Sunday, March 13, 2011

WARRIOR 1

The Warrior poses in yoga are some of your more well known.  However, the postures can be technically difficult or challenging.  I will provide some of the major technical actions for Warrior 1 below:

Warrior 1 (Virabhadrasana 1) - Here are basic actions to this posture:
lunge the right foot forward (about 3 1/2 feet in front of left foot) and turn the back foot out about 45 degrees.  The heel of the lunged foot should be in line with the arch of the back foot (for balance purposes, you may need to widen this stance in the beginning).  Working to square the hips so they are both facing forward by pulling the right hip back and the left hip forward.  The arms sweep up over the head and the gaze is up through the hands.  (and then work the other side - left foot lunges forward...)
Warrior 1 - intermediate actions
Here are a few technical actions to add and look for once you have gotten the basic posture - bent knee is directly over the ankle, front thigh is parallel to the floor, back foot pressing down (entire foot...even the outer side of the foot is flat to the ground).  Lengthen through the lumbar to avoid compression, draw the scapula's in and down...
What this posture is working:  The spinal extensors, deltoids (shoulder), pectoralis major (chest), abdominal's, gluteus maximus, hamstrings, quadriceps...just to name a few.
This pose can be challenging when all the actions are put to the test.  But take it slow and keep a regular practice.
Always remember to engage the Ujjayi breath of inhales and exhales through the nose with the back of the throat and the vocal diaphragm contracted.  Try the basic actions of the pose while engaging the breath and once you feel you have this down, work on some of the more technical actions.

Monday, March 7, 2011

It's In The Breath

Yoga is at the root, a practice of meditation to reach a higher level of consciousness.  Steadying the breath and keeping awareness on the breath calms the mind.  During a vinyasa flow practice, the deep inhales through the nose brings in oxygen and prana (life force), every exhale through the nose removes carbon dioxide and toxins.

Breath is the most important aspect of yoga to engage during any practice.  There is no movement without breath.  Continued awareness to the breath during a vinyasa flow leads to a connection of the mind and the body.  Continued awareness to the inhalations and exhalations can create a meditative like state and will lead to a loving meditation. 

During a vinyasa flow practice, the breath used is called Ujjayi.  To do this correctly, inhale and exhale through the nose with the back of the throat and the vocal diaphragm contracted.  Now your inhales and exhales will sound something like Darth Vader.  Keep the inhales and exhales at an equal length and allowing space between the breaths.

Try the Ujjayi breath now for 10 inhales and exhales of a minimum of 3 seconds each.  See what you feel during and after the breaths.  Work on quieting the mind at the same time.