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Bryant Park Yoga is back in New York City for its 12th season, featuring teachers curated by Yoga Journal. This week’s featured instructor is Stefanie Eris, who taught at Bryant Park last night.
As summer nears its end (already?!), it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the real world creeping back into our lives. It’s tough to trade in beach days for back to school and earlier sunsets. But if we step back and look at the world with a bird’s eye view, we realize that with each new season comes an opportunity to see ourselves and the world more clearly, from another perspective. Embrace the joy, dreams, and fantasies you’ve concocted over the summer, but as fall approaches, come back down to earth and make those dreams a reality.
Yoga gives us the tools to move through transitions, seasonal or otherwise, with grace. After several rounds of Sun Salutations, practice the following 9 poses to harness the fire of the summer, burn off excess energy, get grounded, turn inward, and direct your attention toward something new.
Sidebending Mountain Pose
Ground all four corners of your feet into the floor. Spread your toes. As you root down into the ground, plug your thigh bones up to stabilize your pelvis. Lift the arms up and overhead. Right hand catches left wrist. Take a long inhale and lift the back ribs up and off of the pelvis, in opposition to your legs anchored to the earth. Exhale, side bend to the right. Draw your right ribs in toward the midline. Inhale deeply into the left side body; exhale, come back to center.
From all fours, extend your right leg out to the right, heel in line with hip. Make sure your left knee is stacked under your left hip. Rise up to balance on your left shin and right foot. Slide your hands to your hips to make sure your pelvis is stable. Rotate your right thigh until your knee faces the sky, then point your right toes down toward the ground. Inhale your arms up and overhead. Exhale, tip your pelvis and long torso to the right. Slide your right hand to your shin or a block, and extend your left arm up and overhead. As your right thigh draws toward your left inner thigh, breathe length into your right side body. Use your exhales to spiral your heart toward the sky.
Stand tall with your feet and knees together. Inhale, bend your knees, and reach your arms up and overhead. Shift your weight back into your heels and press your inner thighs together. Exhale and hug the contents of your abdomen closer to the midline. Inhale your hands to Prayer at your heart. Exhale, hook your left elbow to the outside of your right thigh and twist your heart to the right. Use your inhales to get longer from hips to head, and follow the exhales to deepen your connection to your core and spiral around your central axis. Root down and plug your thighs back to anchor the pose.
SEE ALSOTwist into Revolved Chair Pose
Temple Pose twist variation
Separate your feet wide and bend your knees. Check that your knees are stacked over your heels and the angle of your thigh matches the angle of your foot. Snuggle your feet deeper into the ground, press your thighs back, and melt your hips down. Inhale your hands to your thighs, shrugging your shoulders up to your ears. Exhale, twist to the right. Keep your arms as long as possible and use them as leverage to help you lengthen and twist.
Wide-Legged Forward Bend, variation
Prasarita Padottanasana, variation
Spread your feet wide, turning your heels out and toes slightly in. Root outward and downward through the outer edges of your feet, keeping your big toe mounds anchored. Inhale to your fingertips, long arms, long spine. Plant your left hand underneath your breastbone and right hand to your low back. Exhale, twist from your belly and spin your heart to the right. Extend your right hand to the sky if your shoulders are stacked. Zip up through your midline and harness that energy to create a twist from your center.
SEE ALSO Twist Your Way to Smooth Digestion
Tree Pose, Half Lotus variation
Ardha Padma Vrksasana
From Tadasana, inhale your right leg up until your right hand catches your right ankle. Rotate your right thigh out to the right and place your foot on your left inner thigh. Press foot into thigh, thigh into foot. Find the connection to the ground and continue the line of energy up through your midline. For the Lotus variation, hook the outer edge of your right foot to your left hip crease and slowly rotate your thigh, directing your knee toward the ground. Make sure the rotation is coming from your hip, not your knee. Option to bind your right hand behind your back and catch your right big toe in yogi toe lock. Extend your left arm to the sky and reach skyward.
From a tip toe squat, bring your hands to Prayer at your heart. Hook your left elbow under your right thigh and twist to the right. Plant your palms on the floor, hands shoulder-width apart, fingers pointed to the right. Lift your hips up and off of your heels and lean weight into your palms. Bend your elbows and grab the floor with your fingertips. Draw your knees up toward your left shoulder as you push your right hand deeper into the ground to activate your obliques.
Half Lord of the Fishes Pose II
Ardha Matsyendrasana II
Sit down with both legs extended out in front of you. Bend your right knee and open it out to the side, foot to inner left thigh. Option to cross the outer edge of your right foot over your left hip crease for the Lotus variation. Walk your right hand behind your back, left hand to your right thigh and twist to the right on your exhales. To take it deeper, bind your right arm behind your back and catch yogi toe lock. Option to catch yogi toe lock with your left hand and big toe as well.
SEE ALSO Learn Ardha Matsyendrasana II
Fire Log Pose
Sitting on the ground or propped up on a blanket to help tip your pelvis forward, cross your right ankle over your left thigh and rotate your right thigh out. Stack your left shin under the right. Flex your feet, sit up tall, and prop up onto your fingertips to create length. Exhale and hinge forward at your hip creases. When you’re ready, you can walk your hands out long in front of you and enjoy the forward fold. Repeat all poses on the other side.
Bryant Park Yoga classes take place every Tuesday and Thursday through Sept. 23rd. Follow the Bryant Park Yoga series at #YJendlessYOGAsummer.