Monday, April 15, 2013

In Rhythms Yoga: Monday Morning Yoga Pose

“Nonviolence is not a garment to put on and off at will. Its seat is in the heart, and it must be an inseparable part of our very being.” - Mahatma Gandhi 

Did I get your attention with this Forearm Handstand?

Use Side-Plank in order to build your core strength to work towards more challenging poses, like Handstands. While doing yoga and especially challenging postures, yogis work to practice non-violence towards the self or “ahimsa” in sanskrit, especially when trying new and difficult poses.

Practicing non-harm includes how we treat ourselves and others, as well as making good lifestyle choices, including everything we put into our bodies. Ahimsa reminds us to let go of negative thinking, judgments, competition, as well as attachment or expectations to our practice. Thinking and acting this way towards ourselves in a non-judgmental fashion, allows us to cultivate acceptance and a feeling of success in our yoga practice and ultimately in our daily lives.

Check with your doctor before performing any form of exercise including yoga. Always honor your body. If a posture gives you pain, gently come out.

Side Plank
To do Side-Plank: Start on your hands and knees. Press into the palms and begin to straighten the knees. Press the thighs up towards the ceiling, lengthen your tailbone towards your heels and squeeze your lower belly in towards your spine. If you feel like your hips are “sagging” down towards the ground, and you lose the integrity of a “plank”, drop down to your knees.

If still in Plank, bring your heels together behind you in one straight line and bring your right palm and stack it directly under your right shoulder. Turn your heels open to the left side of the room and raise your arm up towards the sky. Flex your feet towards your face. Gaze can be down at the ground, towards the side of the room or up towards the elevated hand.  Notice your hips; lift the hips if they want to sag by pressing them upward towards the sky. Ideally, your body is creating one long line of energy from the crown of your head to the tips of your toes.

Modified Side Plank
Once you created this line, press your hips gently forward and bring your head back creating even more precise alignment. Continue to stretch the extended arm towards the sky and feel the opening in the chest area.

There are two options to modify Side-Plank on the Knee. For beginner modification: drop the right knee to the ground, perpendicular to the extended leg. Continue to create length through the fingertips, by reaching up towards the sky or bring the left arm by the ear and reach away from you, building arm strength and creating a nice stretch along your side.

The second knee modification and at an “intermediate pose” is to keep the right leg extended and cross the left leg over the right thigh, perpendicular to the right leg. Again, reaching upwards or bring the left arm up by the ear, creating more of a side-stretch.

Creating core-strength in Side-Plank will help you to glide through daily activities with a strong spine and core and allow you to progress to more difficult postures. Letting go of expectations and negative self talk will progress you further towards self-acceptance and self-love!

Christi Iacono
In Rhythms Yoga
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