In yoga there are is a wide array of poses that require varying degrees of focus, strength, flexibility and even surrender. Depending on what we have been through, our energy level and other factors, poses can evoke all types of feelings. The same yoga pose might feel good one day, but uncomfortable and frustrating on another day. Moving into a New Year often encourages us to commit to change or to try something new in order to create transformation. Within the Eight Limbs of Yoga, or yoga principles, there is a concept called “Tapas” and it’s best defined as “fiery discipline,” being fiercely focused, and having intense commitment. It’s this burning desire that catapults us to take the necessary steps for a substantial long-lasting change. Below we have compiled a short list of poses we can do to help us feel grounded and strong when low energy and discouragement arises. What keeps us from accomplishing our goals usually has to do with falling back into comfortable old patterns or getting deterred by frustration when we don’t see quick results. For more information on yoga poses and which yoga pose might be right for you, contact Buddhi Yoga at (858) 886-7580 and ask for their class schedule.
Mountain pose, or Tadasana, is an underestimated pose that can bring about feelings of connectedness, stability and balance.
How to do Mountain Pose
Stand with your feet together or slightly apart with your arms at your side or your hands together at Namaste. Close your eyes and notice where most of the weight is in your feet. Shift to the balls of your feet and then onto your heels and try to find the center so you’re not leaning too far forward or too far back. Begin to align the knees over the ankles and the hips over the knees. Engage your quadriceps so your legs feel strong and rooted into the earth. Slightly draw your navel in, relax your shoulders and align your torso and head over the hips. Lift your heart, soften the back of the neck, relax your jaw and breathe deeply through the nose. Feel the support beneath your feet and imagine the entire world supporting your entire being. You can reach the arms up as you inhale and then circle the arms down as you exhale a few times. Trying this pose barefoot on grass or in the sand will make it easier to feel the connection between yourself and universal energy. Take a couple of deep breaths and enjoy JUST BEING.
Warrior 2 is one of those poses that can sometimes make you feel strong and invincible while other times it makes you want to run away screaming after just a few breaths.
How to Do Warrior 2:
From Mountain Pose step your right foot back as you bend into the front knee. Your back leg is straight with most of the weight in the outer edge of that right foot. Your front knee should track directly over the ankle with an outward rotation happening in the thigh muscle. Make sure your front foot is straight and not turned in or out. Point the tailbone downward while drawing the navel in, keeping the ribs drawn in towards the spine. The arms extend evenly in opposite directions with a slight external rotation in the upper arm bones. Palms face down and the gaze is over that font middle finger. Sink into your hips, elongate the spine, open the hips and see if you can remain calm while you feel the intensity in the pose. Find both strength and ease while holding the pose and notice any desire to leave the pose. Breath through it and work up to taking eight slow and long breaths on each side. Rest in standing forward fold or Child’s Pose for a moment and notice how you feel.
Going upside-down is a great way to shift your perspective. In order to overcome obstacles and work through challenges, sometimes all you need is a new outlook. By going upside down you are literally making yourself see the world from a different angle.
How to do the “L Position”
Come into Downward-Facing Dog with feet towards a wall and shorten your stance while bringing the back of the heels to touch the wall behind you. Try pressing your palms into the ground and stepping up to the wall until your feet are as high as your hips. Your hands should line up directly underneath your shoulders. If it doesn’t align to a perfect ninety degree angle at the hips, come down and try again. Once you find it, try to stay up for at least five breaths and work up to ten. While you’re holding the L Position let your neck be soft and your keep jaw relaxed while spreading the fingertips wide apart and the maintaining the legs engaged. Come down and rest in Child’s Pose for as long as you need to.
Going upside-down is great for the body and mind. Handstands flood the brain and some very important glands with fresh oxygen, they help activate the lymphatic system, while getting the circulation going and improving nervous system function. Doing inversions also releases stress and raises energy levels.
How to do Handstands
Stand facing the wall and come into standing splits, with one leg up high and your hands firmly planted on the ground about shoulder-width apart. Make sure your fingers point forward and that you’re spreading them as wide as possible. Lean forward into your fingertips, reach the top leg higher while you lean into the tiptoes of the standing foot. Try to get your hips as far forward over the shoulders as possible. Before you kick up check that you’re breathing deeply through the nose. On a strong exhale, kick your foot up and squeeze your belly tight into the spine. Keep breathing and kicking up until you can lock your belly (bandha) and squeeze the legs up into full handstand. Use the wall to support you as you learn to engage all the parts of the body needed to hold you up completely.
Add these yoga poses to your 10-minute breaks throughout the day to give yourself an energy boost while reminding yourself that with commitment, support and strength, you can achieve just about anything. For more information on yoga poses, class descriptions or yoga class schedule, contact Buddhi Yoga at (858) 886-7580.