Runner’s  Lunge  “the asana treasure waiting to be discovered”

Runner’s  Lunge  “the asana treasure waiting to be discovered”

In an article published in Yoga International, Luke Ketterhagen described banarasana (one of the names given to the Lunge pose) as “an asana treasure waiting to be discovered”. This reminded me of a workshop I attended with Ana Forrest. She also recommended practising Lunge pose. In her book “Fierce Medicine”, she  wrote: “When you are moving into Lunge, you’re dealing with big muscles –quadriceps- so it takes a while for the pose to take its effect. This pose is so simple, and it works deeply. Anatomically, it’s straightforward, but energetically and physiologically, it’s a mover and a shaker.” (page 30) In Yoga Therapy, we learn that the benefits of the pose are varied: it tones the abdominal muscles and gives a good stretch to the back and hip flexors. It strengthens the hips, legs, ankles and feet and induces balance in the nervous system! So here are the instructions to come into Lunge: Starting from the table position, on all four, step your left foot forward between your hands.  Left knee is directly over the ankle and the shin perpendicular to the ground. Extend the right leg behind and place the knee and the top of the foot on the floor. Make sure the neck is in line with the spine, head looking down. Fingertips are on the floor or if you feel more comfortable, place blocks under your hands. Then lengthen the left thigh forward and the right thigh back, lowering the hips towards the mat. Stay in the pose for 30 to 60 seconds and then come back to table position and change side. Repeat a few...
MS Hug (How Yoga helps)

MS Hug (How Yoga helps)

I had just finished reading a great article (Sam Harris’s Vanishing Self by Gary Gutting) when the pain started. My ribcage was caught in a vice. My breath got shorter and shallower. So I got up, walked around trying to stand up and then lied down breathing as deeply as I could. But it didn’t stop. I then decided to go on my yoga mat – I am lucky to have a ‘yoga room’ where my mat is always waiting for me, with bolsters and blocks. Without any hesitation, I went into Supta Badda Konasana, the Bound Angle Pose. I demonstrated this pose in a video for ekhartyoga: Watch the video I did this pose without the belt though and stayed for about ten minutes, listening to some relaxing music. Peter had brought my iPad in the room and lit the candles to help me relax – i think he was a bit worried as he had never seen me with the MS hug before! I then moved into Savasana, the Corpse Pose, and played a ‘Chanting Om’ album. I listened to Om being continuously chanted, anchoring my breath on each long slow Om. I did this for about twenty minutes, focusing on keeping with the breath, and then I felt better. Later on, I also meditated briefly, had a nice cup of tea and a hot shower. The crisis was over. Yoga doesn’t take away the pain of the MS Hug – it is hard to reach the muscles being in spasm with the MS hug- but it helps. For me, it is like having a toothache. On the one...
Balancing Table – Dandayamna Bharmanasana

Balancing Table – Dandayamna Bharmanasana

How to do it? 1. We start on all four, with the knees directly under the hips and the hands under the shoulders. We spread the fingers and press on the web area between the thumbs and the index fingers to avoid unnecessary pressure on the wrist. 2. Inhale and extend the right leg up parallel to the floor, reaching the toes towards the back wall. 3. Exhale and gently draw the navel in towards the spine, finding stability by looking between your thumbs. 4. On the next inhale, extend the left arm up parallel to the ground. Lengthen from the toes to the finger tips. 5. Hold for 5 breaths, breathing slowly and deeply. Then to come out of the pose, exhale as you bring the left arm on the mat and lower the right knee back down. – Repeat on the other side. Why do it? The Balancing Table is a great pose to improve balance! It looks simple but students are often surprised at how difficult it is to remain stable and balance! It teaches us to pay attention to the alignment, the breath, the core and to focus! Balancing Table (to be honest, I never use the Sanskrit name for this pose!) also helps improve the memory and coordination and the core strength if practised regularly. Precautions If you have problems with your knees, you might find it difficult to stay in the pose for a few breaths. Try placing a folded blanket or some sort of padding under the knee to reduce pressure. I really like this pose. It is simple but helps to wake up in the...
Mudras

Mudras

Basic Concept Each finger corresponds to one element: fire (thumb), air (index finger), ether (middle finger), earth (ring finger) and water (little finger). When practising a mudra, one places the fingers and the thumb in a particular manner. They touch lightly. This specific position enables the flow of energy between the fingers in a manner that enhances specific brain and bodily functions. How to Practise Mudras should be practised regularly and consistently, which for some people is an inconvenient. Some say you should practise for about 20 minutes, others say either 45 minutes once a day or for 15 minutes three times a day. For chronic illnesses, it is advisable to practise daily for… a few months at least. There are many hand mudras such as: Pran Mudra – to stimulate energy Garuda Mudra to give strength Shakti Mudra which has a calming effect and helps to fall asleep Kalesvara Mudra which calms the mind and support concentration. Why not try one of these four mudras for a month? Even if you start with 5 minutes, three times a day. This should help you notice if it works for you. Hand mudras are usually practised while sitting in a comfortable seated position or in a chair with the spine straight but you can also practise lying down, standing or walking. Just be sure that your body is symmetrical -not leaning towards one side- and relaxed. If you are afraid of “losing your time”, you may also try and focus on your breath, do some visualization or meditate! This blog entry was first published on EkhartYoga.com: Read the original...
Legs-Up-The-Wall – Viparita Karani

Legs-Up-The-Wall – Viparita Karani

How to do it? 1. Sit with one hip very close to the wall. 2. Swing your legs up as you lean back and down onto your mat. 3. Press your feet on the wall to lift your hips off the ground and place the rolled blanket a few inches off the wall under your sacrum [do not use the rolled blanket during menstruation though]. Lie back down. It should feel comfortable. 3. Rest your hands on your belly or spread them to your sides. Stay in the pose for at least 5 minutes. It will calm the mind, and relieve tired legs and...