I'm usually pretty good at arranging things whenever I move homes. If a room doesn't feel right then I'll rearrange things until it does feel right.
And that's what learning a new yoga pose can be like. In a yoga pose the equivalent of furniture or books on a shelf are the bones and how they relate to each other. By shifting relationships slowly and mindfully we can find an arrangement that feels good.
Then every time we do the pose we can enjoy it while making small adjustments so that energy can freely flow.
Sensational Yoga Poses includes information on yoga poses and also on "sensational (yoga) anatomy", that is, anatomy that you can directly feel and experience. While knowing your own anatomy isn't a requirement for doing a yoga pose well, it does make it easier to learn the body and explore it.
Directly below are links to yoga pose categories while at the bottom of this page is a
linking directly to specific yoga poses.
Grouped Yoga Poses include poses classified according to action or position. Ideally these groupings of yoga poses make it easier to create a balanced (and reasonably complete) yoga practice.
Improving flexibility is one of the main reasons I got into yoga. An important element of stretching is learning to relax and activate muscles at will.
Even more important is creating a stable foundation. Yoga Stretches for flexibility include.
Improving Balance, is one of my favorite topics.
For an overview of balance read Yoga balance poses. As with stretching, an important aspect of balance is creating stability or mobile rigidness. The idea is to be able to control and vary stability so that balance is easy to maintain.
One of the easiest ways to practice balance is by balancing on one foot.
Slightly more advanced is balancing on one leg while binding or connecting parts of the body.
Arm balances are a fun way to practice balancing. One of the simplest arm balances is crow pose. Inverted yoga poses are near the pinnacle of balancing postures. I generally teach poses like headstand, shoulder stand, forearm balance and handstand using a wall first to get students used to being upside down. Then I work at helping them learn to balance.
My current approach to strength yoga poses is minimal muscular effort.
This lazy approach requires awareness and directed effort. Part of this means knowing which parts of the body to stabilize.
In addition I also occasionally play with kettlebells. One movement that I like is the Turkish Get Up.
Sensational Anatomy is about the anatomy that you can learn to feel and control while doing a yoga pose.
So that you can direct your awareness intelligently it helps to understand the bones and muscles of the body and how they relate.
My own understanding of anatomy has been helped by practicing drawing anatomy.
This makes it easier to visualize those structures while meditating and doing yoga or tai ji or any other physical activity with a focus on mindfulness.
Spine and Ribcage
Pelvis and Sacral Area
Integrated Anatomy and Energy Anatomy
In general there is a big difference between what we sense and what we perceive.
A large part of my own training (and what I try to teach my students) is how to calibrate sense information and perception so that there is less of a disparity between sense and perception.
Part of the process of improving both awareness and control involves first isolating body parts so that you can improve your ability to feel and control those body parts. (This is also where we calibrate.)
The next steps are to integrate those body parts so that you can shift the focus of your consciousness easily between the different parts of the body.
The end result is a unification of body and mind otherwise known as yoga.
Note that calibration is a repeated process.
Learning to feel your body is like learning the alphabet. Body Awareness has a very big alphabet but learning it bit-by-bit gives you the building blocks for "spelling" any movement or action.
Here's a general "lecture" on basic principles as I see them and how they apply to creating a "sensational" yoga pose (one in which you are as present as possible.)
These standing and seated side stretches are great for stretching the side of the waist.
Here's part 2 of the yoga routine used for active stretching. I use the routine as a whole for teaching my students the muscle actions that make active stretching an effective stretching technique.
Basic instruction for doing a standing meditation. I do meridian, chakra and anatomy meditations all while standing. This video goes over the basic set up for standing with balanced tension (or "tuned tension") throughout the body.
Some slightly different yoga poses to improve balance, including standing, kneeling and rolling.
Here's the first part of the yoga pose sequence used in the Active Stretch ebook.
Here's a quick look at why scapular stability and thoracic stability are important. They allow you to do certain types of yoga poses with greater ease.
Here's my latest video on scapular stability.
Some ankle stretches to make it easier to kneel and also to stretch the backs of the ankles. Learn actions you can do to make these poses more comfortable and more effective.
What can you do while kneeling? How many kneeling yoga posture variations are there?
I can't say that I was happy to have injured my knee recently. After all, I'm a yoga teacher and it's part of my job to be able to show my students what I'm trying to get them to do. And that's when I discovered that perhaps it wasn't such a bad thing after all.
My latest ebook is designed especially for motorcyclists. The exercises in this book are designed to improve body awareness so that you can control your bike with greater confidence, particularly in the corners.
Here's my latest video on plank pose (with elbows straight) with a focus on feeling the mid section (to remove excess lumbar lordosis) and on feeling and controlling the shoulder blades (for scapular stability.)
Some basic exercises for feeling the ribcage and controlling it and then adjusting it for a balance between openness and relaxation.
Has anyone ever told you that you can use your spinal erectors to help you breath?
This set of exercises initially developed because I had collapsed arches. But even if you don't have collapsed arches they can be helpful for improving foot awareness.
In this next set of exercises for flat feet the focus is on the heel bones and how to stack them.
I was asked, recently, if it was safe to squat if you have flat feet. Here's my answer. (this is also included in the tail end of the "heel stacking" video.)
Exercises for collapsed arches. I actually have collapsed arches and I learned how to hide them so that I could join the army. I often use these foot exercises as a prelude to balancing on the fronts of the feet or balancing on one foot.
This book bundle includes my 5 yoga basics ebooks for $52.00. (After clicking the "Buy the Bundle Now" button you can use the sliders to reduce the price to $52.00.)