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  • Sensational Yoga Poses

    The shape of any yoga pose is just the starting point for improving

    Rather than just showing you the shape of various yoga poses, the idea of sensational yoga poses is to teach you what you can do within each pose to improve not only the above qualities, but your ability to feel and control your body as well as understand it.

    Sensational yoga poses are a way of exploring your body and ofenjoying the experience of your body.

    Yoga Poses for Improving Flexibility

    If you are doing yoga to get more flexible then a first step is to become familiar with the different types of stretching techniques. You may find that with a repertoire of stretching methods it is easier to stretch responsively. You can vary the type of stretching you do based on the state of your body at the time.

    Note that it's not suggested here to use stretching as a warm up for other activities. Instead, it's simple to improve flexiblity or maintain it, or to simply feel good.

    If you're goal is to improve flexibility, here are some flexibility tips.

    Most effective stretching methods (effective in that they improve flexibility) include some sort of muscle control whether relaxing the muscle being stretched or activating it or it's opposing muscle. You can try basic muscle control (activating and relaxing your legs) in these stretches for tight hamstrings.

    Meridian Stretches

    As mentioned, another reason to get into stretching is that it can feel good.

    Relaxed stretching is particularly beneficial in this regard. For a more profound effect you may find meridian stretching is helpful, particularly if you learn to use the meridians to guide the sequence in which you stretch the parts of your body. A very basic technique is to "follow the flow" of the meridians.

    Whether you believe in the idea of Qi or not, the meridians offer an effective model for stretching the parts of the body in an organized manner.

    Pain and Posture

    Some people get into yoga to deal with pain. Others experience pain in the process of doing yoga.

    Learn how to alleviate pain when doing yoga poses with simple adjustments and practice of some basic actions.

    If posture (or a lack of good posture) is the problem, then some simple exercises can get you used to the feeling of good posture. Rather than thinking about good posture and reminding yourself to sit upright, you'll be able to feel good posture. If you focus on feeling your posture you'll be able to find good posture with minimum effort. You might even like the feeling.

    A Sequence of Yoga Poses

    If you want to do yoga as an exercise you may find that Ashtanga yoga is suitable since it is a set series of yoga poses. The first challenge is learning the sequence of yoga poses. I'd suggest learning a few poses at a time and then gradually adding on more and more poses. Once you've learned the sequence (and even while you are adding to the sequence of poses) you can then focus on refining both the poses and the transitions between poses, which are called Vinyassa.

    Thinking and Doing Yoga

    Thinking and doing yoga are actually two different mind states. Doing yoga we are actually learning to be present. Part of what allows us to be present is learning to control the parts of our body without having to think.

    Thinking, of discernment is what we can use to make learning more effective.

    Read more about the difference between these in Being Present.

    One practice that lends itself extremely well to practicing discernment or clear thinking is the dance of shiva. It can also aid with improving coordination (and creativity).

    Being more present can be used to improve balance.

    Simple balance exercises can include balancing on one foot or balancing on the fronts of the feet. More challenging balancing poses can include learning to balance while upside down. But as a first step it helps to get comfortable while upside down without having to deal with the balance component, hence the use of a wall. Even with the use of a wall fear may still be a problem. Learning how to deal with fear can be one of the benefits of doing inversions.

    One practice that can help with dealing with fear is focusing on stability. A benefit of dealing with fear, particularly if we analyze why we are fearful, is that we can become more conscious.

    With sensational yoga poses the goal is the minimum effort required to stabilize the body so that sensitivity is maintained. This balanced state could be thought of as Tensegrity. With a focus on balancing sensitivity and stability it becomes possible to adjust the amount of effort required to suit the circumstances while still keeping the body safe. The result can be a yoga practice that ends with you feeling like you've done work but are reasonably refreshed at the same time.

    Yoga Poses for Exercise and Strength

    When doing yoga poses it can easily become apparent when you are lacking in strength, whether in the arms, the waist or the hips.

    One trick to working for strengthening the body while doing yoga poses is being able to disassemble yoga poses into component parts that make it easier to strengthen the individual parts of the body while at the same time improving awareness and control of those parts.

    From there gradually integrate the isolated parts using progressively more challenging poses or actions.

    Breath, Bandhas
    Anatomy for Yoga Teachers

    For yoga teachers in particular anatomy can be a boon to both your personal yoga practice and to teaching yoga classes since in gives you greater flexibility in how you direct your students (or your own) awareness within the body. It also provides you various themes for exploring the same poses in different ways. In this sense anatomy is more than just learning the names of bones and muscles. It is experiencing them first hand in your own body and helping your students experience it in their own body.

    Technical names don't even have to be used so long as you can direct them clearly on where to plant their awareness within their body.

    Breathing (and bandhas) are closely related to anatomy because breath can be one of the ways in which you learn to feel your anatomy. Different breathing exercises use different muscles, and so you can use breathing exercises to learn to feel and control specific muscles. In the same way bandhas and other yoga exercises target particular muscles. Learn to feel and control bandhas, then you further learn to feel and control your anatomy.

    Yoga for Fun

    Work is required to maintain any relationship. But that doesn't mean you need to be serious all of the time.

    Yes I am serious in a lot of the photos on this page. But when I'm in front of a class and seeing a sea of serious faces I often like to suggest that students lift one or both eyebrows, perhaps in time with their breath or a particular action. Another exercise is to pucker the lips.

    Another way to have fun in yoga is to practice poses like arm balances or other crazy poses just for the fun of it. Another way to have fun, particularly when you practice a set sequence of poses like Ashtanga is to try something different, try mixing up the order of the poses or try poses that you don't regularly do.

    But failing that, try smiling while doing a difficult yoga pose, or an easy one for that matter. It's just yoga.

    Alphabetical Yoga Poses

    Yoga for beginners 1 ebook, Getting a feel for your body, Neil Keleher, Sensational Yoga Poses.
    Yoga for beginners 2 ebook, Getting a feel for your body, Neil Keleher, Sensational Yoga Poses.
    Muscle Control for Better Flexibility ebook, Keleher, Sensational Yoga Poses.
    Working Towards Wheel Pose ebook, body awareness exercises to make difficult poses easier, Neil Keleher, Sensational Yoga Poses.

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