Terre Pruitt's Blog

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

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Posts Tagged ‘yoga poses’

Twists And Ten Benefits

Posted by terrepruitt on August 17, 2016

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex classes, YMCA, Zumba, PiYo, Nia Technique, SJ City Fit, SJCityFitTwists.  We do twists in Nia, we do twists in yoga, we do twists in stretching, we do twists in life.  Twists are good.  Twists stimulate adrenal glands, and since they make necessary hormones, it is nice to have them stimulated in a positive way.  Twists can also stimulate the kidneys.  Twists are thought to improve digestion, could be due to the massaging of the organs.  When the body twists around the organs move and press against each other.  All the movement in the digestive tract is said to help move food along.  Twists are said to “tone” the organs.  Practicing twists is good!

I always teach to lengthen before moving, especially in a twist, so we want to lengthen on the inhale and twist on the exhale.  Sometimes inhaling/lengthening and exhaling/twisting bit further.  When we lengthen we allow for the space in between each vertebrae to get bigger and that allows for more room for the bones to move.

Twists help with flexibility in the back, the spine mobility and the muscles of the back.  The old “move-it-or-lose-it” that so often applies.  When we include twists in our practice we help to ensure that we will be able to do all the everyday things that include twisting.

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex classes, YMCA, Zumba, PiYo, Nia Technique, SJ City Fit, SJCityFitWhile doing a seated twist, try to keep both sitz bones connected to the earth.  The twist comes from the upper spine.  One reason we anchor the ischial tuberosity (sitz bones), is to stabilize the lower back.  When we work to keep ourselves firmly rooted it helps keep the lower spine from twisting.  I’m sure many of us have done it or have had a friend who has done it.  You hear that statement, “I twisted, and hurt my lower back.”  That is because the lower back tends to have more mobility and without moving mindfully it is easy to over do it.  So we keep our sitz bones anchored.

Seated twists can be done “open” or “closed”.  An “open” seated twist is where you are twisting away from the bent leg, in some cases putting your arm or shoulder against the bent leg.  In a sense allowing your chest to open away from your body.  A “closed” seated twist is where you turn TOWARD the bent leg, in some cases drawing the knee towards the chest.  If you have a leg bent in a seated twist it usually allows for a stretch into the hip area.

In B.K.S. Iyengar Yoga The Path To Holistic Health, he says, “Twists – These asanas teach us the importance of a healthy spine and inner body.  In twists, the pelvic and abdominal organs are squeezed and flushed with blood.  They improve the suppleness of the diaphragm, and relieve spinal, hip, and groin disorders.  The spine also becomes more supple and this improves the flow of blood to the spinal nerves and increases energy levels.”

So twists are good, in summary they:

1)  stimulate the adrenal glands
2)  stimulate the kidneys
3)  improve digestion
4)  massage the organs
5)  allow space in between each vertebrae
6)  help with flexibility in the spine
7)  help with flexibility in muscles of the back
8)  help to ensure that we will be able to keep twisting
9)  increase energy levels
10) feel pretty good

How do you feel about twists?  Do you include them in your practice?

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Flow Yoga? Vinyasa Yoga? Vinyasa Flow Yoga?

Posted by terrepruitt on July 18, 2016

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex classes, YMCA, Zumba, PiYo, Nia Technique, SJ City Fit, SJCityFitYoga has been around for thousands of years.  There are so many translations of the documents that talk about yoga that there doesn’t seem to be a definitive way to do things.  The poses all seem to have different names, and when you hear a name you’ve heard before it can be done entirely different from what you were taught.  Pronunciation is all over the board.  There just doesn’t seem to be any way to know what you are getting . . . exactly.

I have been taking a few different classes to check things out.  And this is what I have come across.  There is “Flow Yoga”.  That is where the class is done in a flowing manner.  The participants move from pose to pose using the breath.  There might be poses where we stop and stay in it for a few breaths, but basically we are flowing from pose to pose.  Then there is the Vinyasa style.  Now Vinyasa is a flowing class.  It might not be called “Vinyasa Flow”, but that is usually what it is.  With a Vinyasa class participants flow from pose to pose and they are done on the breath.  There might be some stopping and holding, then flow to the next pose . . . but there is also “a Vinyasa”.  You can look it up and you’ll see vinyasa is defined as “arranging something in a special way.”  That can be applied to the class as already mentioned, but it can also be applied to a small sequence of poses.

In a Vinayasa class, in addition to flowing from one pose to the next, you “take a” or you “do a” vinyasa which is a specific set of poses.  It is generally the same, but it might be modified for the level of the class, but “a vinyasa” is typically plank pose, to knees-chest-chin or chaturanga dandasana, to cobra pose or upward facing dog pose, to downward facing dog pose.  The less intense vinyasa would be the one with the knees-chest-chin and cobra pose, whereas the more intense version would include the chaturanga dandasana and upward facing dog pose.  You could also do a combination and do knees-chest-chin with the upward facing dog or the chaturanga dandasana with the cobra pose.

What you also might experience in a class is something that really can’t be defined.  At some venues where they do yoga . . . like at an actual yoga studio . . . they might have classes that are separated into levels.  So a level one flow class will be different, probably less intense than a level two or three.  But at some places every class is expect to be an “all level” class . . . and that is where you will probably experience something that can’t be defined.

In order to allow “all levels” to participate the instructor will modify and change what she can in order to make certain that everyone can participate.  This, to me, is where a lot of the changes in yoga has come from.  So the need to alter it so it is accessible to the general public in combination with the fact that the translations are so varied has resulted in no definitive way of things being done or described.

So, my conclusion and definitions say:  Vinyasa yoga is flow yoga, but flow yoga is not vinyasa flow.  In Vinyasa yoga you do vinyasas.

The BEST way to know what you are getting is to talk to the instructor and/or take a class.  It helps to see for yourself.  You can always tell the teacher that you are taking the class to see if it a fit for you, then do the best you can.  If you like the class return to take it again.  If you don’t like it, you can always let the instructor know it was not what you were looking for.

When attending a class for the first time it is good to keep in mind that you might get a little different than you expected, but hopefully you will be able to enjoy the class for what it is.

What kind of yoga classes do you like?

Posted in Yoga/PiYo/Pilates | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Socks Could Help You With The Pose

Posted by terrepruitt on May 23, 2016

I have written and posted about shavasana (savasana) before.  This asana can be used to start a class or be done anywhere in the sequence that you see fit to use it.  It is used in many yoga classes as the final pose.  I think of it as a Challenging Easy Pose.  It is a challenge because many of us have busy lives and things to do all the time.  Many of us have a lot to think about.  Many of us are challenged with quieting the mind.  Not necessarily having no thoughts because I am not sure that is even possible, but not having a lot of chatter in the mind.  Having focused thoughts.  The thoughts focusing on breath, body, and the practice just experienced.  Some people are further challenged with just being still.  So in addition to the busy, moving mind, there is the busy, moving body.  For some just relaxing and not fidgeting is a challenge.  I find that being comfortable really helps.  When doing shavasana as the final pose, I instruct my students to put on their jackets, if they want.  I encourage them bring blankets.  I almost plead with them to bring sock, nice, comfy, fluffy socks — and use them during shavasana.

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex classes, YMCA, Zumba, PiYo, Nia Technique, SJ City Fit, SJCityFitI think this one simple thing will change your shavasana.  It doesn’t matter what the temperature is.  The room could be hot and the last thing you would think to do is put on socks, but I invite you to try it.  I reserve at least 7 minutes for shavasana.  I shoot for 10 minutes but sometimes that doesn’t work.  But we do at least 7 minutes.  So there is plenty of time to sink into relaxation.  It could be that in my classes, with all of that time the feet have a chance to cool off so socks are great.  When the feet are chilled it might keep you from completely relaxing.  You might not even realize they are chilled.  So socks can help.

Also air moving around your more than 7000 nerve endings (in each foot) might distract you.  With many yoga classes there are some standing poses, so you’ve activated the nerves in the feet.  Perhaps sensitized the feet during the class.  So nice socks could help keep the distraction to a minimum. COMFY socks might help bring some calm back to those nerves.  So if possible use warm and comfortable socks.  Not dress socks, because those do not help with warmth.

I am not sure the ancient yogis would endorse or even agree with such a recommendation, but I think of socks as a prop to help me achieve the purpose of the pose.  If props are used and recommended for other poses why not shavasana.  I do know that some people use bolsters when they are available, so why not use socks?

For me, once I started using socks, my shavasana changed.  I hadn’t even really thought about my feet affecting the pose until one day I decided to put on socks.  The few students of mine that have decided to use socks during their shavasana mentioned how it made a difference.  We all marvel at how it did!

So . . . whether you love shavasana or not . . . whether you are challenged by it or not . . . I suggest trying it with socks on.  See what you think.  Then let me know.

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Being Content – The Second Niyama

Posted by terrepruitt on March 9, 2016

Ahhhh Santosha, the second niyama.  The niyamas and the yamas are the second and first limb of the Eight Limbs of Yoga.  As with many things there is often more to it than what is popular knowledge.  Most people are familiar with yoga, in the sense that they know it has to do with stretching.  Many people will even say, “I am not flexible enough to do yoga.”  Ha . . . that is probably more true than they know.  Tee hee.  But, actually they are just referring to the physical aspect because, again, that is what is popular knowledge.  To me, that is fine, just knowing yoga as a physical practice is fine.  In fact, if that is all you want to do when you think of yoga, that is fine too.  I am not here to say you have to do yoga a certain way or that you have to practice all the limbs or you aren’t doing real yoga — in fact, to say that, in MY opinion — is not practicing “real” yoga.  Ha . . . so intertwined it all is.  But anyway . . Eight Limbs . . . More To Yoga Than Just Asana.  The first two limbs (yama and niyama) are rules and observances.  There are five of each.  I have posted a bit about the five yamas and now I am working my way through the five niyamas.  This post is about the second one — Santosha, contentment.

Ahhhhh.  Sigh.  Sounds so super easy . . . if you consider yourself content.  But it might not be if you look at it.  If you really look at “true” contentment it might be a little bit more difficult than at first glance.  This one is tricky because in some cases it might appear to be laziness or unambitious.  But really it is just being content with where you are.  Again it can be connected to some of the yamas, because we would be content with where we are and not try to “steal” something away from someone else.  We will be content with what we have in that we won’t try to get all that we can (either material-wise or sexually).  We will not try to possess everything and hoard it all.  These are comparisons to the last three yamas.

Santosha extends to worrying.  Worrying is a form of non-contentedness.  We are thinking about the future and not content to be right where we are.  It could be a matter of not trusting that we are where we need to be.  It could be a matter of not focusing on the now.  There might even be an aspect of control to consider.  If we are always trying to control things it could be that we don’t trust what will happen to be the right thing or that we are unable to surrender to it.  Hmmmm . . . .

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex classes, YMCA, Zumba, PiYo, Nia Technique, SJ City Fit, SJCityFitSo we are to accept what is happening, what is in the present, and what we have.  We are to be content with what is.  Santosha is not to worry about what will be and try not to control everything.  This does not mean we cannot make plans and have ambitions, it just means that we should enjoy what we have and not be too disappointed when it is not the way we think it should be.

Again I will say, I have not mastered this entirely.  I think I am content in some situations, but I might be a little non-Santosha in others.  But, again, it is a practice.

What would you like to share about Santosha?


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The Second Is Truthfulness

Posted by terrepruitt on February 10, 2016

So, yoga is more than just poses.  Yoga has eight limbs which I listed in my post More To Yoga Than Just Asana.  The first two limbs are rules, restrictions, guidelines things of that nature.  Things to help you along the path to the divine.  The first limb is about the yamas and the second is about the niyamas, I listed them in my post Yoga’s First Two Limbs.  Now I am going through and writing a post about each one.  I wrote about Ahimsa in Ahimsa And Yourself, which I probably should have title Ahimsa and MYself.  I write about this not because I have mastered them but because I am examining yoga ideas and ideals.  So if you hear me saying something harmful, please know I am still learning.  The next yama is satya.  Satya is truthfulness.

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And that can carry to off the mat, huh?  Are we going to brag (why?) that we did more than we actually did in class?  Are we going to tell the truth in all of our dealings?

Satya could be applied to teachers.  Not just yoga teachers but to any teacher or profession that sets fees.  We need to be truthful and upfront about our fees.  Now this could help some of us that feel shy when talking about money and fees.  Yoga teachers can use satya to help them feel confident stating the fees upfront.  Things should be discussed openly and honestly.  A client should not be left to wonder about fees for a service.

Also satya can apply to marketing.  We don’t need to get caught up on all the hype that is used in a lot of marketing, making promising, and stating unsupported facts just to get people to come to our classes.  If we make false claims and that is what attracted the student then they probably aren’t really going to get a lot out of yoga and they are more than likely NOT going to be satisfied.  Then, as a teacher, you aren’t either, so no one wins in that situation.

As I stated in my Ahimsa post, I am just barely touching the surface on these things.  I think there could be volumes written about them . . . and there probably are.  They can be applied to many thing in so many ways.

I think truthfulness is one of the easiest ones to understand.  It might not be one of the easiest ones to do in thoughts, words, and actions.  But, here we all are . . . on a path of learning.

What do you think?  One of the easy yamas to understand?

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So Ancient, There Are A Lot Of Differences

Posted by terrepruitt on November 12, 2015

So I was told that Sanskrit is an ancient language.  About 14,000 years old.  It was not a written language, it was mostly just an oral language.  It was not written until 5000BC.  Sanskrit is known as the language of the gods.  It is a sacred language.  It is the oldest language.  It is the root of many languages.  That is what I was told.  I imagine that if it is actually the oldest language it would be the root of many languages.  Since it was first an oral only language and is so old I believe it has changed.  I believe it has changed A LOT.  How I think about it first off is like that game telephone, I mean if the language wasn’t written for thousands of years that is a lot of ways it can get changed.  Then once it gets written things get lost in translation.  And it just gets more and more morphed from there.  So there are a lot of translations out there where it comes to Sanskrit texts.

Originally I found it VERY, VERY annoying that almost every yoga pose I researched had different names or slightly different names.  Now, since I can understand how things could have gotten mixed up and changed it is only annoying.  Sometimes it makes learning and even teaching difficult because there are so many translations out there, and then on top of that so many versions and modifications . . . but finding one and sticking to it is a good way to keep your practice consistent.  For me that translates into meaning when I meet someone who says it different or has a slightly different name for it, they aren’t wrong, it just means that I have my path that I am following and they have theirs.  Some words, things, poses are more common and people have seem to agree on them, but some seem to be different no matter what.

One thing that can help with learning poses is to have some of the words memorized.  A break down of the asana name.

Here is what I am going with.

adho   — downward
agni     — fire
anga     — limb
angusta     — big toe
ardha     — half
baddha     — bound
baka     — crane
bala     — child
bandha     — formation
bharadvaja   — ancient sage
bheka     — frog
bhujanga     — snake
chandra     — moon
chatur     — four
danda     — staff
eka     — one
go     — cow
hala     — plow
hasta     — hand
janu     — knee
jathara     — stomach
kapota     — pigeon
kararu     — doing, making, action
karna     — ear
kona     — angle
krouncha     — heron
kurma     — tortoise
marichi     — sage / ray of light
marjari     — cat
Matsyendra   — lord of the fishes
mayura     — peacock
mukha     — facing
nata     — dancer
nava     — boat
pada     — foot
padma     — lotus
parivartana   — turning, rolling
parivrtta   — rotated / revolved
parsva     — side
paschim     — west
pida     — pain
pinca     — feather
raja     — king
salabha     — locust
salamba     — supported
sarvanga     — all the limbs
sarvanga     — entire body
setu     — bridge
simha     — lion
sirsa     — head
supta     — reclined
svana     — dog
tada     — mountain
tan     — stretch
tri     — three
triang     — 3 parts of the body
upavista     — seated
urdhva     — upward
ut     — intense
utkata     — intense fierce
uttana     — intense
utthita     — stretch / extended
virabhadra   — warrior
varja     — thunderbolt
vasistha     — celebrated sage
viparita     — turned around/inverted
vira     — hero, warrior, chief
vrksa     — tree


I reserve the right to change, too.  But for now, I am using these translations to add to my yoga practice and yoga teaching.  I am going to learn the Sanskrit names of the asana by this list/translation.

Does your yoga teacher say the poses in Sanskrit?

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Asana Flashcards

Posted by terrepruitt on September 29, 2015

I have many yoga books.  I bought them to study and also to use them as material for posts on my blog.  I haven’t quite gotten around to writing about the books.  But I will.  They are all different and they serve different needs.  So sometimes it is nice to know about a book before you buy it.  It does help that most sites have reviews on products now, so you somewhat know what you are getting.  Well, I just purchased yet another yoga product.  It is pretty cool.  They are called Asana Flashcards.  So basically they are flashcards that have yoga poses on them.  And by basically, I mean that is just the lowest most basic description there is about them.  Because they are a lot more than that.

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The other side of the card states the name of the pose in Sanskirt and English, the sanskrit pronunciation, and a breakdown of the components of the name.  For example Parivrtta Trikonasana – parivrtta:  revolved and trikona:  three or angle.  It gives a description of how to do the pose, the contra-indications, the modifications, and the benefits.  It also has a small round corner rectangle that is color coded to with the main action of the pose (seated, balancing, standing, etc) and the words inside state the target area or the area in which you will feel the asana the most.

The set comes in a very nice wooden box.  In addition to the asana flashcards there are flashcards with Sun and Moon Salutations, two types of yoga, a card about yoga and heart openers, and cards with information regarding your back, shoulders, knees, core, and hamstrings.  These cards have the names of the poses with the numbers indicating which poses are involved.  So the card with the Sun Salutation has pictures, names, and the numbers listed so you know which cards and poses to use.  The heart opener cards has a list with names and numbers of which poses are considered heart openers.

There are many website and books out there that share a lot of this information.  Some have some of these elements, some have others, some might even have all . . . I don’t know, I have a lot of books about yoga, but I don’t them all.  No books allow me to put the poses on the floor all lined up for a sequence.  None of them have a little harbinger clip so that I can clip my sequence together.

So . . . this an amazing yoga tool.  Plus it is really cool.  The versatility is awesome.  I think this is great for yoga teachers and yoga students.  I have heard that it has taken about two years to complete, and the love and care that went into it is obvious.

As usual, I am just sharing something that I like.  Something that I think some of you may like.  If you are interested in purchasing the product or getting more information about it, please visit:  http://guruqachu.com/

What do you think?  Pretty awesome, huh?


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Talking Body, On The Mat

Posted by terrepruitt on September 17, 2015

Do you practice yoga?  Do you have a yoga mat?  Do you have to reposition (either facing the front of the class or the side) yourself on your yoga mat in order to do certain poses?  Do you ever have a portion of your body not on the mat while doing some poses?  I have been thinking about a round yoga mat.  Have you seen them?  An average rectangular yoga mat is 6 feet long and 2 feet wide.  You can find longer ones and a little bit wider ones, but I don’t think the wider ones would accommodate some poses as well as a ROUND one.  The first ones I had seen were Mandala’s and they are six feet in diameter.  Six feet of circular mat.  Not having to turn your body in order for the majority of your body to be on the mat.  Not having to turn your mat so you are facing the correct direction in order to see the instructor.  Not having to have some part of you off the mat.  For me – I’m not tall – all poses could be done without me having to touch the ground on a round mat.  I am intrigued by this circular yoga mat.

If you only do yoga in a yoga studio then the cleanliness of the floor might never be an issue.  There is always going to be feet and sweat, but usually yoga studios have rules about shoes on the floor so that helps keep it a little more clean than some venues that use the floor for everything from daily meals to cycling.

I am not certain that the round mats would fit in a small room with a lot of yoga students.  But if everyone was using round mats it could work, since the mats are six feet in diameter and that alone would be enough room for most people.  So instead of having the normal space between the mats they could all just barely touch and that would be enough room for people to move freely through poses.  So, in other words the space that is normally between mats would just be covered with a mat, but people would have somewhat, the same space.  In theory.  Right?  Am I thinking correctly?  Wouldn’t work in really crowded classes.

Well, I just Googled it again (I started this post a while ago) and I found some that are 4 feet in diameter.  I don’t think that would be big enough.  It is actually labeled as an “Aerobics Mat” but the website says they can be used for yoga.  But I am taller than 4 feet so to me a 4 foot circular mat would be worse than a regular rectangular mat that is 6 feet long.  Oooo!  Perhaps they are getting more popular because when I originally typed up this post all I could find were 6 feet in diameter mats that were about $65.00, now I am finding smaller ones, 5 feet in diameter, on Amazon, that are $40.00.  (Or there are a few on Amazon, there is one for $25.00, but you can see how it is not long enough.)  But again is a round mat that is less than 6 feet better than a 6 foot rectangular mat?

Oh, I found a six foot one on sale for $49.95, but you have to buy at least two.

In looking at the reviews on Amazon in regards to the 5 foot one, it will not really work in a crowded yoga class, just as I thought (and you probably did, too!).  With everyone else having a rectangular mat it doesn’t work for there to be one round one.  But in some classes that are not crowded it would work.  It would be nice to have one for outside because that is another place you might not want to be off the mat.

A round mat would be great for Nia, too, since we often move more than the space of a regular yoga or exercise mat!

I am intrigued.  Any one have one?  What do you think?  Where did you get it?

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The Base Of Many Asana

Posted by terrepruitt on July 11, 2015

As you may know, there are thousands of yoga poses.  Some of those may be variations or modifications, but still, there are a lot of yoga poses.  I think of them in four categories; standing, sitting, lying down, and kneeling.  Some people break them into different categories or types: standing poses, forward bends, back bends, twists, balances, and inversions.  Or even standing, twists, sitting/forward bending, supine/prone, inverted, balancing, and back bending.  To me you can do a forward bend while standing or sitting.  Same with a twist.  Balancing can be done standing, sitting, or on knees.  Lying down is generally supine or prone.  Inversions can be done lying down or standing, and the same with back bends.  Within the four categories I named, I think of asana in terms of what are we doing.  Are we balancing, are we stretching, are we working on strength or is this a restful pose.  So sometimes those are my categories.  It just really depends.  Sometimes seated poses might look easy, but they might be more involved than you first realize.  It might appear to be a restful pose when in fact it is a strengthening pose.  One of those poses is Dandasana or Staff pose.

The staff pose is a sitting pose.  It might be considered somewhat restful, but you are using your muscles.  You are activating quite a few.  This pose might not be done often on its own in yoga classes, but it is a base or starting point of many poses.

This asana is simple, yet it might not be easy.  The pose requires you to sit up tall with a straight back.  You want to sit on your sitz bones.  Your weight is evenly distributed over both bones.  Your legs are extended straight out in front of you.  Your legs are together, thighs, knees, ankles and feet, together.  Your thighs are active.  You are actively pressing your legs gently into the floor.  Your knees are facing the sky.  Your feet are flexed with toes pointing up to the sky.  Your spine is lengthening.  You are reaching with the crown of your head to the sky, lengthening the neck, opening the chest, allow shoulders to relax, shoulder blades sliding down into your back pockets.  Your ribs are lifting up, away from your hips.  One way to do this pose is to press into the floor with your hands, arms are straight.

Using your hands is a variation or a modification . . . depends.  Pressing into the floor would give you tension in your arms allowing them to work.  But using your arms might be a modification because your arms might help you keep your spine straight allowing your core muscles to work less.

Another modification would be to sit on a blanket.  That might be more comfortable for your sitz bones.  Another modification would be to sit up against the wall.  This could be a step one might take if they need to build up core strength.

This pose is said to have the following benefits:

–strengthens muscles of chest, shoulders, and back
–tones abdominal organs
–improves digestion
–reduces heartburn and flatulence
–tones the spinal and leg muscles
–lengthens ligaments of the legs
–stretches and activates muscles of legs
–relieves sciatica
–improves posture

As I mentioned this post is the base of many poses.  The lengthening of the spine and legs is the start of many asana.  Some even keep that energy, the energy of the legs moving away from the hips and/or the energy of the head moving away from the hips, throughout the pose.  So this is a great one to master to help with other asana.

Do you practice Dandasana?

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Mr. Bones Helps Demonstrate Compression

Posted by terrepruitt on June 30, 2015

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose,  Nia at the San Jose Community Centers, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex City of San Jose, San Jose Group Ex classes, YMCA, Zumba, PiYo, Nia TechniqueRecently I watched a DVD that wonderfully demonstrated why not everyone can do the poses exactly like the person pictured in Yoga Journal or on a trendy yoga website.  The DVD was from Paul Greeley and it addressed compression.  While Paul focuses on compression of bone, you will be able to easily conclude there are other types of compression.  Compression in mechanics according to Wiki is:  “the application of balanced inward (“pushing”) forces to different points on a material or structure . . . .”  We are going to say compression occurs when movement of material or structure is to a point where it can no longer move.  The movement is stopped because of compression.  The DVD’s main point was bones.  A bone can only move so far before it contacts another bone.  Compression will stop something from moving.

One of the most obvious points of compression is the shoulder.  The acromion or acromion process is the bony ridge that is part of the scapula.  It extends up and out over the top of the humerus.  Or it does on Mr. Bones.  You can see the acromion process sticking out and stopping almost halfway over the upper arm bone.  But it is not that way in everyone.  In some people it could be shorter.  In some people it could be longer . . . perhaps extending PAST the humerus.  Mr. Bones’ acromion is straight, in some people it could point up or point down.  Some people might have an acromion process that twists.  Whatever the case may be, the size, length, and projection point of this bony ridge can affect your movement.

SDance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose,  Nia at the San Jose Community Centers, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex City of San Jose, San Jose Group Ex classes, YMCA, Zumba, PiYo, Nia Techniqueee how when Mr. Bones’ arm is lifted his humerus comes in contact with his acromion process?  That is the compression we are talking about.  If the acromion process on Mr. Bones’ was shorter or perhaps pointing upward, his arm could probably be lifted higher up.  If the process was longer or pointing down, his humerus would hit it sooner.

To put this into a pose example let’s talk downward facing dog.  Arms are straight up from the shoulders and hands are above the head.  If the acromion were, as in our examples long or pointing down, one would not be able to place their arms above their head while keeping their elbows straight.  They might need to bend their elbows to allow the humerus to go around the acromion process so that the arms can be placed above the head.

Another point of compression that is easy to see on Mr. Bones is in his hip area.  See how his femur can contact the lower portion of his pelvic girdle?  If his femur were set differently the compression would happen at a different angle.  The way the long leg bone is set and connected to the hip affects the bend that can be done.  The angle of a bend depends on that connection.

ADance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose,  Nia at the San Jose Community Centers, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex City of San Jose, San Jose Group Ex classes, YMCA, Zumba, PiYo, Nia Techniquelso, don’t forget, Mr. Bones is JUST bones.  He has no muscles, fat, skin, tendons, or anything to get in the way.  All that other stuff can add to the compression.  Any one of those things that is in the way of the closing an angle would be considered compression.

Compression is always going to stop the movement, but sometimes compression can be pushed a little.  Let’s say there is fat or muscles that is keeping you from going further, sometimes, if it feels right to you, it can be squished a bit.  But something like a baby bump should not be squished.  Bones might benefit from a little compression, but caution should be used.  Sometimes the floor could even play a role in compression.  Say you were in a Upavistha Konasana (Wide-Angle Seated Forward Bend) /and you are able to get your head all the way to the floor, but you can’t go any further because of the floor, that could be considered compression.

Paul Greeley’s DVD can be purchased through his site or through Amazon.  It really is one of those things that you know, you understand, but sometimes it helps solidify it to see examples.  He goes through several poses with his students.  The average seemed to be three students per pose so it was very clear as to the different body types and body structures.  With the different body types demonstrating, it was clear that not being able to do a pose was not always a case of lacking . . . it wasn’t that they were not strong enough or flexible enough, it could be that their structure affected a pose because of compression.  I would highly recommend this DVD to my students.

Does this make sense to you?  Did I explain it so that you could understand?  When you are practicing yoga are you aware of compression in some poses?

Posted in Yoga/PiYo/Pilates | Tagged: , , , , , , | 4 Comments »