Imagine Balance

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Tag Archives: Yoga

back to class

(source : mday2010)

Almost all of my yoga practice has been at home. I would love to take more in studio classes, but sadly it never fit with my work schedule when I could afford it and now that I have free time I have less money. Last year for Christmas I signed up for an 8 week beginners Ashtanga program and LOVED it. So this year I bought myself a pack of class passes. Yesterday I signed up for my first class of the year: Beyond Beginners. I thought it would be a nice transition back into a led practice.

I was insanely nervous on my way there. What if I can’t keep up? What if I’ve forgotten all of it? Will I like the teacher? I freaked myself out over nothing. In fact, the class was far too easy for me. It seemed more Before Beginning than for someone who would have taken one of their beginner’s programs. While it was relaxing, we only focused on a few poses. At first I was disappointed but after thinking about it more, it was perfect. Now I feel more confident to jump into a led ashtanga class.

I’m also threatening my husband that we either use our gym membership this month or I’m canceling it and using the money for yoga 🙂

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Practice at Home – iRelax Melodies

I’ve been working towards practicing yoga at home without being led. I’ll be sure to post about what podcast and DVDs I use in the near future. However, this week I wanted to introduce you to an iPhone app called iRelax Melodies. You simply click on the types of sounds you want to hear to add them together into one beautiful melody. You can save favorites, set a sleep timer or alarm, shake to shuffle. My favorite mix is flute, orchestral, zen, and melody. However, they also have piano, waterfall, thunder, night, fire, river, ocean, rain, wind, music box, lounge, and birds that call all be mixed together how ever you want.

Here is an online review I came across of the Premium app that also includes images of the app. (there is also a lite app that is free)

Surya Namaskar B {Sun Salutation B}

Surya Namaskar B is the second sequence of an Ashtanga practice. You would do this after five Surya Namaskar A. I’ve bolded what is different from Surya Namaskar A.

{Find a video of the Surya Namaskar B sequence at the bottom of the post}

1. Tadasna – Mountain Pose (link)

  • notes to self : remember to keep all four corners of the foot equally rooted, you can start with your feet hip width apart until your balance is better

2. Utkatasana – Chair Pose (link)

  • try to keep your hips at the same angle as when standing in mountain pose

3. Uttanasana – Standing Forward Bend (link)

  • bend from the hit keeping the back straight only curve head towards shins once bent over

4. Ardha Uttanasana – Half Standing Pose (link)

5. Plank Pose (link)

  • can start with half-plank pose (on knees) and work your way to full plank pose

6. Chaturanga Dandasana – Four-Limbed Staff Pose (link)

  • can lower yourself to your stomach and work towards this

7. Urdhva Mukha Svanasana – Upward-Facing Dog (link)

8. Adho Mukha Svanasana – Downward-Facing Dog (link)

  • do not hold this one for five breaths!

9. Virabhadrasana I – Warrior 1 (link)

  • right always goes first
  • work on bringing your hips forward

10. Chaturanga Dandasana – Four-Limbed Staff Pose (link)

  • can lower yourself to your stomach and work towards this

11. Urdhva Mukha Svanasana – Upward-Facing Dog (link)

12. Adho Mukha Svanasana – Downward-Facing Dog (link)

  • also do not hold this one for 5 counts

13. Virabhadrasana I – Warrior 1 (link)

  • now repeat step 9 with your left foot forward
  • work on bringing your hips forward

14. Chaturanga Dandasana – Four-Limbed Staff Pose (link)

  • can lower yourself to your stomach and work towards this

15. Urdhva Mukha Svanasana – Upward-Facing Dog (link)

16. Adho Mukha Svanasana – Downward-Facing Dog (link)

  • hold for 5 breaths – if you can comfortably hold this pose with your heels on the floor for all 5 breaths then place your feet further back

17. Ardha Uttanasana – Half Standing Pose (link)

18. Uttanasana – Standing Forward Bend (link)

  • bend from the hit keeping the back straight only curve head towards shins once bent over

19. Utkatasana – Chair Pose (link)

  • try to keep your hips at the same angle as when standing in mountain pose

20. Tadasna – Mountain Pose (link)

— repeat 5 times —

Surya Namaskar A {Sun Salutation A}

Surya Namaskar A {Sun Salutation A} is the beginning sequence of an Ashtanga yoga practice. It should be repeated 5 times before moving on to Surya Namaskar B.

{Find a video of Sun Salutation A at the bottom of the post.}

– I’m going to cheat this week and just add links to descriptions of the poses. –

1. Tadasna – Mountain Pose (link)

  • notes to self : remember to keep all four corners of the foot equally rooted, you can start with your feet hip width apart until your balance is better

2. Urdhva Hastasana – Upward Salute (link)

  • if you cannot keep your arms straight and your shoulders back then lower your arms in front of you until you can

3. Uttanasana – Standing Forward Bend (link)

  • bend from the hit keeping the back straight only curve head towards shins once bent over

4. Ardha Uttanasana – Half Standing Pose (link)

5. Plank Pose (link)

  • can start with half-plank pose (on knees) and work your way to full plank pose

6. Chaturanga Dandasana – Four-Limbed Staff Pose (link)

  • can lower yourself to your stomach and work towards this

7. Urdhva Mukha Svanasana – Upward-Facing Dog (link)

8. Adho Mukha Svanasana – Downward-Facing Dog (link)

  • hold for 5 breaths – if you can comfortably hold this pose with your heels on the floor for all 5 breaths then place your feet further back

9. Ardha Uttanasana

10. Uttanasana

11. Urdhva Hastasana

12. Tadasna

— REPEAT 5 TIMES —

What is Ashtanga Yoga?

There are many forms of yoga of which I’ve chosen to take a beginners Ashtanga course. Ashtanga is the Sanskrit word for “eight limbed”. The eight limbs of Ashtanga are:

  1. Yama – moral codes
  2. Niyama – self-purification and study , personal observances
  3. Asana – body postures, physical study
  4. Pranayama – breath control
  5. Pratyahara – sense control
  6. Dharana – concentration, cultivating inner peceptual awareness
  7. Dhyana – meditation, devotion
  8. Samadhi – contemplation, union with the Divine

Ashtanga yoga consists of 150 asanas (poses) that are practiced in the same order (great for Type A Personalities). You can of course mix it up at home. One starts with 5 Sun Salutations A, then 5 Sun Salutations B, then Standing and Seated poses, followed by a finishing sequence. I’ll of course go into these as I learn them.

So where did Ashtanga yoga come from? The Ashtanga Vinyasa series is said to have its origin in an ancient text called the Yoga Korunta. In addition, there is evidence that the Ashtanga Vinyasa series incorporates exercises used by Indian wrestlers and British gymnastics. Krishnamacharya has had considerable influence on many of the modern forms of yoga taught today. Among his students were many notable present-day teachers such as K. Pattabhi Jois, B.K.S. Iyengar, Indra Devi, and Krishnamacharya’s son T.K.V. Desikachar. Vinyasa has since been thought of as a physically demanding practice, which can be successful at channeling the hyperactivity of young minds. This system can also be used as a vessel for helping calm ongoing chatter of the mind, reducing stress and teaching extroverted personalities to redirect their attention to their internal experience. – from Wikipedia

What can Ashtanga yoga do for you? Not only is it a full body work-out, but it helps ease stress!