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How To Get Twisting And Enjoy Yoga At Home

How To Get Twisting And Enjoy Yoga At Home

A strengthening Yoga At Home sequence featuring twists that’s great for posture

This Yoga At Home sequence is great for posture. It highlights the standing twists that we’ve covered in class recently and adds a strengthening element to your home yoga. I’ve used photos to remind you which limbs go where and key prompts to help you get straight to the point.

Standing twists are great for your posture. As you work through this sequence you’ll be toning your legs, mobilising your hips and spine and increasing strength in your core, back, abdominals, shoulders and neck. These poses limber, strengthen and nourish the joints and muscles you use to stand tall and sit straight.

By the way, our 10 Minute Yoga Sequence is an ideal warm up. Take the same approach to yoga at home as you do in my classes. Work at your level and with care and attention to your body.

New to Feeling Yogaful? Have a go with this sequences for a taste of how we do things in class.

Space

Let’s get going – how to use your breath

Focus on inhales creating space and exhales generating strength. Use inhale to develop a sense of ease and space throughout your body, especially your joints. Exhales in this sequence are used engage your pelvic floor and torso (core) to create strong, long muscles. This way you’ll become stronger, improve posture and flexibility without becoming tense. If you notice you’re clenching muscles and locking joints, stop, inhale and release. Try taking a softer approach, apply a bit less grit!

Next, the poses

Space

Wide Legged Forward Bend Pose

or Prasarita Padottanasana

Space

1. Take a wide stance, stand square and grounded in your space, hands on hips, weight equal in both feet, softness in knees and hips, spine gently lengthening.

Progressive yogis: deepen your session with ujjayi breath

2. Inhale, lift on the inside through your core. Exhale, engage your pelvic floor, abdominals and back muscles (core), hinge from your hips using three to five breaths, engage your shoulders to keep your back and neck straight.

3. Hands to the floor, let your neck and back relax. Inhale, ground your feet, lift your sitting bones and straighten your legs, hold. Exhale, engage core, allow the back of your legs to release and the strength of your core enable a deeper fold.

4. Give yourself time here and use both inhale and exhale. In time your stance will become wider and your fold deeper. At some point the top of your head may naturally touch the floor.

5. Exit to triangle pose. Bend your knees, scissor your feet to a moderate distance, inhale and curl up through your spine, swivel on your heels to face the front for triangle pose.

Triangle Pose

or Trikonasana

Space

1. Adjust your feet, front foot facing forward, feel balanced, comfortable in your hips. As before, weight equal in both feet, softness in knees and hips, spine gently lengthening.

2. Again, inhale, lift through your core. Exhale, engage core strongly, hinge at your hips and use three to five breaths to fold, neck and back inline. Inhales lengthen, exhales strengthen.

 

3. Lightly rest your forward hand on your front lower leg. Inhale, extend through your spine. Exhale engage your core strongly and revolve away from your front leg through your waist. Extend your top arm when your shoulders are vertical.

Progressive yogis: build strength, lift your bottom hand and hold the pose for up to five breaths. Extend your sequence here and pop in a Half Moon Pose.

Revolved Triangle Pose

or Parivrtta Trikonasana

Space

1. On an inhale ground your back foot and extend through ankle, knee, hip, waist, chest, shoulder and arm sending top fingers forward and down to replace your forward hand on your front leg. Exhale and feel steady.

revolved triangle 2

2. Inhale and once again extend your spine, exhale engage core strongly. This time revolve towards your front leg. Up to five breaths to revolve through your waist, chest and shoulders. when your shoulders are inline with your bottom arm lift and extend your top arm.

3. Once again, engage abdominal and back muscles to stabilise, hold the pose for up to five breaths. Inhale space and softness, exhale strength and stability.

Progressive yogis: extend your sequence with a Revolved Half Moon Pose

4. On an inhale untwist and hang over your front leg. Hold here with natural breath, let your head and arms hang heavy, neck and back relax. Try to find a comfortable, still position and let go of effort, let the weight of your body deepen the pose.

Mountain Pose

or Tadasana

1. Bend both knees, ground feet, lightly draw in your core, curl up through your spine on an inhale. Exhale and step forward to mountain pose.

Space

Repeat the sequence on your opposite side

 

Round off your session

Round off your yoga session by elevating your hard working legs for a few minutes. This can be as simple as lying on your back with your legs up the wall or for those in the know, Vipareeta Karani. Exit with care and lie on your back or side for one minute, mentally following your breath.

Space

Yoga is a work-in

As well as being physical these poses inherently take your attention inwards to the realm of your mind and emotions. They are in-depth and provide an opportunity for you to observe and develop self awareness. That’s the extra element that yoga has to offer and why it can be so enlightening. There’s often a great sense of feeling lighter and brighter after yoga. I think yoga is wonderful, I hope you do too.

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For our current timetable of classes in Battersea click here.

Namaste. Claire

Space

The Virabhadra Poses: A Warrior Yoga Sequence for Home Practice

The Virabhadra Poses: A Warrior Yoga Sequence for Home Practice

The Many Dimensions of Yoga

The illustration above is of Virabhadra, a fierce mythical warrior, and his stubborn, pigheaded father-in-law Daksha. I used the Hindu tale of Virabhadra as inspiration for this warrior yoga sequence for home practice and to highlight how yoga, as well as improving health and fitness, has many other dimensions to offer. Yoga is about health and fitness for your whole being, your physical body, your mind and the philosophical realm.

The Mythology Behind the Poses

Yoga uses mythical creatures and ancient tales to explain philosophical concepts. In the story behind the warrior poses we meet Lord Shiva battling his demons. In an act of revenge our hero, Lord Shiva, resolves to kill his pig headed and stubborn father in law Daksha. In anger he invokes Virabhadra, the fierce and powerful warrior and Daksha is slain. Realising the impact of this terrible act Shiva’s perspective shifts. He is filled with regret and remorse and seeks to right his terrible wrong. He directs his inner warrior towards understanding and compassion and brings his father in law back to life.

Symbolically this story depicts our relationship with ourselves and how we deal with aspects of our nature that we may dislike. It teaches us not to use force to change or expel our inadequacies and bad habits but instead to use our energy towards understanding ourselves and granting ourselves compassion. In this way, through yoga, we can recognise our complex natures and live more peacefully.

How to Use the Sequence

If you like the idea of exploring the power of your inner warrior and finding a peaceful place the next time you are on your mat turn your attention inwards. Look inside yourself and embrace your true nature. The nice bits and the not so nice bits. Invoke Virabhadra and find conviction. As you become stronger and more confident on your mat your capacity for self compassion and self appreciation will grow. When you step off your mat you’ll be are empowered, rejuvenated, focused and feeling great.

 

Here’s the sequence. Enjoy!

Warrior Pose 1 - Virabhadrasana 1

Warrior Pose 1

Ground your back foot and lean back over your engaged and strong leg. Soften your upper body, fill your chest with and inhale and open your arms. Shoulders down, back of neck long. Bend your front knee. With each inhale feel open and elevated in your upper body. With each exhale, bend the front knee and feel grounded and strong in your lower body. Turn your attention inwards.

Warrior pose virabhadrasana 3

Warrior Pose 3

Step forward onto a grounded foot and strong leg. Inhale and lengthen through your spine, engage your shoulders and expand your chest. Exhale, hinge forward with your hips parallel to the floor, heel lengthens away, back of thigh working. Use your breath to retain length and strength as you hinge a little further. Build strength and mental focus for your journey of self discovery.

Warrior pose virabhadrasana 2

Warrior Pose 2

Turn your whole body to face the side, arms parallel to the floor. Rotate your front thigh at the hip and point your foot forward. With shoulders supporting arms and neck long gaze over your front middle finger. Inhale, reach back through your fingers over your strong leg and feel your chest open. Exhale, bend your front knee, fix your gaze with intention. Stand firm, find inner conviction.

Half moon pose Ardha Chandrasana block

Half Moon Pose

The sequence completes with ardha chandrasana, a posture of perfect balance and peacefulness. (I’ve used the block to enable more openness in the chest and hips.) With your gaze still fixed from warrior 3, bend the front knee a little, take your hand to your hips and begin to turn your chest away from your supporting leg. Your gaze stays fixed. Work with your breath to move a little, regain balance and move a little more. Feel a strong open body, even breath, focused and peaceful. Accept the wobble, acceptance even when it’s difficult.

If time allows try repeating the sequence upto 3 times on each side. That will really help with familiarity and creates the opportunity to notice some of the finer detail. When you finished, spend a minute or two in either child pose or savasana.

Summary

I hope you find this sequence an interesting addition to your yoga journey, it will help you to find many forms of strength. You might like to try using it with the 10 minute yoga sequence on the main blog page.

If haven’t already joined our mailing list and would like more posts like this you can subscribe here.

For our current timetable of classes in Battersea click here.

Bibliography: The British Museum. The Mythology of Viparita Virabhadrasana: Who Was Virabhadra? – Kathryn Ashworth, Himalayan Institute, August 2016.

Navasana

Navasana

How To Practice Navasana

Home Practice tip

01

Great for improving your posture
Use as prep for head stand

Navasana / Boat Pose – practise of this static posture develops physical strength, and importantly, concentration. Mind and body work together to achieve balance in this physically and mentally challenging pose.

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