When practicing Ashtanga, we usually don’t use any other resources but our body and breath. However, from time to time I find it quite useful to get some support. Never to force the body into something, but some help to get used to a certain posture.
It can also be beneficial particularly for rather stiff bodies, to simply extend the arms, which might enable them to get a better understanding of the posture.
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I remember quite well when I heard this for the first time; it was in my teacher training and my only thought was: now she (my teacher) lost her mind.
I was sweating my heart out, my concentration at a peak, my muscles sore, my entire body a mess of tension. Ease? Really? I rather felt like made of concrete, ease was a term I wasn’t even dreaming of!
It took some time to get an idea of what this means, to find steadiness and same time ease in a posture. Stability and consistency without effort. When holding a posture, while being in correct alignment, there’s a certain moment when it feels just easy, almost like a relief! This is ease.
The best postures to understand the concept of steadiness and ease for me are headstand and handstand. There is this moment, when all of a sudden you feel weightless, your body is in every detail in the right alignment. As if you can stay forever in this posture, almost levitating.
This happens when it all comes together: concentration and an inward view through drishti (focus point), proper ujjayi breath, stability through activating the bandhas and correct alignment. For me it’s additionally about not thinking how to do a pose, but just do it.
Then your yoga starts.
Turn your lotus position upside down. No worries if full lotus isn’t
available for you yet, whatever your variation is works – full lotus, half lotus
or cross-legged. Even if full lotus is preferred as it makes the posture much
more compact and stable, we all know that it’s not always accessible.
Once in the posture and your thighs are parallel to the floor, press the
knees into the hands (yes, this way!). Start to lengthen your spine (feels
sooooo good!) and lift your chin slightly, so there’s no pressure on your neck.
For the next few breaths, allow your world to move this way. Upside
down. Notice what‘s different – is there any difference?
Physically this posture does a lot – it opens the hips, strengthens the shoulder frame, the muscles along the spine, the erector spinae is activated, just to name a few. In addition, your inner organs benefit, particularly as this pose utilizes specific pressure points at the thyroid and the kidneys.
As in all inversions, the blood flow increases and the brain is offered a surge of oxygen.
Don’t you wonder if you would suddenly feel your thoughts streaming with better clarity. If holding this posture a bit longer, maybe even a few minutes, you will notice that all your doubts, blank mental notes, and confusing stimulus will clear up.
Really? Well, you tell me, try it 🙂
I’ve got you covered — how about a private session? For a best friend, for yourself or both of you?
Make giving meaningful — a Reiki treatment is a great option for experiencing a deep relaxation while the self-healing capabilities will get a major boost. Read more about it here.
A yoga private session is the best way to learn and deepen your practice. No matter what your friends’ and your practice look like right now, be it group classes in a studio, home practice or if new to yoga, a private class will make a difference. It will be tailor made for you, meaning you decide if it’s about receiving adjustments to improve postures, learn something about the yoga philosophy, breathing techniques, meditation, better adapt your practice to your needs, or get a smooth start into it all.
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Make a difference! A present like this will be beneficial for body and mind and it’ll be fun! Let’s have a chat, I’ll be happy to design a beautiful e-card for you.
Let’s twist babes out there!
Gently move with your breath – lengthen with your inhale, twist with your exhale. Twists help to rejuvenate your spine by restoring your spine’s natural range of motion. They will cleanse your organs, and stimulate circulation. Not to mention the cleansing and refreshing effect on the torso organs and associated glands!
Get your blood flowing and boost your energy!
The older I get, the more does my yoga practice change. No, I’m not talking about anything I can’t do anymore, on the contrary, I’m taking about freedom.
The freedom to decide what it means to dedicate myself to a daily practice. Yes, it means to show up. No, it doesn’t mean to practice the full primary series 6 days a week. Well there are weeks when I do exactly this, but the difference is, my dedication is to practice yoga in a way that suits my body needs that particular day.
This means letting go of bondage. I do practice on my mat daily. Without feeling guilty to listen to my body and do exactly what I need that moment. Mindful practice without forcing myself. Some days this might mean practicing yin yoga. Others I might do some sun salutations and a simple flow to get my body long and stretched. It can also mean to just sit in stillness and meditate. Challenging enough! And still most days, I do the full primary series. Some days I think, let’s do a slow flow following some matching music, while some time later I recognize that I’m in the midst of my Ashtanga practice. And it feels great to just move without thinking, led by my body, doing what I love.
I also let go of the need to master advanced postures. I know they will come anyhow when I’m ready. Working on them without pressure and the need to follow the crowd. This too is yoga.
This is what I call freedom. It’s my practice and I stopped judging me. No labels needed, it’s just that, yoga. This is my way to create space in body and mind.
Photo by Nadja Kappeler
Utthita Trikonasana – extended three angle pose.
Think rotation, think strengthening.
Think stretching, think opening.
Deeply grounded, while reaching up towards the ceiling.