Monday, October 24, 2016

"Pie in the sky" Yogini - Combining Muscles in Lunge Pose!

Take a moment here and think about the muscles that combine and activate when moving into lunge pose.

1. Position the body n lunge pose to begin stretching the iliopsoas.

2. Contract the front leg hamstrings, drawing the body deeper into the lunge, accentuating the iliopsoas.

3. Contract the back arm biceps to flex the back knee, further accentuating the iliopsoas stretch while stretching the quadriceps.

4. Contract the front arm triceps, straightening the arm and lifting the chest. This stretches the abdominal, tilts the pelvic backwards and completes the iliopsoas stretch.

Happy lunging!

~Mary Jane -

Thursday, October 20, 2016

"Pie in the Sky" Yogini: Realign!

A variety of yoga poses gives us the opportunity to realign and thus release tension in muscles that shorten the back of the neck, while strengthening muscles that lengthen it. These include virabhadrasana II, trikonasana, and the other standing poses. Backbends help us to strengthen the neck as it extends fully; twists help to refine the alignment of the neck; and forward bends stretch the muscles of the spine and neck where tension resides. How we cue ourselves in each of these postures is vital, because if done poorly, they can create more tension in the neck and communicate it to the rest of the body. We see this often in standing poses in which students habitually shorten the back of their neck, hyperextending it as they hunch their shoulders—as if they were using their neck muscles to hold up their arms.

For example, students frequently hunch their shoulders and tighten the neck in virabhadrasana II (warrior 2). We could correct the shoulder alignment by rotating the arms externally (palms up) to release the shoulder blades down the back, but this adjustment addresses a symptom, not the cause. The real “stuckness” in the pose lies at the base of the head, where the neck muscles are tense. If we draw the top of the throat (at the hyoid) back and up while gently extending upward through the crown of the head, the shoulder blades automatically release down the back and the body opens to the breath, becoming lighter and more expansive.

Happy Alignment!

~Om - Mary Jane -

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

"Pie in the Sky" Yogini: Vasisthasana - Side Plank Variation!

Side plank can sometimes trigger an "oh my" thought while moving through your yoga practice. Why not think about a variation of this challenging pose. Come to plank pose, then shift your weight to your right hand and roll to the outside of your right foot, Step your left foot onto the floor in front of your hips. Lengthen through the inner right heel and lift your left arm alongside your left ear. Lift your left side hip and rib cage towards the sky. Release your right ear towards your right shoulder. Stay for 3-6 breaths. Slowly lower and repeat on the opposite side.

~ Om - Mary Jane

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

"Pie in the Sky" Yogini: Positions of the body in Warrior 2!

Ever wonder about all the positions of the body in warrior 2? Well here is the short list:

  • The front knee flexes
  • The front hip flexes
  • The back hip extends
  • The back foot rotates internally
  • The torso extends
  • The arms abduct
  • The forearms rotate internally
  • The head and neck rotate
Just think; all that for one pose!

Om~ Mary Jane -

Monday, October 17, 2016

"Pie in the Sky" Yogini: Flying Split Using the Wall!

Try this fun pose using the wall - Flying Split or better known as Eka Pada Koundinyasana. First, make sure you prepare your body with hamstring and hip openers. When you are ready find a wall where two corners meet. Come to your hands and knees facing the center of the room so that one wall is behind you and the other to the side of you. Position yourself so you can fully extend one leg to the wall behind you and the other to the wall to the side of you coming to a low lunge position. Walk your front foot wider to the edge of your mat so you can come to a wide low lunge with both hands to the inside of your front foot. Next, walk your back knee back until you can touch the back wall with the ball of your back foot. Bend your elbows as you would for chaturanga - melt your heart towards the earth and lift up your front foot and press it to the wall beside you while pressing the sole of the back foot completely against the wall behind you. If you want extra support for the chest area, place a block beneath the sternum.

Om~ Mary Jane -

Thursday, October 13, 2016

"Pie in the Sky" Yogini: Glutes!

The gluteus maximus is one of the largest muscles located on the outside of the pelvis. Contraction of the gluteus extends and outwardly rotates the femur. When the gluteus are tight it limits forward bending at the hips such as in uttanasana. Like the iliopsoas muscle, the gluteus maximus works unconsciously during standing and walking. Many yoga poses awaken this large muscle including back bends, standing poses and forward bends. The first chakra is the main point of illumination for this muscle along with the sacral spinal nerves. Keeping this muscle strong is paramount in order to keep the pelvis stabilized. The next time you are in chair pose, think about this major muscle and send some loving prana to it. After all, it is responsible for so many of your yoga poses!

Mary Jane -

Monday, October 10, 2016

"Pie in the Sky" Yogini: Pyramid Pose!

Pyramid pose is a standing pose that combines the benefits of three major movements: forward bending, backward bending and balancing. Better known as intense side stretch, stretches both sides of the body at the same time. It is a pose that prepares you for seated forward fold, back bends, inversions and twists. Some good follow up poses to pyramid are: seated staff pose, shoulder stand and locust pose. The primary benefits of this pose is to open up the shoulders and hamstrings. In addition, it builds balance, stretches the spine, chest and hips while stimulating the abdominal organs to improve digestion.

~Om - Mary Jane