Exploring a new yoga pose

This week the theme in my yoga classes is the IT band (iliotibial band).

According to Prashamana Yoga, the IT band is a layer of connective tissue extending from the iliac crest to the knee and links the gluteus maximus to the tibia. (This is a good picture of the IT band, gluteus maximus and tensor fascia latae.)

We can reduce the pull on the IT band by opening our hips and stretching the quads and hamstrings.

There are many poses we can practice for the IT band, hips, quads and hamstrings.

One pose I discovered while doing research for this week’s sequence is Pigeon Wheel. I can’t find the picture or information on Pigeon Wheel from the other day. As I was scouring the Internets hoping to find what I found the other day I found that this pose can also be called The Z-Sit.

Since I can’t find the information from a few days ago I will refer to Deer Pose (a Yin Yoga pose), which is similar to the Pigeon Wheel I found, which I was able to find a photo portraying what I have been teaching.

Deer and Pigeon Wheel share benefits, … Continue reading

The amazing psoas muscle

The psoas muscle (pronounced so-az) affects every facet of your life, from your physical well-being to who you feel yourself to be and how you relate to the world. A bridge linking the trunk to the legs, the psoas is critical for balanced alignment, proper joint rotation, and full muscular range of motion, according to Yoga Journal website.

Recently in a yoga class with Baxter we focused on the psoas muscle with various yoga poses.

This Yoga Journal article talks about 10 yoga poses you can practice to release your psoas, such as Eka Pada Rajakapotasana (Pigeon Pose), pictured to the left.

Lunge variations, Vrksasana (Tree Pose), Tadasana (Mountain Pose) are also some poses that can be performed to work the psoas.

Also from the Yoga Journal website, in walking, a healthy psoas moves freely and joins with a released diaphragm to continuously massage the spine as well as the organs, blood vessels and nerves of the trunk.

Wow, one muscle does all of that?

Wikipedia says the psoas major is a long fusiform muscle located on the side of the lumbar region of the vertebral column and brim of the lesser pelvis. It joins the iliacus muscle to form the iliopsoas. In … Continue reading

Practice yoga at home on the cheap

My friend Heather asked me if I could recommend some yoga videos for someone with limited resources.

So I did some research and here’s the cool thing I found: YogaGlo.

The YogaGlo site says: Take more than 1,000 yoga classes on your computer or on your HD TV whenever you want, in the comfort of your own home or on the go.

I reviewed as much as I could of the site without actually signing up for the free trial or a membership.

I do have a friend who has used YogaGlo and thinks it is great. And I trust her opinion. And a few of the reviews I read on the site appear to be positive. There are a few glitches, but that has to be expected with the World Wide Web.

The site has a great beginner center. Included are a variety of teachers, styles of yoga, levels and duration.

You can sign up for a 15-day free trial for limited access to the site or you can register for full access for $18 a month.

The videos I watched which show how to properly do a pose were well done. First they are listed under their English … Continue reading

Working sore butt muscles, cramps

Yesterday in body conditioning we did a lot of squat and lunge work. I hate doing that stuff. But it is also the work I need most. We did walking lunges and squats with kickback.

I don’t know if it was the combo of the two or the evil squats with kickback but my booty was feeling slightly sore last night. Oh man, today, ouchie!

I went to yoga this morning and luckily we did some great stretches for the butt (and other body parts as well). We did a lot of high lunge work (picture to the left).

We also did a great high lunge twist–which actually felt great for the sore butt muscles.

Right before class today I was experiencing some intense cramps. I asked Ashley if there were any poses I should avoid. She told me most poses were OK and the more I moved the best it would be for my cramps. She told me if any inversions made me feel dizzy to come down.

I made sure to definitely move today but to also listen to my body and rest when needed. I practiced Child’s pose more than I normally do in … Continue reading

6 days of yoga

Sorry for the lack of posts this week. This week has been an exhausting week. Work was crazy busy with a few nights of coming home and working some more.

My goal was to hit yoga seven days in a row from last Friday through Thursday.

I had to go into the office on Friday, which meant I wouldn’t be home in time for the evening yoga class. And I figured a day off would be just fine.

I worked from home on Thursday and planned to attend a 10 a.m. yoga class to make it Day 7 of yoga. I was so busy that I wasn’t able to make it to class. And we had our Corporate Counsel in town from Switzerland. A group of us took him out for drinks and dinner. So no late night working or workout that day.

So I skipped exercise Thursday and Friday.

I slept in today until a little after 7, which is “late” for me. I still felt tired and knew I could go back to sleep if I really wanted. But I decided to get up and hit the gym. I did my usual 2-hour Saturday routine of spin, abs … Continue reading

Opening the hips

In Baxter’s Hatha Yoga class tonight we worked a lot with the hips. About half the class we were lying down–my kind of yoga. Though we were definitely working.

Pigeon Pose is my favorite hip opener. I forget about the many other ways to open the hips.

Today we did an “extreme” half Happy Baby pose.

Happy Baby is probably one of my least favorite poses. It’s a difficult pose for me to do. It really works the hips for me and is a great opener. But I find it uncomfortable to the point where I feel stuck. I have to be very careful when coming out of the pose.

We also did a lunge hip opener.

The two poses were putting our bodies into the same positions. Just one on our back and the other on our feet. It was an interesting way to look at it and practice.

I have a feeling my hips will be sore tomorrow … but in a good way.

Hip openers

Today in Vinyasa Yoga class with Ashley we did our regular heated flows. After about 45 minutes to an hour of the flows and sweat we usually concentrate on something, whether it is working a specific part of the body or working on an inversion.

Today we worked on some intense hip openers with variations of Pigeon and Square.

We did one hip opener/restorative pose before savasana.

My hips aren’t as open as I would like. So I especially appreciate when class concentrates on opening of the hips. I can’t say I love Pigeon Pose. But for some reason I always want to do that pose and am happy when the instructor asks us to get into that pose.

One of my least favorite poses is Happy Baby, which is also a hip opener and another pose we did today. We also did that pose on Wednesday night. Baxter made a joke about whether or not we are happy in the pose. I have to say, I never am. I have no issues getting into the pose. But once it is time to get out I feel stuck. It’s a pretty intense pose for me.

What a wonderful way to end the workweek

I attended my regular yoga class tonight with Suraya. She is such a great and caring yoga instructor. It’s at 5:30 on Fridays. Which is great because it gets me out of work at a decent hour. But I am starting to miss the class at times because sometimes I have something planned.

At the beginning of class we have meditation and she has us set an intention. You can also set your intention for someone else. Sometimes I do that. Tonight I set my intention for Grandma Phyllis. So I hope she was feeling my energy.

We worked on pigeon pose today. It is such a great way to get your hips stretched out. I love the feeling. More and more I am getting better at the pose.

And now I am relaxed and am ready to do some knitting and watch some TV. That is my kind of Friday night. Oh, and I made myself a bloody Mary, too.