You've seen it. It's the quintessential yoga pose. On every mountaintop, beach, and natural wonder of the world, someone has now done a #stopdropyoga and you can bet your bottom dollar that this is one of the most popular choices in the modern yogi's repertoire. And who can blame them? From beginner yogi to decorated veteran yogi, nobody can deny the beauty and grace exuded in a posture that creates the shape of a bow and arrow -equal parts strength and grace. But how useful is a bow and arrow that isn't aimed straight or even one that isn't pulled tight? Don't know what i'm talking about then ask Katniss Everdeen (from the blockbuster movie The Hunger Games). It wasn't her beauty or grace that helped her survive the Hunger Games, but rather her bulldog determination to precision, accuracy, and focus, that gave her the upper hand in the biggest fight for her life. Now that sounds pretty dramatic, but this posture was meant to exemplify the intense focus of this primitive sport. And, and as beautiful as this posture may be, if you practice humility and honesty in your daily practice this posture tends to serve up a large helping of "humble pie". If you go beyond the impressive shape of this posture, it not only takes dedication to alignment but also learning which intricate muscles to relax and which to contract to hit the bullseye of the mental and physical benefits.
Eka Pada Sirsasana. I Know what you're thinking. "Who me? That posture is for advanced yogis, even contortionists! -not my beginner/intermeidate practice!". For some reason, these postures are very seldom taught in class probably because they seem scary and impossible to new yogis. But the truth of the matter is, that any yogi, can do preparatory work to gain the flexibility for these, awe-inspiring and joke-inducing poses (c'mon, I know they're not the most ladylike of the bunch). If you don't practice, how are you ever going to get there? and in all honesty, they add a whole lot of fun and dimension to your yoga repertoire.
I absolutely LOVE when people reach out to me with questions about specific postures or transitions! The other day, I had a student ask about how to "roll over the toes" in the transition between Up Dog and Down Dog. Well, if you have been practicing for a while and you still can't get the hang of it, then you're not alone. It took me a long time to master this transition, but once you do, you will find your flow a little smoother and also find the you start developing muscles in your core you didn't know were there!
You've heard your yoga teacher tell you that this posture is a resting pose, and if you are a beginner yogi you were probably thinking "what the what?". But I promise you that with correct repetitive practice of this very famous yoga posture, you will find that this posture can be very relaxing. In fact, I personally love the name of this posture because it feels like home and to me "home is where my dog (pug) is".
If you've ever practiced Vinyasa yoga, chances are you've done the infamous chaturanga dandasana aka yoga push-up. If you're anything like me, you've probably done it wrong or half-assed it. And hey, that's OK! It's only not ok if you continue to do it that way over and over again or weeks, months, or even years. What do I mean "do it wrong?" because hey it's just a push-up with a fancy Sanskrit name, right? nope! This posture has all the potential to cause you see serious injury. Let me explain. But, before I go into all that, let's discuss the correct way to do this challenging posture...