Monday, September 23, 2013

Downward Facing Dog with variation // Ardho Mukha Svanasana

I've never been a fan of Down Dog. It used to hurt my wrists a lot until I gained more upper-body strength to support me in the pose. After all my years of practice, my heels still don't touch the ground unless I bend my knees significantly. It almost never feels like a resting pose to me (which it is supposed to be).

But that's okay. Sometimes a pose will never be easy. But it is still worth it.

To help me deal with being "stuck" in Down Dog for a few breaths between vinyasas, I like to add variations. Whether it's the twist (pictured above), or pedaling the feet or moving from Down Dog to Plank, or trying Three-Legged Dog... it doesn't really matter. Just as long as I have options when my Down Dog isn't feeling awesome.

You can take a look at THIS Yoga Journal video (it's only a couple of minutes) if you're unsure just how your Downward Facing Dog is supposed to look.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Crow pose // Bakasana

This is a wonderful arm-balance pose that also encourages core strength. Believe it or not, it's the abdominals that really rock this posture.

If you're nervous about face-planting, then practice this pose on the carpet, or with a pillow under your head. Although, you're already so close to the ground that it doesn't hurt too much when you fall out of it... I know this from lots of personal experience.

Now that I'm comfortable holding my crow pose for a few breaths, I like to try variations. You can turn your legs to one side and do a twisted crow, and from there you can even try extending the legs through the twist. When I master that one I'll be sure to share a photo; for now just picture me falling down a lot.

For a good video to get you started with tradition crow, visit DoYouYoga's day 7 video HERE.

And even if you never get your feet off the ground, this is still a wonderful pose for targeting the core and the arms. I remember being so excited when I finally learned to do this pose (and then Kev just up and did it without any effort at all because he's awesome like that), but there are still some days when I'm not feeling it. Let me know how it works for you!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Renewing Yoga

I remember watching the instructor float down in her chaturanga, seemingly weightless. She would transition between postures without skipping a beat. Meanwhile, I was struggling to understand how I could get the feeling of pushing away from my mat when all I wanted to do was lay down on it and give up. Now I find myself offering similar suggestions to practitioners in my classes; I encourage them to inhale and imagine inflating and lifting right up off the ground. I let them know that a few years ago I was struggling with the same pose, and although I may be comfortable with it now, there are still countless others I'm working on. There is so much growth available in Yoga, which is one of the reasons I love it so much. It's been so rewarding to tackle new postures and revisit the old, familiar ones with renewed commitment. Having friends over to practice has given me just the boost I need to try bringing my practice back to the level it was at before moving from Ogden. What have you been working on lately?
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Friday, September 6, 2013

30 day Yoga Challenge

I've been doing a 30-day Yoga challenge via and I've really enjoyed it so far (I'm about a week into it). Every day, DoYouYoga emails subscribers a video with a targeted practice, and they range from just 10-20 minutes in length. It's not a comprehensive practice, but it's a nice complement to whatever you may already do (or don't do!). For me, I've found it beneficial to do my usual (eight) Sun Salutations as a warm up before attacking the DoYouYoga video. Sometimes I continue my personal practice after a video, or I just do my warm up and the DoYouYoga video and call it good. It's a free service and you can also access the videos at your own pace HERE.

It may seem silly, but I really love that when you sign up you give them your name (or nickname) and when they email you they say, "Hey Liv!" A little component like that can be just the motivation needed to try a challenge like this. This weekend I'm having another Yoga practice in my backyard, so come on over and join me! All of my extra mats are spoken for already, but you can purchase one super-cheap at Walmart, Target, or even Ross.

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