October 21, 2013

Flow with Freedom

If you practice a yoga style based on Sun Salutations, such as Vinyasa or Hatha Flow, you know how tricky it can be to go from Downward-Facing Dog Pose to a high lunge in one fell swoop. You may find the foot you're trying to bring forward falls a few inches short of the desired position safely in alignment under the knee and between the hands. Many students need to inch the front foot forward or even use their hands to pick up the ankle and physically place it where it should go.

Luckily, observing a few simple tricks of the trade can help. Try incorporating the following into your practice every day to get yourself flowing more smoothly:

1. Slow it down. The next time you try this maneuver, do it as slowly and deliberately as possible. When it starts to get difficult, make sure you're engaging your core by pulling your belly in and pushing the floor away with your hands.

2. Pay attention. One of the best ways to transform your body is by noticing when you fall into your old patterns, and making a conscious effort to break the habits. In this case, notice when you tend to stop engaging your core (you'll know you're not engaging if your foot makes a loud noise when it hits the floor). Then, try the action again with awareness.

3. Work your core. Practice moving slowly from Downward Dog to Plank and back again, remembering to engage your core by pulling the belly toward your spine and pushing the floor away with your hands. Then, from Down Dog, lift one foot behind you and keep it up as you rock forward into Plank Pose, bringing your knee into your body and toward your nose.


Here Comes the Sun


Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog Pose)


Plank Pose


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