Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Muladhara Yoga Series I

All images are taken from yogajournal.com. My daughter drew me some wonderful images of various asanas. Unfortunately, I haven't figured out how to break them into individual drawings and it's confusing trying to use them when there are two per page. *pout* 'Tis a shame because they are quite good! I am using the English translation for the names of the asanas/poses. Remember that throughout the series, the focus should be on the muladhara/root chakra. Holding each asana, focus your breathing and energy on the chakra. Move from one asana to the next slowly and mindfully. This series of asanas should be done with deep awareness and focus. Pay attention to your breathing and make adjustments as needed. Beginning in Mountain Pose, focus on being grounded. Even your fingertips should focus on downward rooting. Breathe slowly and down into the muladhara chakra. I do this for nine deep slow breaths. Raise arms and sink back into Chair Pose. You can leave the arms parallel to the floor or raise them above the head. Focus on the feeling of groundedness, even as your ribs lift from the hips. This can be dynamic, lowering into Chair Pose on the exhale and returning to Mountain Pose on the inhale. I did this for a cycle of nine breaths and then held Chair Pose for nine more breaths. Return to Mountain Pose and then shift into Tree Pose. Raise the elevated foot only as high as you can without compromising your balance. If you can, raise the arms above the head and truly feel yourself rooted like a tree your arms reaching up like branches. Due to the vertigo, I need to rest one hand on a wall or chair to stabilize myself and my elevated foot is lower on my leg. Again, I hold this on each side for a series of nine slow breaths. Again, return to Mountain Pose and slowly squat down into Garland Pose. Remember to always focus on the Muladhara as you move from one asana to the next. I hold each pose for a series of nine breaths and will not note that for the rest of this series. If you have tight hamstrings, you may need to use a rolled up blanket to hold the pose. There are modifications for all of these asanas and I will not make note of them going forward. If you need advice on modification for a specific asana, please leave a comment, email me, or, better yet, go to yogajournal.com for expert advice. From Garland Pose move into Staff Pose. Feel yourself rooted from the crown of your head through your sit bones and into your heels. From Staff Pose, fold forward, extending from the sit bones, into Seated Forward Bend. You can do this dynamically, lowering on the exhale and returning to Staff Pose on the inhale. I did this first dynamically and then held the Extended Forward Bend for a cycle of nine breaths each. From Staff Pose, bend your right foot up to your inner thigh and fold forward into Head to Knee Forward Bend. As before, you can choose to do this dynamically and then hold it static. Extend your bent right leg back into Staff Pose and hold for at least one breath before bending your left leg and repeating the series on the other side. Return to Staff Pose and then spread the legs. Inhale and on the exhale, bend forward, lengthening through the spine from the sit bones, and lean foward into Wide Angle Forward Bend. Again, you may do this dynamically. Sit up and on the exhale, pull the feet together, bending at the knees, into Cobbler Pose. Hold Cobbler Pose and then fold forward. When done doing this either statically (holding for a cycle of breaths) or dynamically, return to Cobbler Pose and hold. Gently lower yourself into Bound Angle Pose. Allow this to be the final asana, resting in this for as long as you choose. When coming out of the pose, first shift into Corpse Pose and then turn over onto your right side, resting for at least three slow deep breaths before rising. Namaste

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