Posts tagged with: Yoga

YPFW :: Half Lord of the Fishes Pose

With a name like the Half Lord of the Fishes Pose, you’d think that this would look a little more fish-like, but it’s not, and it’s a relatively simple position to get yourself into, after you do it a couple of times!

Ardha Matsyendrasana, also known as the Half Lord of the Fishes Pose
(ARE-dah MOT-see-en-DRAHS-anna)
ardha = half
Matsyendra = king of the fish (matsya = fish
indra = ruler), a legendary teacher of yoga

To do the Half Lord of the Fishes Pose: Begin in the the Staff Pose (Dandasana),

From Staff Pose – Dandasana, bring sole of right foot to floor on the outside of left thigh. Bend left knee, and tuck left foot in near right buttock. Inhale and bring left arm up near left ear.

Exhale and twist right arm, bringing left elbow to outside of right knee and right palm to the floor, just behind sit bones. Look out over right shoulder, but don’t overturn neck – twist originates in belly, not neck. On each inhale, draw spine long, and on each exhale, twist a little deeper.

Be sure to keep sole of right foot flat on floor. When you release pose, take a slight counter twist to opposite direction. Release legs and switch position as you prepare to twist to other side.

Beginners: may want to sit on some padding if uncomfortable. If you cannot bend the left leg into the ideal position, keep it extended.

Advanced: Come into a bind with arms. Thread left arm back underneath right knee. Reach right arm behind back, and clasp right wrist with left hand.

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YPFW :: Boat pose

Instead of just doing a text post for the Boat Pose, today I’d like to share a couple of videos with you instead. I can’t figure out how to imbed a video into this version of WordPress, (Hey CQ – maybe this is something we can work on for the next update?)

Here is what a picture of the boat pose looks like, but I encourage you to watch the videos to really get a sense of what the Boat Pose entails!

Navasana Yoga Posture – Boat Pose
Seated Yoga Poses – Yoga Boat Pose
Yoga Poses for Fibromyalgia – Yoga Boat Pose for Fibromyalgia Patients

If you want to read step by step guides on how to do the Boat Yoga Pose, check out the instructions here at Yoga.About.com page!

This pose is going to take me a long while to get back into, since my abdominal muscles were sliced into. I’m looking forward to strengthening them in the near future though!


YPFW :: Bridge pose

The Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana) – (SET-too BAHN-dah)
setu = dam, dike, or bridge
bandha = lock

The bridge pose is one of my favorite yoga poses. Too bad I’m still struggling to stretch to the side – there’s no way I could get myself bent over like this at all! There are so many benefits to using the bridge pose daily, it stretches your chest, neck and spine, it calms your brain, helps alleviate stress and mild depression, it stimulates your abdominal organs, lungs and even you thyroid. The bridge pose can rejuivinate your tired legs, improve digestion and help relieve the symptoms of menopause and menstrual discomfort.

To do the bridge pose: lie down face up on floor, and if necessary, place a thickly folded blanket under shoulders to protect neck. Bend knees and set feet on floor, heels as close to sitting bones as possible.

Exhale and, pressing inner feet and arms actively into floor, push tailbone upward toward pubis, firming (but not hardening) buttocks, and lift buttocks off floor. Keep thighs and inner feet parallel. Clasp hands below pelvis and extend through arms to help stay on tops of shoulders.

Lift buttocks until thighs are about parallel to floor. Keep knees directly over heels, but push forward, away from hips, and lengthen tailbone toward backs of knees. Lift pubis toward navel.

Lift chin slightly away from sternum and, firming shoulder blades against back, press top of sternum toward chin. Firm outer arms, broaden shoulder blades, and try to lift space between them at the base of neck (where it’s resting on blanket) up into torso. Stay in pose anywhere from 30 seconds to 1 minute. Release with an exhalation, rolling spine slowly down onto floor.

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YPFW :: Garland pose

While the Garland Pose (Malasana) looks a bit silly, it is a wonderful chance for your legs to rest during yoga sessions. It helps make your ankles supple, stretches your back, your lower legs and your neck muscles. When you think about it, the Garland Pose is actually just a simple squatting position that a lot of people worldwide use daily just to work!

To do the Garland Pose:
Squat with feet as close together as possible. (Keep heels on the floor; otherwise, support them on a folded mat.) Separate thighs slightly wider than torso. Exhaling, lean torso forward and fit it snugly between thighs.

Press elbows against inner knees, bringing palms together in Salutation Seal (Anjali Mudra), and resist knees into elbows. This will help lengthen front torso.

To go further, press inner thighs against sides of torso. Reach arms forward, then swing out to sides and notch shins into armpits. Press finger tips to floor, or reach around outside of ankles and clasp back heels.

Hold position for 30 seconds to 1 minute, inhale, straighten knees, and stand into Uttanasana.

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YPFW :: Fierce Pose

Utkatasana Fierce Pose (also known as the Power or the Chair Pose) :: (OOT-kah-TAHS-anna)
utkata = powerful, fierce

Benefits: strengthens the ankles, thighs, calves, and spine, stretches shoulders and chest, stimulates the abdominal organs, diaphragm, and heart and reduces flat feet by lifting through the arches

How to:
Stand in Mountain Pose (Tadasana). Inhale and raise arms perpendicular to floor. Either keep arms parallel, palms facing inward, or join palms.

Exhale and bend knees, trying to take thighs as nearly parallel to floor as possible, grounding through heels. Knees will project out over feet, and torso will lean slightly forward over thighs until front torso forms approximately a right angle with tops of thighs. Keep inner thighs parallel to each other and press heads of the thigh bones down toward heels.

Firm shoulder blades against back. Take tailbone down toward floor and in toward pubis to keep lower back long.

Stay for 30 seconds to a minute. To come out of pose straighten knees with an inhalation, lifting strongly through arms. Exhale and release arms to sides into Mountain Pose again.

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YPFW :: Downward Facing Dog

Downward Facing Dog :: (AH-doh MOO-kah shvah-NAHS-anna)
adho = downward
mukha = face
svana = dog

Type of Pose :: standing, mild inversion and resting
Benefits :: stretches and strengthens your entire body

How do to do Downward Facing Dog :: Come to hands and knees with the wrists underneath shoulders and the knees underneath hips. Curl toes under and push back raising hips and straightening legs. Spread the fingers and ground down from the forearms into the fingertips.

Outwardly rotate the upper arms broadening collarbones. Let head hang, move shoulder blades away from the ears towards hips. Engage quadriceps strongly to take weight off the arms, making this a resting pose.

Rotate thighs inward, keep tail high and sink heels to floor. Check that the distance between hands and feet is correct by coming forward to a plank position. The distance between hands and feet should be the same in these two poses. Do not step feet toward the hands in position in order to get heels to floor. This will happen eventually as muscles lengthen.

Beginners: Try bending knees, coming up onto balls of feet, bringing belly to rest on thighs and sit bones up high. Then sink heels, straightening legs keeping high upward rotation of sit bones. Also try bending arms slightly out to the side, drawing chest towards thighs. Then re-straighten the arms.

Advanced: If very flexible, try not to let rib cage sink towards floor creating a sinking spine. Draw ribs in to maintain a flat back.

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Yoga poses for women :: Child’s Pose

While I’m healing from herniagate*, I have realized that I really miss doing some basic yoga poses. There are ten yoga poses that have been “recommended” for women, and for the next few days, I’ll run through a few with my readers!

Child’s pose :: (bah-LAHS-anna) bala = child

Type of pose :: a resting pose. Stay anywhere from 30 seconds to a three minutes
Benefits :: stretches hips, thighs and ankles

How to do Child’s pose :: Kneel on floor. Touch big toes together and sit on heels, separate knees as wide as hips. Exhale and lay torso down between thighs.

Broaden sacrum across the back of pelvis and narrow hip points toward the navel, so they nestle down onto the inner thighs. Lengthen tailbone away from the back of the pelvis while lifting the base of skull away from the back of neck.

Two arm variations :: Either stretch the arms in front of you with the palms toward the floor or bring the arms back alongside the thighs with the palms facing upwards.

*See this post for more information on the beginning of herniagate!

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Extended side angle pose

Sticking with some great back stretching and posture-enhancing ideas, I’m bringing you the extended side angle pose today.

“The spine is responsible for sending messages throughout your body, and when you’re hunched, the pathway isn’t as smooth,” says Alison West, Yoga Union Center for Back Care and Scoliosis co-director.

Stand with your feet about four feet apart and turn your left foot out about 90 degrees.
Extend your arms, palms down, at shoulder height.
Bend your left knee until it’s over your ankle.
Flex from the waist to the left and place your left hand outside your left foot. (Can’t reach the floor? Place your elbow on your knee or your hand on the inside of your foot–as shown below–­instead.)
Reach your right arm over your ear and turn your chin toward your right armpit.
Look up and take five slow breaths.
Return to standing and switch sides.
Repeat 3 to 5 times.

New to yoga? Do the move with your back against a wall. “Using the wall takes the balance component out of it,” West says, “so you can concentrate on lengthening your spine and rolling your chest open.”

I can attest to the beauty of this move. I live with chronic back pain (thank you ankylosing spondylitis) and this both stretches my spine and invigorates me! I absolutely recommend this move!

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