Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Pose of the Month!

Halloween is a celebration of things that scare us.  For many yogis, inversions are the scariest part of the asana practice.  An inversion is any pose that turns you upside down and gets your heart over your head.  Pinchamyurasana, known more commonly as “Forearm Stand” is a deep heart opener as well as a core strengthener.  A perfect pose to practice during the colder months, this pose stretches out the shoulders and warms up the core.

-Strengthens the shoulders, back, and abdomen
-Stretches the shoulders, neck, and chest
-Like all inversions, activates the “off-switch” portion of the nervous system, creating a calming effect

How to:
Before attempting this pose, ensure that the hamstrings and the shoulders are sufficiently stretched, and do some core-work as well.  Be aware that it can take years to fully realize this pose in the body, and that’s ok.  Try the steps outlined below, and stay and work where you meet your edge – one day you will push through that boundary and onto the next step. No fear!

1. Bring the skinny edge of the mat to a solid wall. Come to hands and knees and lower down onto the forearms.  See that the elbows are as wide as the shoulders and the hands are 6” to 1’ away from the wall. 

2.  Tuck the toes and lift the hips into Dolphin pose (like Down Dog but on your forearms).  Gaze forward at the thumbs.  If it is difficult to keep the elbows from winging out, use a strap and a block as pictured here:

3.  Walk the feet as close to the wall as they will go.  Keep the gaze forward at the thumbs and lift the right leg up.  Notice if the lower back collapses. If so, then scoop the naval in and up so the tailbone lengthens back.  Keep the right leg very active, and lift way up onto the ball of the left foot. 

4.  Start to put a little more effort into the rocking of the left foot and hop the left foot a few inches off the floor.  Maintain a long lower back and a long right leg.

5.  Begin to increase the size of the kicks, keeping both legs as straight as possible on the ascent.

6.  If both feet can reach the wall, lengthen the tailbone up toward the ceiling and then take the right foot off the wall so it stacks on top of the rest of the body.  Then bend the left knee and come to the left toes against the wall.  Squeeze the knees and thighs together and try straightening both legs.

7.  Repeat steps 3-6 on the opposite side.  Take Child’s Pose.

8.  As comfort increases in the pose, move farther and farther away from the wall until you can skip Step 6 and bring both feet up without stopping at the wall first.

Bye-Bye Fear!

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