My Practice

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Here are a few shots of my practice. Follow me @jelise22 on Instagram for more!

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Progress

headstand1

headstand

 

The headstand on the left was one of my first headstands ever.  It was photographed in the first week of January (hence the Christmas tree).  The photo on the right was taken on Thursday.  It is nice to see progress as the result of PRACTICE!  I practiced dolphin for almost a year before I was able to get myself upside down!

Matsyasana (Fish pose w/lotus variation)

I absolutely love the way this pose feels.  It opens up the throat and heart chakras.  It feels like my heart is singing. 

fish
not me.

Matsyasana is usually taken after shoulder stand as a counterpose.  It opens the throat.

1. Lying on your back, legs out straight, prop yourself up with your elbows, so the torso is at about a forty-five degree angle to the floor.

2. Lean your head back slowly and then begin to slide yourself back, reaching the crown of your head towards the floor, arching the back.  Palms can face the hips or up toward the ceiling.

3. Take a few breaths here and then inhale the chin into the chest and let yourself come back onto the back.

 

Lotus variation:

lotus
setting up the lotus

1. Set up your lotus.  Cross one leg on top of the other, pulling the foot towards the upper thigh or hip.  Cross the other leg on top, pulling the foot to the upper thigh or hip.

2.  Prop yourself up on your elbows and begin to slide the crown of the head towards the floor, arching the back.

3.  The hands can be next to the thighs or grab the feet or toes.

4.  Stay for a few breaths.  Inhale draw the chin to the chest.  Unravel and lower down to the mat.

 

matsyasana
Fish outta water 🙂

 

Gomukhasana (cow face pose)

Cow face!?!  Who knows?  But this is a great hip and shoulder opener.  I find it very grounding.

(It is also called bull seat)

gomukhasana

1.  begin seated with the legs straight out in front (dandasana)

2. Bend the right leg and cross the leg over the left thigh, placing the foot on the floor outside the left thigh.

3.  Bend the left knee and draw the left heel into the right hip.

4.  Pull the right heel into the right thigh and stack the right knee on top of the left.

5.  Flex the feet to protect the knees.

OPTION: To help stack the knees after both feet are pulled in towards the hips, rock forward onto your hands and knees and stack the knees.  Then sit back between the heels.

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1.  Lift the right arm up by the ear.  Bend the elbow, like you are patting yourself on the back.  (You can grabe the elbow with the left hand and pull towards the midline to help bring the hand further down the back.)

2. Reach the left hand behind the back and bend the elbow.  Reach for the right fingertips.

OPTION: If you cannot reach the fingertips to one another grab the shirt or use a strap to bring openness and start to walk the hands towards each other.

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Hard Poses Made Easy with Tara Stiles [video]

Last week I posted a picture of Bakasana (crow pose).  Though we are not all blessed with the graceful body of Tara Stiles, her down to earth way of explaining poses (and much more) has made her somewhat of a yoga superstar.  Her tips here are great and she gives a few different ways to approach each pose.  Maybe one of them will unlock the inner yogi in you!

The inevitable question…

WHY YOGA?

Indeed, why yoga??

There is the stretch and the strength in equal parts. The asana lengthen the body and tone the muscles.

There is the movement. It elevates the heart rate.

There is the breath. It replenishes the oxygen in the blood.

There is the whimsy. With names like “cow face pose” or the translation, Gomukasana, how can one NOT laugh.

There is the giddy fun. Stand on your head for a minute and try not to let the head rush effect you.

There is the devotion. It is an ancient practice you can feel through your being.

There is chanting and laughing and straining and ease. There is power and passion and grace. There is vulnerability, humility and praise.

There is…

this feeling of connection. This ineffable immovable irreplaceable tree. It grows roots into the ground and sprouts up through me. Only do I feel this earth sky connection so clear as when I am standing in mountain and flowing the the stream through vinyasa. Only then can I feel the drum song of the earth, the heartbeat of the mother. Her breath moves through me and I am expansive, the whole world sharing this moment in time. I have found the spirit in me.

That is why I do yoga.

Why do you do yoga? No right or wrong here.