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Friday, January 14, 2011

Day 5: Low & Open

I am so relaxed after today's practice that my mind is totally blank on what to write, which is an excellent feeling!  It's always nice to see the benefits of yoga in action.  As I collect my thoughts, you should check out today's sequence with Elise Lorimer.

I was rather nervous when I read in my newsletter this morning that hanumanasana was on the agenda for today.  For someone with two bum hamstrings, this is a nearly impossible pose.  However, the video offered a great variation for me to keep from popping anything. That's why you have to love yoga:  No matter your ability or skill level, there is always a variation available.
Hanumanasana aka the splitz.  I haven't been able to do this since high school.
The variation I enjoyed.
My favorite part of the sequence definitely had to be the chair variations.  If you've ever done chair, you know it's a great workout for your thighs.  I find eagle to be my favorite spinoff of this lovely pose:
What a great stretch/burn!
If you are interested in this sequence at all, I would highly recommend having a block available.  Beginners trying hanumanasana will definitely appreciate having those extra few inches under their hands.  I would also recommend using the block for half moon pose as well.  If the hamstrings are tight, it can be difficult getting into the pose comfortably without disturbing your alignment.
Half moon with block support.  Remember to keep the legs perpendicular/parallel (depending on the leg) to the floor and the shoulders in a straight line.

The last thing I would recommend for today's practice is to give yourself an extended savasana (final relaxation).  I know this can be the hardest pose to do sometimes, but it's important to give your body time to recognize what it has just done and to let go of any tension or stress.  At the Ashram, we would do upwards of twelve-minute periods of relaxation.  You don't necessarily have to go to those extremes, but I would do no less than five. While savasana is relaxation, it is not nap time. You should keep the mind clear, but remember to stay alert and tune into your inner self (kinda like a mini-meditation session).
Just close your eyes, breath, and let go. Om Namah Sivaya.

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