Down Dog, Warrior I & Mountain Pose

Our first week of yoga in 2018 featured variations of Down Dog and Warrior I, plus Mountain Pose and Dynamic Warrior.These are wonderful poses to add to a home practice.

Down Dog will stretch the back of the legs and lengthen the torso. It will build strength in the shoulders and arms. It has the added benefit of being an inversion once we take the head lower than the heart.

Warrior I will support our balance, strengthen our thighs and stretch the front of our hips. It might be considered a slight back bend but I prefer to think of it as a hip flexor opener. If the arms are extended we’ll feel opening in the shoulders and across the heart.

Dynamic Warrior moves us between two shapes. One we call Courageous Warrior, the other Peaceful Warrior. Sometimes when I’m practicing this movement I’ll choose any value or quality that I want to bring into my life. So Courageous Warrior sometimes, for me, becomes Confident Warrior and Peaceful Warrior becomes Patient Warrior. What I love about this dynamic movement is how we need to root through our feet to hold our stability. I love how our breath and movement works together to soothe. It’s like a moving meditation.

Mountain Pose is the anchor we come home to between poses. We feel our weight distributed evenly on the soles of our feet and a drawing up of energy from the feet to the crown of the head. Along the way we align our hips, our shoulders and our ears. Another way to look at this alignment is to imagine the brain aligned with the heart and the heart aligned with our center of balance. A third way to experience the strength of this pose is to consider the energy centers we call chakras and to visualize their being in alignment.

If you are going to practice these poses please keep this wonderful adage in mind: Start where you are. Do what you can. Use what you have.

Please be careful. Please stay safe.

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Down Dog Modification. Keep your legs perpendicular to the floor and your neck in line with the rest of your spine.

down dog 2

Take the pose a little further by using the seat of the chair and stepping back until your legs are no longer perpendicular.

Warrior I narrow

Narrow Warrior I. Anchor through the back heel. Lift your heart. Lengthen through the waist. Create space between the top of the front thigh and the torso – this will help keep your pelvis neutral.

WI narrow stance

The front knee should be over the ankle. This keeps the knee safe. The back foot is turned out slightly and to help stability the feet are aligned with the hip joint.

extended WI

Extended Warrior I. Take a wider stance. This will tip the pelvis forward, making it more important to think about lengthening through the waist. The palms of the hands face one another.

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Courageous Warrior

 

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Peaceful Warrior

(And enjoy my funny stick figures. Eventually these will be replaced with photos and – in time – a few videos. I thought it would be more useful to all of us to begin the practice instead of waiting for the pretty pictures.)