Pigeon Pose

(Eka pada rajakapotasana)

Feeling a little sad about the passing of Chris Cornell as he was one of my teen crushes so I picked this pose because it’s a great pose for emotional release. It’s also one of my faves and one of my original teachers must’ve loved it because it was always in his flow!

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Pigeon Pose

Moving from downward dog, inhale and lift your right leg to the sky. On the exhale, bring the leg through to the front and send your right ankle to your left wrist, bringing your hips to the ground. Try to align with the short edge of your mat or bring your foot back towards your hip, whatever is the most comfortable for you. Have a look behind you and ensure your back leg is coming straight from the hip. Keep your focus on your breath as you build your base and find balance in your hips by edging your left side to the mat, keeping you hips square. Spend some time with your torso upright, looking with soft focus. Inhale and slowly lower down to sleeping pigeon. You might like to make some minor adjustments to find your comfort. Breathe into the pose as your rest. You may rest your head on a block, on your fists or on the mat. After around 30 seconds, slowly bring your weight over your toes on your left foot as you transition back to three legged dog and back to downward dog. Repeat this sequence with the left leg swinging forward.

Modifications and Considerations:

  • If your knees are sensitive, thread the needle on your back opens the hips in a more passive way
  • You can put a cushion or bolster under your hip for better balance and support

The Good Stuff:

  • Lengthens hip flexors
  • Great preparations for back bends and seated postures
  • Engages core to balance
  • Stretches thighs, psoas and groin
  • Calming for the mind
  • Positive implications for women’s reproductive organs
  • Great for those who sit at a desk all day

The Philosophy:

  • Consciously connect with the energy that courses through your body
  • As you release into this pose notice the feelings that arise, acknowledge and let go
  • Surrender into this pose and know that you are safe and supported
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Child’s Pose

(balasana)

My shoulders were feeling tight today so this was my pick! And even though I’m picking poses randomly, it seems what I choose is exactly what I need, of course!


Child’s Pose

Moving from table top position, bring your big toes together, spread your knees as wide as comfortable and bring your butt to rest on your heels. If your shoulders allow it, place your arms on the ground in front of. Make minor adjustments so that your belly is resting softly. Ensure your spine stays straight extending to the neck and place your head on the ground. Ensure your hands are well grounded and pulling slightly back towards you. As your hands engage, push your bum back into your feet, feel the give and take of the pose. As you inhale notice the space between your ribs and as you exhale notice your chest soften into the mat. 

Modifications and Considerations:

  • Bring arms down by your legs for a more restorative pose
  • Use a block or your fist/s if your hand isn’t comfortable on the mat, rotate neck if it gets sore
  • If it bothers the knees, go to seated meditation or on your back with arms extended, or you could pop a bolster underneath you

The Good Stuff:

  • It’s a great resting pose 
  • Stretches the quads and back
  • Relaxes the muscles in the front side of the body
  • Releases internal organs forward 
  • Opens back of thorax and lungs

The Philosophy:

  • To rest is to know your body, listen to the cues and give your body what it needs
  • Bring your mind to your intention or san kulpa and stay in touch with this 
  • Focus on your breath
  • Know that you are supported
  • Surrender to gravity and the state of non-doing
  • Trace the journey of your breath and let it centre you
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Hey hey it’s extended side angle!

(Utthita parsvakonasana)

Some people love it and some don’t! Personally I’m a fan!


Extended Side Angle 

Moving from Warrior 2, inhale and engage your belly, reach your front arm forward to your knee. On the exhale bring your front forearm to rest on your thigh. Inhale and lift your other arm to the sky and if your neck feels good, look up at that hand. Press through your feet and, hug the shin bones up your legs and engage your quads. Check that your front knee if not collapsing in and that your ribs are not popping out. Soften ribs to spine and lengthen your waist on the lowered side. Soften neck and open your chest. Notice if your collapsing in bottom shoulder and tip pelvis if butt is poking out. Keep the velocity and intensity even in all your limbs. Repeat on other side.

Modifications and considerations:

  • If you have the flexibility you can slide your hand down to the floor or bind hands between the legs, ensure chest stays open.
  • Drop your hand and place on sacrum to open your chest 
  • Look down or neutrally if neck is sore
  • Place a block on the ground if that’s easier to reach
  • Don’t lean on front knee, just rest arm there
  • For a further extension lift bottom arm to be parallel to top arm and feel the side stretch intensify

The Good Stuff:

  • Strengthens and tones legs, abs and arms
  • Opens your chest, lengthens your spine and  stretches sides
  • Energises the body

The Philosophy:

  • Keep your feet on the ground but reach for the stars
  • Open your chest and you will open your heart
  • Find balance in the imbalance
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Tree Pose

(Vrkasana)

Okay a pose a day is too much but one every second day is 👌🏼

Tree pose

Inhaling, root down into the ground with your foot, feeling it beneath you. On the exhale lift you foot and place it on your opposite ankle, shin or upper thigh, turning your knee to open out to the front. Lift your leg to help if you need and beware of rest your foot on the knee. Inhaling, press down from the sole of your foot to the thigh. Keep your upper body engaged, notice your spine and neck alignment, stack your crown, threat and heart, ensure shoulders are back and sliding down the spine, level your pelvis, soften your jaw and face. Gaze softly in the distance. You may place your hands together at the heart, opened up or joined above your head. Have a drishti point in the distance to focus on. Repeat on left and right sides.

Modifications & Considerations:

  • If experiencing shoulder problems, keep hands on hips or use goal post arms.
  • Keep toe on the ground or use a wall or partner to help steady you
  • Close your eyes to challenge your balance
  • Watch for knee sensitivity and come out if feeling pain

The Good Stuff:

  • Helps with balance and coordination
  • Strengthens thighs, calves, ankles and spine
  • Relieves sciatica
  • Reverses flat foot
  • Stretches the groin and inner thighs, chest and shoulders

The philosophy:

  • Find your roots, stay grounded 
  • Be patient and persistent
  • Come from a place of non-judgement 
  • Fall and try again, your roots will keep you safe
  • Be balanced in body and mind 
  • Everyday is a new day accept the challenges that are presented to you 
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(Paschimottasana)

I’m trying to get back into the groove of being more yoga! And I’m tasking myself to study one pose every day. Today:

The Seated Forward Fold

I can touch my toes – always have been able to but what’s down there is always different.


Ensure you can feel your sit bones grounded, engage your legs from your calves to your quad and flex your feet back towards you. Lengthen your spine to the crown, stacking the centre of your belly, chest, throat and crown. Soften face. Inhale and float your hands up to the sky, and exhale, bending from the hips reach foward. Keep you spine straight and try not to hunch your shoulders, breathe should remain constant and easy. Reach for toes, calves, knees or wherever is your edge. Continue to feel the breath travelling in and out of your body and feel yourself fall deeper into the pose on your exhales. Stay here for at least 5 breaths and rise up on an inhale.

Modifications/ Considerations

  •  a strap can be used to help deepen the pose, wrap around the ball of both feet and ease your hands up the strap to go deeper.
  • if knees or back are an issue, keep knees bent or supported.

The good stuff:

  • calms brain and relieves stress
  • stretches spine, shoulders and hamstrings
  • stimulate liver, kidneys, shoulders and uterus
  • improves digestion
  • Helps relieve symptoms of menopause and menstrual discomfort
  • soothes headaches and anxiety and reduces fatigue 
  • therapeutic for high blood pressure, infertility, insomnia and sinusitis 
  • traditional texts say it increases appetite, reduces obesity and cures diseases

The philosophy:

  • Breathe, surrender and release is the process of this pose
  • Do not strive, let your body be
  • Do not judge your body, do not judge yourself, you are exactly where you need to be

Seated Forward Fold

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Going with the flow

Be a drop, a stream, or a raging river—it doesn’t matter which form you take, as long as you remain in the flow.

I’ve been having trouble with Warrior 1. No matter how I adjust my stance, move my hips, twist my torso and press my feet, I just can not find my way in the pose. I’ve looked online, researched in books and taken to being a creepy Warrior 1 stalker, with stance envy. However, I have yet to find a solution. And so I am at a crossroads, do I give up and exclude the pose in all the sequences I teach and when practicing, do I just drop my knee or do I find my version of Warrior 1? It’s not meant to be a challenging pose, and that’s why my self talk is so mean, ‘everyone is getting this except you!’ I mean who is this jerk, talking to me like that! It’s me and then I feel bad for being mean and then I feel sad! It’s quite the emotional roller coaster when you consider all we are talking about here is a yoga pose! 

The Sutras of Patanjali explain that asana is that pose which is comfortable and steady – and I am neither comfortable or steady. And I don’t know how to fix it! As a particularly independent person, some may say stubborn, I find it difficult to ask for help because I enjoy working things out for myself and not having to rely on anyway. But I suppose if I’m going to start being a little vulnerable, I guess I can start with asking for help with my Warrior 1. Sure, it’s just a yoga pose but it’s also a life lesson – I will remain in the flow and reach out for what I need.

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Yoga Poetry

I was looking on the good old world wide web for a good poem to read during savasana today and I found a nice one to use, however, it soon occurred to me that there was a much easier solution. I am a writer – duh! I needed to write my own poems for savansana. And I did! And here it is! This is just the beginning, yoga poetry has never crossed my mind but this is something really special. I’ve always thought my best gift for anyone was my words, and that’s true for yoga too. It’s a little hug for my classes, can’t wait to try it out. This one is about ahimsa, which is a component of the Yamas, the first limb of yoga in Raja Yoga. This concept encourages you to practice non-harm, this is harm to others and yourself. It’s a beautiful concept and while we often finds it easy to practice this on others, we forget to be kind to ourselves. This poem emphasises this self-love.

Honour

As my body surrenders to the mat
I feel the love in my bones and on my skin
Soft to touch
I honour this body, I honour this life
And in doing so I bring no harm to myself
I search for those parts in me that need healing
And I send my light to these places
The light which radiates from my body is my life force
I give my light freely and I am then surrounded by love
I am well, I am happy, I am loved
As I honour my body, it honours me

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Namaste

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