Yoga begins with Breathing

I have been told many times by various people throughout my life that they can’t do yoga because… That is crazy!  Yoga isn’t all about the postures and the crazy arm balances and headstands and handstands. It is about the breathing and finding yourself and healing.  Even if you can only be in corpse pose for an hour, as long as you are practicing the deep belly breaths who cares.  You are still practicing the most important part of yoga.  The pranayama, literally “breath control”, is something we from the West do not practice enough.  We breath from the top of our lungs and hardly ever from the diaphragm.  We need to extend our breathe all the way down pushing on the diaphragm and then exhale completely.  Yes you may feel lightheaded the first couple of times that you practice this as it is foreign to you. Most students new to yoga will hold their breaths while in certain poses because of it being new and unfamiliar.  You must attend a few classes for the breath to finally begin to be deep and controlled while in poses.

This pose for today is no different.  The first few times I have ever done it, I held my breath. It is extremely challenging and not a pose everyone can do.  Please do not follow this pose if you have knee or hip issues or if your quadricep muscles are tight.  A couple days ago we did the beginning of this pose and this is the advanced posture.  I have read that this pose is a great help for the sciatic nerve but must be taken slowly with great caution and you may need to start out supported on blankets, or bolsters. If not executed properly, you could aggravate the low back causing pain.  So please take great care when starting off with this posture.

Today’s Pose: Supta Virasana-Reclining Hero pose- start off in hero pose with your knees apart and your sit bones firmly in the floor.  Slowly recline back until your shoulders are on the floor.  My hands prefer to come forward and come to the bottoms of my feet but you may bring them behind your head and come hand to elbow.  Stay here for a few breaths.

~Supported supta virasana- place a bolster under your back and release into that.  If a bolster is unavailable, a stack of blankets and a pillow with suffice.

What this pose works: pectoralis major, rectus abdominis, vastus lateralis, tibialis anterior, gluteus maximus, psoas major, latissimus, extensor hallucis longus, extensor digitorum longus and the peroneus longus muscles.