Breaking Down Yoga Poses
Yoga can be a lot to take in at first. All the poses, breath, and yes, the person next to you who seems to be comfortable in a pretzel. I know, I’ve been there. It can be kind of brave to step into a class full of experienced yogi’s. But one thing is certain, an experienced yogi is so in their own world. They really haven’t stopped to notice you are dying in a warrior stance and sweating bullets. And if they have, they are proud of you for showing up to your mat. I promise you yogi, or future yogi, you belong and yoga does not care how you come prepared.
Relax yogi. It doesn’t have to be so serious. It’s just yoga.
However, the best part about yoga, is how you can really cut any pose in half. It can cater to you. Even if you are super unflexible and haven’t ever seen your abs peak through.
You are strong and resilient. Just get on the damn mat and practice already!
Easing in to things can be beneficial to your body while it warms up and gets the hang of yoga. It can also help the mind, wrap its head around things…
This goes for all other aspects of yoga too. You might notice one day that it sort of all clicks!
The breathing, getting from one pose to another, or what’s stretching what. I know it took me some time for me to learn what I was doing on the mat. After you get the on the mat then you’ll notice the shift off the mat. It’s an amazing journey.
Alright so how do we make things a little easier for ourselves?
Forward Fold VS Waterfall:
A standing forward fold can really dig into those hamstrings and gravity can really force us down. If you’re looking to take it easy try laying down and putting a block under your low back. Throw the legs up and you’ll feel the hamstrings again.
Note: You’re going to have a difference with the way your blood is flowing which might create different benefits of the pose. For example waterfall pose is great for circulating the blood in your feet. Since we stand on them all day, it can be really great after a long day! Happy feet and happy life!
This is a great alternative to a traditional forward fold.
Pigeon VS Supine Pigeon:
Do you hold tension in your hips?
This can be a hard pose for people to breathe in if they’re feeling too much sensation. They tend to hold it in. Even though sensation is encouraged, sometimes lying on your back in the same position can give you a bit more control of the sensation. Helps ease into the pose!
Splits VS Standing Splits:
Can you do the splits?
Huh? Me? Hell not!
Wait! It’s not impossible! It takes time to open up the hips and increase flexibility, especially if you are more of a strength builder. Even some days, like below, I can’t get into the splits. Other days, I slide right in.
So standing splits is a much less abrasive way to find your flexibility. It can also help you to align the hips and practice the correct positioning.
Dancer VS Boeing Cat:
Having a hard time grounding yourself to balance?
Try getting into Cat and then playing around with bow pulling your leg. This will also help you gain the flexibility in your back and even chest! Remember to press your foot into your hand here to stabilize.
Isn’t that kind of eye opening how we can take some poses and do other similar poses to help us figure out what the hell is going on? It’s something I really love about yoga, it has room to accommodate our needs. Cutting poses in half can often help us build up to the full pose, and other poses as well.
Oh and did I mention, they’re great for when we have injuries as well!
Let’s discover a few poses to cut in half. When you can’t do the full pose these are great so each side of your body can understand the pose separate and then you can put them together and you’ve got magic.
Camel VS Half Camel:
Oh Camel pose. I struggled with this pose for so long. I was uninterested in even trying. It almost hurt trying to lean back there. Until, one day I discovered the pose cut in half. It really gave me a way to open up and eventually one day I just popped into the regular pose with out even noticing.
P.S. You can even pop a leg out and further the break down of this pose. Either way you do it, tuck your tail and squeeze your butt to help protect the lower back.
You’ll get there.
High Lunge VS Low Lunge:
That high lunge takes much more engagement, strength in the legs, and puts some good pressure on your feet. Lowering your stance can help you build up. Drop the knee even if you need to. Don’t be shy to do so, even on my tired days I drop the knee. You don’t always need to look like a warrior.
Bridge VS 1/2 Bridge:
I know 1/2 bridge is much more common. I didn’t actually know what full bridge was for a long time…who knew!?
If you can’t quite get to wheel then full bridge might be a good start for you! Build up to bigger poses!
Dolphin Vs Low Dolphin:
Dolphin is great for strengthening our shoulders. Maybe your butt doesn’t quite get above your hips. That’s totally okay!
Back up and walk the legs back out a little bit. Concentrate on being getting strong in your upper body. One day you won’t even realize you’ve made it to a high dolphin pose. Eventually you’ll flip your legs up, and BAM… headstand.
Now you know a few ways to vary your practice to fit your needs. Remember, to take things at your own pace and own it! You won’t become better over night. I always come back to this, but it’s a practice for a reason! Step by step you will get where you are going. Hope this helps pieces of your home flow get stronger!