Yoga Asana Challenge!

By February 28, 2014Uncategorized

Are you ready for our March Asana Challenge?!

I am ๐Ÿ™‚

The challenge will work like this:

1. I will post a photo of a yoga asana each day here and on Facebook -ย https://www.facebook.com/perceptiontrainers
2. The following day you will take a photo of yourself in that asana.
3. You will post your photo on Facebook and 'tag' Perception Trainers OR post it on our wall OR post it as a comment in the post with the posture on our Facebook page.
4. You will have so much fun!

You can also post on instagram with the Hashtage #ptasanachallenge

We will start off with foundational postures, and work our way up to some more intricate ones. I will always provide modifications ๐Ÿ™‚

OK!

So your first posture is going to be....

Day 1 Standing forward fold (UTTANASANA)

This is a great beginners forward fold:

How to do it:

  • Place feet hips distance apart.
  • Bend your knees as much as you need to.
  • Place hands on the mat, your shins or even your knees.
  • Focus on keeping the spine long, tucking the chin slightly to create space in the back of your neck.
  • Chill, hang out, breath.

Benefits:

  • Increases openness in the backs of the legs.
  • Stretches the spine.
  • Reverses the effects of gravity on the spine and neck.
  • Is a cooling posture that can help to calm the mind and ground you.

DSC_0013

 

Day 2: Downward Facing Dog

Whoohoo! ย Day 2 of our challenge!

How To Do It

  • Place your feet hips distance apart.
  • Draw your heels towards the floor, if they do not touch, do not worry.
  • Engage your legs by drawing your knee caps up towards your hips.
  • Point your tailbone to the area behind you where the wall and the celling meet.
  • Draw your lower belly in and up gently - you should still be able to breath ๐Ÿ™‚
  • Draw your shoulder blades towards your spine, and up towards your hips.
  • Roll your shoulders gently away from your ears, creating lots of space and length in your neck.
  • Straighten the arms to the best of your ability.
  • Press the mound of flesh between forefinger and thumb into the mat, spreading your fingers wide.

Benefits:

  • Strengthens the legs, arms and back (really, this is a full body posture)
  • Lengthens the legs.
  • Is a slight inversion, reversing the effects of gravity on the upper body.
  • Lengthens and stretches the back (great if you sit all day)
Ardha Mukha Svanasana

Ardha Mukha Svanasana

 

Day 3: Warrior 2 (Virabhadrasana 2)

For your pose today, you are going to be doing Warrior 2!

How To Do It:

  • Step your feet arms distance apart, facing the side of your mat.
  • Turn your back foot parallel with the back of your mat, and your front foot parallel to the side of your mat, hips facing sideways.
  • Align your front heel with your back arch.
  • Bend your front knee so that your front thigh is parallel with your mat.
  • Point your tail bone towards the floor, drawing your lower belly in and up.
  • Roll your shoulders down and away from your ears as you raise your arms to shoulder height.
  • Look over your front hand.

Benefits:

  • Strengthens the legs.
  • Strengthens the abdominals.
  • Strengthens the upper body.
  • Increases focus.
Virabhadrasana 2

Virabhadrasana 2

 

Day 4: Cobra (Bhujangasana)

This is our first back bend of the series! Lets get to it!

How To Do It:

  • Lie flat on your mat.
  • Keep your toes untucked, pressing the tops of your feet into the mat.
  • Engage the legs so much so that the knees come up off the floor. (focus on engaging the quads)
  • Have a gentle engagement in the butt, rather than squeezing it.
  • Draw your belly button into your spine gently.
  • Place your hands directly under you shoulders.
  • Broaden across your collar bones.
  • Imagine you have a crayon on top of your head. Using the strength of your back (not your arms) imagine that you are going to draw aline with your crayon on the wall in front of you, up towards the ceiling.
  • Inhale as you lift, then slowly exhale and lower.
  • Focus on getting length in the spine, rather than crunching the back to get your head up.

Benefits:

  • Strengthens the back muscles (your posture muscles)
  • Reverses the forward hunch of sitting at a desk all day.
  • Opens the chest.
  • Opens the heart.
Open your heart!

Open your heart!

 

Day 5: Warrior 1 (Virabhadrasana 1)

Here is your posture how-to's and benefits for day 5 of our challenge!

How To Do It:

  • Step your feet arms length apart, facing the long end of your mat.
  • Step your back foot forward 1-2 inches, and your back foot back 1-2 inches, so you are standing as though you are on train tracks.
  • Turn your front foot out 90 degrees, and your back toes in 30 degrees.
  • Pivot your hips, so that both hip bones face the front of your mat (if your back heel lifts off, go for crescent lunge here)
  • Bend into your front knee, scooting your foot forward if you need to in order to make space for your pose, aim for a 90 degree bend in the front leg.
  • Lift the lower belly in and up, draw the rib cage in slightly.
  • Raise the arms above the head, looking up.

Benefits:

  • Strengthens the legs
  • Opens the hip flexor
  • Strengthens the upper body
  • Develops core strength
be sure to practice both sides :)

be sure to practice both sides ๐Ÿ™‚

Want even more help with this one? ย Check out my video here!

Day 6: Goddess posture or Exalted Warrior

Exalted warrior pose is an extension or variation on warrior 2.

How To Do It:

  • Take your feet wide apart, about as wide as your wrists are from one another when you spread your arms to the side.
  • Turn your front foot out 90 degrees, or parallel with the side of your mat.
  • Bend into your front leg, coming into a lunge.
  • Draw your lower belly in and up, and get length through your spine.
  • Extend your arms, one to the front, one to the back.
  • Now, take your back arm down, and rest it gently on your back leg (keep the pressure light)
  • Open your heart and reach up towards the ceiling with your front hand, leaning back towards your back leg.
  • Extend the top arm back towards your back arm if that feels good to you.

Benefits:

  • Strengthens the legs.
  • Encourages balance.
  • Opens the chest.
  • Stretches the front of the body.
  • Opens the heart ๐Ÿ™‚
Goddess posture

Goddess posture

 

Day 7 Upward Facing Dog (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana)

How To Do It:

  • Lie face down on your mat, legs fully extended behind you.
  • Place your palms down under your shoulders.
  • Press the tops of your feet into the ground, and engage your legs so that your knees come up off the floor.
  • Extended your spine forward, use the strength of your arms and back to lift your upper body off of the mat.
  • Stay engaged and allow your hips and legs to float off the mat. Now you should be on just your hands and the tops of your feet.
  • Open the collar bones, and look forward, or if your neck is healthy, you can look up.

Benefits:

  • Strengthens the back.
  • Strengthens the legs.
  • Opens the chest (good if you feel congested)
  • Reverses the forward hunch of sitting at a desk or driving a car.
  • Opens the heart.
  • Opens the throat.
Urdhva Mukha Svanasana

Urdhva Mukha Svanasana

 

Day 8: Wide Legged Standing Forward Fold (Prasarita Padottanasana)

How To Do It:

  • Stand with your feet wrist distance apart (this is placing your feet in line with your wrists, when your arms are stretched out beside you)
  • Place your hands on your hip bones.
  • Elongate your spine as you lift your chest towards the ceiling on an inhale breath, looking up.
  • Exhale as you slowly bend at the waist, keeping your spine long, moving your chest forward and down.
  • Stop when your chest is parallel with the floor. Inhale.
  • Extend your spine again, and continue to bend forward, stopping before you must round your spine.
  • Place your hands where they comfortably rest here (thighs, shins, ankles, feet, floor)
  • Inhale again. Get length.
  • Relax and hang out for as long as feels awesome.

Benefits:

  • Lengthens the backs of the legs
  • Creates space between the vertebrae
  • Stretches the lower back
  • Has similar effects on the internal organs as inverting does (releases pressure)
  • Grounding and cooling.
Prasarita Padottanasana

Prasarita Padottanasana

 

Day 9 Triangle (trikonasana)

How To Do It:

  • Step your feet to open your hips to the wide side of your mat.
  • Turn your front leg out 90 degrees so that it is parallel with the side of your mat. Turn out from your hip.
  • Stretch your arms out to the side at shoulder height.
  • Lean in the direction of your front foot, taking your hips back and your torsoe forward - keep length in the under side of your waist.
  • When you have reached as far forward as you can, allow your bottom arm to drop to where it lands naturally (thigh, shin, ankle, floor)
  • Rotate your chest so that it is opening in the direction of the ceiling.
  • Take your top arm and extend it up.
  • Keep your neck long.

Benefits:

  • Strengthens the legs
  • Stretches the top hip
  • Opens the chest
  • Elongates the sides of the body
  • Is energizing
Trikonasana

Trikonasana

 

Day 10 - Simple Seated Twist ( Parivritta Sukasana)

How To Do It:

  • SIt evenly on both sit bones, in a way that is most comfortable for you (cross legged, lotus, half lotus, legs extended)
  • Inhale as you elongate your spine.
  • Keep your nose in line with your sternum.
  • Exhale as you draw your belly button in and up, and twist to the right from your abdomen.
  • Inhale and pause as you get more length in your spine.
  • Exhale as you continue to twist. Keep your nose in line with your sternum.
  • Inhale once more and pause.
  • Exhale and complete your twist, now allowing your head to turn comfortably.
  • Breath in your twist.
  • Exhale as you release your twist, and repeat to the left side.

Benefits:

  • Increased range of motion in the spine.
  • Wrings out digestive organs.
  • Helps to expel trapped gases in the digestive system.
  • Calming and cooling.
Parivritta Sukasana

Parivritta Sukasana

 

Day 11: Headstand Prep (Sirsasana Variation)

Ok! Today we are getting down to some serious business! If you do not have a head stand practice, I strongly encourage you to take this slow - do not do anything you are uncomfortable with or that is totally unfamiliar to you. Use the wall, and use a spotter. Also make sure there is nothing around you that you could crash into ๐Ÿ™‚ As always, be safe and take care of yourself!

How To Do It.

  • Come to hands and knees.
  • Place your forearms down on the mat, shoulder distance apart.
  • Interlace your fingers, keeping your elbows shoulder distance apart, tuck the bottom pinky in.
  • Lift your knees and come into downward facing dog legs.
  • Move your whole torso forward, so your chin comes towards your hands.
  • Place the top of your head on the mat, so that your hands are cupping the back of your head (where your Kippot would be if you were/are jewish) Make sure your neck is long, not scrunched here.
  • Draw your shoulders away from your ears, pressing firmly into the mat with your forearms. Try to have minimal pressure on your actual head.
  • Start to walk your feet in, keeping your spine long. You are moving towards having your hips stacked on top of your shoulders.
  • When you have reached your maximum expression pause and breath. Hold for as long as you like, then slowly walk yourself out and rest in childs pose.

Benefits:

  • Builds strength for headstand
  • Helps stretch the lower back and legs
  • Builds upper body strength
  • Is calming and quieting for the mind.
Sirsasana prep

Sirsasana prep

 

Day 12 Legs Up The Wall

This is a restorative posture, and it is one of my favourites. I feel like the energies are calling for some rest and relaxation. Take time to breath, nourish and nurture yourself ๐Ÿ™‚

How To Do It.

  • Sit next to an open wall space, with your right hip touching the wall.
  • Curl your legs up so you are in a little ball, and roll yourself to a lying down position, with your knees bent into your chest, and your bum and feet touching the wall.
  • Scoot yourself closer to the wall using your back and arms for support until your bottom touches the wall.
  • Extend your legs up. ย If your hamstrings are strong in this posture, you can scoot your bum away from the wall until you do not feel any strain.
  • Take your arms either straight out the the side, or in a cactus shape.
  • Breath. For as long as you like.

Benefits:

  • Calms the nervous system, putting you into a rest and digest state.
  • Soothes the digestive system.
  • Helps move edema in the legs and feet.
  • Balances blood pressure.
Relaxation :)

Relaxation ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Day 13: Plank Pose

How To Do It.

  • Start in Downward Facing dog.
  • Slowly start to draw your chest forward, lowering your hips so that you end up in a push-up position.
  • Press firmly into the mat with your forefinger and thumb mound of your hand (this protects your wrists)
  • Draw your shoulders down and away from your ears, and draw the front rib cage in slightly.
  • Draw your lower belly in and up, but do not constrict your breathing.
  • Point your tailbone between your heels.
  • Extend strongly through your legs, and out through your heels.

Benefits:

  • Strengthens core muscles.
  • Strengthens leg muscles.
  • Increases body awareness.
  • Is a foundational strength building posture that you can build from.
Plank :) Everyones fav!

Plank ๐Ÿ™‚ Everyones fav!

 

Day 14: Half Boat (Ardha Navasana)

It is time for you to make a date with your core ๐Ÿ™‚

How To Do It:

  • Come to a seated position on your mat, sitting with your feet flat on the floor a few feet from your bottom, knees bent.
  • Place your hands so that they are holding onto the backs of your thighs, just below the knees Draw your shoulders down and away from your ears.
  • Create length in your spine, from your tail bone to the top of your head.
  • Keeping this length, lean your torso back as far as you can without hunching or rounding, drawing the lower belly in and up.
  • Keep the feet on the floor and release your hands, so that your arms are stretched out straight in front of you.
  • As you feel ready, you can lift one toe, then place it down and lift the other.
  • If you feel good with that, you can lift both toes off the ground, bringing your shins to parallel with the earth.
  • Hold and breath.

Benefits:

  • Strengthens abdominals.
  • Strengthens back muscles.
  • Encourages focus.
  • Develops endurance.

 

Ardha navasana

Ardha navasana

 

Day 15: Staff Pose (Chaturanga Dandasana)

This is one of those poses where you really do need to focus on your alignment, so take it slow ๐Ÿ™‚

How To Do It:

  • Lie flat on your mat face down, with your palms directly beneath your shoulders.
  • Engage your core, drawing your lower belly in and up. Engage your legs, drawing your knee caps up.
  • Tuck your toes under.
  • Spread your collar bones.
  • From here, push yourself up into a plank position either with straight legs or knees on the mat.
  • Again, engage your core, draw your rib cage in slightly, and broded across your collar bones.
  • Slowly and with control, bend your elbows to a 90 degree angle, keeping your spine long and your breast bone moving forward sligthty.
  • Press into the forefinger and thumb mounds of your hands.
  • Hold and breath.

Benefits:

  • Strengthens the arms.
  • Strengthens the core.
  • Strengthens the legs.
  • Improves stamina.

 

Chaturanga

Chaturanga

 

Day 16: Hanging Forward Fold (Uttanasana variation)

This is a variation on our first pose, and it is more grounded and relaxing than straight up Uttanasana.

How to do it:

  • Place feet hips distance apart.
  • Bend your knees, even if you do not need to. This posture is more about releasing the spine than stretching the backs of the legs
  • Fold forward and allow your upper body to fully relax over your legs and become heavy. Release the head.
  • Allow the arms to hang. You can let them just hang in space, or you can grasp opposite elbows.
  • Chill, hang out, breath.

Benefits:

  • Really opens the lower back.
  • Stretches the spine.
  • Reverses the effects of gravity on the spine and neck.
  • Is a cooling posture that can help to calm the mind and ground you.
Chill time.

Chill time.

 

Day 17: One Legged Forward Fold (Janu sirsasana)

How To Do It:

  • Come to a seated position on your mat, with your legs extended straight out in front of you. (if you are slouching in this position, you can sit on a pillow or blanket to elevate your hips)
  • Turn your right leg out (like a ballerina) and then bend your knee, drawing the sole of your foot to the your left inner thigh (or shin). You can keep your hips parallel here, or you can draw your right hip back slightly.
  • Flex the right foot to protect the knee.
  • Lengthen the spin, and then move your chest towards your toes, coming into a forward fold.
  • Let your arms reach for the left foot, calf or thigh.
  • Breath.
  • Switch sides.

Benefits:

  • Lengthens the back of the legs.
  • Lengthens the spine.
  • Gets into the back of the hips.
  • Is calming and cooling.
Janu Sirsasana

Janu Sirsasana

Day 18: Reclining Twist

How To Do It.

  • Come lying flat on your back.
  • Focus on fully releasing your upper body for a moment. Allow your shoulders to fall towards the floor, your neck to fully release.
  • Bring your arms into a cactus shape, or cowboy surrender.
  • Bend your knees, and place your feet flat on the ground, a foot or two from your sits bones.
  • Lift your hips up slightly, and move them 2-3 inches to the right.
  • Cross your left leg over your right (your knees are still bent with feet on the floor here)
  • Let your legs drop to the left.
  • Look to the right.
  • Breath. Hold for a good 15-20 breaths.
  • Return to centre, and repeat to the other side.

Benefits:

  • Lengthens spine.
  • Releases muscles around the spine.
  • Opens the outer hips.
  • Improves digestion.
  • Slight heart opener.
Reclining twist

Reclining twist

Day 19: Half Headstand (Ardha Sirsasana)

For todays posture, know that you can do it against the wall. ย Also if you have never attempted headstand before, or know that you do not have a solid base for it yet, stick with the keeping the feet on the floor, or work with a teacher ๐Ÿ™‚

How To Do It.

  • Come to hands and knees.
  • Place your forearms down on the mat, shoulder distance apart.
  • Interlace your fingers, keeping your elbows shoulder distance apart, tuck the bottom pinky in.
  • Lift your knees and come into downward facing dog legs.
  • Move your whole torso forward, so your chin comes towards your hands.
  • Place the top of your head on the mat, so that your hands are cupping the back of your head (where your Kippot would be if you were/are jewish) Make sure your neck is long, not scrunched here.
  • Draw your shoulders away from your ears, pressing firmly into the mat with your forearms. Try to have minimal pressure on your actual head.
  • Start to walk your feet in, keeping your spine long. You are moving towards having your hips stacked on top of your shoulders.
  • From here, really engage your lower abdominal muscles. Gently pick up one of your feet, and see how that feels. Lower it and lift the other foot, hold and lower.
  • If you feel good, you can lift one foot to 90 degrees to the ground, and then lift the other to meet it, or you can lift both of your legs at the same time.
  • Press firmly with your arms into the ground, check to make sure you feel lots of space in your neck (no crunching!)
  • Hold for as long as feels comfortable for you, then release.
  • Release with Childs pose.

Benefits:

  • Builds strength for headstand.
  • Helps stretch the lower back and legs
  • Builds upper body strength.
  • Is calming and quieting for the mind.
  • Builds abdominal strength.
  • Helps you get the "floating" feeling of lifting up into an inversion.

 

Ardha Sirsasana

Ardha Sirsasana

Day 20 Peacock Prep: (Pincha Mayerasana Prep)

Forearm stand or Peacock posture is one of my top favourite poses. Here is a great little first step to getting ready to practice this pose!

How To Do It

  • Come to hands and knees.
  • Come onto your forearms, placing your elbows directly beneath your shoulders.
  • In this position, broaden your collar bones, and allow your shoulders to draw down and away from your ears. Engage your abdominals as you do this and draw your rib cage in slightly.
  • Press your legs into a downward facing dog position.
  • Look down at your mat, in between your arms. Keep your gaze fixed here.
  • Press firmly into your arms, creating a lift, creating space in your shoulder girdle.
  • Walk your legs slowly in towards your body, seeing if you can get your hips over your shoulders.
  • Breath, and allow your abdominals to be gently pulling in and up. Keep your breath easy.
  • Come down when you are ready, and rest in childs posture.

Benefits:

  • Strengthens the chest.
  • Strengthens the back.
  • Strengthens the abdominals.
  • Prepares your body for forearm stand.
  • Opens the backs of the legs.
Forearm stand prep

Forearm stand prep

 

Day 21 One legged Peacock: (One Legged Pincha Mayerasana)

Today we will build on the foundations we set yesterday ๐Ÿ™‚

How To Do It

  • Come to hands and knees.
  • Come onto your forearms, placing your elbows directly beneath your shoulders.
  • In this position, broaden your collar bones, and allow your shoulders to draw down and away from your ears. Engage your abdominals as you do this and draw your rib cage in slightly.
  • Press your legs into a downward facing dog position.
  • Look down at your mat, in between your arms. Keep your gaze fixed here.
  • Press firmly into your arms, creating a lift, creating space in your shoulder girdle.
  • Walk your legs slowly in towards your body, seeing if you can get your hips over your shoulders.
  • Breath, and allow your abdominals to be gently pulling in and up. Keep your breath easy.
  • Lift the right leg up into the air, similar to how you would in a standing split.
  • Feel your hips move over your shoulders.
  • See if you can lift the toe that is still on the ground, just for a moment (no swigging, using strength only)
  • Lower the leg that is in the air, and switch legs.
  • Come down when you are ready, and rest in childs posture.

Benefits:

  • Strengthens the chest.
  • Strengthens the back.
  • Strengthens the abdominals.
  • Prepares your body for forearm stand.
  • Opens the backs of the legs.
  • Opens the hips.
  • Builds confidence.
One legged Peacock!

One legged Peacock!

 

Day 22 Full Peacock: (Pincha Mayerasana)

This is it! If this is your very first time in this posture, be sure to do it against the wall or with a spotter/teacher. Be safe!

How To Do It

  • Come to hands and knees.
  • Come onto your forearms, placing your elbows directly beneath your shoulders.
  • In this position, broaden your collar bones, and allow your shoulders to draw down and away from your ears. Engage your abdominals as you do this and draw your rib cage in slightly.
  • Press your legs into a downward facing dog position.
  • Look down at your mat, in between your arms. Keep your gaze fixed here.
  • Press firmly into your arms, creating a lift, creating space in your shoulder girdle.
  • Walk your legs slowly in towards your body, seeing if you can get your hips over your shoulders.
  • Breath, and allow your abdominals to be gently pulling in and up. Keep your breath easy.
  • Lift the right leg up into the air, similar to how you would in a standing split.
  • Feel your hips move over your shoulders.
  • From here, work to lift the leg that is still on the ground, using your abdominal strength, and the natural motion from getting your hips over your shoulders. You can use a little momentum, but no kicking or major swinging - this could hurt your neck/spine or cause you to topple over.
  • When you are up, squeeze your toes together, and draw your legs in towards the midline of the body. Press firmly into the mat with your forearms. Look directly at the mat between your arms.
  • Come down when you are ready, and rest in childs posture.

Benefits:

  • Strengthens the chest.
  • Strengthens the back.
  • Strengthens the abdominals.
  • Prepares your body for forearm stand.
  • Opens the backs of the legs.
  • Opens the hips.
  • Builds confidence.
  • Reverses the effects of gravity on the digestive organs.
  • Increases blood flow to the head and brain.

 

Forearm stand!

Forearm stand!

Day 23: Crow post (Bakasana)

How To Do It.

  • Stand with your feet hips distance apart.
  • Turn your feet out slightly and squat down, placing your hands on your mat just in front of you.
  • Lean forward in your squat, and begin to transfer your weight into your hands.
  • Tuck your knees as close to your armpits as you can get them, with your shins resting along your triceps.
  • Lift your hips and come onto your tip toes, offering more weight into your hands.
  • Draw your lower belly in and up, really engaging your core.
  • From here, lift one toe off the ground, then place it back down and lift the other.
  • If you feel good here, you can stay here.
  • Next, you can lift one toe, and then see if you can lift the other at the same time.
  • Squeeze the toes together once you are up.
  • Hang out and breath.
  • Lower your toes and rest.

Benefits:

  • Builds core strength.
  • Strengthens back/core.
  • Strengthens arms.
  • Builds confidence.
  • Is fun!
Bakasana

Bakasana

Day 24 Camel Pose (Ustrasana)

How To Do It.

  • Come to a kneeling position, with your knees hips distance apart, with your toes tucked.
  • Place your hands on your lower back, with your fingers pointing downward towards your sit bones.
  • Inhale as you broaden across your collar bones, and move your hips forward.
  • Allow your shoulders to move back, as you push your hips forward, leaning your upper body back.
  • You can stay here, or if you can reach easily, reach your hands to your heels.
  • Continue opening the chest and leaning back.
  • If your neck feels good you can allow your head to drop back.
  • Breath.
  • Come out very slowly, starting with your head, then lifting your chest.
  • Sit on your heels. Breath.

Benefits:

  • Opens the chest.
  • Opens the hips.
  • Opens the thighs.
  • Ustrasana

    Ustrasana

    ย 

ย Day 25: Seated Forward Fold (Paschimottanasana)

How To Do It.

  • Come to a seated position on your mat, with your legs stretched out in front of you. They can be touching or spread apart hips distance.
  • Sit up as tall as you can, creating as much length in your spine as you can.
  • Flex your feet.
  • If you find that you are not able to sit up straight with your legs stretched in front of you, sit on a pillow or a folded blanket so that you are lifting your hips, allowing for a straight spine.
  • From here, inhale as you lift the crown of your head up towards the ceiling.
  • Exhale, and begin to move your chest towards your toes. Keep your spine long and straight as you bend forward.
  • Walk your hands along your legs towards your feet, and stop as soon as you need to round your spine.
  • If you can bring your chest to your thighs, you can allow your head to fold in towards your legs.
  • Breath here. If your belly does not touch your thighs, it can be nice to place a pillow between your belly and thighs. As you breath you will get a nice abdominal massage.
  • When you are ready to exit the posture, simply, lengthen your spine once more and come back to a full upright seated position.

Health Benefits:

  • Opens the backs of the legs.
  • Opens the lower back.
  • Calms the mind.
Paschimottanasana

Paschimottanasana

 

Day 26: Full Half (Navasana)

Its core town again today ๐Ÿ™‚

How To Do It:

  • Come to a seated position on your mat, sitting with your feet flat on the floor a few feet from your bottom, knees bent.
  • Place your hands so that they are holding onto the backs of your thighs, just below the knees Draw your shoulders down and away from your ears.
  • Create length in your spine, from your tail bone to the top of your head.
  • Keeping this length, lean your torso back as far as you can without hunching or rounding, drawing the lower belly in and up.
  • Keep the feet on the floor and release your hands, so that your arms are stretched out straight in front of you.
  • As you feel ready, you can lift one toe, then place it down and lift the other.
  • If you feel good with that, you can lift both toes off the ground, bringing your shins to parallel with the earth.
  • Hold and breath.
  • From here use the strength of your lower abdominals (rather than relying too much on your hip flexors) to extend your legs from the knees.
  • If you want to be really pretty, you can point your toes ๐Ÿ˜‰
  • You can leave your arms stretched out in front of you, or you can lift them so you are reaching for the ceiling.
  • Breath.

Benefits:

  • Strengthens abdominals.
  • Strengthens back muscles.
  • Encourages focus.
  • Develops endurance.

 

Navasana

Navasana

Day 27: Knee To Nose Plank.

I love this move not only for my core, but also for its ability to help me really focus on completing my exhales.

How To Do It.

  • Start in Downward Facing dog.
  • Slowly start to draw your chest forward, lowering your hips so that you end up in a push-up position.
  • Press firmly into the mat with your forefinger and thumb mound of your hand (this protects your wrists)
  • Draw your shoulders down and away from your ears, and draw the front rib cage in slightly.
  • Draw your lower belly in and up, but do not constrict your breathing.
  • Point your tailbone between your heels.
  • Extend strongly through your legs, and out through your heels.
  • Now, lift your right toes off the ground. Hold for a moment.
  • Slowly, as you exhale draw your knee in towards your nose, rounding your back.
  • Hold for a count.
  • Release your leg back so you come back to your first plank pose.
  • Repeat with the left leg.

Benefits:

  • Strengthens core muscles.
  • Strengthens leg muscles.
  • Increases body awareness.
  • Is a foundational strength building posture that you can build from.
Knee to nose

Knee to nose

 

Day 28 Half Moon (Ardha Chandrasana)

This is a really fun balance pose. ย Go at your own pace!

How To Do It:

  • Start in a warrior 2 position, with a good strong bend in your front leg.
  • Lean your torso forward, so that your bottom waist makes contact with your bent leg.
  • Place our front hand about a foot in front of your front foot.
  • Place your back hand on your hip.
  • Scoot your back leg in closer to your front leg, so that you can start to offer some weight into your hand that is on the floor.
  • From here, you can just hang out and breath, or you can start to offer more weight into your front hand.
  • Now see if you can start to lift the back leg totally off of the ground.
  • Once your back leg is up, focus on opening your chest, rotating it slightly towards the ceiling.
  • You can now lift your top arm.
  • Look to the floor, or to your top hand, whichever you can do while still balancing.
  • Breath.
  • Slowly and with control place your back leg down on the ground to come out.

Benefits:

  • Improves balance.
  • Strengthens the legs.
  • Strengthens the core.
Ardha Chandrasana

Ardha Chandrasana

 

Day 29 Twisting Half Moon (Parivrrta Ardha Chandrasana)

Yay for twisting!

How To Do It:

  • Start in a warrior 2 position, with a good strong bend in your front leg.
  • Lean your torso forward, so that your bottom waist makes contact with your bent leg.
  • Place our front hand about a foot in front of your front foot.
  • Place your back hand on your hip.
  • Scoot your back leg in closer to your front leg, so that you can start to offer some weight into your hand that is on the floor.
  • From here, you can just hang out and breath, or you can start to offer more weight into your front hand.
  • Now see if you can start to lift the back leg totally off of the ground.
  • Once your back leg is up, focus on opening your chest, rotating it slightly towards the ceiling.
  • To move into your twist, level your hips so that they are parallel with the ground, and plant your top hand on the mat along with your bottom hand.
  • Now move what was your top hand closer to your midline, and take what was your bottom hand and place it on your hip.
  • Extend out through the back leg.
  • Rotate your torso to get into your twist.
  • You can float the hand that was on your hip towards the ceiling if you feel stable.
  • Breath.

Benefits:

  • Improves balance.
  • Strengthens the legs.
  • Strengthens the core.
  • Helps to detoxify the system.
  • Extra balance challenge

 

Parivrrta Ardha Chandrasana

Parivrrta Ardha Chandrasana

 

Day 30: Corps Pose (Savasana)

You made it! ย Time for some rest ๐Ÿ™‚

How To Do It:

  • Lie on your mat, arms and legs stretched out.
  • Allow your legs to fully relax, your feet to flop out.
  • Release your arms along the floor beside your body.
  • Relax your neck.
  • Scan your body for tension, and release any that you find.
  • Breath.
  • When thoughts arise, witness them, and then allow them to flow out of your mind.

Benefits:

  • Calms the mind.
  • Rests and restores the body.
  • Lowers blood pressure.
  • Increases bodily awareness.
Savaaaaasana ;)

Savaaaaasana ๐Ÿ˜‰

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