The 12 Normal TCM meridians are linked in a network with a specific pattern of flow. Both the meridians and the associated elements can be used for guiding the order in which parts of the body are stretched and strengthened.
Meridian stretches uses TCM meridians to guide either a complete stretch of the body or a focused stretch. Both meridians and associated elements can be used to guide the order in which you stretch the body.
Learning to balance on one foot can be made easier if you focus on poses where the legs aren't touching or "bound." With the standing leg free you can practice stabilizing the hip, ankle and foot while moving in and out of standing on one leg balancing positions.
Balancing on one leg in yoga poses like utthitta hasta padangustasana, dancer, tree pose, half bound lotus and eagle, the lifted foot is either bound or held by one hand or the legs in some way contact each other. This can make balancing (or staying balance) a little more challenging.
Yoga Ab exercises include standing and seated positions as well as belly up and belly down yoga poses. You can exercise (or train) the abs by working at keeping the midsection stable or by using the abs to move the ribcage relative to the pelvis and vice versa.
Seated yoga poses can be used to help isolate your spine, hip joints and pelvis. Feel and control your spine while seated, to make these same movements easier while standing.
Eagle yoga pose combines balancing on one leg with hip flexibility and shoulder stretching. To make eagle pose easier to learn and you can focus on the leg crossing element in isolation. Then you can intergrate the arms.
Learn how to work towards the arm position from eagle pose. If you first get the hang of eagle pose arms in isolation you can then combine it with various leg positions including eagle legs.
The sensational yoga pose index lists standing yoga poses in the following categories: symmetric, single leg balancing pose, asymmetric forward facing standing poses and asymmetric lateral standing yoga poses.
Use standing side bend yoga pose to stretch your outer hip, side of the waist, side of the ribcage, lats and shoulders. Use your feet to push your pelvis one way and reach your ribs and upper body away from your pelvis.
If you have tight knees (i.e. you can't knee with your bum on your heels) and/or tight ankles, a simple way to work on improving knee and ankle flexibility is to lean forward while kneeling and slowly sit up. Then lean forwards again.
Why improve body awareness? So that you can become your own mechanic and fix problems yourself. Instead of being able to fault find and fix your own car, the idea is that you can fault find and fix your own body.
The idea of counterposes is to help bring the body back into balance. Here's a look at several different ideas for counterposing yoga poses.
Marichyasana B is a forward bending binding yoga pose with the non-marichyasana leg in lotus. One way to prepare for this position is to use the janusirsasana C foot position.
One of the ideas of self mastery is that the easiest thing to change is ourselves. This can start by becoming aware of our habits and the way that we think so that we can begin to change them.
Here's a look at the forward bending and twisting marichyasana yoga poses with an emphasis on learning how to bind. I've included two simple marichyasana variations that can make binding easier, even for those with limited flexibility.
If you are new to yoga and aren't sure where how to sequence poses, the standing series of ashtanga yoga poses offers one possible model. I've included vinyassas, the steps for moving in and out of each pose, at the bottom of the page.
Why learn to feel your body? So that you can become your own mechanic. Instead of being able to fault find and fix your own car, the idea is that you can fault find and fix your own body.
This is a step-by-step introduction to "bound" headstand using a wall. Like L shaped handstand, the idea is to use a wall to get comfortable being upside down, and also to help get a taste of balance by learning how to take the feet off of the wall.
If you can't hold on to your toe with your knee straight in utthita hasta padangusthasana (one hand big toe pose) then bend your knee and hold on to it instead.
Another option is to wrap a towel around your foot and use both hands to hold on to the towel.
This pose couuld be thought of as a standing hamstring stretch for the lifted leg. So that you can stretch the hamstring focus on relaxing it.
You can also work on using the strength of your arm (and or the hip flexors).
If the problem is lack of grip then grab on to the side of the foot instead. It's no longer "big toe pose" but then again, neither is it if you are using a towel!
Names aside, if your hamstrings lack flexibility, try not to compensate by rounding your spine.
Use a towel or bend your knee so that you can keep your spine straight while doing this one legged series of balance poses.
You can then use your arms to pull on your leg without compromising your lower back.
To work on your standing leg stability, practice first with the foot turned out slightly and the standing knee slightly bent. Try squeezing the outer thigh and hip and the inner thigh. Also try squeezing the hamstring.
Practice this first with your lifted knee bent, and then with it straight (or only slightly bent). Hold for only a breath or two then switch legs.
Next, as your leg stability improves, work towards doing it with a straight knee and your foot facing forwards.
One way to work towards the flexibility required in this pose is to rest your foot on a table, book shelf, low wall or even a tree limb.
Keep your standing leg and spine stable and focus on relaxing your hamstring so that you can then position your leg on something higher.
If your problem is balance, work on keeping your balance by using your standing foot to feel where your center of gravity is.
Work at keeping your center of gravity centered between the outside and inside edges of your standing foot. Also position your center of gravity forwards enough that your toes naturally press down. You can then use your toes to help keep your center stable. If your sensitivity is good, you can practice balancing without the use of your toes. In this case try shifting your weight onto your heel and keep it there. Relax your toes.
To practice stabilizing your body, start by activating the feet and ankle of your standing leg. Make both strong and rigid. Then activate the muscles of your lower leg. Hug the bones with the muscles housed in the lower leg.
Do the same with your knee joint.
Stabilize the hip of your standing leg by sucking the thigh bone of that leg into its hip socket. From there stabilize your mid section, spine, ribcage and shoulder of the arm supporting your leg.
If using the towel option and both arms then stabilze both shoulders. To stabilize your shoulders pull your shoulders towards their respective elbows. (Thanks Tim.)
With respect to the Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana lifted leg, you can focus on relaxing the back of the thigh so that you can lift the leg higher.
Or you can try activating the back of the thigh by pulling your leg down while at the same time using your hand to pull up.
Another option is to focus on reaching the leg out of the hip. Make your leg feel long. And at the same time pull up with the arm or pull up and back.
Experiment with these variations whether the leg is to the front or the side.
In the Ashtanga Yoga Standing Sequence, the first two variations of this pose are with the hand grabbing the big toe first with your leg to the front and then open your lifted leg to the side.
When moving the leg to the side, try externally rotating the leg so that the knee points slightly rearwards.
Then move your leg to the front again, bend forward once and kiss your knee and then lift your torso, release your hand and hold your leg out to the front.
Hold each position for 5 breaths.
Do the right leg first (stand on your left foot) and then the left leg.
Ashtanga Yoga Poses: Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana 1, 2 and 3
Especially when holding your leg out to the front without using your hand, you may find this a lot easier to do if you bend your standing leg.
This gives you more room to stabilize your pelvis with the muscles of your standing leg.
From there it is then easier to engage your abs to unify your ribage and pelvis. You then have a more stable base for reaching your leg to the front.
Also, because this can be hard to learn on the fly, especially after having done the hand grabbing variations, you might try resting after the first two variations, then go into the third variation with fresh legs.
You may find that you learn it faster and can then transition into it without resting.
Another option for this third utthita hasta padangusthasana position is to practice first with your lifted knee bent. Because this is easier, work up to holding for ten slow breaths. Then work at slowly (over the course of several practices) making your knee straighter.
The alternative is to practice suffering the pain of trying the full pose straight away.