Terre Pruitt's Blog

In the realm of health, wellness, fitness, and the like, or whatever inspires me.

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Archive for the ‘Yoga/PiYo/Pilates’ Category

Not Flexible Enough To Do Yoga

Posted by terrepruitt on July 11, 2022

So, I had the conversation again, you may be familiar with it, in fact you may have had the same thoughts yourself.  I have people tell me all the time they are not flexible enough for yoga.  This comment makes me so sad.  And, to be honest, it is rubbish.  The comment makes no sense at all, but it may stem from the fact that people don’t understand yoga or they want to be further along in the practice than is reasonable.  I have a question to answer when presented with that statement, but I seldom remember it, my question is:  “Would you go to the gym only if you were strong?”  

Most people don’t start resistance training when they are strong, they start it to GET strong or improve their strength.  Why is it people don’t approach yoga the same way?  One does not walk into their first yoga class knowing all the moves and being able to do them all.  Yoga is a practice.  I posted once about how I was taught yoga was actually originally created for yogis . . . people that wanted to spend their entire lives learning yoga . . . not only the poses, but all the other things involved.  So with that alone, it proves that people cannot just do the poses from the very first time they try.  Some take years of “doing” to be able to “do” them.

So I think the statement is rubbish because YOGA MEETS YOU WHERE YOU ARE!  That is the thing about yoga.  Since it is a practice you do it as you can.  If you can lie in shavasana for ONLY 1 minute at first – LIE THERE FOR ONE MINUTE!  Then next time it might be 3 minutes, but then the next time it might be 30 seconds . . . that is ok.  If you can’t touch your toes in a forward bend, do what you can.  BE where you are.  If you want to be “flexible enough to do yoga” (not my words, I don’t agree with that statement) – DO YOGA.

One does not get strong by NOT lifting weights.  One does not get flexible by not doing yoga.  If you want to do yoga, do it.  It is not meant to look a certain way, but to allow one to get into their body.  In addition, it could be that your body will never get into a pose like you see on Instagram or in Yoga Journal, I have another post that talks about body design – that is a whole other story.  Yoga is a practice and the only way to do it is to “do” it.

I hope this allows you to realize that you don’t need to be anything when you practice yoga, yoga can help you discover what you ARE, yoga accepts you, and gives you space to adjust and just be.

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Garland Or Malasana Or Squat

Posted by terrepruitt on November 17, 2021

Whatever you call it, it is generally good for you. I say “generally” because I am sure there are some people who have some issues where this would not be good for them.  But like most yoga poses they were created to be practiced by healthy individuals and they have been modified and have many variations so that the general public can do them.  The Garland or Malasana or Squat requires flexibility in several muscles and a large range of motion in several joints.

For ideas on helping you “Get Down On It” 🙂 you can click to my post with that name (I had the song in my head at the time of writing).  Like with many, many things in life it may take some practice in order to get into this pose.  And also, like many, many, many things in life it takes continued practice to continue to be able to do it.  So have patience if you can’t do it YET, and keep doing it if you can.

Here is a photo of Garland/Malasana/Squat and two separate ways to modify:

This is also one of those poses that can be done throughout the day.  There are many reasons one may need to squat so practicing this does not have to be a set-time-aside-to-do-it type of thing.

This is an addition to the specific post about this pose and also the post I wrote in 2014 about my favorite poses.

Is those pose part of your practice?  Do you squat to do things during your day?

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Picturing Cobra And Updog

Posted by terrepruitt on November 15, 2021

Continuing on with adding to my post from 2014 about favorite poses. I am posting pictures of Cobra and Upward Facing Dog (Updog). Keep in mind these are photos of modified Cobra and Updog. These poses look similar and sometimes if I am taking a fast flow class I may end up doing a hybrid of both, but they are different poses using different energy.

I have a Cobra post, and in my Updog post there is a link to a video which I think has a great explanation of the two poses. The video is still up and available on Youtube, but I couldn’t find any information regarding the place that posted it and the link to the person goes to something else now.

In short I think of cobra as being done more from the back with hands further forward than Updog. And I think of Updog as more of a front body opener than Cobra.  In using muscles from the back, my cobra tends to be what so me call baby cobra.

Here are my photos for both.

 

Do you include either of these in your practice?

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Picture The Great Sphinx

Posted by terrepruitt on November 10, 2021

In 2014 I wrote a post about a list of favorite poses and mentioned how I would post further about them. Well, I was talking about additional posts with additional poses, but here I am in this post revisiting a post and an asana. This post along with the next few are here to add pictures to instructional posts.

I think of the Sphinx pose as a regal pose. Cats are regal and the Great Sphinx of Giza looks regal to me. I think of that 66 feet high, 240 feet high statue when I practice this pose. I try to elude that regalness.

Keeping the shoulders down and not sinking into the chest is the key.  This is a very achievable backbend for many.  I did a post on it Regal Pose.

Are you familiar with the Sphinx pose?

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Gate, Locust – Pictures May Help

Posted by terrepruitt on November 8, 2021

In 2014 I wrote a post about a list of favorite poses and how I wanted to do them everyday. I also mentioned how I would post further about them. Well, neither happened. I know I didn’t do the poses everyday and I can’t find that I made any additional posts except the one I just posted recently primarily to assist my students in learning the Half Moon Pose which was on my list but not in that post. This post along with the next few are just to add to the post from 2014 and the posts about the poses.

In the 2014, Working On My Favorite Yoga Poses, I mentioned the gate pose. I sometimes see it called Crossed Gate. Parighasana or Gate pose is an intense side stretch done on one knee that tends to also make it a balance pose. It may be that when thinking of balance poses we think standing and primarily on one foot, well since the body is stretching over to one side which also requires the engagement of muscles that we use to balance, it is somewhat of a balance pose. There may be a smidge of clicking involved for you to get the whole picture (for instructions on how to do it click Finding Balance In The Gate) but I wanted to post an actual picture as I decided it may be helpful in doing the pose.

Also mentioned in my 2014 post is Locust (Salabhasana). This is a prone pose (lying on the belly) that is excellent at engaging many muscles on the back side of the body (trapezius, deltoids, triceps, lats, erector spinae, glutes, hamstrings, and calf muscles). It is back bend, that for many people is small, like with all poses everyone does it different and it can be bigger, but as with all back bends it opens the front of the body. I prefer to do it with my arms behind me palms up and my feet together. As with all the asana there are many variations and modifications that can be done. I still think of it as “Icky Name, Great Pose” (where you can click for instructions). I figure a picture might be helpful.

Do you include either of these poses in your practice?

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Half Moon Pose

Posted by terrepruitt on November 3, 2021

I thought I had posted about this pose a long time ago because it is one of my favorite poses. We do it in the gentle yoga classes I teach. It is somewhat of an advanced pose because there is a lot going on. The class is gentle not beginner, but a lot of modifications are provided so that it can be done to the individual’s ability. As with many asana there is more than one pose that can be done to transition into it. The name of the pose is Half Moon Pose/Ardha Chandrasana.

I feel it is important to warm up the glutes and do a bit of balance practice before having my students do this pose.

In the photo I am doing a modified version with my hand on a block. The full version is without a block and looking at the skyward hand. I have only managed to balance without the block a few times and only for a few seconds.

What tends to happen when students get into this pose is the supporting foot moves. The supporting foot is to be in line with the body, but as soon as the leg comes up, the foot moves to an angle. One must really focus to keep that foot pointing in the right direction.

I often have students go from a Warrior 2 to a Half Moon, so if you start out in a Warrior 2 . . .

(doing the left side) the thigh is rotated out to the left with the toes pointing to the left, the knee is bent and the knee is over the ankle, the hips and chest are pointing forward, the arms are out, and the right leg is straight with toes pointed forward. . . (here, getting into half moon)

take a little hop to the left with the right foot so the weight can begin to shift to the left leg
as the weight shifts over to the left the leg begin to straighten it — here is where one must be mindful of the toes – they are to remain pointing out to the left
the left hand seeks out the floor, a block, or a chair, and we stand on a straight left leg
Note:  the block is about 6 inches (or more) away from the foot AND to the right
shoulders are stacked with chest to the front
hips points are stacked with pelvis facing front
right leg is in alignment with torso and hip, toes and knee facing forward
right foot is flexed

Other things to keep in mind in addition to the shoulders and hips remaining stacked, is to not bow into the low back, keep a neutral spine with the core engaged.

One can look up at the right hand.

Getting out is just like getting in there are many places to go from here. I like to have my students practicing using control and coming into the Warrior 2 again . . . gently.

As you can see a chair can be used instead of a block.  Hand can be on the seat or the back of the chair.  There are many things that can be used for stability as long as it is stable and safe.

This pose has a lot going on as I mentioned previously, it requires balance practice, strength, and even flexibility.

Are you familiar with this pose?  Do you like it?

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Sitting Uncomfortably

Posted by terrepruitt on September 20, 2021

I have my students do a pose/stretch that I used to call the “icky pose”. Yeah not quite a technical name but a very apt one. I did not recall actually learning it anywhere or having anyone have named it and it was very icky so I called it that. Eventually, through my study of Yin Yoga, I learned the name. And, then one day when I was teaching Yin Yoga a student asked for the actual name. It actually is considered a Yin Yoga pose it was called the toe squat. It took me a bit to actually adjust to calling it that. One thing that helped me transition to its proper name is that it stopped being icky.

Like many stretches, poses, and exercises it became less icky the more I did it. It is one pose/stretch that I consider vital for one’s health, yet when we first try to do it, it is so uncomfortable many people stop.

I instruct my students to curl their toes – being mindful of the pinky because sometimes it does not bend the proper way – but to not sit on their heels at first. One can work into sitting on their heels. It could be that they have to practice just curling their toes. One gets to control the actual pressure they put on the toes. It could be they are able to sit on them but only for a second or two, then the more they practice the longer they can tolerate it.

 

 

 

 

 

Basically you are kneeling with your toes curled and you sit back on your heels.

There are ways to modify it to make it more tolerable and to ease into it. I just recommend remaining tall kneeling and not even put an additional pressure on the toes.  Or doing one foot at a time may be more tolerable.  This IS an icky pose while your feet are getting used to doing it.  But it can give you immediate benefit.  And if you do it often, it will get easier.

As with any stretch, pose, or exercise you should get clearance from a medical professional.  Make certain your body is able to do said stretch, pose, or exercise.

Again . . . this is really one of those poses/stretches that most of us have to work into and it could take a long time. Just like any stretch, pose, or exercise, the more you will benefit from it.

Do you sit on your heels with your toes curled (doing a toe squat)?

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Yoga Quotes

Posted by terrepruitt on April 5, 2021

So recently I participated in a discussion on Facebook that had me thinking of a few of my favorite yoga quotes.  I thought I would share them here.

The last one really is my favorite.

Yoga is not for the flexible. It’s for the willing.” -I don’t know

Yoga is not about touching your toes. It is what you learn on the way down.” – Jigar Gor

We don’t use the body to get into a pose, we use the pose to get into the body.”-I don’t know

People often ask me what they can do to “get into” a specific pose and the best way to learn how to do a specific pose is to DO the specific pose to the best of your ability.  It is a practice.


Do you have any favorite yoga quotes?  Do you have any favorite quotes about one of your hobbies or practices?  Please share.
 

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A Few Ways To Use Yoga Blocks

Posted by terrepruitt on February 15, 2021

When I taught yoga in person, I taught at places that did not have props. I feel it is perfectly fine to not use props while doing Hatha Yoga, in fact, I think sometimes it is better not to have them, but sometimes it is nice to use them. Whether you use them or not could depend on what you want to get out of your practice or in our case we didn’t have them. What we used as a prop was a chair. There are a lot things that can be used as substitutes for yoga props. But wait, what is a yoga prop? There are several common yoga props and now-a-days with yoga being a multi-million dollar business there are hundreds of yoga props you can purchase. The ones I think of as “common” yoga props besides a yoga mat itself are yoga blankets, yoga blocks, a bolster, a strap, and an eye pillow. In this post I am doing to show you some ways you can use a yoga block.

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Once you decide on which ones to get you will notice that they have three “levels”; high, medium, and low. In some of the photos I am demonstrating two of the levels in one picture. You may also notice that my hand it not always in the correct position – if I were actually doing yoga – because I am using a remote to take pictures. And in some, yes, I cut off my head because it is about the blocks.

 

 

In a lunge, a triangle. and extended side angle you can see how it can be used to “bring up the floor”.https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50947969378_643da99045_b.jpg

A block can be used to rest your head in a wide angle forward fold or a child’s pose.

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A block can help with alignment of the hips in a pigeon by supporting the hip/butt of the bent leg from underneath or help with a stretch by support the hips in a bridge.

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Blocks can be used (remember there are different levels) to help support knees in a bound angle. In this pose you can not only change the levels of the blocks but the placement . . . they can be closer to the hips to allow the knees to be higher, closer to the knees allowing for a more intense stretch in the inner thighs, or anywhere along the leg. A block can also support your knees in a supine twist. This helps when the knees can’t reach the floor and allows the shoulders to stay connected with the earth.

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Blocks can help raise the shoulders in a Downward Facing Dog. They can also bring up the floor and sometimes be higher than your heels in a camel. Again . . . remember blocks have three different levels that can be used.

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Some people like to sit on them to raise the hips in sukhasana or maybe even straddle a block for Thunderbolt (not pictured). And there is always something like a supported fish or shavasana.

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There are many, many, many ways to use blocks, this is just a small sample, and with many of these a bolster can be substitute. If you don’t have blocks sometimes a pillow or a towel can be used. A small sturdy box might work too, it really depends on what pose it is being used for.  With teaching classes online many people have the opportunity to use their own yoga props or things around the house.

I like to teach and practice the idea that yoga is not really done to get into a pose in a specific way, it is practiced to sense the body.  The body may never get into the pose as it was supposedly “supposed” to be, but we can practice with intent and gain many benefits along the way.

Do you use yoga blocks in your practice?

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Pop-Up Vs Pop-In And A Little Yin Yoga

Posted by terrepruitt on November 19, 2020

Sometimes the day escapes me. I am not going out, but with all of the stuff happening online I am doing a lot of exploring of additional tools to use to make class registration automated, I am doing tests on Zoom for different ways to bring classes to students, I am having to move and rearrange our furniture on a daily basis . . . so a lot of time-consuming stuff. Not complaining, but explaining . . . explaining why I can’t keep up with my own self-imposed posting schedule. I should have posted this yesterday since I am offering a Pop-Up Class tomorrow (Friday, Nov. 20, 2020). This post has a dual purpose, to explain the difference between a Pop-UP and Pop-IN and to expound a bit on Yin Yoga.

POP-UP VS POP-IN

What is a Pop-Up Class? For me, it is a class that is not on my regular schedule. In many cases with many different things a Pop-Up can happen rather quickly – it pops up – but for me, I am usually talking about it a couple days in advance so it is not a quick spur of the moment thing, but it is not a regularly scheduled thing.

Now, the Pop-UP is different than the Pop-In. The pop-in is quick (under 30 minute). So far we have had three pop-ins where we reviewed katas in a song from a Nia routine and then danced the song. It isn’t something where there is the structure of a regular Nia class (or yoga class or stretch class). It is quick – you can just pop-in. I have ideas to do other type of pop-ins maybe a quick stretch or a yoga pose or two, but we will see. A Pop-UP is a class . . . with the actual class structure so popping in and out is not advised.

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Yin Yoga has long holds in order to affect the tissue involved. It is not about the muscle but about the connective tissue. Since the connective tissue is not as elastic as muscles it take a bit longer to effect, AT LEAST a minute. When introducing people to Yin Yoga I generally will not hold most poses but for a few seconds over a minute.

In addition to the four Tattvas of Yin Yoga another very important thing to remember is to get out of the poses SLOWLY. In some cases if you feel the pose is too much, it could be just a simple matter of backing off, not getting out of the pose . . . if that doesn’t work and you feel you need to get out of the pose you must do it slowly. When instructing I allow for a transitional period and that could be just as long as the hold. Think of it like when you sit for a long time and how it might not work to jump up, ya gotta ease into standing or repositioning yourself. That is the same with Yin . . . you are in a pose for a long time so it requires a long time to get out of it. If you need to get out of a pose before the instructors instructs the class to do so, do it slowly just as if the instructor is walking you through the transition.

Some of the poses we do in Yin Yoga are similar to the poses in yang yoga. I have probably mentioned how I used to be so frustrated that the Yin Yoga poses had different names then the Hatha yoga poses even though they are “the same” . . . but then I learned they are not the same. Yin Yoga instructors may even use the other name (non Yin) to help you get into the pose, but the intent is different. In yang yoga the focus is stretching and strengthening muscle but in Yin the intent is to affect the connective tissue and move the Qi. But so many people ask about Yin Poses I am going to say here – just to give people an idea – that we do poses similar to pigeon, sphinx, bound angle, and extended child’s pose, to name a few.  Most Yin poses are done on the floor, so it is not as if you are going to be holding a Warrior II for five minutes.

Additionally, as a reminder Yin Yoga is not Restorative Yoga.  Yin may be restorative like all yoga can be restorative, but it is not Restorative Yoga.  Restorative Yoga is about relaxing and involves a lot of lying around.  Yin is not about relaxing although it does require the muscles to relax.

Well, a really good way to see what Yin Yoga is like is to try it.  For details regarding the Pop-Up Yin Yoga Class on Friday, November 20, 2020 please go to my website.  Maybe I will see you there!  (Update 11.28.20:  This class has already occurred, but do check my site because we plan on doing more because they are so FUN!)

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