Pose of the Month: Some deep hip opening!

So, I kinda fell off the bandwagon in April for Pose of the Month. I figured in celebration of my marathon training, I would start it up again.

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I picked out a pose for May that I think everyone could benefit from. I have been plagued with unbelievably tight hips. This can lead to pain in my lower back and even leave me open to some pretty nasty injuries (ITBS, runner’s knee, etc.). As runner’s I know a lot of us suffer from tightness in these areas.

This month’s posture: Fire Log Pose!

I never look that happy in this posture.
I never look that happy in this posture.

To get into this posture, start in a seated position facing the front of your mat. Take your right shin and draw it parallel with the front of your mat (your right foot is by your left knee) and then stack your left shin on top of your right so that your left ankle is on top of your right knee. Now, if your knees are up by your ears, STOP! There are a few modifications you can do to fix that (this is also a good resource for modifications in this posture).

  1. Sit on a block or stack of books to elevate the hips
  2. Take your left foot in front of the right knee and place it on a block or stack of books
  3. Place a block, pillow, or stack of books under each knee to stop hyper-extension

If you have a bit more mobility in your hips you can begin to hinge forward at the hips into a forward fold.

When you are done, switch sides!

So how do I look in this posture?

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Yeah, I am not exactly picture perfect here, but THAT’S OK! I teach this posture all the time in my classes and without shame, even though I am typically the least flexible in the room.

So, practice with me for this month. Let’s do this posture every day and see where we are at in a few weeks. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Do you have tight hips? Do you have any other areas of the body that you struggle with flexibility?

Pose of the Month: Bird of Paradise

Yoga can teach us a lot about patience and how we perceive progress. We can go to class to after class and feel that we don’t improve fast enough or find ways to get deep enough into new postures. This is usually because we don’t see the small amounts of progress that is made each week. So, I am starting a Pose of the Month Challenge. This way we can track our progress and see it happen over a rather short period of time! Here’s the deal:

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Each month, I am going to pick out a posture to do, and I will take a photo of myself at the beginning of the month. Then, I will challenge myself to do the pose each day for one month. At the end of the month, I will take another photo to see how far I’ve come. I challenge you to do the same! You can use the same posture I am, or you can pick one of your own. The important thing is that you set an intension and stick to it each day.

This month’s pose is… (drumroll please)

Bird of Paradise

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Bird of Paradise is a posture that I have always struggled with. It requires an immense amount of control, balance, and flexibility in the hamstrings and hips, which are two places that I am not flexible. This posture features a very challenging bind as well. You can get into the posture from binding in extended side angle pose, then scooting the back foot forward, and finally standing on the non-bound leg. It’s very difficult, and is a posture that I have always wanted to improve on.

This photo was taken of me in the posture just two days ago:

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By doing this posture each day, eventually, it will become second nature. It’s a way to see results in yoga rather quickly. In fact, usually you end up seeing results in a little over a week. Make sure that you still warm up before going into the posture you have chosen. At the end of the month, go ahead and take another photo and see how far you’ve come. You’ll be amazed how much easier it gets to transition into the posture after just a little bit of practice.

Join me on this fun challenge!

What poses do you struggle with? Have you ever just made an intension to figure out a single posture?