Day 6 of #HolidayHarmonyYoga is Matsyasana, Fish Posture (restorative). You will need a yoga block, foam roller, or thick pillow to help with this pose. The goal of this pose is provide a nice passive mid/upper back stretch. Begin in a seated position of your choice and comfort: cross legs, one leg on top of the other,or lotus legs. Place your yoga block, roller, or pillow under the mid point of your back near your lower ribs. Allow your back to rest over the block. Let any tension melt away; gravity will do the work here to open your heart.❤ Arms and hands can lie at your sides palms up or down or you can grab a hold of your feet if you are in lotus. Choose what ever placement feels most natural for you today!
Day 7 of #HolidayHarmonyYoga is Chaturanga Dandasana, Four Limbed Staff Posture (strength). We are building off our work on Uttihita Chaturanga Dandasana, high plank pose so I have similar tips as I gave on day 3. Start in high plank pose. Body alignment: hands on the floor directly stacked beneath your shoulder joints; legs long and straight behind completely engaged; core is kept tight and strong, pulling in towards the mid-line of your body; buttasana, neck, and spine in a neutral position, no crunching, sagging, or rounding. Modification: if being up on your feet just isn’t happening today, please take your plank to your knees, keeping the nice long, lean line of your body. Once you have found your strength in your plank variation, start to bend at your elbows, keeping them “glued” to your rib cage, no elbows flaring out and maintaining length and strength from your plank pose. Hover when your elbows form 90 degree (right) angles. Fight to maintain good form not letting your back sag or round out (think neutral spine). If you still need more challenge try maintaining your chaturanga while lifting one leg at a time! This is a tough pose, forcing your entire body to remain engaged at once!
Day 8 of #HolidayHarmonyYoga is Supta Padangusthasana, Lying Splits (leg flexibility). Please, please DON’T be discouraged by this pose. EVERYONE can work on this pose without being able to get their leg to their head or foot to the floor or even be able to grab their foot. There are so many fun variations and modifications for this pose (keep reading). Begin laying on your back in a comfortable position. Decide which leg you want to stretch the hamstring of first. Keep that leg straight on the floor and bend the knee of the other leg so your foot is flat against the floor. Use your current active flexibility in your straight leg to raise it off the ground as high as you comfortably can while still keeping your hips square to the ceiling and your buttasana firmly rooted into the floor. Do eight pulses of your straight leg followed by an isometric hold (repeat 3 times). Next grab hold of the foot of your straight leg or use a yoga strap to complete the bind. Apply gentle downward pressure to your straight leg using your hand or yoga strap to get a nice hamstring stretch. Remember listen to your body and only go as far as you can. Don’t pull too hard too fast! If you’re ready for more of a stretch, slowly extend your bent knee and place your free leg out straight onto floor so now both legs are straight. Again keep your buttansana and your free leg rooted into the floor. Try repeating the sets of pulses and isometric holds with your aerial leg. When you’re finished bend the aerial leg slowly to exit the pose. This stretch is great for helping you improve your splits flexibility! Remember to give love to both legs to keep them both even and flexy!
For modifications to this pose, click here!
Day 9 of #HolidayHarmonyYoga is Bakasana, crow pose (balance). This is a challenging pose (I’m definitely still working on mine), but there are modifications you can take as you work on this pose. Begin in a low squat; feet together on the balls of your feet. Separate your knees and place your hands on the floor in front of you with your index fingers pointed forward and parallel to each other, shoulder distance apart. Rotate your knees to be in-line with your triceps as close to your arm pits as possible. You can also try having your knees slightly wider than your arms, if that feels more natural. Engage your core and hug your legs, knees, and elbows into the center line of your body. Round your back. Slowly begin to lean your body forward (think head closer to the floor), shifting your weight into your arms. If you’re feeling good try to lift one foot off the ground, balancing that leg on your tricep. Still feel good? Try lifting both feet off the ground balancing all your weight into your arms and lifting your feet up towards your buttasana. If you still need a challenge, try straightening out your arms and keeping your knees as close to your arm pits as possible. I’m still working on my crow, too! One day I’ll get those knees up there and straighten out my arms!