Yogainstruktør og Yoga PT Sophia Mannherz skriver i dette blogginnlegget om noen av de mer avanserte yogaposene du kan finne på Yogatimer for viderekommende. Har du lyst å lære mer om Yoga og kanskje dykke dypere i din egen praksis? Da kan du booke deg time med denne fantastiske Yogainstruktøren og Yoga PTn som holder til på 3T-Fossegrenda. (Sophia kommer fra Tyskland, derfor er teksten under på engelsk, men hun snakker norsk når hun underviser gruppetimer og har PT-timer.)
Yoga is for everyone ! The main focus is to reconnect — to rediscover who you are and to embrace movement of any level. This goes for action, motion, breath and your mind. This I can help you with!
Adho Mukha Svanasana
For warm up we start with a foundational posture we all have seen before: Adho Mukha Svanasana or downward-facing dog. Several focus points are important: Lifting your sitting bones by tipping the pelvis forward, keeping the whole of the palms firmly grounded to avoid dumping too much weight into the wrists, keeping the core engaged and the joints supple. With a bit of practice this posture can be a great source of stability and grounding, working your core, stabilizing your upper back and giving a good stretch through the whole back side of the legs. Especially the calf stretch is very recommendable for runners!
Another well known posture with a lot of simultaneous benefits like the obvious stretch to the front of the body, the deeper calf stretch, the strengthening of the legs and the improved balance, especially when this posture is part of a flow of motions to name just a few. It is important to keep the core engaged to allow for an even curve and avoid a sharp swayback. The shoulders should be lowered down from the ears and the neck elongated. Be aware also of how the back knee feels in this posture. If it takes the toll of the slight outward turning of the foot, switch to a high lunge stance on your toes instead.
This cross-legged pose is literally called „Easy pose“. For many of us it is anything but. Finding the right tilt of your hips to support the spine raising up without effort can be made even harder when your hips aren’t yet flexible enough to allow the knees to drop to both sides. In this case it can be helpful to put a block, a rolled up towel or something else behind your hips to give yourself a little wedge. This posture is a fantastic basis for a lot of breathing and meditation techniques but even just as a physical posture it is well worth getting into. We have to sit so much every day, it is a good idea to practice how to do it actively and well. Finding the fine line between hardening your core or back muscles on the one hand, or slumping into the posture until you hang on your spine is part of the focus work that this posture is great for.We’re looking to build a supple stability, a relaxed activity; an engagement that is neither slouchy nor agitated or in Sanskrit „Sthiram sukham“.
This backbending posture is one of my favourite to teach, because it is fun, dynamic – and much more accessible than it may look. It does not matter how high you lift your hips! Even if you hover just a few centimetres over the ground, you can gradually open up. As is especially important in all backbends: Do keep a keen focus on engaging your core. If we lose control of our core, our spine will take the weight directly while we should use our muscles to stabilize.
Eka Pada Koundinyasana
The clear benefit of all balancing exercises is of course the stability they demand and therefore also develop during practice. Arm balances often add the benefits of inversions and this one is a spinal twist in addition! Do keep your hands fully grounded and work strongly through your lower arms. You should only attempt balancing on your hands after having built a strong habit of rooting the whole palms of your hands into the mat during easier postures where the hands need to bear less weight.
Another balancing posture and one that doesn’t come with the fear of falling, Upavishta Konasana is a great active stretch. Try to keep your back straight, working the back extensors and keeping your chest open for regular breathing.
This posture aids relaxation and can be a great position to gently let the chest open. If you position the base of your skull just at the end of the bolster, you can also experience a pleasant elongation of your spine. This can be expecially nice after a long day of sitting or working in hunched over positions.
The shoulder stand is one of the few active inversions that is said to have a calming effect on the nervous system. In any way, easing off the constant pressure of the blood vessels and „putting your feet up“ is a good idea. This is another posture you can ease into by gradually increasing your inversions as shown in this sequence. The more you lift your legs and bring your weight onto your shoulders, the more important it is to not turn your head side to side in this posture but keep it straight. If you would like even more support, you can also put your feet up a wall instead of balancing.
No Yoga Class is complete without Savasana. Often described as „the easiest pose to get into but the hardest to master“, Savasana is the final resting pose that should end your practice. Try to lie unsupported, so avoid cushioning your neck or putting a bolster under your knees. Let your body straighten out against the flat of the ground. During Savasana the challenge is to really relax all the muscles in your body that you can and lie completely still, excepting only the movement of breathing. It is a lot harder than it sounds. It is a concentration exercise as well as a good time to rest – and like with the more physically active postures: Concentration in Yoga does not mean agitation. We aim to build a quiet focus that needs no drama to stay engaged. While the point is really not to fall asleep here, with a bit of practice, Savasana among many other things can greatly aid in the treatment of insomnia.