Rox Does Yoga

Yoga, Wellness, and Life

Yoga for Better Sex Sequence November 2, 2011

Filed under: yoga,yoga lifestyle — R. H. Ward @ 1:41 pm
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This sequence of poses will get you moving and warm up all the necessary places for a great time in the bedroom! For each pose, I’ve included a brief explanation of what it does and how it can improve your sex life.

child’s pose relaxing, centering
cat/cow tilt

This pose wakes up the spine, stimulating the natural flow of energy through the chakras and strengthening the pelvic floor muscles. Also, being familiar with the subtle movements of the pelvis will help in the bedroom.
downward dog Downward dog stretches and strengthens the entire body!
forward fold Forward folds open up the back and massage the internal organs.
5 half-salutes Half-salutes are meditative, promoting focus and awareness of the present moment.
2 full salutations The sun salutation is a series of poses linked together gracefully. Sun salutations serve to limber up the body for yoga practice. The poses in the sun salutation alternately stretch, expand, and contract the entire body, making it great for overall health, fitness, and stamina.
goddess pose Standing poses are good for overall fitness, strengthening the entire body, especially the legs, and building heat in the body. These poses really stretch and work the thighs and hips, as well as toning the extended arms, and standing poses help to improve stamina too.
warrior 1
warrior 2
triangle
side angle
half moon Half moon pose opens the hips and includes a balancing element.
Repeat standing sequence, other side
crane pose Balancing poses encourage a calm, focused mind, improve concentration, and remind us to stay in the present moment.
tree pose
squat (transition to seated) Squatting is excellent work for the pelvic floor muscles and also opens the hips.
cobbler pose This pose increases blood flow to the pelvis and opens the root chakra, which helps to cleanse and energize the sexual organs. The pose opens up and promotes greater flexibility in the hips.
boat pose This pose warms up the core and gets blood flowing in the pelvic region.
wide-legged forward fold This pose works and stretches the hips, thighs, and groin and opens the root and sacral chakras, and it increases blood flow to these regions.
locust pose This pose opens the chest and heart center, and the act of lifting and squeezing the legs stimulates the sexual core.
bridge pose This pose stretches and elevates the pelvis, hips, and thighs. It’s also a chest and heart opener.
reclining spinal twist Twisting wrings out the toxins from our internal organs, promoting good health.
savasana Savasana is the most important yoga pose for healthy sex. In savasana we learn how to relax, how to be in the present moment, and how to be comfortable with the stillness within yourself, which is what will allow you to connect deeply with another person.
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Pose of the Month: Cobbler Pose October 20, 2011

Filed under: Pose of the Month,yoga — R. H. Ward @ 1:34 pm
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Pose Name: Cobbler Pose or Bound Angle Pose

Sanskrit Name: Baddha Konasana

Steps:

  1. Begin by sitting up straight in a cross-legged position.
  2. Press the soles of the feet together and bring the heels close to the body.
  3. Sit up tall on your sitting bones and use your hands to pull any flesh away from the sitting bones.
  4. Make a basket with your hands and clasp them around your feet.
  5. Sit up nice and tall. If that’s as far as your hips can work today, that’s okay – just focus on sitting up nice and tall and opening up the hips.
  6. If your body allows, bend forward over the feet while keeping a flat back. Don’t hunch your back to get your head to your feet – your goal should be to bring the navel towards the feet.
  7. Engage the mula bandha, the muscles of the pelvic floor, to move deeper into the pose.
  8. As you inhale, lengthen the spine; as you exhale, bend a little deeper. Walk your hands forward on the ground if you wish.
  9. Relax and let gravity pull you forward. Take several slow, deep breaths.
  10. Come up slowly and return to a comfortable cross-legged position.

Benefits:

Cobbler pose opens the hips and promotes greater flexibility in the hips. It increases blood flow to the pelvis and opens the root chakra, which helps to energize and cleanse the sexual organs.

Contraindications:

Those with hip problems should work gently in this pose. Pregnant students should take care in any forward bend and modify as needed.

My Experience of Cobbler Pose:

This month, working on my presentation about yoga and sex, I learned a lot about cobbler pose, so I thought I’d feature it as a Pose of the Month. Practicing this pose can really pay off in the bedroom, since it opens the hips and really engages the pelvic floor muscles.

I’ve always liked this pose, and over the years I’ve made a lot of progress with how far I can bend forward. Still, some days I can’t get very far, so this pose always reminds me to work gently with wherever my body is today.

Cobbler Pose

 

Hip-centric Sequence October 13, 2011

Filed under: yoga — R. H. Ward @ 1:40 pm
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One of the students in my little yoga class has tight hips despite a lot of flexibility elsewhere, so I came up with this sequence to challenge that student a bit. (And then, of course, he got stuck at work and couldn’t make it to class, but we went ahead and did the sequence anyway last night, and I liked it well enough that I’ll pull it out again later!)

  • child’s pose
  • cat/cow and curving side stretches
  • down dog
  • down dog twist
  • 5 half salutes
  • 2 full sun salutations (first time, regular high/low lunge; second time with lunge twist)
  • standing sequence:
    • warrior 1
    • warrior 2
    • radiant warrior
    • triangle pose
    • half moon
    • wide-legged standing forward bend
    • goddess pose
  • standing sequence other side
  • tree pose
  • seated poses:
    • squat
    • cradle
    • cobbler
    • forward bend
    • seated twist
    • pigeon
  • bridge pose
  • savasana

I particularly loved doing goddess pose last night. It was fun to teach, and it just feels empowering to do. I think I’ll be pulling this out more often!

 

Pose of the Month: Bridge Pose July 25, 2011

Filed under: Pose of the Month,yoga — R. H. Ward @ 2:35 pm
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Pose Name:

Bridge Pose

Sanskrit Name:

Setu Bandha Sarvangasana

Steps:

  1. Begin by lying on your back on the floor.
  2. Bend your knees and place your feet flat on mat. Skootch your heels as close to your tush as you can.
  3. Tuck your chin.
  4. On an inhale, press your arms and feet into the floor and lift your hips into the air.
  5. If you wish, you can grab the edges of your mat with your hands, or you can clasp your hands under your back, rolling your shoulders under to open the chest even more. You can also lift your hands to support your lower back, pressing your upper arms into the floor.
  6. Continue lifting and extending the hips as high as you can. Keep the legs and feet parallel. Don’t forget to breathe!
  7. Exhaling, unclasp your hands and gently lower down to the floor. Hug your knees into your chest.

Benefits:

Bridge pose is a backbend, stretching back muscles and helping to relieve back pain, as well as a chest opener, stretching the muscles of the chest, which can improve and expand breathing. Bridge also works the muscles in the tush and abdomen. The pose stimulates abdominal organs and can improve digestion.

Counterindications:

Those with back injuries may want to avoid this pose. Those with neck injuries may want to place a folded blanket under the shoulders to protect the neck and should only practice the pose under an experienced teacher’s supervision.

My Experience of Bridge Pose:

I’ve practiced bridge pose for many years now, and my practice has grown and changed with time. When I lived in Boston, my teacher there emphasized working with the pose dynamically, coming into and out of it repeatedly. We would often do 20-30 repetitions, as if we were doing situps or pushups. Since moving to Philly and taking up a classical hatha practice, I’ve now learned to hold Bridge pose for several breaths. The two practices lead to very different experiences of the pose! I enjoyed working with Bridge athletically, and at first I resisted staying in the pose for a longer time; now I can appreciate settling in to the pose and feeling the stretch through my chest and back. I enjoy the calm, pleasant feeling I get when I practice Bridge pose.

Bridge Pose

 

Pose of the Month: Wide-Legged Standing Forward Fold June 26, 2011

Filed under: Pose of the Month,yoga — R. H. Ward @ 1:59 pm
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Wide-Legged Standing Forward Fold 1

Wide-Legged Standing Forward Fold 2

Wide-Legged Standing Forward Fold 3

Pose Name:

Wide-Legged Standing Forward Fold

Sanskrit Name:

Prasarita Padottanasana

Steps:

  1. Begin in mountain pose (tadasana). Step your right foot back into a wide-legged stance. Your feet should be approximately 3-4 ft. apart – about the length of one of your legs.
  2. Point both feet towards the side wall and face the wall. The feet can be parallel or slightly pigeon-toed, but should not angle outwards.
  3. Placing hands on hips, come into a slight backbend, extending the front line of the body. Then keep your front torso long while bending forward from the hips.
  4. As your torso begins to come parallel to the floor, drop your hands to the floor right below your shoulders. Begin to walk your fingertips back  between your feet. If you have the flexibility, walk your hands back until your forearms are perpendicular to the floor and your upper arms parallel. Be sure to keep the arms parallel and don’t let your elbows wing out to the sides. If it’s comfortable, rest the top of your head on the floor.
  5. For an alternate stretch, you can grab the big toes with the first two fingers and thumb of each hand; wrap hands around ankles; or clasp hands behind your back and lift the arms up.
  6. Press your weight into the whole foot: don’t let the weight rest in the outside edges of the feet but press through the inner foot, and keep your weight balanced between ball and heel. Breathe deeply, continuing to extend and bend deeper, keeping the back flat and the front of the body long.
  7. Bring your hands back to center, right under your shoulders. Slowly walk your feet in until they’re hip-width apart. Bend the knees, clasp your hands around opposite elbows, and relax, shaking your head to release tension in your neck.
  8. Slowly roll up to standing, one vertebrae at a time, keeping knees bent. Your head should be the last thing to come up. Close your eyes and breathe here for a moment before returning to your practice.

Benefits:

Prasarita increases strength in legs and feet and stretches inner legs and the backs of the knees. Forward folds are beneficial for digestion and the internal organs, and can help to calm the mind. The pose can also be helpful for mild backaches and headaches.

Counterindications:

Students with lower back problems or knee problems should take care and work very gently with this pose. Pregnant students should be careful in any forward bend. Those with balance problems may want to practice at the wall and should come up slowly; those with low blood pressure should move very slowly into and out of the pose to avoid getting dizzy.

My Experience with Wide-Legged Standing Forward Fold:

Prasarita has always been difficult for me – I find it painful on my outer calves and outer ankles, and also on the backs of my knees. Because of this discomfort, I don’t usually practice prasarita at home, so I decided to challenge myself by choosing this pose to work on this month.

I was surprised to find another source of discomfort in this pose that I hadn’t known about: I realized that the pose makes me uncomfortable because my head is so close to the floor. I know that many yogis come into headstand from this posture, and I don’t yet have the confidence to do headstand away from the wall. I think prasarita makes me uncomfortable for this reason, because it brings me close to a pose that makes me nervous.

Practicing prasarita this month more intensively hasn’t caused any great changes in my experience of the pose – I still feel pain in my legs, and I still feel uncomfortable in the pose. However, I think I have a better understanding of my feelings now and can work more mindfully on the pose in the future.

 

Pose of the Month: Pigeon Pose May 20, 2011

Filed under: Pose of the Month,yoga — R. H. Ward @ 2:10 pm
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Pigeon Pose - FoldedPose Name:

Pigeon Pose (One-Legged King Pigeon)

Sanskrit Name:

Kapotanasana (or, more fully, Eka Pada Rajakapotasana)

Steps:

  1. Begin in downward-facing dog.
  2. Step the right foot up toward the hands, and lay the right leg on the mat: right knee behind right hand, right foot in behind left hand. The right heel should be in line with your left hip point.
  3. Lower your body down onto the floor. Straighten the left leg and lengthen it straight behind you; uncurl the left toes and press the top of the left foot into the floor.
  4. Bring your hands back alongside your hips. Pressing your hands into the floor, breathe in and rise up into a gentle backbend.
  5. Lengthen your spine. Make sure your weight is distributed evenly over both hips.
  6. Fold forward over the right leg. Keep your spine straight and don’t hunch your back. You can rest your hands or elbows on the floor in front of you. If you’re able to bend more deeply, rest your forearms on the floor. You can cross your arms and rest your forehead on your hands, or stretch your arms straight out and rest your forehead on the floor.
  7. Breathe slowly and deeply as you relax into the pose. Don’t push yourself – let gravity pull you deeper into the pose.
  8. Press palms into the floor and come out of the pose, pressing back into downward-facing dog. If you are able, curl your left toes under and press back while bringing your right leg straight up into one-legged dog.
  9. Repeat the pose on the other side.

Benefits:

Pigeon pose is a deep hip opener and stretches the thighs, groins, and psoas. Stretching the piriformis muscle can relieve sciatic pain.

Contraindications:

Those with hip or knee problems should practice this pose gently. Those with lower back problems may want to omit the backbend. Pregnant students should take care with any forward-bending pose.

My Experience of Pigeon Pose:

I love pigeon pose. It’s a pose that just feels good! I love the feeling of my hips opening in this pose. When I practice pigeon, I always feel I can just relax and enjoy the pose. My mind feels calm and relaxed in this pose. I also feel a sense of achievement that I can bend forward and rest comfortably in the pose.

Pigeon is also challenging – I’ve been working on the royal pigeon backbending variation, but my hips and low back aren’t quite open enough to move deeply into the backbend. I have a long way to go before I’ll be able to bring the back foot up to my head! I love that pigeon still has challenges in store and provides a deep stretch no matter what the level of the yoga student.


Pigeon Pose - Side

 

Pose of the Month: Hero Pose May 17, 2011

Filed under: Pose of the Month,yoga — R. H. Ward @ 6:17 pm
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Hero Pose - SeatedPose Name:

Hero Pose

Sanskrit Name:

Virasana / Supta Virasana

Steps:

  1. Begin by kneeling on the floor.
  2. Spread the feet just wide enough apart that your tush can fit between your heels. Keep the inner knees close together, and the tops of the feet flat on the floor. Try to bring your tush to rest on the floor.
  3. If your tush doesn’t hit the floor, just sit up straight and breathe into the pose. Don’t force your tush down – opening the hips is more important than getting down to the floor.
  4. If you feel discomfort in your knees, you can place a pillow or block under your bottom for support. If you feel discomfort in your feet, you can try rolling up the edges of your mat under your feet for more support.
  5. If you can sit in the pose comfortably with your bottom on the floor, you can begin to bend backward. Use your hands for support on the floor. Engage abdominal muscles to avoid overextending your back. If you’re flexible, you may be able to come down on your elbows or even flat on your back.
  6. Work on relaxing into the pose, remembering to breathe.
  7. Come back up to a seated kneeling position. Gently bring your legs around to a cross-legged position.

Benefits:

Hero pose works to stretch and open the knees, hips, and feet. The pose can improve digestion and relieve gas and the symptoms of menopause. The more advanced version adds a deep backbend, which is beneficial for spine health: when done properly, the pose can be helpful for sciatica and lower-back pain. Backbends are heart-opening poses, which decrease depression, improve functioning of the lungs, and improve posture.

Contraindications:

Contraindications include heart problems. Students with knee or ankle problems may want to modify or avoid this pose. Those with back problems should avoid the backbending variation.

My Experience of Hero Pose:

Hero pose has been a favorite of mine for a long time. I liked the challenge of the pose and the stretch through hips and thighs. Over the years it’s been exciting to make progress in this pose – being able to sit my tush on the floor, to increase the backbend I was capable of, and eventually to lie on the floor with my arms extended. It was very satisfying to finally find a sense of ease in this challenging pose, to be able to lie back comfortably and just enjoy the stretch without being limited by pain or pressure. However, with my current schedule, I’ve had less time for yoga, which has led me to focus the time I do have on standing poses and meditation. I began to practice hero pose less frequently, and so I lost some of that flexibility that allowed me to relax deeply into the pose. My knees started to bother me, and I’ve had to work more gently and thoughtfully with the pose than I used to. It’s become a goal of mine to regain that former flexibility and ease and to maintain it as I get older.

Hero Pose - Reclining Version