The gravity-defying arm balances of an advanced yogi are truly magical )and the envy of many less experienced yogi’s). There is no getting around the fact that the flexibility and strength needed to perform pincha mayurāsana (feathered peacock) or tittibhāsana (firefly) are way beyond most of us. But that does not mean that arm balances are off the yoga menu. There is a wonderful selection of accessible arm balances that strengthen the arms and shoulders and are truly perfect as stepping stones on any yogi’s arm balance journey. Here are a few of my absolute favourites. (more…)
Vrksasāsana, or tree pose, is truly one of the most recognisable and iconic of yoga poses. It is a wonderful hip and core strengthener; develops balance and teaches focus. Done well it is incredibly grounding and fits equally well in a class or as a stand-alone pose to calm and soothe. Want to know how to grow your tree? Here’s how… (more…)
Looking for a 5 min sequence when time is short or something to add some fun to your classes – look no further, the warrior mini-sequence will be perfect! I love the strength I find through the first 2 poses than the fun of the last one as I let my imagination run wild! I give you the Warrior 1-2 3… (more…)
Many people come to yoga as a way to increase their flexibility. I certainly did and I remember SO clearly how impossible some yoga poses seemed to be. How could I even dream of doing an utthita pādāngusthāsana balance (standing big toe hold) when I couldn’t actually reach my big toe? My adho mukha śvānāsana (downward-facing dog) looked more like a plank than a pyramid. And the floor was WAY TOO FAR away to touch in my attempts at standing forward folds.
But was I down heartened? Well, actually I was… I thought maybe I was ‘too tight’ for yoga. Too stiff to get anywhere. But I was wrong and my yoga teachers knew that lack of flexibility is no barrier to a budding yogi. They knew that with care and perseverance, yoga was JUST what I needed. They taught me versions of poses that I could manage. Versions that did increase my flexibility and modifications that worked for my beginner’s body. Amongst other things, they showed me poses that were perfect for my tight hips and short hamstrings. And now as a yoga teacher, I absolutely LOVE showing beginner yogis these poses. So, if you are a wobbly warrior with the flexibility of an ironing board – read on! These beginner hip opening poses are perfect for you. (more…)
In recent months I have explored the wonders of the wrist and the secrets of strong shoulders. Each has a huge influence on the way we practice yoga poses and both, rightly, deserved the individual attention. But, what of the bits of the arm between? Just a couple of bones, a few muscles and a hinge in the middle – let’s take a look and discover the sophistication of this undervalued anatomical part. (more…)