Pose of the week: Natarajasana, also known as Dancer Pose, challenges your balance, focus, flexibility and strength.
Getting into the pose: From Mountain Pose(standing straight), inhale your left arm up and bend your right knee so that both knees are touching and right heel meets right buttocks. Right arm is alongside the body with palm facing forward. Keeping palm facing forward, hook your hand around the inside of the right foot and begin to kick back into your hand as your reach forward through the left finger tips and hinge forward at the waist. Balance comes from simultaneously kicking back and up into the right hand and reaching forward through the left fingertip until the front arm reaches parallel with the ground.
Alignment cues: Standing leg is straight, strong and engaged and hips remain square(avoid the tendency to open the right hip up to achieve more height). As you kick back into the hand, allow your right shoulder to open up. Kick back and up to work the backbend and open up the shoulder. Right foot is active and flexed. To come out of the pose, slowly reverse the same steps taken to get into it.
Stretches the shoulders and chest
Stretches the thighs, groins, and abdomen
Strengthens the legs and ankles
Pose of the week: Virabhadrasana I, also known as Warrior I Pose, is a foundational yoga pose and one of three warrior poses.
Getting into the pose: Step your feet 4-5 feet apart and turn your right toes forward at a 90 degree angle and left toes in at a 45 degree angle. Straighten the back leg and press the outer edge of your back foot into the mat. Bend the front knee so that knee is stacked over ankle and thigh is parallel with the mat. Extend the arms up, spreading the fingers wide and keep the arms extended alongside your ears or press palms together and gaze up at your thumbs.
Alignment cues: Ground down through the back foot and reach strongly through your arms lifting the ribcage away from the pelvis. Square your hips with the front edge of the mat arching your upper torso back slightly. Pressing palms together is an option as is tilting the head back. Keeping arms separated and lifted and head neutral is a modification. Keep your shoulders dropped away from your ears and breathe.
Stretches the chest and lungs, shoulders and neck, belly, groins (psoas)
Strengthens the shoulders and arms, and the muscles of the back
Strengthens and stretches the thighs, calves, and ankles
Pose of the week: Chaturanga Dandasana also known as Four-Limbed Staff Pose is a foundational part of a sun salutation sequence requiring ample leg, arm and core strength.
Getting into the pose: From plank pose, engage your leg muscles and core, pull sternum forward(shifting body weight forward), keep elbows stacked over wrists and pressed against side ribs. Lower down until elbows are in line with shoulders and draw the heads of the shoulders back pressing the lower tips of the shoulder blades together to avoid dumping into the shoulders. Imagine one long line of energy from your heels through the crown of the head while keeping the body in a straight line. Modify with knees down.
Getting out of the pose: Press back up into plank pose or move through your vinyasa by shifting onto the tops of your toes and pressing up into upward facing dog.
Strengthens and tones the wrists, arms, abdominal muscles and lower back
Prepares the body for more challenging arm balances
Strengthens the muscles surrounding the spine which improves posture
I love the Indigo Girls for their soulful and insightful lyrics and melodic harmony. I remember first hearing them from outside the walls of my sister’s bedroom. As a younger sibling always trying to keep up with her, I “borrowed” her cassettes and spent many afternoons after school belting out their lyrics with my good friend Stephanie.
It wasn’t until my semester abroad in Aix-en-Provence that I revisited the group via my dreadlocked roommate Maggie from Colorado. It was the Indigo Girls that initiated our bond which developed into a long-lasting friendship.
I’ve been listening to them lately and with a good bit of life experience under my belt, relate to their words at a deeper level. I’m hearing lightness. Galileo is my favorite✨