Monday, January 19, 2015

In Rhythms Yoga: Monday Morning Lotus Pose

We use Lotus Pose, Padmasana or Ardha Padmasana, Half-Lotus Pose, in order to calm the mind in preparation for pranayama, breathing techniques, and meditation. In addition to calming the mind, folding the legs into Padmasana helps to build flexibility in the hips, strengthen the ankles and legs, and tone the organs of the abdomen. Padma means lotus and asana means posture in Sanskrit.

First move into preparatory postures, in order to build flexibility towards the full pose or modify the pose in order to best serve your body.

Prepare the body by warming-up and building flexibility. Come into Baddha Konasana, Bound Angle Pose, or sometimes called Butterfly Pose and “Rocking the Baby Pose.”

Baddha Konasana: Bring the soles of the feet to touch and allow the knees to fall open wide, like when opening a book. Option to sit on a blanket or block to help elevate the hips, if the hips are tight. Ground down through the sitting bones, the ischial tuberosity. Sit tall with the spine and draw the shoulder blades down the back. Grab onto the feet with the hands. Take a moment and open the feet like a book, opening the soles of the feet towards the ceiling. Option to draw the soles of the feet back to neutral or keep the soles of the feet open.

On an inhale, lift the shoulders up towards the ears. On an exhale, draw the shoulders back and down. Lengthen the insides of the thighs, starting from the inner thighs near the pelvis, and out and downwards towards the knees. Stay here and breathe for 3-5 full rounds of breath. Create smooth and even inhales and exhales.

Option to come forward into a seated forward fold. Inhale and lengthen the crown of the head and sternum towards the ceiling. Exhale, and fold forward with a flat back. Drop the chin towards the chest and stay here and breathe. Allow time and use the breath as a tool for the body to soften and release tension.

To come out of Baddha Konasana: On an inhale, lift the gaze and slowly rise up with a flat-back. Release the soles of the feet and bring the legs back together.

Rocking the Baby Preparation: Bend the left knee, bringing the sole of the foot in towards the pelvis. Come into a half-butterfly pose. Grab the right foot with the left hand and place the right knee in the crook of the right elbow. Place the right foot in the crook of the left elbow, bringing the shin parallel to the ground. Option to interlace the fingers if accessible or grab onto the shin of the right leg.

Sit tall and lengthen the crown of the head up towards the ceiling on an inhale. Exhale, and keep the length you created on the inhale. Draw the shoulder blades down the back, creating more opening in the chest. Option to gently rock the leg from side-to-side like when rocking a baby to sleep. Stay here and breathe, 3-5 round of breath. Enjoy the feeling of the external opening and rotation of the hip. To come out: Gently release the knee and the foot and repeat the same instructions on the opposite side.

To come into Lotus Pose, Padmasana or Half-Lotus Pose, Ardha Padmasana: Option to sit on a blanket for support. Bend the right knee and place the foot on the left thigh, with the heel as close to the abdomen as possible, sole of the foot facing up towards the ceiling, knee pressing downwards towards the ground. Bend the left knee and come into sitting position, Sukhasana, Easy Sitting Pose, with the left foot or come into a Full Lotus Pose, bringing the left heel over the right thigh as close to the abdomen as possible, sole of the left foot also facing the ceiling.

Allow the palms to rest on the thighs with the palms facing open towards the ceiling, a gesture to receive whatever it is you need in your practice. Option to connect the thumb and forefinger, in Chin Mudra, creating a connection. Rather than creating pressure with the thumb and forefinger, allow the thumb and forefinger to gently touch, with the remaining fingers reaching open towards the ground. This allows for more connection to the subtle energy body, focusing inwards towards the heart and soul. Connect to the heart space. This is an invitation to set an intention for your sitting practice. What do you want to bring more of into your life, let-go of, or do you simply want to allow life to be, and unfold?

Take an inhale breath and sit tall, lifting the crown of the head up towards the ceiling, keeping the spine tall. Allow the shoulder blades to lay flush to the back and breathe. Option to close the eyes and “watch” the breath as it moves up and down the spine. Give the breath a color.

Repeat the instructions using the opposite foot on top. Notice that this side may feel different and you may choose to take Ardha Padmasana on one side, if it better serves the body.

Notice what comes up on a mental note, and then watch the “mental chatter” or thought pass like the clouds moving across the sky. Come back to the breath, time and time again, to practice being present within the moment. That is truly all we have, is this very moment. It is between the breath, the pause and the attention to the pause, that we find more peace and sustainable joy.
Check with your doctor before performing any form of exercise including yoga and breathing techniques. Always honor your body. If a posture gives you pain, gently come out.

Christi Iacono, owner of In Rhythms Yoga

Christi Iacono is a certified yoga teacher, at the 500 hour level. She is the owner of In Rhythms Yoga, in Clairemont. IRY is a small neighborhood studio in Clairemont, S.D., located in the Mount Streets. Christi guides adults, kids and families in the tradition of yoga. Christi has experienced many positive physical and mental transformations from her regular yoga practice. She enjoys sharing her experience, passion, and dedication with her students. She believes that yoga is accessible to all. Rather than forcing someone’s body into a pose, Christi carefully works with each individual to find the variation that will best serve their body.

IRY offers regularly scheduled vinyasa and yin-based classes on, Sat., Sun. (Yin-Yoga) and Wed. mornings as well as a Tues. evening class. Go to to see the full schedule, instructors and for private lessons.

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