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  • Sensational Yoga Poses
    The Art of Conversing With Your Body

    Yoga poses are an opportunity for you to get to know your body. The shape of any pose is just the starting point for improving health, strength, balance, flexibility and coordination. It's a context for learning to sense and control your body.

    Yoga 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.

    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.

    Meridian Stretches

    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.

    Moving Smoothly

    One of the things that doesn't come across well on a printed page is learning how to move slowly. It helps to see some movements in action. So sensational yoga poses also has a video channel on youtube. Here's a partial list of some of the videos. And here's a yoga routine designed for improving body awareness.

    More videos...

    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.

    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
    And
    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.

    Types of Poses and Postures

    One approach to sequencing yoga poses is to focus on body position. For example start with standing poses.

    Standing poses are handy as warm ups and also a great place to start flexibility work particularly if you aren't flexible to begin with. Then you can go to the floor to work on types of seated poses.

    To make transitioning between seated poses smoother you can focus on doing cross leg poses together, then kneeling poses, then seated poses with one or both legs straight.

    Prone and belly facing down poses can be used to work on the front of the body and the back, likewise supine and belly facing upward poses.

    Yoga arm balances and Inverted yoga poses deserve special attention since they involve balance and turning our usual world upside down.

    Alphabetical Yoga Poses

    Improve Strength and Flexibility

    Yoga for Bad Posture

    Yoga Pain Fixes

    Improving Coordination and Awareness

    Improving Body Control

    What's New?

    Handstand Intro 6

    A look at getting your feet off of the wall and balancing in handstand plus tips for greater arm stability.

    Continue reading "Handstand Intro 6"

    Yoga Pose Sequences for Flexibility and Strength

    Yoga pose sequences for flexibility and strength. These sequences can be used for improving hip and shoulder flexibility and strength.

    Continue reading "Yoga Pose Sequences for Flexibility and Strength"

    Joint Anatomy

    Why is joint space important in joint anatomy? Fluid tensegrity offers some ways of exploring the body for strength, flexibility and recovering from injury.

    Continue reading "Joint Anatomy"

    Concepts of Tai Chi

    One of the concepts of taj chi is finding balance. More than just staying upright this can mean the balance between lengthening and relaxing, and between stability and relaxing.

    Continue reading "Concepts of Tai Chi"

    Fluid Tensegrity

    Fluid tensegrity is the tendency of the body to maintain space within the joints. The question is, how is this space maintained?

    Continue reading "Fluid Tensegrity"

    How to do Handstand part 4

    Part 4 of my handstand youtube series. This one focuses on simple transitions to back against the wall handstands.

    Continue reading "How to do Handstand part 4"

    Handstand Intro Video p2

    This handstand introduction video continues the L-shaped handstand using a wall but with exercises for pressure sensitivity using the hands. This is a preparation for the "chest against the wall" handstand.

    Continue reading "Handstand Intro Video p2"

    Being Present

    Why being present is the oppositve of thinking and how to utilize both modes effecively.

    Continue reading "Being Present"

    New video: Handstand Introduction

    For anyone who wants to do handstand but isn't sure where to start, here's an introduction to going upside down without having to worry about balance. Also some exercises for using the shoulders both prior to handstand and while doing it.

    Continue reading "New video: Handstand Introduction"

    Being Present is the Opposite of Thinking

    Thinking and Being present are opposites. This doesn't mean that thinking is a bad thing. But it can make being present easier.

    Continue reading "Being Present is the Opposite of Thinking"

    Being Present is the Opposite of Thinking

    Thinking and Being present are opposites. This doesn't mean that thinking is a bad thing. But it can make being present easier.

    Continue reading "Being Present is the Opposite of Thinking"

    Articulated Tensegrity Systems

    Is tensegrity maintained during movement and posture? Articulated tensegrity systems how tensegrity explains muscle inhibition during injury.

    Continue reading "Articulated Tensegrity Systems"

    Sacroiliac Joint Exercises and Anatomy

    Sacroiliac joint exercises and anatomy. Learn to feel and control the muscles that work on the si joint.

    Continue reading "Sacroiliac Joint Exercises and Anatomy"

    Body Weight Squat

    The body weight squat from a yoga perspective. How to get your butt to the ground, how to stay balanced, how to keep your knees safe.

    Continue reading "Body Weight Squat"

    Utthita Trikonasana

    Strengthening the legs and waist with Utthita trikonasana yoga pose as well as tips for grabbing the toe (and options for not grabbing the big toe.)

    Continue reading "Utthita Trikonasana"

    Revolved Triangle

    Revolved triangle can be used as a strengthening pose for the legs, waist and even the arms.

    Continue reading "Revolved Triangle"

    Shoulder Anatomy

    Shoulder anatomy for yoga teachers: learn the landmarks of the shoulderblade and the muscles that attach to them for improved body awareness and shoulder control.

    Continue reading "Shoulder Anatomy"

    Improve Balance with Yoga

    To improve balance with yoga it helps if you understand some basic principles for balance so that you can improve balance more efficiently.

    Continue reading "Improve Balance with Yoga"

    How to Do a Headstand

    This is a step-by-step introduction on how to do a headstand. It shows how to set up neck and shoulders and how to get comfortable being upside down in bound yoga headstand.

    Continue reading "How to Do a Headstand"

    Yoga Headstand

    How to lift into a yoga headstand with legs straight? This article shows you the steps and what to focus on to stay balanced.

    Continue reading "Yoga Headstand"