Real Yoga

Yoga Class-3247by Michele Vinbury

Morning Practice.  I step onto the smooth, familiar coolness of my mat.  The pre-dawn yellow of a street light spills across the floor.  I yawn and spread toes, feeling my feet ground into the well-worn grooves scuffed through the mat’s surface.  My body, at first stiff, begins to sense and then move with the fluid streams of breath that glide in and pour out.

Inhale.  Honey sweet, the breath enters, expands and unfurls.

Exhale.  All effort undone as the breath slowly recedes and then fades away.

Inhale.  Opening. Receiving.

Exhale.  Surrendering.  Releasing. Read More…


And the Journey Continues

yohigh_152By Gail Larned

I had been studying and practicing Hatha yoga for about 10 years before I started practicing Ashtanga, in 1998. When I first saw people practicing Ashtanga, I was hooked: “I want to do what they’re doing!” I taught a yoga class at Grant Hospital at the same time as the Primary Series class at Yoga on High and couldn’t attend it. I’d arrive at YoHi to see all of those sweaty, jubilant Ashtangis, and wish I could be in the room with them. So I quit my gig at Grant and joined in the fun. I began to study with my friend and colleague Martha Marcom, learning the sequence of the Primary Series. And it has always been that for me: challenging, rewarding and fun.

Read More…


Pose of the Month: Ustrasana

by Michele Vinbury

Ustrasana, or Camel Pose, serves to stretch and open the front of the body (throat, chest, abdomen, hip flexors, ankles) while extending and strengthening the back of the body. Ustrasana is also a go-to for relieving fatigue and can be a great alternative to Urdhva Danurasana for those with tight or injured shoulders. As a heart opener, we thought it particularly fun to look at during the Valentine’s season. Read More…


Pose of the Moment – Bakasana

As a new contribution to our blog we will be doing a Pose of the Moment. Moreover, on any given day, if you visit one of my Vinyasa or Hot Yoga classes you may just find the pose in the yoga sequence! One of the definitions of Vinyasa yoga is to place in a special way. Personally, the poses I share with you will be thoughtfully placed into my sequences using preparatory asanas that open and stabilize the body. In these articles in addition to looking at preparatory poses we will review the anatomy of the pose, modifications, what the asana is a preparatory pose for, counter poses and possible therapeutic and emotional benefits. I hope you find the information useful and I look forward to seeing you in class.

by Jasmine Grace

Pose of the Moment
Have you been to one of my classes lately? If not in almost every class I have been working on Bakasana. Have fun exploring this fun pose!

Sanskrit Name: Bakasana

Other Name/s: Crane or crow

Instruction to Come Into the Pose:

  1. Squat down and place palms flat on the floor with middle fingers facing forward. Elbows can be bent.
  2. Bring knees high onto upper arms and as close to the armpits as possible.
  3. Come to the tippy toes with feet coming close together. Squeeze the knees into the armpits and lift the feet, lift the pelvic floor, and straighten arms as much as possible.
  4. Gaze forward down the nose.

Modifications and Playing with the Pose:
I like to practice this at home with pillows in front of me for crash landings. It helps with the fear factor.

If you are still building strength, try to lift one foot of the floor at a time and work on the stabilizing poses listed below.

You can also place a block under your feet to get the height. Then try a lift feet of block.

As always, practice daily and build strength, coordination and confidence.

Play with the concept apana (downward) prana (upward). Ground (apana) through the hands to and finding lightness in the pelvic floor and feet.

Gaze/Drishti: Tip of nose

Anatomy & Preparatory Poses:

What needs to be open:
Hip extensors, Ankle dorsiflexors, back extensors, shoulder elevators and retractors, wrist flexors.

Marichysana A

Preparatory Asanas for Opening:
Balasana (child’s pose), Bidalasana (Cat Pose), Garudasana (Eagle Pose), Malasana (Garland Pose), Marichysana A (Sage Marichi’s Pose), Prasarita Padottanasana A (Spread-Leg Forward Fold Pose A), Uttana Prasithasana (Flying Lizard Pose), Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend).

What needs to be stable:
Wrist synergists, elbow synergists, shoulder stabilizers, external rotators of the arm, chest, abdominals, hop adductors and flexors, pelvic floor, knee flexors.

Preparatory Asanas for Stabilizing:
Adho Mukha Svanasana (Down Dog), Garudasana (Eagle Pose), Chaturunga Dandasana (Four-Limbed Staff Pose), Malasana (Garland Pose), Navasana (Boat Pose), Phalakasana (Plank Pose),  Marichysana A (Sage Marichi’s Pose), Bidalasana (Cat Pose).

This Asana Prepares You For:
Tittibsana (Firefly), Parsva Bakasana (Side Crane/Crow), Eka pada Koundinyasana (One-leg Sage Koundinya’s Pose), Sirsasana II series (Tripod Headstand), transition pose by hopping from Arho Mukha Svanasana (Down Dog).

Balasana (Child’s Pose), Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Upward-facing Dog), Adho Mukha Svanasana (Down Dog), Wrist Stretches, Vinyasa.

Resources: Stephens, Mark. 2012. Yoga Sequencing; Designing Transformative Yoga Classes. Berkeley, CA : North Atlantic Books
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