Category Archives: How-To Yoga Videos

Reclining Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose


Here are helpful cues to practice Reclining Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose correctly and safely

  1. The restorative version is best practiced with the non-aerial foot at the wall so that the non-aerial leg can be stabilized without too much effort
  2. Begin in a Supine Tadasana with the feet at the wall and a bolster to the outside fo the right hip
  3. Press the big toe mounds into the wall to encourage the neutrality of the legs
  4. Take a strap with a small loop and place the loop around the ball of the right foot
  5. Press the right foot to the ceiling while using the wall to gently resist the movement with the left leg
  6. Manually descend the right hip down and in towards the left foot in order to bring symmetry back to the torso
  7. Hold for anywhere from a few breaths to a couple of minutes, then thread the long part of the strap behind the neck from right to left
  8. Hold the end of the strap with the left hand and straighten the left arm out to the left, palm up, to make the strap taut
  9. Take an inhale then open the right leg out to the side for Supta Padangustasana 2
  10. Use the bolster beneath the right outer thigh and left hand on the strap to control the opening so that the stretch of the inner thigh is neither sudden nor intense
  11. Keep using the left foot at the wall to gently maintain the resistance of the left thigh
  12. Hold for anywhere from a few breaths to a couple of minutes, then, use an exhale to recommit to the rootedness of the left thigh and on an inhale bring the right leg back to center
  13. Release and repeat on the other side

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Supine Bound Angle Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana)


Here are helpful cues to practice Supine Bound Angle Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana) correctly and safely

  1. Create a vertical support for the spine and head using a bolster and three blankets
  2. The blankets are folded vertically with two blankets placed in a graduated “staircase” along the bolster and the third-placed across the top in a horizontal orientation to support the head
  3. Sit in front of the base of the bolster and bring the legs into Baddha Konasana
  4. Place a looped strap around the sacrum, across the upper, inner thighs and around the ankles
  5. Pull the strap just tight enough that the heels are held near the groins, but not so tight that there is any sense of a strong stretch
  6. Lie back on the bolster set-up, making sure the front edge of the bolster is against the sacrum and the head is supported so that the chin is not higher than the forehead
  7. Place the arms by the sides and turn the palms to face the ceiling
  8. Hold for anywhere from 1-10 minutes

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Standing Split (Urdhva Prasarita Eka Padasana)


Here are helpful cues to practice Standing Split (Urdhva Prasarita Eka Padasana) correctly and safely

  1. Begin in a modified Adho Mukha Svanasanawith the heels up the wall and the knees bent
  2. Step the right foot forward between the hands so the toes are in line with the fingertips.
  3. Place the left foot at the wall at hip height
  4. Pin the right hip back and in to even the two sides of the waist
  5. Roll the left outer hip forward to square the hips
  6. Maintaining these actions and alignment, start to inch the left foot up the wall while inching the right foot back towards the wall
  7. Mindfully continue moving the pelvis closer and closer to the wall as the left foot travels up the wall and the right foot and hands move closer
  8. Maintain the neutrality of the legs by pressing into the right big toe mound and spinning the left inner thigh to the ceiling while rotating the left outer hip forward
  9. Keep moving back until the back of the right thigh and the front of the left thigh come to the wall; the hands can frame the front foot or be slightly forward
  10. Continue to insist on two sides of the pelvis and torso remaining even and the legs remaining neutral; the back thigh tends to externally rotate so keep spinning the inner thigh to the ceiling
  11. Hold for 10–12 breaths, then exit by reversing the entrance, returning to the modified Downward-Facing Dog Pose.
  12. Repeat on the other side

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Sphinx Pose


Here are helpful cues to practice Sphinx Pose correctly and safely

  1. Begin on belly with feet hips distance apart and forearms parallel and slightly ahead of the ribs
  2. Hands and elbows should be shoulder distance apart, with the elbows a very small amount in front of the shoulders
  3. Extend the big toes straight back and press down with all ten toenails to activate the quadriceps
  4. Spin the inner thighs to the ceiling (tobroaden the lower back) while firming the outer ankles into the midline (to prevent feet from sickling)
  5. Isometrically pull back with the forearms in order to draw the chest forward
  6. Coil the thoracic spine, pressing it towards the sternum to open the chest from behind
  7. Keep the back of the neck long and emphasize lifting the sternum vs lifting the chin
  8. Use exhales to press down with tops of feet and inhales to lift and open the chest
  9. Hold for anywhere from several breaths to a minute

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Side Reclining Leg Lift (Anantasana)


Here are helpful cues to practice Side Reclining Leg Lift (Anantasana) correctly and safely

  1. Begin lying on the back in a supine Tadasana; feel the evenness between the front and back bodies
  2. Flex the ankles, then continue to draw back the outer border of each foot while pressing into the big toe mounds to spin the inner thighs down
  3. Remember these foot actions, then roll onto the right side, stretching the right arm along the floor in line with the body, palm dow
  4. Bring back the actions and front to back evenness from Tadasana, anchoring the pose with the outer border of the right foot
  5. Spin the inner thighs back and direct the flesh of the buttocks towards the heels to create stability at the center
  6. Bend the elbow and prop the head up on the right hand, keeping the elbow in line with the shoulder, torso and legs
  7. Externally rotate the left leg, bending the knee and drawing the heel toward the groin
  8. Clasp the left big toe with the first two fingers of the left hand, then extend the left foot toward the ceiling
  9. Continue to direct the buttocks towards the right heel, rather than allowing them to fall back in space
  10. Keep the left foot in line with the torso, rather than allowing it to drift forward in space
  11. Press into the right big toe mound to emphasize the neutrality of the right leg

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Bridge (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)


Here are helpful cues to practice Bridge (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana) correctly and safely

  1. Begin on the back with the knees bent and the feet planted beneath the knees
  2. Place the feet hips distance apart and parallel, with the knees also hips distance apart
  3. Notice the natural curve of the neck – the space between the cervical spine and the floor
  4. Notice in particular that the base of the neck, cervical vertebra 7 (C7) is not in contact with the floor
  5. Maintaining the natural curve of the neck is a crucial element of the pose that often gets lost when the shoulders are dragged down as they are tucked under
  6. To correct this tendency, shrug the shoulders slightly closer to the ears – observe how this softens the trapezius muscles at the base of the neck and emphasizes the cervical curve
  7. Pressing down with the feet, lift the hips without letting the knees splay apart
  8. Interlace the fingers beneath the back, then carefully roll the outer shoulders and upper arms under without pulling the shoulders away from the ears
  9. Pressing down with the shoulders, inflate the upper body (make sure C7 is still lifting away from the floor) lifting the shoulder blades and thoracic into the chest
  10. Once in the pose, spin the inner thighs down while directing the flesh of the buttocks towards the backs of the knees
  11. Without lifting to feet, isometrically slide the heels towards the hands to engage the hamstrings and lift the hips any amount more
  12. Use exhales to press down with the feet and shoulders; use inhales to lift the hips and chest
  13. Hold for anywhere between 5 breaths and a minute, then release back to the floor

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Headstand (Salamba Sirsasana)


Here are helpful cues to practice Headstand (Salamba Sirsasana) correctly and safely

  1. Begin sitting back on heels with mat at the wall
  2. Interlace fingers up to the webbing, tucking the bottom pinky inside to create a flush surface with the outer hands
  3. Place the hands and forearms on the mat with the elbows slightly narrower than shoulder width
  4. Place the crown of the head on the mat with the back of the head inside the hands
  5. Make sure the head placement does not knock the hands open –the thumbs should be touching to ensure that the outer wrists press firmly into the ground
  6. Tuck the toes under and lift the hips, walking in until the spine makes contact with the wall
  7. Pinning the elbows into the midline, root down from wrist to elbow to rebound the shoulders away from the ears
  8. Bending the knees, lift the feet towards the buttocks and then take them to the wall
  9. Climb the heels up the wall until the legs are straight
  10. Spin the inner thighs towards the wall and take the flesh of the buttocks towards the heels
  11. Hold for anywhere from 10 breaths to 2 minutes
  12. To exit, slide the feet down the wall, continuing to root down with the forearms to maintain the lift in the shoulders
  13. Keeping the knees and feet together, slowly descend the knees towards the ribcage and then the feet to the floor
  14. Come directly into Child’s Pose

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Sages Pose (Marichyasana)


Here are helpful cues to practice Sages Pose (Marichyasana) correctly and safely

  1. Begin in Dandasana, pressing forward with the big toe mounds, spinning the inner thighs down to hold the thighs in a neutral position and rooting down with the femurs; the quadriceps and kneecaps should face the ceiling
  2. Use the foot and leg actions to get directly on top of the sitting bones, rather than falling behind them
  3. Move the sacrum in and up towards the navel and extend the sternum away from the navel to lengthen the front body
  4. Feel the pubis and tailbone dropping equally towards the floor – the bowl of the pelvis is upright, neither spilling forward nor spilling back
  5. Imagine a central axis running through the torso from the pelvic floor to the crown of the head
  6. With each inhale emphasize both the length and the integrity of this axis; the column is straight and is not tilting or curving off to one side or another
  7. Draw the right heel back and plant it directly in front of the right sitting bone – this is often a bit further to the right than students realize
  8. Keeping the left leg active, neutral and firmly rooted, inhale the left arm to the ceiling and take the right hand to the floor behind the right buttock
  9. Exhale, twist to the right, hooking the left elbow to the outside of the right knee
  10. Notice how the right knee tends to buckle into the midline; instead, press it to the right to create more resistance for the left elbow to work against
  11. Inhale, root down with the right heel and left thigh to find more length along the spine
  12. Exhale, revolve around that length, taking the gaze to the right but making sure the rotation in the neck is