Don’t be flighty, come practice our Pose of the Week – one legged king pigeon pose!
Hatha Yoga offers lots of twisting positions for us to work with. There’s much to learn
physically by exploring our own obliques and how our spines react to turning. There’s a
reflective journey to be taken too: twisting is an opportunity to consider how we turn away
from (or towards) ourselves.
This Dolphin pose is fabulous! Simple, yet challenging in so many ways. It provides a great stretch to the shoulders, hamstrings and calves whilst asking strength of arms, core and legs. This basic pose helps us open and strengthen the body so that we can get used to the idea of going upside down (inverting). It’s a prelude to headstand as well as Pincha Mayurasana, so it’s great to practice every day to help build the body.
Trikonasana (Triangle Pose) stretches and strengthens the calves, thighs, hamstrings, hips groin and waist. When we travel that into an Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose), we help to bring the strengthening aspect into thighs, abdomen and buttocks. At the same time we still bring a stretch to the calves, hamstrings, chest and spine. Ardha Chandrasana is great for improving your sense of balance and both are said to help relieve symptoms of stress. With all of the benefits, the only reason not to practice these would be if an injury / illness is getting in the way!
Sinead is displaying how to practice these poses below using a brick. When you first start practicing in class and at home, it’s good to start with props and move on when your body feels more adapted and comfortable.
Malasana can help to tone your belly and outward hip rotators whilst stretching the ankles, groin and the torso. The length that we find in Malasana helps us to comfortably reap the benefits of this Bakasana variation above. Bakasana strengthens arms, wrists, core muscles and hip flexors, whilst stretching the groin. Find your breath in each pose to bring a sense of ease whilst balancing.
If you suffer from knee injuries you may need to avoid Malasana. Also give Bakasana a miss if you are pregnant or have wrist injuries.
Janu Sirsasana comes with a long list of benefits. Apart form the obvious help towards flexibility in your hamstrings, you can also start to develop strength in your thighs, core and spine. The outward rotation of your opposite leg helps to bring a stretch to your groin. As a forward fold, other benefits such as mild relief from anxiety, menstrual discomfort or fatigue are also cited alongside providing good stimulation for the liver and the kidneys as well as improving digestion. With a list of benefits that long, how can we not try Janu Sirsasana for ourselves!
If anyone was coming along to classes during the week of plank as the focus pose, you probably went along to one of Ed’s plankathons! Following all the excitement of planks, Ed has a few more words to say about them below. Read further to fall further in love with plank!
How well your hands work on the floor will make a big difference to your
experience of plank position.
In fact, there are key areas where we need to
engage throughout the body to help us get the most out of each and every
posture. These areas of engagement are called bandhas; this is a Sanskrit word
that means “lock” or “hold”.
You’ll never be bent out of shape again when you get to grips with Uttanasana (Forward Fold). Hamstring stretches, like Forward Fold, have developed in to one of the classic indicators of someone’s flexibility; if you can touch your toes, then you’re flexible!
But Forward Fold is not just about touching your toes to the detriment of your posture. There’s so much more involved and it’s good to spend time working in your Forward Fold.