Tag: asana

Free Yoga Workshop in Mandalay Mindfulness and the Yoga Practice presented by katiayoga.com

Free yoga workshop in Mandalay

Free Yoga Workshop in Mandalay Mindfulness and the Yoga Practice presented by katiayoga.comHi Yogis, There will be a free yoga workshop in Mandalay this Sunday at 3.  Mihail Iordache will be presenting on “Mindfulness and the Yoga Practice- a profound exploration on the connection with oneself.”

Mihail is a Romanian yogi, traveling through Myanmar.  He is trained in VAK Yoga, Yoga Chikitsa, Kriya Yoga and Hatha Yoga. He is also a psychotherapist who specializes in body psychotherapy, dance and move psychotherapy, transactional analysis, and group psychotherapy. He has taught in more than 20 countries around the globe.

Mihail’s representative emailed me through this website and I have been working with them to set up the event.  I’m doing the local event planning side of things.  It’s been fun to connect with yogis and businesses in town.  Collaboration is fantastic!

Nay and May Paing have been kind enough to open their beautiful home to us for the workshop. Their home is located at the intersection of 26th and 90th streets, next to Elementary School number 17.

We will probably be on the roof (unless the group turns out to be fairly small) so bring hat/sunnies, water and whatever else you might need for some warm winter sun along with your mat.

I hope you can join us!

Guide to the 8 Limbs of Yoga: Asana. Learn about the origins of yoga poses and how asana can be incorporated with other aspects to fully experience "yoga" history, theory and philosophy. #yogasana #asana

Guide to the 8 Limbs of Yoga: Asana: history, theory and philosophy

Guide to the 8 Limbs of Yoga: Asana.  Learn about the origins of yoga poses and how asana can be incorporated with other aspects to fully experience "yoga" history, theory and philosophy.  #yogasana #asana

The third and most well-known limb of the 8 limbs of yoga is asana.  This means all of those yoga poses—the physical practice of making all of those shapes with your body.  In the West, asana often is yoga.  We sometimes forget about the other 7 branches.

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When yoga first started, about 5000 years ago, it was all based around meditation, with the goal of gaining self-awareness.  As yoga progressed, different postures for meditation were created, at first only 16 poses.  Yoga asanas were created as a means of building discipline and concentration for meditation.  The body’s sole purpose was to house the spirit.  As time went on, the number of postures grew.  In early 1800’s there were just over 100 poses or asanas and now there are thousands.  In modern yoga, more and more poses are being created as people experiment with their bodies and transitions into new shapes.

Asanas are often grouped based on the orientation of the yogi or the goal of the pose, like standing postures, balancing postures, folds, back bends, seated poses, inversions, hips openers, twists, supine poses, etc.  Instructors often try to incorporate all of the types of postures or parts of the body in a class.  Other classes aim at a “peak pose,” opening the muscles needed for a final, specific posture.  Other classes are based on a theme and all of the poses relate to exploring the theme conceptually.  There are lots of different ways to sequence a yoga class, practice or flow.

Guide to the 8 Limbs of Yoga: Asana.  Learn about the origins of yoga poses and how asana can be incorporated with other aspects to fully experience "yoga" history, theory and philosophy.  #yogasana #asanaIdeally, yoga poses (asana) should be combined with the other 7 limbs of yoga to create a fuller experience; body, mind and soul should unite in yoga.  The word “yoga” itself is translated as union or yoke.  The limbs of yoga must be connected to reach yoga’s full potential.

 

How to get up into handstands: asana sequences and tutorial

Guide to Handstands: Asanas, Sequences and Tips for Getting Comfortable Upside Down

Being able to easily hang out upside down in a handstand is definitely one of my personal goals.  It’s something that I am still working on as I write this, but I have gained substantial progress.  My biggest obstacle now is confidence.  I need to get myself away from the wall and trust that my muscles know how to hold me up even without that wall a couple of feet away “just in case.”  In this post, I want to share the asanas and exercises that I’ve done to get myself to the verge of being able to successfully handstand.  I feel like I’m just about to push over into the place where I can DO handstands (Adho Mukha Vrksasana in sanskrit).

Building Strength

First, it’s important to have the strength to hold yourself up(side-down).  We don’t usually spend so much time upside down so this strength may be totally new.  The most important areas that I had to work were my core, my shoulders, my arms, and my wrists… so everything but the legs!

Arm Strength

For arm strength, I practiced a variation on chaturangas.  Starting from child’s pose, keeping the knees on the floor, press your body forward toward your hands (with fingers spread wide to make a solid base).  When your body is over your arms and your elbows are bent nearly to 90 degrees, drop your chest down and forward like a chaturanga.  Then press your body forward and up to cobra pose.  From there, back to child’s pose and repeat!  Again and again and again.

I also tried sitting on the counter or a bench and lifting myself up by pressing into the bench or seat (or whatever surface is available to you).  Try this with your hands on the outside of your legs and from in between your legs.

Dolphin Pose/Ardha Pincha Mayurasana

Shoulder Strength

For my shoulders, I worked on dolphin pose (Ardha Pincha Mayurasana in sanskrit).  Since you’re nearly upside down in this pose, I found it helpful for building the muscles that I would need to flip all the way upside down.

Core Strength

For core strength, I worked on lots of plank variations– side plank, forearm plank, holding plank, etc.

Also, I tried this sort of C-shape pose, lifting my legs and head from the ground.  I listened to a podcast from The Yoga Talk Show with Lucas Rockwood.

C shape poses to build core strength

He recommended this pose for training your body to be long and straight for handstands.  As you can see in my handstand, the body can bend in backwards, rather than being perfectly stick straight.  This C shaped pose aims to correct that.

Preparatory Poses: L Shape Pose

Another great training pose for handstand is L-shape pose.  To measure for this position, sit on the floor with your feet out straight in front of you touching the wall.  Where your hips and hands hit the ground is where you want your hands to be when you are upside down instead.  With your hands in that place on the floor, walk your feet up the wall until your legs are parallel with the floor/perpendicular with the wall.  You want your body to be a 90 degree angle.  When you feel comfortable and confident in this position, try extending one leg at a time over your body in line with your body, as if you will go into handstand from there.

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Lucas also says it’s better to practice your handstands facing the wall.  That way you can walk your hands into the wall, gaining strength.  If you need to fall out of the handstand from this pose, it’s easy to let your body to fall to one side, supported (physically or emotionally) by the wall.

In teacher training, however, we practiced with our backs to the wall.  We practiced from standing, exhaling as you bend over your front leg and reach your hands to the floor, then inhaling as your feet extend up to the wall.

Preparatory Poses: Kicking Up

We also tried kicking up, starting with both hands on the floor.  This is harder because you can’t use as much momentum.  However, it’s good for building strength, confidence, and understanding of what straight really feels like.  If you kick up with just one leg, it’s nearly impossible to topple over the back, but you can still get a good feel for what it will be like when you are ready to try both legs.

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A few more handstand tips:

Spread your fingers to make a solid base for handstands
  • Try looking a little bit in front of your hands instead of at them
  • Spread your fingers for a nice solid base to support yourself
  • Stretch and strengthen your wrists so they can handle the weight of your body.  If your wrists are not flexible, try putting a small board or a thin book/notebook under the heel of your hand when you practice handstands
  • Press into the ground with your hands to engage your arms more
  • Squeeze your legs together like you’re trying to hold an apple between them
  • Keep working at it every day!

 

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The Magic of Self-Practice: how to start a home yoga practice with tips and ideas #selfpractice #yoga

The Magic of Self-Practice: how to start a home yoga practice with tips and ideas

The Magic of Self-Practice: how to start a home yoga practice with tips and ideas #selfpractice #yogaFor many years, I only did yoga asana in a group fitness class or with a video. I needed someone to follow, someone to tell me what to do next and guide me from one pose gracefully into another.

When I moved to Myanmar, I had two dreams: that I would be able to drive a motorbike around and that there would be a fabulous yoga studio for me to practice at. Only one of those wishes came true: I bought a motorbike on my first Saturday in the country.

So to make up for the other unanswered dream, I started doing videos online.  However the electrical power supply and the internet were both unreliable. I started doing 20 minute “Yoga Download” podcasts. I liked it, but the podcasts were definitely very complete sessions—straight through from warm up to cool down. So I never felt that itch to do just one more pose, though my muscles and joints longed for more.

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Intro: My Start Slow with Yoga Self Practice

One day, I didn’t have any new podcasts so I simply rolled out my mat. That’s always the first step: roll out the mat. At first, I just sort of stood on it awkwardly in mountain pose, thinking soooo wait what do I do again?

Then I remembered sun salutations. I struggled at first with small things, like wait, when do I raise up to the flat back again? Before or after the downward dog? Or both?

The Magic of Self-Practice: how to start a home yoga practice with tips and ideas #selfpractice #yogaBut after a bit, my muscles started to engage and my mind started to connect with my body. I could feel my blood flowing and my lungs pumping. It all felt so right. I knew I needed the movement. After a few rounds, I sort of stopped again, stuck. Well. Then what?
Slowly poses started to come to mind and I threw a couple of vinyasas in here and there when I remembered. My transitions were clunky and disjointed.  As I remembered various poses, I did them. I was standing, balancing, then laying on the mat, then seated before standing again. I had a hard time remembering what I did on one side so I could also do it on the other. I just did everything I could think of! Then after a while, more and more poses were flooding my mind but I had to take savasana because I tired myself out!

The reason I’m sharing this story is to spread encouragement. It’s wonderful to start and to try asana on your own.

Starting your yoga self-practice

If you’ve been to a fair number of classes, you probably know more poses and more about them than you think. Trust yourself and your knowledge when you’re on the mat.

Get visual reminders

Look for some resources, like info-graphics from Pinterest with a whole collection of poses. Print them so you can glance at them for inspiration from time to time.  I recommend printing or buying an image or poster that’s how lots of poses at once for easy reference.  You won’t have to stop your practice to see what poses you can do next.  Alternatively, you could get a Yoga Sequencing Deck to help inspire and remember poses AND put them in order for your practice.  This particular deck corresponds with the book,Yoga Sequencing: Designing Transformative Yoga Classes which helps break down poses by levels and gives many sample sequences.

Inspirational Books

Read some yoga books, like Yoga Mind, Body & Spirit. This book is very helpful for describing the process for getting into each pose and what to focus on once you’re in it. It was great for me as a reminder of the alignment and goals of the poses. If you’re worried about hurting yourself in self-practice, this book could be the reassurance you need to find yourself on the mat.

Another fantastic book is 2,100 Asanas: The Complete Yoga Poses.  It literally has 2100 different poses.  It’s a great book to grow with.  As you become more flexible and develop more strength, you can find new poses to challenge you every step of the way.

Draw it out

Drawing little sequences for yourself so you know which poses in particular you want to tackle. It is ok to stray from the plan if you find your body actually wants to do something else.

Listen to your body

As you became more and more comfortable with poses and sequences, you’ll start to hear from your body more and more. For example from my experience, I could feel tightness in the back of my leg and I knew from experience downward dog would elongate the muscle perfectly to soothe it. Or I would just get a sense that my body really, really wanted to drop down into malasana (garland pose). That was one of my most common distractions from standing poses: desire to do malasana. I almost always give in to whatever my asks.  I think it’s good to give your body what it wants in terms of asana.  It usually knows what it needs.  There’s a quote, something like, “I listen when my body whispers so I won’t have to hear it shout.”

Pain

On the topic of listening to your body, be aware of signs of pain. In yoga, it’s good to challenge yourself and push yourself. Try new poses, new binds, new variations. However, it’s also good to stop where you feel resistance. You never want to feel real pain in yoga. Injuries take a long time to recover from, physically and mentally.

Start slow when you need to

Sometimes my body would tell me it was too tired to start so I’d lay on the mat in supta badda konasana (reclining bound angle pose) and just wait to feel the pull to shift into a supine twist or happy baby (ananda balasana). Once I got going, I often found starting a few poses begged for more and I would be standing, balancing and striving for new limits before I knew it.  Usually, a little movement will coax you into wanting more.

Some days I practice for 10 minutes and some days I have to cut myself off after an hour and a half or so because I have other things I should do. You never know what may be waiting inside that will find you on the mat.

Creating a Yoga Space

The Magic of Self-Practice: how to start a home yoga practice with tips and ideas #selfpractice #yogaOne of the other most important things about practicing is finding a good place to do it. Make sure you have enough room and set up a pleasant atmosphere for yourself. BKS Iyengar says you must find a place with good light and no insects, but I think it goes way beyond that. Make your space sing: light a Ideas and inspiration for creating your own yoga and meditation spacecandle or incense, turn on some music that reflects your mood or your practice, de-clutter, add something nice to look at or inspire you. If you have props, like a bolster or block or strap that you use, bring them to your space. If you feel at peace and at home in your yoga space, you will be much more likely to feel drawn to it and want to practice.  Click the image at the right to learn more about creating your own yoga space.

Final words of Encouragement

I’m 100% sure you can do it!  Roll out your mat today.

“Yoga isn’t about touching your toes, it’s about what you learn on the way down.” Self-practice will teach you a lot about yourself inside and out; body, mind, and soul.

Self-practice Suggestions

• Roll out your mat and start
• Trust yourself and your knowledge
• Be present
• Listen to your body

Katia Yoga blog: asana, meditation, yoga theory, yoga philosophy, looking within, and so much more. Join me!

Welcome to Katia Yoga: Mindfulness. Yoga. Wellness. Health. Blog. Shop.

Hi there!  I’m Katia and I’m a yogi.  learning some new yoga techniquesI started practicing asana over 10 years ago.  I loved moving my body through the different shapes and felt better after yoga classes, but it wasn’t quite whole.  More recently, I’ve been learning about the other 7 limbs of yoga and about other yoga-related concepts.  It’s amazing how the other aspects make yoga a more complete lifestyle and make me more whole as a yogi and person.

I wanted to learn even more and share my fun so I joined a Yoga Teacher Training course in July 2016.  From there, I taught yoga in Nicaragua and Myanmar, but there was too much to squeeze into each hour-long class.  So I created this yoga blog to share the things I learn about yoga and being a yogi along the way.  I hope you’ll join me for the journey.

I blog about the deeper side of yoga and how to make yoga a real part of everyday life for yogis who want to deepen their practice and expand their knowledge through body, mind and soul.  These yogis want to keep growing, learning and becoming more and more their own wonderful selves.