Monday, April 8, 2013

In Rhythms Yoga: Monday Morning Yoga Pose

“All the gold in the world cannot buy a dying man one more breath---so what does that make today worth?" 
Og Mandino

Today presents new opportunities and perspectives! Try Stand-Up Paddle Yoga!

“SUP” yoga is invigorating, inspiring, challenging, and a ton of fun. If you haven’t done it, try it! You may find that immersing yourself outdoors, while practicing a little yoga, is very healing and transformative as well as a great workout!

Paddling in the bay is ideal for beginners, where there is little chop, less wind, and calmer waters than the ocean. A little bit of instruction is in order to experience success on the board. Play with placement of your feet while on the board facing forward, with feet spread wide for a larger base. Grip one hand on the top of the paddle and the other a ways down the neck with straight arms. Work with playing with the distribution of your feet with balance, and you are off!
Add a little yoga to the mix. Downward Facing Dog is a fun pose to try on the water. Your world can be literally turned upside down, as you admire the beauty of the water and the sky from a interesting perspective. Discovering a new perspective, while focusing on the present moment immersed in nature and beauty, can potentially encourage a mental and physical shift, creating a mind and body connection.

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.

To do the pose: Start on your hands and knees on the board. Find balance and stability by making subtle shifts to get a feel of the board on the water. Press your palms into the board and spread your fingers wide open like star-fish. Stack the palms under your shoulders and make sure that the knees are stacked under the hips.

Take an inhale breath, and on your exhale curl your toes under, and begin to straighten your legs, pressing the tailbone up towards the sky. Relax the neck and allow the head to hang heavy. Heels are reaching downward. Feel the stretch and lengthening sensation in the hamstrings, the back of legs. Feel your spine lengthening, and notice how pressing the tailbone up and back, allows the spine to open more. Bend your knees as much as you need to create a “flat” back. Feel your shoulder blades firm on the back and roll the shoulders away from the midline of the body.

Take three-five “rounds of breath”, full inhalations and exhalations in downward facing dog and focus on your balance and the sensations in your body.

Drop down to the knees to gently come out of Downward Facing Dog.

Want more of a challenge or to want to explore? Lift one leg up towards the sky. Bring the toes on the extended leg facing the water to square off the hips, press energy through the heel and focus on the breath and balancing on the board.

Try another variation like the photo above, Jen is lifting her heels towards the sky to create extra length and stretch in the spine while pressing her tailbone up and back. Doing this modification also allows for a nice stretch down the back of the thighs.

Enjoy a few moments of Savansana, laying on your back on the board, enjoying the movement and energy of the water by tapping into the elements surrounding you, and follow your breath.

Christi Iacono
In Rhythms Yoga
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