Category Archives: yoga sequence

New Yoga Class Sequence for Eka Pada Raja Kapotasana

One Legged King Pigeon Pose

Eka Pada Raja Kapotasana

I just posted another class that warms students up to practice One Footed King Pigeon Pose, Eka Pada Raja Kapotasana.
It includes lots of shoulder and hip flexor stretching and backbending. Check out a full yoga class sequence here.

In the full expression of the pose, the yogi’s head is touching the feet. However, for most of us mere mortals there will be some space there. If your shoulders are not flexible enough to reach back for the toes, use a strap around the ankle for support.  Also, always remember to engage Uddyana Bandha when backbending.

How to start a home yoga practice

Most of us start out on our yoga journey by taking group classes. This is a fantastic way to learn yoga. BalasanaYou will be in the hands of a trained professional who can teach safe alignment and keep you injury free. At some point, after you’ve absorbed the fundamentals, you might develop an interest in practicing yoga at home.

This is easier said than done. As hard as it may be to get yourself to a yoga class, once there you are mentally dedicated to staying. Barring illness or injury, it is unlikely you would ever get up and leave.

In contrast, the home environment is full of distractions that challenge our commitment to practice. Phones ring. People come and go. Kids and pets don’t understand the ‘Do Not Disturb’ edict you have laid out for them (I’m talking to you Seabiscuit).

I struggled for a long time to establish a home practice and I’d like to share a little about how I finally made it work.  Here are a list of common reasons your home practice is nonexistent, followed by my tips.

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Free you pelvis with yoga hip openers

Gomukhasana

gomukhasana

At the start of each class, I ask students if there is a pose or body part that they would like to work on. One of the most frequent requests is for hip openers. It’s in the top 10 along with neck and shoulders.  Hmmm…all places we commonly carry stress.

The anatomy of the hip is complicated to say the least and there is a spectrum of physical reasons our hips tighten. The desk jockey’s inactivity and the runner’s repetitive muscle contractions are just a couple.

There are also emotional reasons that cause the hips to feel closed off. In yoga, the pelvis is often referred to as the body’s ‘junk drawer’. It’s the perfect analogy.  In it, we stuff experiences and emotions that we don’t know what else to do with.  From an energetic anatomy perspective, the pelvis contains our first and second chakras, energy centers.  The first chakra, muladhara, is located at the perineum and is associated with our root survival needs for nourishment and security.  The second, svadhisthana, is just a couple of inches above muladhara and is associated with our sexuality and how we communicate with others.  You can probably think of your own ‘junk’ related to these chakras that you have stashed in here.

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Yoga class sequencing

short warmup sequence

short warm-up sequence

Sequencing a yoga class is akin to choreographing a dance. Like a dance, a yoga class should have a sense of flow and feel coherent.  At the same time, it should target a variety of postures to open energy channels throughout the body.

There are hundreds of basic yoga poses. Add to to those, the myriad variations of these postures and teachers have thousands of postures to choose from. Sorting through these variations to create a fluid and safe class sequence can be a real challenge. This challenge, luckily, doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Start with a basic framework and add variety from there. Continue reading

Garudasana (eagle) four ways

You never know where inspiration for a blog entry will come from.  Yesterday, I took a great yoga class with 4 variations of eagle.  This morning, I got an e-mail from my brother with with some amazing photos of eagles.  Now, I’m not one to ignore cosmic forces and write this off as coincidence – so here goes my thoughts on eagle pose and how one of my favorite teachers morphed it 4 ways.

Precede garudasana with warm up poses that open your upper back, shoulders  (cat/cow, adho mukha svanasana, plank, …) and hips (trikonasana, parivritta trikonasana, virasana, gomukhasana, …).  Follow up with poses that are energetically opening, such as backbends, to balance the compact energy of garudasana.

Skagit Eagle

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