Left to right top row: 20-22
Left to right bottom row: 23-25
Day 20 of #HolidayHarmonyYoga is Eka Pada Raja Kapotasana, King Pigeon (back flexibility). Begin in downward dog and bring one leg forward for pigeon pose. Bend the forward leg so that your foot points towards the opposite hip bone. Your backwards leg will lay flat on your mat, knee down. Take a few moments to stretch your legs in pigeon pose, coming down onto your elbows or all the way to the floor to get a nice hip stretch. ☺Next you will lift your torso back up to an upright position. Bend your back leg at the knee joint to raise that foot to the sky⛅. Reach back with the same side arm as your hind leg and grab your foot or ankle. Gently pull your foot/ankle closer towards your torso and hold for a few moments. You can take a mermaid bind in this position if that feels good to you (allow your foot to slide into the elbow joint of your same side arm and then grasp your hands together). If your shoulders or back aren’t ready to work towards overhand grip feel free to stop here. To work on overhand grip, flex your hind foot and grab with your same side hand, palm upwards. As you flex your leg towards your torso, gently rotate your grabbing arm until your elbow is overhead. Allow the spaces in your spine to expand allowing your head to come closer to your bond foot. If you’re still working on the shoulder flexibility to do this, please use a yoga strap to make the foot/hand bind. Your free arm can help you balance or if you’re feeling very flex and balanced reach for your bond foot so that both hands are grabbing your foot or yoga strap. Remember to stretch and try both sides! Enjoy the journey towards this pose regardless of where you are today!
Day 21 of #HolidayHarmonyYoga is Sukha Balasana, Happy Baby Pose (restorative). This is a fun one in case you can’t tell by my video. Start laying on your back, knees bent, feet flat on the floor. Feel free to use a blanket under your back for added comfort; I highly recommend because it feels amazing! First bring your knees to your chest, hug them in with your arms, and roll back and forth, side-to-side, or in circles⭕ on your mat to give yourself a great spinal massage. Next rotate your knees outward so they fall near your arm pits and grab your feet so your knees form a 90 degree (right) angle. Roll around a bit more, as it feels good to you, and then gently pull down on your feet send your knees towards the floor to give your legs and lower back a good stretch. Hold this for a few moments. You can also straighten your legs and rock back and forth. Just have fun with this pose and make it your own!!
Day 22 of #HolidayHarmonyYoga is Lolasana, Pendant Pose (strength). Today’s pose is another challenging arm balance exercise to strengthen your core and upper body and has similar cues as our last strength exercise on day 17. Please use yoga blocks under your hands if you’re new to this pose. Begin in a kneeing position with your buttasana pressing back onto your heels. Arms will be on either side of your legs; hands placed flat on the floor a few inches down from your knees, fingers facing the top of your mat. Engage and align your shoulders by angling them forward and down away from your ears. Tighten your core, trying to keep your bent legs held in tight to your torso. Lean your weight forward and try to lift your knees and feet off the ground; remember blocks will help with this. Don’t worry if you don’t actually move anywhere, it took me awhile to physically be able to lift my legs and feet up in this pose, but the active engagement of your shoulders and core will eventually get you there with practice. These strength exercises are all about conditioning!
Day 23 of #HolidayHarmonyYoga is Upavistha Konasana, Straddle Forward Fold (leg flexibility). Working towards middle splits and spatchcock (for all you pole ladies). Get into a comfortable seated straddle. Using a sticky yoga mat for friction on your ankles will help. Lean forward with a flat back and try to rest on your elbows. If that is too much of a stretch, use yoga blocks or a pole to get the right amount of forward fold going on for you today. Need more of a stretch? Lean forward even further until your face, chest and torso are on the floor. You can also push yourself forward into a deeper straddle using one hand in front of you and one behind you if you need more stretch before leaning into your forward fold. Listen to what your body needs today and never push yourself to the point of injury! You’re totally rocking this challenge! I left the sped up soundtrack on for fun. Ridiculous!
Day 24 of #HolidayHarmonyYoga is Pinchamayurasana, Forearm Stand (balance). Feel free to use a wall behind you if you are new to this pose or are still working on your balance. Start in a kneeling position on your mat. Arm distance will be similar as it was for headstand. Grasp each elbow with the opposite hand. Place your forearms on your mat keeping this same distance from your elbows and keep your forearms flat on your mat, palms facing down. You can use a yoga strap➿ around your upper arms for added support, if you like. Fingers should be spread wide for support, hands slightly separated. Straighten your legs behind you to lift your buttansana up to the sky while pushing strongly into the floor with your shoulders, shoulders engaged, stacked, and at 90 degree angles. Walk your feet in towards your arms as much as you can for Makara Kumbhakasana, dolphin pose. This is the foundation for forearm stand. Keep your head lifted and drishti (gaze) between the space of your forearms. When you’re ready, lift one leg up to the sky and use your other leg to do a baby jump so you can lift both legs up. Try to stack your hips over your shoulders to create balance and engage your core muscles for hollow body (pulling lower ribs into your center line), eliminating stress on your lower back. You can also practice different leg variations such as L-shape, straddle, pike, or scorpion! Do whatever your body needs today from this pose. I am still working on this pose myself and trying to eliminate my back arch!
Day 25 of #HolidayHarmonyYoga is Viparita Dandasana, Forearm Wheel (back flexibility). Today we’re building off of day 15’s pose, Urdhva Dhanurasana, Lifted Bow/Wheel pose. Begin by lying on your back with your knees bent and feet parallel to each other on your mat, hip distance apart. Then, bring your arms up overhead and bend them so you can place your palms flat above your shoulders with your finger tips pointing towards your body. Push up through your legs and feet using your glutes and leg muscles. Then push up through your hands and shoulders to lift into wheel pose. Push your weight over your shoulders to get a great upper back and shoulder stretch. Then slowly and with control, lower to your forearms one arm at a time, keeping your head lifted off the floor as much as possible. Your arms should be about shoulder distance apart and at 90 degrees, like the foundation we set up for Pinchamayurasana yesterday. Again, push your weight over your shoulders for a great stretch. If this isn’t happening, please to continue to work on wheel pose (day 15) or bridge pose (day 5). Need more of a stretch: try to walk your feet towards your hands and bind feet to hands.