Terre Pruitt's Blog

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

  • I teach Nia, yoga and stretch!

    Nia: Thurs at 9 am

    Yin Yoga: Mons at 11:30 am

    Gentle Yoga: Tues at 10:30 am and Thurs at 6:00 pm

    Stretch: Thurs at 10:30 am

    Please see my website for details! I sub for the City of San Jose and the YMCA so check my website for dates and times!

    I am also available for private Nia / yoga / Personal Training!

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Posts Tagged ‘cobra’

Cobra Three Ways

Posted by terrepruitt on May 24, 2017

I am continuing to share three different ways that the same pose can be cued.  I am talking about cuing via Anatomic way, Sensory way, or a way using Imagery.    The first one is just using body parts as in “move your hand to your foot”.  Or the sensory way where you might say “allow yourself to feel your foot”.  Or the cues using imagery you might say, “start to untie your shoe”.  Each way appeals to different people.  Often times we aren’t even aware of what works best.  We just hear and do.  I think it is fun to see the different ways clear cut and separated out from each other.  These are just examples of what could be said to cue Cobra pose.

Bhujangasana (Cobra)

Anatomic
Lie on your stomach with your forehead on the floor.  Legs together, tops of your feet are on the floor, big toes together, heels slightly apart allowing for a slight inward rotation of your thigh bones.  Place your palms on the floor next to your chin, wrists right under your shoulders.  Slightly tuck your tail bone.  Using your back muscles raise your upper chest off the floor into a small back bend.  Your back muscles pull and hold you up.  Your elbows are close to your ribs, they can be bent.  Your arms are supporting, but not doing all the work.  Shoulders are down away from your ears.  Your shoulders are solid.  Your chest open.  The arms do not necessarily straighten in Cobra. For a bigger stretch in the abdominals and a deeper bend in the back you can straighten your arms, but since the back muscles are primarily doing the work, straight arms are not necessary. Your legs remain together with firm thighs and glutes.

Sensory
Lie on your front side, spine/neck in neutral position, forehead on the ground.  Feel the ground on the front of your legs and feet, as they lengthening out behind you.  Place your palms on the ground next to your chin.  Sense the earth between your open fingers.  Feel your wrists at your shoulders.  Your hands remain rooted, grounded to the earth.  The crown of your head is reaching away from your shoulders.  Sense the space between each vertebra.  When you are ready push, activate your back muscles and let them pull your shoulders and chest off the ground as you push gently down with your pelvis connecting to the earth. Sense the small bend in your back.  The sense is of the strength in your back, you are using your arms lightly.  They are not the strength in this pose.  Feel the slight pressure from your elbows as they hug your ribs.  Your heart space is opening your collar bones moving away from each other.  Your shoulder blades are gently reaching towards each other and down your back.   Your forearms are off the ground, but the arms do not necessarily straighten in Cobra, you have a bend in the elbows.  For a bigger stretch on the front side of your body you can straighten your arms, but since the power and energy are coming primarily from the back, straight arms are not necessary.  Straightening your arms would also create more of a bend in your back, but again, sense the work coming from the back.

Imagery
Lie on your belly like a snake.  Your legs are your tail, they remain together, tops of feet on the earth.  Place your palms on the earth with your wrists at your shoulders.  Gently press down with your pelvis.  When you are ready, think of a cobra. Think of how they raise themselves off of the earth, they don’t have any arms.  So let the power come from your back.  Your arms are supporting you, but not doing all the work.  You feel the scales of your snake body with your elbows.  Let your shoulders travel down towards your tail.   Let your neck lengthen, stretching out your cobra hood.  The arms do not necessarily straighten in Cobra, your back is doing the work, but if you want a bigger stretch in the front and a deeper bend in the back you can straighten your arms, but remember cobras don’t have arms.

Which one helps you get into the post better?  Which one is your favorite?

Posted in Yoga/PiYo/Pilates | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Bend Like The Snake

Posted by terrepruitt on December 12, 2013

I was talking to a friend after Nia class recently and I don’t even know how we got to this but she said the main difference between Up Dog and Cobra was the feet.  I just looked at her a smiled.  Since I didn’t reply she went on to explain how the feet are this way in that pose and that way in this pose and still I just smiled.  If you research any pose in a book, on the internet, in a class, with a teacher, with another yogi you are probably going to get a different answer on how to do it.  I am finding that just like with so many things you are going to find a lot of different – and often conflicting information.  I am thinking that as yoga has become more “main stream” and available to more people it has morphed — a lot.  So while I was not familiar with the feet being different in Up Dog and Corbra I didn’t want to tell her that what she was saying was incorrect because she could have learned it differently or be doing a different version or modification than what I do or what I am familiar with.  As we talked she concluded for herself that she thinks she was thinking the feet positions were different because of the pose before or the one after.  So she could just be thinking of her feet in terms of another pose.  Seems as if the Upward Facing Dog or Up Dog and the Cobra are sometimes called the same thing or thought of as interchangeable.  I view them and I do them as two different poses.  This post is focusing on Cobra.

With both poses you start on your belly.  With Up Dog your hands are below your body, in line with your shoulders.  With Corbra, when your body is extended, your hands are forward of your body.

Cobra / Bhujangasana, you lie on your stomach.  Your legs are stretched out behind you.  The tops of your feet are on the earth.  Place your palms on the earth a bit forward of your shoulders.  The starting position of the hands are the staying position.  The hands do not move.  So they start a little forward of the shoulders. When you are ready you push gently down with your pelvis and pushup with your arms.  Think of a cobra.  Think of how they raise themselves off of the ground, they don’t have any arms.  So let the power come from your back.  Your arms are holding and supporting.

As with so many poses continue to keep your shoulders down, the blades back. The neck is lengthening.  Keep the space open between your shoulders and your ears.  No scrunching or hunching.  The arms do not necessarily straighten in Cobra.  They are not bent and with elbows resting on the ground as with Sphinx, but they are bent.  For a bigger stretch in the back you can straighten your arms, but since the power and energy are coming primarily from the back, straight arms are not necessary.

Your legs remain together.  With firm thighs and glutes.  Toes are pointed away from you.

Hold this pose until your body says stop and repeat.  Remember to breathe, allow your breath to flow easily.  This pose strengthens the back and arms.  It opens the front of the body.  It is a great stress reliever.

This pose is similar to Updog, but it is different.  It is primarily the placement of the arms and where the energy comes from.  Corbra has arms forward and power comes from the back.

Are you a fan of the Cobra pose?

Some Benefits Of Doing Back Bends

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Moving Into The Back

Posted by terrepruitt on November 9, 2013

In addition to teaching Nia classes for the city of San Jose, I was asked to teach a Gentle Yoga Class.  I have taught three sessions and we have one more before the year is over.  This last session before the holiday break is a short one, it is only four weeks.  In the classes there is a large variety of fitness levels.  Regardless of one’s level of fitness I believe it is very important for the emphasis to be on balance and flexibility.  They also like to practice inner reflection which I believe enables a connection to the body.  The connection is to allow for great stability and ease of movement.  In order to meet the varieties of levels we do a cross between flowing through poses and holding them.  I might have also mentioned before that we include getting up and down as part of our practice.  With this next session we are going to do a progression of backbend poses.  I have not yet decided on the progression of balance poses but I have the backbends progression planned. Since we only have four classes and there are five backbends I would like to progress through we will be doing two in the first class.  As with my Nia classes, my yoga students are continually encouraged to do things in their own bodies way.  Since yoga is a practice they can work into the poses.  For the series of backbends they will be encouraged to stay at the level that is acceptable for their own body.

The first backbend we will do will be the standing backbend.  Then, in the same class, we will progress to the Locust.  The Locust has many modifications some of which can be done with just legs lift or the head and shoulders lifted.

Then in our next class we will move onto the Sphinx.  I’ll probably include the Locust in the routine before moving on to the Sphinx, but the Sphinx will be the next in the progression.  Then the next meeting we will move onto the Cobra.  Excellent for strength, stability, and flexibility.  The last class before the long holiday break will be the Upward Dog.  Even though the idea will be for the students to progress through the backbends the modifications will be presented so each individual can progress only if they are ready.

Some students participate in yoga more than once a week so they are more likely to be able to participate in the progress whereas others will do so to a lesser extent – and modifications meet that need.  This is a great way to work on flexibility.  Everybody is moving in their own natural time through their yoga practice so I am excited to present this progression of backbends.  I will include other flexibility poses and balances poses as in all the classes.  I have been putting the emphasis on one or the other during a class which can still tie into the backbend progressions.

Of course, this is my plan prior to meeting with the class.  It could be that after our first meeting I have to adjust my plan and that will be fine.  I do like to see where the class is at and go from there, but it seems like our group has been pretty consistent.  But I can easily adjust my plan for any new body.

I am very grateful and inspired by the students that come to class every week.  It is very exciting to me to see their progress.  Stay tuned for more on the poses that I have yet to post about.

Do you participate in a yoga class?  How is it structured?  Is it an on-going class or is it a series of classes?

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Sun Salutation – My Way

Posted by terrepruitt on May 4, 2013

The Sun Salutation is a sequence of asanas.  I have not yet included it in any of my Nia classes, but I am thinking about doing so.  In general modern day usage “asana” is what people call a yoga pose.  So the Sun Salutation is a sequence of yoga poses.  Now, if you look up Sun Salutation on the internet you will find a lot of variations.  There are certain asanas that you will consistently find in all of them, but then not all of the Sun Salutations will include the same EXACT ones.  I’ve seen anywhere from 9 to 13 poses in a single salutation.  Since yoga is considered a practice associated with religion, a meditation, a prayer, a movement form, and/or a straight out exercise it makes sense that there are so many difference ways to do the Sun Salutation.  If you are chosing to do the movement as a form of worship it might have different movements than if you are doing it to get a specific physical benefit.  Most of the instructions on how to do it agree that the movements are based on breath.  Inhale here, exhale there.  I have decided on a combination of what I have been trained with, what I have practiced in classes, what I practice at home, several applications, and things I have learned along the way.  I have decided on thirteen movements.  I move using the right leg through 11 asanas, then through them again using the left leg.  Two of the poses making the sequence 13 are only used only in very beginning and the end.

I start in Anjali mudra then go to the
Mountain Pose, then arms move out and up into an
Upward Salute, then I swan dive into a
Forward Bend, up into a
Standing Half Forward Bend, then I place the left leg back into a
lunge then the right leg back into a
plank then I move down onto knees into
knees, chest, chin/Ashtanga Namaskara or chaturanga up into
cobra, then I push back into
downward dog, I stay here longer than any other pose.  I breath.  Then I bring my right leg forward, so I am in a
lunge, then I bring my left leg forward then I
forward bend, then I come up a little into
Standing Half Forward Bend then lift my arms out and up as I rise into an
Upward Salute which I consider the start of the right sun salutation.  I go through the sequences again this time place my right leg back into the lunge.  When it is time to lunge again, I bring my left leg forward.

I find that as I move through the salutation, I like to change my Upward Salutes into more of a little back bend.  Only bending back as I warm up and it feels good.

Since this is my Sun Salutation, and I am not worshiping the sun . . . in fact I don’t even think of the sun at all, I just do it my way.  I do it in the way I feel like doing it that day.  Sometimes I time it with my breath inhaling on this move and exhaling on that move, sometimes I stay in each pose longer and while I am aware of my breath my movements are not dictated by it.  I do somewhat feel that is WAAAAAY contrary to the way it is “supposed” to be done, but then again it is MY movement.  It is MY practice.  It is MY meditation.  So I do it the way MY body feels like doing it that day.  I don’t usually decide how I am going to do it when I begin, I just begin and however I seem to move is how I do it that day at that time.  Sometimes I even time it to the music I am listening too.  Sometimes, unfortunately, I am in a hurry and I just want to get a few in so I do them.  It all depends.  That is why I think it is nice because YOU can do it how you want to do it to match the reason you are doing it.  After doing at least six, I end with the Mountain Post and the Anjali mudra.

Do you do a version of the Sun Salutation?  What asanas do you include in your salute?

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