Yoga: Healing with Intention and Beginning Your Yoga Practice – Part 2

Guest Blogger: Nora Josephson, MA, LPCC, RYT-200

Start with an Intention.

What are you needing right now? What intention can you set for your practice? These can be similar to affirmations or coping thoughts. Maybe you need to hear:

  • “I am okay in this moment”.
  • Possibly it is as simple as, “Breathe in…breathe out.”
  • Or “Inhale” as you inhale and “exhale” as you exhale.
  • Or “I am ______” (examples: I am strong, I am enough, I am loved).
childspose

Photo Credits: Erin Stotts

Now Breathe…

“Conscious breathing, which is a powerful meditation in its own right, will gradually put you in touch with the body…As soon as your habitual state changes from being out of the body and trapped in the mind, to being in the body and present in the Now, your physical body will feel lighter, clearer, more alive.” –Eckhart Tolle

Practicing inhaling deeply through your nose and exhaling through your nose or mouth. Work toward extending your inhales and exhales and moving from shallow chest breathing to deep belly breaths.

Now for the Asana, the Yoga Postures:

“The effect of asana is to put an end to the dualities or differentiation between the body and mind, mind and soul. None of the pairs of opposites can exist for the sadhaka (practitioner) who is one with the body, mind, and soul.” –B. K. S. Iyengar

Alignment is important to prevent injury and protect the joints. So if you need more clarity, poses are easily searchable online. There is also a vast amount of YouTube videos, yoga books, and instructional DVDs out there, but there are free resources online. If you are a beginner and are able to make it to a class… great! Teachers are amazing resources to put you at ease and answer any questions you may have.

Some restorative healing postures to relieve aches, pains, anxiety, exhaustion, tension and depression:

Seated Easy Side Bend

  • Sit cross leggedsidebend
  • Relax right forearm on your mat to your right
  • Lift left arm up and over to the right
  • Gaze up toward your left fingertips
  • Inhale lift, exhale relax further into the pose
  • Complete left side after the right

Seated Easy Twist

  • seatedtwistSit cross legged
  • Inhale lift left arm straight up
  • Exhale place left hand on right knee
  • Place right fingertips on the ground by your right hip
  • Inhale extend your spine, exhale twist a little further (listen to your body)
  • Complete left side after the right

Seated Cross Arms, Hold Knees

  • Sit cross leggedcrossarms
  • Place right hand on right knee and left hand on left knee
  • Relax your torso forward over your legs
  • Relax your head and neck
  • Continue your breathing for a couple rounds of breath and relax further into the pose
  • Switch arms and repeat

Cat/Cow

catcow1                 catcow2

  • Come to a table top position
  • Shoulders over wrists
  • Hips over ankles
  • Spread your fingers wide
  • Inhale, drop your belly down toward the ground and gaze up to the sky for cow pose, engage shoulders back down your spine
  • Exhale, press into your palms and round your spine like a cat and gaze toward your belly button.

Downward Facing Dog

  • downwardfacingdog2Curl your toes under and send your hips high
  • Press through your heels and lengthen your spine
  • Place your feet and hands hip-width distance apart
  • Draw your scapulae down your spine

Child’s Pose

  • childsposeSpread your knees to the outside of your mat
  • Bring your big toes to touch
  • Drop hips to heals
  • Lengthen your spine
  • Forehead touches the mat
  • Stretch your arms forward, palms facing down

Jathara Parivartanasana, Supine Twist

supine2                                 supine1

  • From lying on your back
  • Exhale right knee into your chest, toward shoulder, avoid rib cage
  • Deep breath in
  • Place left hand on the outside of the right knee
  • Relax right knee up and over to the left
  • Keep left leg relaxed and straight
  • Right arm straight out to the right, gaze over your right fingertips
  • Energetically reach left shoulder toward the mat
  • Complete left side after the right

Low Lunge with Back Knee Downlowlunge

  • Find a low lunge position
  • Right knee over right ankle
  • Relax left knee onto the mat
  • Inhale reach arms up by your ears
  • Sink hips low to the ground
  • Take a few breaths to relax into the pose
  • Complete left side after the right

Eka Pada Rajakapotasana, Half Pigeonpigeon1

  • From downward facing dog, inhale right leg high
  • Exhale half pigeon
  • Right knee toward right wrist, flex your right toes toward your right knee to protect the joint
  • Gaze over your right shoulder to make sure your left toes are pointing straight back

Sleeping Pigeonpigeon2

  • Move to sleeping pigeon by slowing walking your hands forward
  • Relax your forehead on your mat, hands or yoga block
  • Complete left side after the right.

Setu Bandhasana, Bridge Pose

bridge1               bridge2

  • While lying on your back, bend your knees and reach your fingers toward your heels until your fingertips graze your heels
  • Gently lift your hips up toward the sky
  • Avoid turning your head to avoid neck injury
  • Lift ribs up high then soften the hips
  • Interlace your fingers beneath your back and place them on the mat
  • Shimmy your shoulders under your back

Tadasana, Mountain Posemountain1

  • Inhale, arms up
  • Biceps by your ears
  • Engage your core and draw your shoulders down your back
  • Open your chest and lift through the crown of your head

Vrksasana, Tree Pose

        tree3-revtree2-rev       tree1-rev

  • Inhale, bring the sole of your foot to the inside of your inner thigh
    • To modify place the sole of your foot below your knee joint (avoid the knee joint to avoid injury) or place your foot on the floor as a kickstand
  • Place your palms at heart center
  • Engage your quadriceps
  • Spine grows long
  • Push your foot into your thigh and the inner thigh into your foot
  • Complete left side after the right

Standing Side Opener

  • From standing, reach arms upsideopener
  • Grab your left wrist with your right hand
  • Gently pull your left arm up and over to the right
  • Inhale lift, exhale relax
  • Flow with your breath
  • Complete left side after the right

Sit on Heels with Hands at Heart Centersitonheels

  • Sit on Heels
  • Press palms together at the center of your chest
  • Close your eyes
  • Tune in to your breath
  • Extend your inhales and exhales
  • Focus on exhaling tension on each exhale

Legs up the Wall Poselegsupwall

  • Lying on your back
  • Lift legs up toward the sky
  • Flex your feet
  • Relax torso into the mat
  • If more comfortable use a wall to relax your legs upon

Supta Baddha Konasana, Reclining Bound Angle Pose

boundangle2                                      boundangle1

  • Lay down on your back
  • Bring the soles of your feet together
  • Knees spread wide
  • Relax one hand on your heart, one hand on your belly
  • Close your eyes and tune into your breath
  • Switch hand positions halfway through the holding of the pose

Paschimottanasana, Seated Forward Bend

  • forwardbend1-revFrom a seated position, extend your legs out in front of you
  • Flex your feet
  • Exhale forward fold
  • Reach toward your feet
  • Hold your feet , ankles, or calves
  • Inhale reach the crown of your forwardbend2-revhead toward your toes
  • Exhale relax head, neck and shoulders down

Savasana, Corpse Pose

savasana2                               savasana1

  • Lie down on your back
  • Relax your arms by your sides, palms face up
  • Relax legs, let ankles fall outward
  • Release tension
  • Let your breath be natural
  • This is a huge part of your practice, to relax, be mindful, and find the stillness. Thank yourself for your practice today.

 

If you’re feeling more energetic, you can try a Sun Salutation:

Inhale…Tadasana, Mountain Pose

Exhale…Mini-Backbend

Inhale…Tadasana, Mountain Pose

Exhale…Uttanasana, Forward Fold

Inhale… Urdhva Mukha Uttanasana, Halfway-Lift

Exhale…High Plank

Inhale…while in high plank

Exhale… Chaturanga Dandasana, Low Plank

Inhale… Urdhva Mukha Svanasana, Upward Facing Dog

Exhale… Downward Facing Dog

Gaze up toward your palms, walk feet up toward to the top of your mat

Inhale… Urdhva Mukha Uttanasana, Halfway-Lift

Exhale…Uttanasana, Forward Fold

Inhale…Tadasana, Mountain Pose

Exhale…Samastitihi, Hands at Heart Center

*Repeat Sun Salutation, using the flow of your breath 2-3 times through.*

 

Cues to Sun Salutation Postures Below:

Tadasana, Mountain Posemountainpose3

  • Inhale, arms up
  • Biceps by your ears
  • Engage your core and draw your shoulders down your back
  • Open your chest and lift through the crown of your head

Mini Backbendbackbend2

  • From Tadasana, Mountain Pose, bend your elbows
  • Relax shoulders down your back
  • Lift up through your chest
  • Engage your core
  • Lengthen low back

Uttanasana, Forward Fold

forwardfold1          forwardfold2

  • Exhale, fold forward with your hands at heart center
  • Let your head and neck relax
  • Keep a slight bend in your knees to protect your joints
  • Weight is in the front portion of your feet

Urdhva Mukha Uttanasana, Halfway-Lifthalfwaylift

  • Inhale
  • Place your palms on your shins
  • Lengthen through the crown of your head
  • Draw your shoulders down your spine

High Plankhighplank2

  • Exhale, step back into a plank position (top of a push up)
  • Shoulders over your wrists
  • Engage your core
  • Lengthen your tailbone towards your heels

Chaturanga Dandasana, Low Plank

  • Exhale, from high plank continue through clow plankhaturanga
  • Hug your elbows into your sides
  • Lower half way or less
  • Keep your should blades together down your back
  • To modify, drop your knees down to the mat

Urdhva Mukha Svanasana, Upward Facing Dogupwardfacingdog

  • Inhale, slide forward, straighten arms, roll onto the tops of your feet
  • Broaden your shoulders across your chest
  • Lengthen your neck and spine
  • Draw shoulder blades together and down your spine

Downward Facing Dog

  • Curl your toes under and send your hips highdownwardfacingdog2
  • Press through your heels and lengthen your spine
  • Place your feet and hands hip-width distance apart
  • Draw your scapulae down your spine

 

Namaste

~Nora Josephson, MA, LPCC, RYT-200

 

Miss Part 1? Check it out here!

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