I’m three days into yoga training and it’s kicking my butt…literally. My thighs and glutes are pretty sore from all that Downward Dog. Not to mention all of our lectures are “chair-less.” Yup, just like kindergarten, folks. But it’s fascinating to see how my posture has changed in just a few days. I find that I’m sitting up higher, walking taller, and running faster. Like a lot faster. I used to run a comfortable 9:30 mile, and now I’m down to an 8-min mile. It may be due to the intense strength training from yoga, or Soul Cycle, or both. Whatever it is, I am mighty delighted by these changes. I also just feel so much lighter from a lack of stress. Although the exercises put a lot of stress on the body, it’s a different kind of stress from the type that originates in the mind. Managing mental stress will always be an issue for me, but if yoga helps alleviate some of that each day, then I’ll take it!
Ok, here are two poses for the price of one 🙂
“Warrior II” (Sanskrit: Virabhadrasana II)
- Start with feet together, toes touching
- Inhale: Jump out to spread the legs apart
- Turn front leg out, 90 degrees
- Keep the back leg straight and strong, turn the foot in slightly at 15 degrees
- Feet should be (heel → heel) or (heel → arch)
- Bend the front knee (stack it over your ankle)
- Press deep into your front heel
- Track the kneecap towards the pinky (away from the big toe)
- Front thigh parallel to the floor
- Wrap your right buttocks underneath
- Elongate the torso, lengthen the spine
- Remember: Don’t square those hips!
- Lengthen the tailbone towards the floor, tone the low belly
- Arms stretched out, parallel to the floor
- Relax the shoulders
- To come out of pose: relax the arms, square your feet parallel, jump or hop the feet back to standing
*This pose is great for leg strength, can help relieve backaches*
After my elbow injury in November, I’m still a little leery about holding myself up with my arms. But my teacher taught me an amazing way to get more comfortable with the mechanics of the pose. If you have a doorway or two walls close together (like in our kitchen), you can use them for leverage and support until you are ready to take on gravity! A great way to prep for handstands is downward dog. When you’re actually ready to do it on your own, make sure your back legs are strong and elbows are straight (this is still a pain point for me, so I haven’t scaled the wall completely, but close enough for now).