Urdhva Prasarita Padasana

‘Tis the season for comfort & joy

by Tedrah Smothers

Tedrah.headshotThe Christmas season is upon us and before we know it, our minds become filled with all the many things left to do before the big day.

With shopping, wrapping, socializing, cooking, and baking, our yoga practice can fall by the wayside.

We begin to feel like there isn’t time or we’re too exhausted  for even a little yoga practice.

But the truth is…
When we make time for practice, we discover we actually have more time.

Our minds slow down and we focus on what is important.
Our bodies become filled with energy and ease.
We can rest in ourselves and connect to our world in a way that feels calm and alert.
All that needs to be done, gets finished.

We feel joyful and we are actually able to enjoy the season.

Doing just a little yoga can ease feelings of anxiety about the holidays by bringing us home to our truest self.  This is the place where we find comfort, happiness and peace.

Here it is, direct from the yoga sutras:

When we slow down the to-do list in our minds, we are able to dwell in our own true splendor. (Sutra 1.2-3)

Now is the time for practice!

Here are some poses everyone can do:

Urdvha Prasarita Padasana: Legs up the wall
Ardha Uttanasana: Half forward bend with hands on the wall.
Bharadvajasana (sitting in chair): Simple Twist
Gomukasana (arms only):  shoulder stretch with or without a strap. any simple shoulder stretch will do. interlacing hands behind your back and stretching arms
Adho Mukha Svanasana: Downward Facing Dog Pose
Supta Baddha Konasana: Reclining Bound Angle Pose

When you take time for yourself, you will have more time for others.
Make this holiday a happy one.

Treat your self this season, and join me for one (or more) of the holiday classes.
xo Tedrah

Yoga poses to restore tired legs

Several EYC yogis & yoginis will hit the Memphis streets tomorrow to benefit of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
UrdhvaPrasPada.arms at sides
Here’s a little yoga sequence to help you recover when you’ve challenged your limits in the running/walking department.

These poses help your whole system recover — and help your legs after you’ve exerted your energy.

Poses where you relax while you elevate legs your legs can have a profound effect on your whole system.

The top picture shows Rochelle practicing Upward Spread Foot pose (Urdhva Prasarita Padasana), and it is appropriate for nearly everyone.
  It can also be done with arms down at sides.

For experienced students, practice the inverted pose Viparita Karani.

Screen Shot 2014-12-05 at 10.17.45 AMFinally, Virasana (Hero Pose @ left), can be done every day — but particularly after exertion.

Virasana helps improve circulation to your lower legs and can restore flexibility and proper alignment to joints your feet, ankles and knees.

This is the pose that Mr. Iyengar had the Indian Army do after their long training marches.

Click on the pic for instructions on this pose.

Mala Yoga Blog has spelled out a whole sequence for runners.  You can benefit from (and learn special ways to practice) Virasana even if you have tightness in knees, ankles and feet.

Short (and potent) yoga sequence

I’ve been teaching these 2 poses in most of my classes lately — and assigning them as homework.  With so many of you interested in home practice, this post will help you get started.

Advanced Iyengar teacher Lois Steinberg gave me the idea, and I wanted to test it out.

This sequence is short & sweet — but don’t let that fool you!  The affects can be mighty:  you will stretch your legs, strengthen your quads, release your lower back, lengthen the sides of your trunk, open your shoulders, and spread your hands.

And the mental benefit — well, you’ll just have to try it now, won’t you? Let me know!

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Spread Feet Pose):

Lie down on your side with both buttocks on the wall.
Roll over and swing your legs up the wall.
Make sure your legs are centered in line with your trunk and head.

UrdhvaPrasPada.armsdown
Press your legs back toward wall.
Spread across soles of feet.
Turn your palms & inner arms up.

Lift shoulderblades up to spread chest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

UrdhvaPrasPada.wrongway
How close should you be to the wall?

Straighten your legs while keeping your buttocks down on the floor.

Move your buttocks away from the wall if needed to get your legs straight.

When you come to class, you will learn more ways to customize the poses to fit your body’s needs.

You should be able to relax before you begin the actions of the pose.

 

 

 

UrdhvaPrasPada.armsoverhead
Firm your thighs back toward wall.
Reach your arms alongside your ears.
Straighten your arms.
Straighten your legs.

To build strength, keep your hands hovering above the floor.

REACH!!!!!!!!

Now do it again!

And onto the next pose!

 

 

 

Ardha Uttanasana (Half Intense Pose):

ArdhaUttanasana.lkgfwd
Place your hands evenly on the wall.
Spread your hands into wall.
Press your thighs back.
Lift those kneecaps up!
Lengthen the sides of your trunk.

Look toward the wall to move back ribs in.
ArdhaUttanasana.lkgdownMaintaining the actions above, look down toward the floor.
Keep back ribs in.

Build strength by staying 30 seconds at first.
Work up to 1 minute.
Repeat 2-3 times.

Tight legs?
Step your feet wider apart.
Tight shoulders?
Place your hands higher on the wall.

 

 

 

Do this sequence every day and see what happens. You can do just this 2-pose sequence on its own. Or…do these 2 poses in preparation for a longer practice and see how you feel.

Namaste!

Leahsignature