana 1 (Half Lord of the Fishes 1)

Purvottanasana (Intense East Stretch Pose) with legs bent
• Hands on blocks
• As an option, walk the feet out into the full pose

Ushtrasana (Camel Pose)
• Feet on bolster

Ushtrasana (Camel Pose)
• Feet on bolster or on floor

Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Child’s Pose over a bolster

Salamba Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand)
• Feet on the wall

Ardha Halasana (Half Plough Pose) over a chair

Parshva Bharadwajasana (Side Bharadwaja’s Pose) over a bolster

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


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Practice Lab

intense stretch lotus peacock pose
Uttana Padma Mayurasana (Intense Stretch Lotus Peacock Pose) Is a very powerful pose that I am quite a way from being able to practice properly, yet for some reason I have ambition to achieve it one day, which I’m sure is not such a good thing yogicly speaking... Here’s a practice I was working on to take me towards it. I couldn’t find any creative commons pictures of the pose, so here’s a shot of me getting about as far into it as I’m able. In the full pose you touch your knees to the floor.

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Virabhadrsana 2 (Warrior Pose 2)

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose)

Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana (Half Bound lotus Intense Stretch Pose)

Bharadwajasana 2 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 2)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Supta Padangusthasana 3 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 3)

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose)

Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana (Half Bound Lotus Intense West Stretch Pose)

Adho Mukha Padmasana (Downward Facing Lotus Pose)

Yoga Mudrasana (Yoga Seal Pose)

Gorakshasana (Cow Herd Pose)

Simhasana 2 (Lion Pose 2)

Matsyasana (Fish Pose)

Uttana Padma Mayurasana (Intense Stretch Lotus Peacock Pose) variation with block under sacrum

Laghuvajrasana (Little Thunderbolt Pose) over chair

Padmasana Viparita Dandasana (Lotus Pose in Inverted Staff Pose) over chair

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Urdhva Padmasana Sarvangasana (Upward Lotus Pose in Shoulder Stand)

Parshva Padmasana (Side Lotus Pose in Shoulder Stand)

Uttana Padma Mayurasana (Intense Stretch Lotus Peacock Pose) variation
• Set up close to the wall and drop back to put knee on wall

Uttana Padma Mayurasana (Intense Stretch Lotus Peacock Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)
|

Intermediate Group Class

Continuing on from the ideas of last week, this class takes the widening of the glutes and lats into twists and arm balances. While doing the poses, keep in mind the following ideas:

• Strengthening and grounding the lesser trochanters and, wherever possible, moving them away from the midline of the body
• Moving the face of the sacrum (the inner surface of the bone that faces the organs) away from the lesser trochanters into the glutes
• Softening and widening the glutes (gluteus maximus) and the lats (latissimus dorsi)
• Lengthening the Ilia (pelvic bones) from top to bottom (rim to sitting bone)

The Sequence

Shoulder stretch at the wall
• fold forward at the hips and either rest the elbows on a ledge or place the forearms against a wall. Hold the position for a couple of minutes.

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose)
• Have a block between the feet and another between the inner thighs.
• Press the feet into the block and the inner thighs away from the block to strengthen the lesser trochanters and widen the glutes.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
• Block between the feet and the inner thighs.
• Press the feet into the block and the inner thighs away from the block.

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)

Parivrtta Trikonasana (Revolved Triangle Pose)

Bharadwajasana 2 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 2)

Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)
Parshva Shirshasana (Side Head Stand)
Parivrttaikapada Shirshasana (Revolved Single Leg Head Stand)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Parivrtta Janu Shirshasana (Revolved Head of the Knee Pose) preparation
• Have the straight leg bent with a bolster under the knee to focus on the twisting action of the pose.

Marichyasana 6 (Marichi’s Pose 6)

Pashasana (Noose Pose)

Parivrtta Parshvakonasana (Revolved Side Angle Pose)

Parshva Bakasana (Side Crow Pose)

Eka Pada Koundinyasana 1 (Single Leg Koundinya’s Pose 1)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)
Halasana (Plough Pose)
Supta Konasana (Reclined Angle Pose)
Parshva Halasana (Slide Plough Pose)
Parshva Karnapidasana (Side Pressure on the Ear Pose)
Karnapidasana (Pressure on the Ear Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)

Related Articles
Intermediate Group Class 1/8/09
Practice Lab 1/13/09

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Year of Yoga: Week 3



The practices are aimed at the basic level, suitable for anyone taking class on a regular basis. Regardless of your level, remember not to be reckless in your practice. Please consult your doctor before beginning any new exercise routine and do not attempt poses that you have not been taught in class by a competent instructor. The practices also include restorative work for a fully balanced expression of the yogic path.

The week’s sequences will be posted in advance of each week, giving you a chance to look them over and rearrange them according to your schedule. Wednesday’s practice will be a softer, restorative sequence. You should feel free to rearrange the order of the days, and even the practices themselves, according to your energy levels and your schedule. Take these sequences as suggestions and modify them as you will.

January 15


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) (3-5 min)

Utthita Trikonsana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Parighasana (Gate Pose)

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Janu Shirshasana (Head of the Knee Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


January 16


Sukhasana (Comfortable Pose)

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Virasana with Gomukhasana arms (Hero Pose with Cow Face Pose arms)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Prasarita Padottanasana 1 (Wide Spread Feet Pose 1) with the head supported as necessary
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Triang Mukhaikapada Pashchimottanasana (Three Limbs Facing Single Leg Intense West Stretch Pose)

Mairchyasana 1 (Marichi’s Pose 1)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


January 17


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Plank Pose

Chaturanga Dandasana (Four Limbed Staff Pose)

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)

Chaturanga Dandasana (Four Limbed Staff Pose)

Bharadwajasana 1 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Matsyasana (Fish Pose) over a bolster

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


January 18


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose)

Bharadwajasana 2 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 2)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Marichyasana 6 (Marichi’s Pose 6)

Ardha Matsyendrasana 1 (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose 1)

Pashasana (Noose Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Viparita Karani (Upside Down Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


January 19


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Pashchima Namaskarasana Virasana (Hero Pose with Reverse Prayer Pose)

Shalabhasana (Locust Pose)

Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)

Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana (Upward Facing Dog Pose)

Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)

Parshva Dhanurasana (Side Bow Pose)

Ushtrasana (Camel Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


January 20


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) any simple variation, 3-5 reps

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) any challenging variation, 3-5 reps

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Shalabhasana (Locust Pose)

Vashisthasana (Vashistha’s Pose) full pose or with one knee down

Purvottanasana (Intense East Stretch Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Shirshasana (Head Stand) prep only
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Pashchima Namaskarasana Virasana (Hero Pose with Reverse Prayer Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


January 21


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Child’s Pose over a bolster

Side Stretch over a bolster

Parshva Bharadwajasana (Side Bharadwaja’s Pose) over a bolster

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose) with the head supported on blocks

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) over a bolster

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1) over a chair

Ardha Halasana (Half Plough Pose) over a chair

Viparita Karani (Upside Down Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


Related Articles

A Year of Intermediate Yoga: Week 3


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Level 1 Group Class

Full Boat Pose
Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

Urdhva Hastasana (Upward Hands Pose) with a block between the palms

Urdhva Hastasana (Upward Hands Pose)

Vrkshasana (Tree Pose) with a block between the hands

Vrkshasana (Tree Pose)

Virabhadrasana 2 (Warrior Pose 2)

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior Pose 1) with a block between the hands

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) without props

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose) balancing on the sitting bones

Paripurna Navasana (Full Boat Pose) preparation, legs bent, holding thighs, balancing on sitting bones

Paripurna Navasana (Full Boat Pose)

Ardha Navasana (Half Boat Pose)

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose) rolling from side to side, 5 reps

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) with feet on blocks, holding a belt around the ankles

Salamba Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand) with the feet on the wall

Viparita Karani (Upside Down Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


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Practice Lab

marichi's pose D
One pose I have a lot of trouble with is Marichyasana 4 (also know as Marichyasana D in the Ashtanga Vinyasa system). My whole outer hip area is so thick and solid that, although I can get my legs into the right shape, I generally can’t quite bring my trunk far around to even get my elbow onto the raised leg. So, I thought this might be a good pose to tackle.

To help mobilize the gluteal area, I was working with the following ideas (the same ideas I’ve been teaching in my intermediate classes):

• Strengthening and grounding the lesser trochanters and, wherever possible, moving them away from the midline of the body
• Moving the face of the sacrum (the inner surface of the bone that faces the organs) away from the lesser trochanters into the glutes
• Softening and widening the glutes (gluteus maximus) and the lats (latissimus dorsi)
• Lengthening the Ilia (pelvic bones) from top to bottom (rim to sitting bone)

Here’s the sequence:

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)

Parivrtta Trikonasana (Revolved Triangle Pose)

Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana (Half Bound Lotus Intense Stretch Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Pincha Mayurasana (Forearm Stand)

Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Parivrtta Janu Shirshasana (Revolved Head of the Knee Pose) preparation
• Bolster under the straight leg, keeping the leg bent, working on the twisting action

Parivrtta Janu Shirshasana (Revolved Head of the Knee Pose)

Marichyasana 1 (Marichi’s Pose 1) twist only

Marichyasana 1 (Marichi’s Pose 1)

Marichyasana 2 (Marichi’s Pose 2) twist only

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Marichyasana 2 (Marichi’s Pose 2)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Parshva Bakasana (Side Crow Pose)

Child’s Pose with arms by the sides

Eka Pada Koundinyasa 1 (Single Leg Koundinya’s Pose 1)

Vatayanasana (Horse Pose)

Marichyasana 4 (Marichi’s Pose 4)

Eka Pada Raja Kapotasana (Single Leg King Pigeon Pose) forward bend/hip stretch

Marichyasana 4 (Marichi’s Pose 4)

Shalabhasana (Locust Pose)

Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

[The previous two poses were to reintegrate the back after all the forward bending and twisting.]

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)

It was quite an effective sequence. I was actually able to get my elbow across the body and onto the thigh. If you try it, let me know how it goes.

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Intermediate Group Class

Marichi's Pose B
There are two focuses to this class. The first is preparing the body for Marichyasana 2 (Marichi’s Pose 2), the second is to create release in the latissimus dorsi and in the gluteus maximus muscles, two mucle groups that we hold a lot of tension in. While doing all these poses, consider the following actions:

• Strengthening and grounding the lesser trochanters and, wherever possible, moving them away from the midline of the body
• Moving the face of the sacrum (the inner surface of the bone that faces the organs) away from the lesser trochanters into the glutes
• Softening and widening the glutes (gluteus maximus) and the lats (latissimus dorsi)
• Lengthening the Ilia (pelvic bones) from top to bottom (rim to sitting bone)

The Sequence

Shoulder stretch at the wall
• fold forward at the hips and either rest the elbows on a ledge or place the forearms against a wall. Hold the position for a couple of minutes.

Virabhadrasana 2 (Warrior Pose 2)

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Pincha Mayurasana (Forearm Stand)

Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose)

Chair Sequence:

Glute Stretch
• Sitting in the chair, place one ankle on the opposite thigh and fold forward

Hip Rotator Stretch
• Stand facing the chair. Place one foot up on the chair.
• Bend the raised leg, turn the thigh out and rest the outer edge of the foot on the chair. Line the heel up with the inner thigh.
• Fold forward.

Bharadwajasana 2 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 2) in the chair
• Sitting in the chair, bring one leg into Ardha Padmasana (Half Lotus Pose) and bind the foot, turning into the twist.

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose)
• Place a block between the feet and a block between the thighs.
• Place the hands on the seat of the chair making a right angle at the hips.
• Press the feet into the block and the thighs away from the block to help strengthen the lesser trochanters and widen the glutes.
• Hold this position for a few moments and then fold forward into Uttanasana.

Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana (Half Bound Lotus Intense Stretch Pose)
• Come into a half version of the pose with one leg in Ardha Padmasana (Half Lotus Pose) and both hands on the chair.
• Take a few moments in the right angle position to soften and widen the glutes and lats before coming into the pose.
• Use the chair for stability as you come into and out of the pose.

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)
Halasana (Plough Pose)
Supta Konasana (Reclined Angle Pose)
Parshva Halasana (Side Plough Pose)
Parshva Karnapidasana (Side Pressure on the Ear Pose)

Parivrtta Janu Shirshasana (Revolved Head of the Knee Pose) preparation
• Have the straight leg bent with a bolster under the knee to focus on the twisting action of the pose.

Marichyasana 1 (Marichi’s Pose 1) twist only

Marichyasana 1 (Marichi’s Pose 1)

Marichyasana 2 (Marichi’s Pose 2) twist only

Marichyasana 2 (Marichi’s Pose 2)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)

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Year of Yoga: Week 2



The practices are aimed at the basic level, suitable for anyone taking class on a regular basis. Regardless of your level, remember not to be reckless in your practice. Please consult your doctor before beginning any new exercise routine and do not attempt poses that you have not been taught in class by a competent instructor. The practices also include restorative work for a fully balanced expression of the yogic path.

The week’s sequences will be posted in advance of each week, giving you a chance to look them over and rearrange them according to your schedule. Wednesday’s practice will be a softer, restorative sequence. You should feel free to rearrange the order of the days, and even the practices themselves, according to your energy levels and your schedule. Take these sequences as suggestions and modify them as you will.

January 8


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) (3-5 min)

Vrkshasana (Tree Pose)

Virabhadrasana 2 (Warrior Pose 2)

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior Pose 1)

Parvatasana in Virasana (Mountain Pose in Hero Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)

January 9


Sukhasana (Comfortable Pose)

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

Virabhadrasana 2 (Warrior Pose 2)

Utkatasana (Furious Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Prasarita Padottanasana 1 (Wide Spread Feet Pose 1) with the head supported as necessary
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Adho Mukha Virasana (Downward Facing Hero Pose)

Triang Mukhaikapada Pashchimottanasana (Three Limbs Facing Single Leg Intense West Stretch Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


January 10


Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Paripurna Navasana (Full Boat Pose)

Ardha Navasana (Half Boat Pose)

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose)

Bharadwajasana 1 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


January 11


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Parivrtta Trikonasana (Revolved Triangle Pose)

Bharadwajasana 2 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 2)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Marichyasana 3 (Marichi’s Pose 3)

Marichyasana 6 (Marichi’s Pose 6)

Ardha Matsyendrasana 1 (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose 1)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


January 12


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Virabhadrasana 2 (Warrior Pose 2)

Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior Pose 1)

Virabhadrasana 3 (Warrior Pose 3)

Pashchima Namaskarasana Virasana (Hero Pose with Reverse Prayer Pose)

Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)

Parshva Dhanurasana (Side Bow Pose)

Ushtrasana (Camel Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


January 13


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) any simple variation, 3-5 reps

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) any challenging variation, 3-5 reps

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Vashisthasana (Vashistha’s Pose) with one knee down

Vashisthasana (Vashistha’s Pose) full pose or with one knee down

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Shirshasana (Head Stand) prep only
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Pashchima Namaskarasana Virasana (Hero Pose with Reverse Prayer Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


January 14


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Child’s Pose over a bolster

Side Stretch over a bolster

Parshva Bharadwajasana (Side Bharadwaja’s Pose) over a bolster

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose) with the head supported on blocks

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) over a bolster

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1) over a chair

Ardha Halasana (Half Plough Pose) over a chair

Viparita Karani (Upside Down Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


Related Articles

A Year of Intermediate Yoga: Week 2


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Level 1 Group Class

Here’s what I‘ve been teaching in my Level 1 classes this past week.

The basic idea is opening the eyes of the chest--the space between the collarbones and the top of the chest (see illustration)--to create release in the neck and shoulders.

Opening Stretches:
• Side stretch at wall: Lean the right side of the body into the wall with the right arm overhead. Bend the right elbow, take hold of it with the left hand and draw the arm up and over the top of the head. Hold for a minute or two and repeat on the second side.
• Shoulder Stretch at wall: Place the forearms and elbows on the wall with the palms together. Make a right angle at the hips with the feet under the pelvis hip width apart. Draw the inner thighs back and reach the arms forward.
• Chest opener: Place the right hand on the wall at shoulder height. Spread through the fingers and palm and, keeping the shoulder blade moving down the back, reach through the arm.

All Fours INTO Plank Pose INTO Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
• Stretch forward through the armpits while taking the eyes of the chest up and back towards the thighs.

Child’s Pose

All Fours INTO Plank Pose INTO Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
• Stretch forward through the armpits while taking the eyes of the chest up and back towards the thighs.

Child’s Pose

Tadasana (Mountain Pose)

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)
• Raised hand on hip.
• Press top shoulder away from ear, reaching collar bone towards elbow.
• Turn eye of the chest towards the ceiling, head following, keeping the back of the neck soft and wide.

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)
• Begin by reaching raised arm forward and widening across the upper back.
• Press into the back heel and reach the arm forward and up, bringing it alongside the ear.
• Keep the shoulder soft and wide and stretch evenly through the inner and outer armpit.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
• As above.

Block lifts over a roll
• Roll up a blanket or mat and lie back with it across the bottom of the shoulder blades so that the shoulders do not quite make it to the floor.
• Hold a block between the hands at the widest width.
• Slowly bring the arms overhead, making sire not to let the block wobble.
• Pause with the arms alongside the ears and reach through the arms and legs.
• Slowly bring the arms back up towards the ceiling, again without letting the block wobble.
• Do this a total of 3-4 times

Dandasana (Staff Pose)

Bharadwajasana 1 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 1) with simple arms
• Turn the collarbone away from the chest.
• Look first over the leading shoulder then, without losing the turn of the collarbone, turn the head to look over the opposite shoulder.

Bharadwajasana 1 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 1) with the arm bound behind the back (use a belt if necessary)
• As above.

Marichyasana 3 (Marichi’s Pose 3)
• Take the collarbone of the arm that is crossing the thigh and turn it down as you roll the other collarbone up in a wringing action to open the eye of the chest.

Dandasana (Staff Pose)

Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose) preparation
• Belt the elbows at shoulder width, place the forearms on the floor with the palms down on the mat.
• Place a block between the hands to stop them from sliding in towards each other.
• Walk the feet in, keeping the head down and the neck relaxed
• Stretch forward through the armpits while taking the eyes of the chest up and back towards the thighs.

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) with feet on blocks and holding on to ankles with a belt
• Widen the collarbones and turn the eyes of the chest towards the throat.

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) with feet on blocks and holding on to ankles with a belt
• As above.

Salamba Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand) on blankets with the elbows belted and the feet at the wall
• Hold the pose for a minute or so with the feet on the wall to encourage the chest to open before attempting the balance.
• Widen the collarbones and turn the eyes of the chest towards the throat.

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)

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Practice Lab

crow_pose
For the past few years, my dear friend and practice partner, Kristen Davis, and I have been getting together every week on a pretty regular basis to practice and generally geek out about yoga. After a hiatus of several month while Kristen was on maternity leave, our practices were getting kind of spotty, so we launched back in with an abandon with Kristen’s idea of doing a practice where we tried to effectively sequence backbends with forward bends, usually an absolute no-no in the Iyengar system. Our first attempt, building up to linking Bakasana (Crow Pose) and Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward Bow Pose) through Salamba Shirshasana 2 (Head Stand) was moderately successful, but we didn’t quite have the opening in the mid-back to make the transition as smooth as it could be.

After some thought, I had the idea of adding a twist into the mix, which worked really well. Here’s the sequence we did:

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose)
Parivrtta Uttanasana (Revolved Intense Stretch Pose)
Padangusthasana (Big Toe Pose) preparation only

side crow pose
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Parivrtta Parshvakonasana (Revolved Side Angle Pose) simple variation with the hand on the floor inside the front leg, not outside
Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana (Upward Facing Dog Pose)

Padangusthasana (Big Toe Pose) full pose
Parivrtta Utkatasana (Revolved Furious Pose)
Utkatasana (Furious Pose)

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)
Parivrtta Trikonasana (Revolved Triangle Pose)
Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior Pose 1)

Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose)
Parivrtta Ardha Chandrasana (Revolved Half Moon Pose)
Virabhadrasana 3 (Warrior Pose 3)
[Something about this trio didn’t seem appealing in the moment so we did the following three instead]

inverted stafpose
Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana 1 (Extended Hand to Big Toe Pose 1)
Parivrtta Hasta Padangusthasana (Revolved Hand to Big Toe Pose)
Virabhadrasana 3 (Warrior Pose 3)

Ropes 1 (if you don’t have access to a rope wall, you might try a few sun salutations)
Adho Mukha Vrkshasana [Downward Facing Tree Pose]
Pincha Mayurasana [Peacock Feather Pose]
[Cycle through this trio 2-3 times]

Janu Shirshasana (Head of the Knee Pose)
Parivrtta Janu Shirshasana (Revolved Head of the Knee Pose)
Shalabhasana (Locust Pose)

Marichyasana 1 (Marichi’s Pose 1)
Ardha Matsyendrasana 1 (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose 1)
Ushtrasana (Camel Pose)

Malasana (Garland Pose)
Pashasana (Noose Pose)
Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)
[We actually did Dhanurasana first and then Ushtrasana, but it didn’t quite work that way round. The thighs needed more opening, which they got by doing Ushtrasana first, though you might consider doing something like Kapotasana (Pigeon Pose) over a chair for even more opening.]

Bakasana (Crow Pose)
Parshva Bakasana (Side Crow Pose)
Dwi Pada Viparita Dandasana (Two Leg Inverted Staff Pose)

Shirshasana 2 (Head Stand 2)
Bakasana (Crow Pose)
Shirshasana 2 (Head Stand 2)
Parshva Bakasana (Side Crow Pose)
Shirshasana 2 (Head Stand 2)
Dwi Pada Viparita Dandasana (Two Leg Inverted Staff Pose)

Ardha Halasana (Half Plough Pose) over a chair

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)

My reservation about this sequence was what it might do to the nervous system. I was worried I might not get to sleep that night. Turns out I slept like a baby. My back was sore the next day, as you might imagine, and I was ravenous all day, but otherwise no troubles.

Try it for yourself and report back.

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Vogue

Check out this amazing vogue “battle” from NYC featuring Andre Mizrahi vs. Javier Ninja



Some more very, very fierce vogueing (soundtrack NSFW) After the jump...

Read More...
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Year of Yoga: Week 1



The practices are aimed at the basic level, suitable for anyone taking class on a regular basis. Regardless of your level, remember not to be reckless in your practice. Please consult your doctor before beginning any new exercise routine and do not attempt poses that you have not been taught in class by a competent instructor. The practices also include restorative work for a fully balanced expression of the yogic path.

The week’s sequences will be posted in advance of each week, giving you a chance to look them over and rearrange them according to your schedule. Wednesday’s practice will be a softer, restorative sequence. You should feel free to rearrange the order of the days, and even the practices themselves, according to your energy levels and your schedule. Take these sequences as suggestions and modify them as you will.

January 1


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) (3-5 min)

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Virabhadrasana 2 (Warrior Pose 2)

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose)

Virasana with Gomukhasana arms (Hero Pose with Cow-Face Pose Arms)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


January 2


Sukhasana (Comfortable Pose)

Parvatasana in Sukhasana (Mountain Pose in Comfortable Pose)

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Prasarita Padottanasana 1 (Wide Spread Feet Pose 1) with the head supported as necessary
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Janu Shirshasana (Head of the Knee Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


January 3


Matsyasana (Fish Pose) with simple crossed legs over a bolster

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)

Paripurna Navasana (Full Boat Pose)

Bharadwajasana 1 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


January 4


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)

Parivrtta Trikonasana (Revolved Triangle Pose)

Parivritta Ardha Chandrasana (Revolved Half Moon Pose)

Bharadwajasana 2 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 2)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


January 5


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior Pose 1)

Pashchima Namaskarasana Virasana (Hero Pose with Reverse Prayer Pose)

Shalabhasana (Locust Pose)

Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)

Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana (Upward Facing Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


January 6


Urdhva Baddha Hastasana (Upward Bound Hands Pose) in Tadasana (Mountain Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Plank Pose

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Plank Pose with the palms turned out (fingers pointing away from each other)

Child’s Pose

Virasana with Gomukhasana arms (Hero Pose with Cow Face Pose arms)

Vashisthasana (Vashistha’s Pose) with one knee down

Vashisthasana (Vashistha’s Pose) full pose or with one knee down

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Shirshasana (Head Stand) prep only
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Pashchima Namaskarasana Virasana (Hero Pose with Reverse Prayer Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


January 7


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Child’s Pose over a bolster

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose) with the head supported on blocks

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks

Prasarita Padottanasana 1 (Wide Spread Feet Pose 1) with the head supported as needed

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose) with the head supported on blocks

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) over a bolster

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Ardha Halasana (Half Plough Pose) over a chair

Viparita Karani (Upside Down Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


Related Articles

A Year of Intermediate Yoga: Week 1


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2009: A Year of Basic Yoga


Last year’s “Year of Yoga” got a great response from readers. The one problem for many of you was that the practices were too challenging, too advanced. I thought this year we might do something more inclusive.

This year's "Year of Yoga" is a much more manageable series of 365 basic practices, designed to be accessible for all regular practitioners of yoga. Each practice lasts approximately an hour and is presented with options for more advanced practitioners. Follow along according to the calendar day or drop in at any time, starting with week one.

Happy New Year. Hope you enjoy it!

Witold
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Thank You, Everyone!

What a year it’s been! The first “Year of Yoga” is over and a second one is about to begin. I’ve always had trouble keeping up with regular postings to the site, but the discipline of the “Year of Yoga” turned out to be so worthwhile. Readership has soared over the past year, more than doubling from the year before:



Thanks so much to the great feedback and comments from everyone.

Happy 2009!

Witold

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