Advanced Yoga poses..

Pose Dedicated to the Sage Koundinya II

Pose Dedicated to the Sage Koundinya II tones the belly and spine, strengthens the arms and wrists, and gives your self-confidence a big boost.

eka pada koundinyasana Coby Kozlowski

Pose Dedicated to the Sage Koundinya II: Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1

Start Hands shoulder width apart. Step your left foot far forward, past the outside of your left arm, and place it on the floor well in front of your left hand.

Step 2

Bend your left elbow and twist your torso to the right, dropping the left shoulder and the whole left side of the torso as low as possible on your inner left thigh. Pressing your thigh toward your torso, slide your left upper arm and shoulder as far as you can underneath the back of the left thigh just above the knee. Place the back of your thigh as high up as possible on the upper arm.

Step 3

Keeping your weight centered approximately between your hands, start to creep your left foot forward along the floor so more and more of the weight of the leg comes onto the arm; let the left foot naturally move a little to the left as you do this. When you can’t walk the foot any farther forward without lifting it off the floor, straighten the knee as much as you can, powerfully reaching the foot forward and out to the left side.ADVERTISING

Step 4

Bending both elbows, shift your weight far forward between your hands until you can lift your back leg. Lift strongly until that leg is parallel to the floor; then, keeping the knee extended, press straight back through the ball of your foot.

Step 5

Lift your chest until your torso is parallel to the floor, pressing strongly down through your inner hands to help maintain this position.

Step 6

Lift your head and look forward, keeping your eyes and forehead soft. Breathe evenly. Hold the pose for 20 seconds or longer, then step back into Adho Mukha Svanasana. Repeat it on the other side for the same length of time.

Pose Information

Sanskrit Name

Eka Pada Koundinyanasana II

Pose Level

1

Contraindications and Cautions

  • Any wrist or lower back injury

Beginner’s Tip

Support one or both of your legs on a bolster and/or chair seat to secure your balance.

Benefits

  • Strengthens the arms and wrists
  • Tones the belly and spine

Shoulder-Pressing Pose

This arm balance relies more on precise positioning than on strength, making it more accessible for students beginning an arm balancing practice.

Bhujapidasana (Shoulder-Pressing Pose)

Shoulder-Pressing Pose: Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1

Squat with your feet a little less than shoulder width apart, knees wide.

Step 2

Tilt your torso forward between your inner thighs. Then, keeping your torso low, raise your hips until your thighs become close to parallel to the floor.

Step 3

Snug your upper left arm and shoulder as much as possible under the back of your left thigh just above the knee, and place your left hand on the floor at the outside edge of your left foot, fingers pointing forward. Then repeat on the right. As you do this your upper back will round.

Step 4

Press your inner hands firmly against the floor and slowly begin to rock your weight back, off your feet and onto your hands. As you straighten your arms, your feet will lift lightly off floor, not by raw strength but by carefully shifting your center of gravity.

Step 5

Squeeze your outer arms with your inner thighs, and cross your right ankle over your left ankle. Look straight ahead. Hold for 30 seconds, then bend your elbows and lightly release your feet back to the floor with an exhale.ADVERTISING

Step 6

Repeat the pose a second time with the left ankle on top.

Pose Information

Sanskrit Name

Bhujapidasana

Pose Level

1

Contraindications and Cautions

Shoulder, elbow, wrist and low back injuries

Beginner’s Tip

To secure your balance, support your buttocks on a yoga block or bolster.

Benefits

Strengthens the arms and wrists
Tones the belly
Improves balance

Side-Reclining Leg Lift

This side-reclining pose stretches the backs of the legs, the sides of the torso, and tones the belly.

Side-Reclining Leg Lift

Side-Reclining Leg Lift: Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1

Lie on the floor on your right. Press actively through your right heel, flex the ankle, and use the outside of the foot to stabilize the position (if you still feel unstable, brace your soles against the wall.)

Step 2

Stretch your right arm straight out along the floor parallel to your torso so that you create one long line from the heels to your finger tips. Bend your right elbow and support your head in your palm. Slide the elbow away from your torso to stretch the armpit.

Step 3

Externally rotate your left leg so the toes point toward the ceiling, then bend and draw the knee toward your torso. Reach across the inside of the leg and take hold of the left big toe with your index and middle fingers. Secure the grip by wrapping the thumb around the two fingers. (If you’re not able to comfortably hold the toe, loop a strap around the sole and hold the strap.) On an inhale, extend the leg up toward the ceiling.

Step 4

The raised leg will likely angle slightly forward, while the top buttock will drop back. Firm the sacrum against the pelvis; this creates a kind of fulcrum that will help you move the leg slightly back toward a perpendicular position.ADVERTISING

Step 2

Press actively through both heels. Stay in the pose for 30 seconds to 1 minute, then release the leg, take a few breaths, and roll over onto your left side. Repeat for the same length of time.

Pose Information

Sanskrit Name

Anantasana

Pose Level

1

Beginner’s Tip

If you still feel unstable with your soles pressed to a wall, wedge a bolster against your back.

Benefits

  • Stretches the backs of the legs
  • Stretches the sides of the torso
  • Tones the belly

Upward Facing Two-Foot Staff Pose

Can you practice Wheel with straight arms and Headstand without strain? Then, you’re ready.

Upward Facing Two-Foot Staff Pose

Upward Facing Two-Foot Staff Pose: Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1

Lie on your back, feet on the floor, heels under the knees, and step your feet a little wider than your hips. Bend your arms and place your palms on the floor by your ears, fingertips facing the shoulders, shoulder-width apart. Pause for a moment to focus and tune in to your breathing.

Step 2

As you exhale, press your knees away from your torso and lift your hips, shoulders, and head from the floor as you straighten your arms. Widen and draw your shoulder blades toward your tail bone to lift your shoulders and lighten the load on your arms.

Step 3

Bend your arms and place the crown of your head on the floor between your hands and feet, keeping your elbows shoulder-width apart and directly over your wrists. To ensure that your neck does not become compressed, exhale, press your hands into the floor, and again draw your shoulder blades toward your tail bone. Keep your chest open and lifted.

Step 4

On your next exhalation, slide one hand past your ear to cup the back of your head, bringing your weight onto your forearm. Repeat the same action with the other arm, interlacing your fingers behind your head (you may be more successful in these arm movements if you lift onto your tiptoes).

Step 5

With a powerful exhalation, press down through your inner elbows and wrists and lift your chest to raise your head off the floor. As your head lifts, press your inner heels down. Of course, your head may seem glued to the floor; if that’s the case, continue to hold the pose where you are.

Step 6

If you do manage to lift your head, the pose may actually become easier, since this movement allows your upper arms to directly support your weight, easing the demand on your muscles. But be careful not to strain the shoulder joints by pushing them beyond your elbows. Avoid this over extension by keeping your weight evenly distributed between your elbows and wrists, and by not allowing your elbows to slide more than shoulder-width apart. It is absolutely fine to remain in this position, with your head raised and your heels directly below your knees.

Step 7

In the full pose, however, you walk the feet away from your hands until your legs are nearly straight; then plant your inner feet and exhale as you stretch down through your calves and push to straighten the legs completely.

Step 8

Place the crown of your head back on the floor inside the cup of your hands, press your elbows into the floor and draw your shoulder blades toward your tail bone to help your shoulders stay lifted. Your middle back will be asked to extend more deeply.

Step 9

Come out of this asana with great attention. First, walk your feet back under your knees. Remain on your crown and return your palms to the floor next to your ears. Again check to make sure your hands are directly under your elbows. Push with your hands to lift the head and tuck your chin and tail bone in as you roll your spine back down to the floor, tail bone touching last. Consciously slow your breathing down until you are once again at rest and can feel the powerful calm that is the product of balanced back bends.

Pose Information

Sanskrit Name

Dwi Pada Viparita Dandasana

Pose Level

1

Contraindications and Cautions

  • Wrist, shoulder, low back or neck injuries

Beginner’s Tip

Try securing your elbows in this pose by elevating them on a rolled-up sticky mat.

Benefits

  • Stretches the entire front body and opens the chest

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