One of the most gratifying things in my life is when I see someone light up talking about their yoga class experience. “I understand Mountain pose now,” said my student Carlene, with twinkling eyes and a huge smile. As a fairly new yoga student, she shared that she hadn’t had a clue as to why [...]
An excerpt from the guide “Dynamic Language and Heart Opening Themes” on Danny Arguetty’s website: Nourish Your Light. When we, as teachers, use varied language, creative words, and clear instructions, there is a more complete quality to the practice at hand. Our language supports students in remaining more present to their own internal experience while [...]
Terry Schaff, E-RYT, works as a yoga therapist with Loren Fishman, developing therapeutic yoga protocols for people recovering from injuries and living with physical challenges. Terry leads yoga classes for people with Parkinson’s disease, osteoporosis, and back pain, and specializes in post-operative rehabilitation and geriatric problems. www.terryrothschaff.com Describe what you do in 15 words or [...]
Loren Fishman, MD, BPhil (Oxon), integrates yoga into his physical medicine and rehabilitation practice in New York City. He has conducted clinical trials studying the benefits of yoga for osteoporosis, piriformis syndrome, and rotator cuff tears, and is considered a creative pioneer in the field of yoga therapy. In this interview, he talks about his [...]
Rebekah L Fraser, guest blogger I have fallen in love with my ankles. This is weird, because I’ve never really noticed them before, except for that time I rolled my left foot so far over that I broke the fifth metatarsal and pulled all the ligaments in my ankle, like tree roots from the ground. [...]
There are many benefits to forward bends, both standing and sitting. They create length and space in the spine, counteracting compression, and their inward nature can promote introspection. Yet forward bands can also be a challenge to many people, especially those with tight hamstrings. Common physical patterns, such as overstretched back muscles and rounded shoulders (mostly likely from sitting in front of a computer for hours) are often exacerbated in forward bending poses.
But as senior Kripalu Yoga teacher Cristie Newhart says in her R&R retreat workshop Forward Bends, yoga can help us dissolve patterns so we can uncover fresh ways of looking and experiencing ourselves. This multifaceted awareness about how we move can help us cultivate a deeper, richer yoga practice, allowing us to discover new ease in our forward bends.
In the workshop, Cristie shares these tips for getting the most out of your forward folds:
How we stand, literally—with our feet on the ground—can have a huge impact on how we feel. When we align ourselves and ground in Mountain pose, we access the qualities of stability, balance, and strength. Reconnecting to these qualities can help us as we move through our day, meeting challenges and entering new situations. Try Mountain pose any time you need to ground yourself to find inner strength and peace.
To explore this foundational pose, stand with your feet parallel and three to five inches apart, weight evenly balanced, arms at your sides. Spread out the toes and press evenly down through the four corners of each foot. As the feet firm into the floor, the kneecaps will lift and the thighs will gently engage. Lengthen the tailbone toward the heels and lift the pubic bone toward the navel. Firm the shoulder blades onto the back and slide them down toward the waist. Gently lift the sternum and reach the fingertips toward the floor. Keeping the chin parallel to the floor, lengthen up through the crown of the head, while softening the tongue and the throat. Develop steady, smooth breaths.