The main goal of So You Think You Can Yoga?® is to demystify some of the common misperceptions people have about yoga. One of them is the notion that unless you are naturally flexible yoga is uncomfortable and impossible. Yes, the asanas do require flexibility but they also require strength. With a consistent practice, flexibility and strength develop together; like a married couple. They are two sides of the same coin. People who tend to be on the stiff side usually fare better with poses that require more strength. People who are more on the flexible side tend to do better with poses that facilitate elongation of the muscles and ligaments. Neither one is more advanced than the other per se. The degree of difficulty really depends on which side of the coin you identify with the most. Yoga is about balance. The goal is to reach equilibrium between the two sides of this coin.
Astavakrasana is an “advanced” asana because there are several elements to it. Astavakrasana illustrates the duality of yoga specific to a yoga practice because it requires core strength and flexibility. Below is a sequence of asanas designed to help prepare your body for astavakrasana. It helps to think about this pose in terms of component parts, which include the core and hip flexibility. The sequence below strengthens the core muscles while simultaneously targeting external rotation of the hip joints.
Thursday, 21 July 2011
Too many people think they can't do yoga...and the reason they think this lies in their hips. Most people are quite tight in the hips because of our sedentary culture. We sit in traffic, we sit in front of our computers at work and then we come home and sit in front of our computers again as we "socialize" with our virtual friends. Excessive sitting, especially with poor posture, leads to constant flexion of the hip joint causing tightness and stiffness.
True, your hips might be tight with respect to one range of motion, but they might be very loose in another. In other words, your hip flexors could be very tight, yet you might naturally possess more external rotation in your hips than the person next to you making certain poses like pigeon pose more accessible and poses like crescent pose less accessible. This is where the beauty of personal exploration chimes in. If you are honest about your physical limitations and practice consistently and without judgement, you'll notice a refined sense of awareness when it comes to your body. You will begin understanding which poses work for your joints, which ones don’t and most importantly why.
Check out this video. I provide three hip openers for you to try. Each one stretches the hip joint differently. So try all of them on and see which one fits your body best.
Saturday, 09 July 2011
Wednesday, 06 July 2011
Watch this video to learn how to simultaneously stretch and tone your entire core. The underlying poses for this exercise include adho muhka svanasana (downward facing dog) and plank pose. You will need one folded up yoga blanket to assist you in this excercise. Practice this exercise on a smooth surface, like a wood floor. Begin with three sets of five repetitions. Work your way up to ten repetitions. Rest in balasana (child's pose) in between sets. _LFoOJMmTKU
Tuesday, 07 June 2011
*(Click "Watch on YouTube" if you click on this video and it doesn't start right away)
Whether he was aware of it or not, good ole’ George Costanza from NBC's hit sit-com Seinfeld seeminly understood what it meant to bring things into balance…at least it appears he understood. In episode 22 of the show’s fifth season, it hit me!!!! Geroge Costanza was practicing yoga without even realizing it. During the episode, George proclaims that as of this very moment he will do the exact opposite of every initial instinct he has ever had because these instincts never led George to accomplish his desired goals. Therefore, doing the exact opposite must be the right thing to do. DISCLAIMER*** George Costanza took his “yoga practice” to the extreme in this example. I’m not endorsing stringent adherence to George Costanza’s advice nor do I think that heeding to George’s Hollywood generated recommendation will suddenly usher you into an era of finally becoming that advanced yoga practitioner you always dreamt of becoming nor will it propel you into a state of enlightenment. But it's certainly an interesting modern world comparision (is 1994 still considered modern?) with respect to yoga philosophy. Watch the above clip—it’s hilarious.
Perhaps George Costanza was wiser than we gave him credit for becuase at least in this one episode George apprears to grasp the idea of pratipaksa bhavanam, an idea discussed in Sutra 33, Book II of Patanjali's Yoga Sutras. Let me try to summerize the idea of pratipaksa bhavanam in the most succinct way I can. Here goes... Because our thoughts give rise to our emotional state, when disturbed by a negative thought one should replace this thought with the opposite thought. Pratipaksa bhavanam is the discipline of first recognizing the negative thought pattern as counterproductive and then replacing that thought with the opposite (positive) thought. Practicing pratipaksa bhavanam allows one to cultivate the opposing attitude and in doing so, brings the psyche and the consciousness into a more balanced state. At the heart of the matter, this balanced and blissful state is precisely what yoga is all about. Mastery of physical asana is totally unnecessary in order to be successful at cultivating the opposing attitude and therefore achieving a balanced emotional state.
Wednesday, 01 June 2011
Let the video speak for itself:
Wednesday, 15 December 2010
So often we ignore what we can’t see. How many of us make an effort to see our legs, much less stretch them on a daily basis? Unless you are a competitive athlete or professional dancer you probably don’t pay much attention to your stems. How many of us love to go shoe shopping? I would bet that most of you love it (or at least secretly love it and don’t want to admit it). The shoes we wear everyday constrict our feet and for about 90% of our day we don’t feel the soles of our feet sprawl out on the earth beneath us like our cavemen ancestors used to.
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Wednesday, 15 September 2010