Monday, May 20, 2013

In Rhythms Yoga: Monday Morning Stand-Up Paddle Board Yoga

Adventure out to the sea or bay for healing, opening, and a little recreation! Create space in the hips and thighs, create extension in the spine, and allow for emotional “purging” in half-pigeon pose, by creating space in the hips. Manifest more happiness, compassion, a “non-reactive” mind, and allowing us to regain trust after releasing negativity and tension. 

For a preparatory pose to open the groins and the hips, first lay on the back, bring the soles of the feet to touch and butterfly the knees open. (Supta baddha konasana or reclined cobbler’s pose.) Take 3 full-rounds of steady breaths, inhales and exhales. Allow gravity to begin to open the hips and your breath to tune out the outside world and tune in towards your inward focus.

To do half-pigeon on the board: Start in a table-top position on the hands and knees. Gently swing your right knee behind the right wrist. Allow the right ankle to rest behind the left wrist. Flex the right foot towards the face to protect the right knee joint. Glance back at the left leg, make sure it is in one straight line and the foot is not cycled. Extend the left leg back an inch to create more extension through the left leg and allow for more space in the hips.  Place the palms on both sides of the hips, and level the hips parallel to the board. In the studio, we could use a block under the right hip to assist.

Stay here, lift the chest on the inhale, and settling in and breathing through the sensations in your hips on your exhale. Continue the breath for at least 3 full-rounds, inhaling and exhaling, allowing the breath to soften tight and resistant areas. Inhale to create space and exhale to find surrender and create a feeling of lightness and more space in the hips and the mind. 
First option to fold forward: inhale to prepare, and exhale, walk the palms forward and create a pillow with your forearms to rest the head on the board or rest on the elbows.

Option two and a little more challenging: inhale, bring the arms over your head, and exhale, slowly fold forward. Again, option to place the palms on the board or create a pillow and cross the forearms to rest the head or rest on the elbows.

Feel the chest expand and back grow bigger on each inhale, and relax and soften on each exhalation, feel the lungs contract and the belly soften. Re-adjust the hips and shoulders to be square, and use the breath as a tool to keep the mind present in the posture, on the board, surrounded by the elements. Notice any resistance and continue to send the exhales into those areas, allowing time and patience for them to soften. Repeat on the opposite side. Notice the difference in the hips before taking the next side.

If half-pigeon creates pain in the ankle or knee, option to move into eye-of-the needle pose. This is also a good option if you are struggling to find balance on the board.

To do eye-of-the needle: lay on your back. Bend your knees. Cross your right ankle over your left knee. Flex your toes towards your face to protect the knee joint. Stay here and breathe (at least three full-rounds of slow breath, inhales and exhales) or interlace your palms through your legs under your left leg. Option to gently pull your arms closer towards your chest to deepen the opening in your hips, thighs, and groins, and energetically press your knee open and away.

When we take the time to open tight areas in the body, especially the hips, practice keeping the mind present. Often when we feel resistance in the body, the mind starts to wander to distract us from being present. Bring the attention back to the breath as it moves up to the tip of the nose and down the full length of the spine. Negative feelings and emotions may arise. Notice the thoughts without judgment and let them go. Practice “non-reactivity” in the pose. Challenging poses and situations in life, may cause us to want to react, “fight-back”, or flee, the fight or flight response. Practice finding solace and comfort by following the breath to feel more calm.

Notice the feeling of release in the body after a hip opener. Yoga allows us to feel lighter, stronger, and come back to a place of happiness, compassion, trust and non-reactivity towards ourselves and others.

Christi Iacono
In Rhythms Yoga

Join us for an Anniversary and Open house scheduled for June 15th, 2013 4-6 p.m. for free mini-yoga sessions, reiki healing, raffle, food, and more! Contact for more info. Go to for class schedule and privates.

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