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Posture of the Month: Eagle Pose - Garurasana

In the first 3 postures we've stretched the spine and strengthened the body in many ways. Now we move into a compression posture- you are going to squeeze your body like you've never squeezed anything before. From Bikram Yoga: The Guru Behind Hot Yoga Shows

The Posture

  • Compression posture. Squeeze your body like never before.
  • Start feet together facing the mirror.
  • Bring your arms up then swing them down while crossing them with the right arm under the left.
  • Place the palms together, thumbs towards your face, hands in prayer position with the finger tips below the nose.
  • Bend your knees and sit down to a depth similar to Awkward Pose.
  • Bring the right leg up and over the left thigh.
  • Wrap the right foot behind the left calf muscle.
  • Sink down deeper and bring your upper body back.
  • Slowly come up and repeat on the left side.

Tips

  • If you cannot bring the hands into prayer interlock your fingers and pull down until your knuckles are below the mouth.
  • Pulling down continuously with the arms will develop the flexibility you need in the shoulders and stretch out tight places in neck and shoulders.
  • To wrap legs tighter, after you bend the legs, lift your right leg up really high and reach as far left as you can before bringing back down and wrapping around left calf.
  • Sit down deeper and bring the upper body slightly back to lower your center of gravity and maintain balance.
  • Focus on aligning the 14 major joints within your body (seven on each side).
  • At home, practice while sitting on a chair. Use your hands to push the leg/foot around the calf muscle.

Benefits

  • Opens up the 14 major joints in the skeletal system: hips, knees, ankles, shoulders, elbows, and wrists.
  • Supplies fresh oxygenated blood to the reproductive system (pregnancy pose) and organs along with the kidneys.
  • Improve sexual vitality and control.
  • Tones and strengthen the calves, thighs, hips, and abdomen.

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Posture of the Month: Awkward Pose - Utkatasana

From "Bikram Yoga: The Guru Behind Hot Yoga Shows the Way to Radiant Health and Personal Fulfillment". Awkward Pose is a powerful strengthening posture that concludes a sort of warm-up section in which you generate internal heat and loosen the muscles. This is a very challenging for a lot of people, so it's good for instilling discipline and integrating control of the mind with the action of the body.

The Posture

  • Start with your feet 6 inches apart or space of both fists together on the floor.
  • Raise your arms parallel to the floor, palms down.
  • Keep 6 inches between your arms, wrists, knees, and feet.

Part 1

  • Keep heels flat on floor.
  • Slowly sit down until your thighs are parallel to the floor like there is an imaginary chair behind you.
  • Lift your chest up and lean upper body backward while stretching your fingertips towards the mirror.
  • Come up as slow as you came into the posture

Part 2

  • Keep your arms in front of your and come up onto your tippy toes and lock your knees by squeezing thigh muscles.
  • Sit back down, still on your toes, with spine straight, back flat, stomach sucked in until your thighs are parallel to the floor.
  • Your back will be straight when you feel like you are tipping backward slightly.
  • Return to standing with your arms still out towards the mirror.

Part 3

  • Raise up on your toes a little bit and bring your knees and thighs tightly together.
  • Suck your stomach in.
  • Sink down until you are sitting on your heels.
  • Keep your spine straight like sliding down a wall.
  • Slowly come up, bring your feel together and lower the arms.

Tips

  • Always remember to breathe.
  • Engage your stomach muscle throughout the whole posture.
  • Keep your weight in the heels (Part 1).
  • Lean the upper body back while really stretching your arms forward to counterbalance.
  • The higher you come up on the toes, the easier it is to balance (Part 2).Keep your back flat and straight like you are leaning against an imaginary wall
  • Focus on keeping your knees apart as they will want to come together (Parts 1&2)
  • Remember to keep your arms parallel to floor and the muscles engaged, elbows locked and five fingers together.

Benefits

  • Tones and shapes your legs.
  • Strengthens the thighs, calves, and hips.
  • Gets rid of chronically cold feet.
  • Makes hip joints flexible.
  • Firms the upper arms.
  • Increases blood circulation in the knees & ankle joints.
  • Relieves rheumatism, arthritis, & gout in the legs.
  • Helps to cure slipped disc & lumbago in lower spine.
  • Promotes intense concentration.

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Posture of the Month: Half Moon with Hands to Feet Arda Chandrasana with Pada-Hastasana

In Half Moon, you begin to open up the whole skeletal system, including the spine, the neck, the ribs and the scapula. Your entire body will open like a beautiful blooming flower. From "Bikram Yoga: The Guru Behind Hot Yoga Shows the Way to Radiant Health and Personal Fulfillment"

The Posture

  • Start with you feet together, arms up, interlocked fingers with the index fingers released.
  • Bend right and left to warm up, stop in the center. Make sure you are stretching up to the centre each time.
  • Push your hips to the left and slowly bring your upper body down on the right; breathe normally.
  • Slowly return to the center and repeat on the left side.
  • Return to the center and stretch up.
  • Drop the head back, bring your arms back, and slowly bend your upper body backwards.
  • Return to the center then slowly bend down and grab your heels.
  • Straighten out the legs while keeping your body against the thighs and arms pulling on the heels.
  • Release your hands and slowly come up.

Tips These stretches in four directions gets our bodies ready for the class so it is important to work extra hard at this point. Side stretching

  • Focus on form before depth.
  • Keep the elbows locked and the chin up.

Backward bend

  • Avoid collapsing in your lower back.
  • Feel the stretch all over your total spine.
  • Try to set your gaze to the wall behind you.
  • Keep breathing. Never hold your breath.

Forward bend

  • Keep the body compressed to the legs with no room for air. Bend your knees if you need to in order to keep the connection.
  • Roll your body weight forward when the knees are locked.
  • Pull with your arms to create traction.

Benefits

  • Increases flexibility in the spine.
  • Strengthens the midsection creating better posture and trimming the waistline, hips, buttocks, and thighs.
  • Promotes proper kidney function.
  • Increase circulation and strength in the legs.
 

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Posture of the Month: Pranayama Breathing - Standing Deep Breathing

Exert from "Bikram Yoga: The Guru Behind Hot Yoga Shows the Way to Radiant Health and Personal Fulfillment".

Pranayama breathing feels strange at first, because your lungs are not used to maximum expansion and contraction.  they will feel tight and small, which is perfectly normal.  It might even be impossible for you to inhale fully for six full counts (roughly 6 seconds).  But with each class, you will find that the breath becomes deeper and fuller.

The Posture

  • Start with your feet together, fingers interlaced under your chin, thumbs touching the throat.
  • Slowly inhale through the nose while simultaneously raising your elbows until the forearms frame the face, press your chin into your knuckles.
  • Once the lungs are full of air, slowly exhale through the mouth as you drop your head backwards with the elbows coming together and arms parallel to the ceiling. Keep chin in contact with the knuckles.
  • Lower your head and open your arms to repeat the cycle.

Tips

  • Keep the heels together and the bunion bones touching.  Keep your lower body contracted.
  • Concentrate on pressing your chin into the knuckles.
  • Continue to sip in air until the very last moment.
  • The eyes are to remain open throughout the whole posture.
  • Breath by compressing the throat: as you inhale strongly through the nose, the stream of air should be so powerful that it makes a smooth snoring sound when it hits the back of your throat.  When you exhale, the air hits that same spot in the back of the throat.

Benefits

  • Increases lung capacity and elasticity
  • Helps prevent respiratory problems such as bronchitis, emphysema, asthma, and shortness of breath
  • Helps with mental relaxation
  • Helps high blood pressure
  • Relieves irritability
  • Good for detoxification
  • Exercises nervous, respiratory and circulatory systems

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Posture of the Month: Ardha-Matsyendrasana Spine Twisting Pose

spinal twist Ardha-Matsyendrasana  Spine Twist Pose "Now that every part of the body is flexed and warm, we can perform this very powerful manipulation, the spinal twist." -Bikram Choudhury The Posture
  • From a seated position, place the outer side of your right leg on the floor with the knee bent and right heel touching the outside of your left hip
  • Bring the left leg up and over the right knee
  • The sole of the foot should be flat on the ground with the outside corner of the right knee touching the left heel
  • Raise the right arm up and over to the left so you can bring it to the outside of your left knee, elbow on the knee
  • Grab your right knee with your right hand
  • Bring your left arm behind you, palm facing up, to grasp your right thigh
  • Rotate your head to the left and twist from the spine as much as possible
  • Unwind slowly then repeat on the other side
Tips and Reminders
  • If you have a recent injury and cannot bend the leg, keep the supporting leg straight but still bend the working leg over it
  • If you cannot bring the arm around the back of your body to the thigh try to grab hold of your shorts or place your hand directly behind your for stability
  • It is important to keep the spine upright and straight to allow for it to twist
Benefits
  • Increases circulation and nutrition to spinal nerves, veins, and tissues
  • Improves spinal elasticity and flexibility
  • Helps cure lumbago and rheumatism of the spine
  • Improves digestion
  • Firms abdomen, thighs and buttocks

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