The day of the longest sunlight

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As thousands of Pagans gather at Stonehenge for June 21st, the Summer Solstice is also special day in the yogi calendar.  June 21st is the International Day of Yoga.

At the Prana Vashya Yoga Studio we celebrated the Summer Solstice with our 108 Salutation Practice. This energizing practice includes intention setting, chanting, and then maintaining breath-to-movement connections while flowing through the postures of each Salutation.  Throughout this practice you to sink into a meditative state of mind as you turn your senses inwards.

Venerated by the ancient sages of India, the Sun has 1008 different names in Sanskrit including Hraam, Hreem, Hroom, Hraim, Hraha, etc.  Today we chanted 6 mantras between sets of Salutations in celebration.  Just as the Summer Solstice represents a turning point in the earths cycle of life; yoga, and life, ever changes, evolves, opening-up new opportunities to grow and improve.

Damian is an authorised teacher of Prana Vashya Yoga.  To book a class with Damian you can contact him by:

Email: damiancadmanjones@gmail.com

Tel: 0777 900 1896

Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/queensroadyoga/

 

 

 

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Veerabhadrasana (A)

Veerabhadrasana A PIC.docx

Veerabhadrasana a.k.a. “Warrior Pose” gets is name from the great warrior Virabhadra; incarnation of Shiva. It is part of the Prana Vashya Primary Series standing sequence series of postures which are designed to work all the muscles that support the pelvis.  The sequence also prepares you for back-bending.

How to get into the position

From standing at the top of your yoga mat, inhale and turn to the right with your feet apart by 3-4 feet and your arms extended; level with your shoulders.  Turn your right foot to the right by 90 degrees and turn your left foot to the right by about 45 degrees so that both of your feet are turned right.  Then, as you exhale, square your chest and hips forward and bend your right knee so that the thigh is at a right angle to the floor.

With every inhalation, extend your arms to open your chest.  With every exhalation, try to square your hips further to bend the knee.   Hold for five full breaths.  Repeat on the other side.

If you are struggling to hold this pose you can take your hands to your hips to begin with.

Benefits

Veerabhadrasana (a):

  • Dissolves body fat from the waistline
  • Strengthens and stretches the inner thighs
  • Increases stamina
  • Helps with backache
  • Therapeutic for flat feet, infertility and sciatica

Contraindications and Cautions

Avoid this posture if you have issues with high blood pressure.

Damian is an authorised teacher of Prana Vashya Yoga.  To book a class with Damian you can contact him by:

Email: damiancadmanjones@gmail.com

Tel: 0777 900 1896

Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/queensroadyoga/

 

 

Prapadasana

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Prapadasana aka ‘tip toe pose’ requires balance, flexibility, and strength.

How to get into the position

Starting from a squatting position, balancing on your tip toes/ the balls of your feet (with your heels lifted), take your right heel directly under the perineum so your foot is lifted and placed in lotus position on top of the left thigh (with the sole of the foot facing up). Then you can bring your palms together into prayer position in front of your chest. Be sure to fix your vision on a single point on the floor to maintain balance.

Hold this position for five full breaths.  On every inhalation, straighten your spine and with every exhalation try to lower your pelvis.  The posture is then repeated on the other side.

Benefits

Prapadasana:  

  • Improves balance and concentration
  • Develops core strength
  • Keeps the reproductive system healthy
  • Opens the hips

Contraindications and Cautions

Avoid this posture if you have any recent or chronic injury to the feet, ankles or knees.

Damian is an authorised teacher of Prana Vashya Yoga.  To book a class with Damian you can contact him by:

Email: damiancadmanjones@gmail.com

Tel: 0777 900 1896

Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/queensroadyoga/

 

 

Parivrutha Trikonasana

Parivrutha Trikonasana Pic

Parivrutha Trikonasana aka ‘revolved triangle pose’ prepares your for forward-bending and twisting postures and it is one of the opening positions in the Prana Vashya Primary Series.

How to get into the position

Starting from standing position at the top of your mat, turn to the right and step your feet apart by 3.5 to 4 feet with your arms outstretched parallel to the floor; palms down. Turn your left foot in by about 45 degrees and your right foot out to 90 degrees.

Align the right heel with the left heel (however, if you are a beginner then it can help to have your feet waist width apart to assist with your balance).  Then turn your right thigh outward and place your right palm on your lower back.  Finally, twist your torso to take your left hand to your right foot (or ankle or shin or knee to begin with) and roll your upper shoulder to extend your right arm above the shoulder.  Fix your vision point on the raised hand.

Do not look at the floor coming into the position as that will affect your alignment.  Also, be careful not to put too much weight on the lower palm or else your hip will collapse, and proper alignment compromised.

Hold this position for five full breaths.  On every inhalation, extend the upper arm to open your chest and with every exhalation try to turn your chest further to the side.

Benefits

Parivrutha Trikonasana:  

  • Helps with digestive problems and asthma
  • Helps to relieve the symptoms of sciatica
  • Helps cure alignments of the lower back

Contraindications and Cautions

Avoid this posture if you have issues with blood pressure or if you suffer from migraines or insomnia.  If you have any issue with your neck, then fix your vision point on the floor instead of looking up.

Damian is an authorised teacher of Prana Vashya Yoga.  To book a class with Damian you can contact him by:

Email: damiancadmanjones@gmail.com

Tel: 0777 900 1896

Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/queensroadyoga/

 

 

Baddha Padmasana

baddha padmasana pic

Baddha Padmasana aka ‘caught angle pose’ or ‘bound lotus pose’ is an advanced version of lotus pose and it is one of the Prana Vashya Primary Series finishing postures which releases tension from the lower extremities.

How to get into the position

Starting from Padmasana (a.k.a ‘lotus pose’), keep your feet high on your thighs and close to your groin with your heals facing your own face.  Reach your arm behind your back and grasp the lower foot from behind.  Now bow forward a little and reach your other arm behind your back and grasp the upper foot from behind to complete the bind.  Sit straight and hold this position for five full breaths.

On every inhalation try to straighten your spine.  On every exhalation try to bind further.

Repeat the same process with your alternate legs and hands also.

Benefits

Baddha Padmasana:

  • improves concentration
  • improves flexibility of the joints of the lower limbs
  • improves the posture of the spine
  • regular practice of this yoga asana is beneficial in Arthritis

Contraindications and Cautions

Avoid this posture if you have issues with your knees or ankle.

Damian is an authorised teacher of Prana Vashya Yoga.  To book a class with Damian you can contact him by:

Email: damiancadmanjones@gmail.com

Tel: 0777 900 1896

Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/queensroadyoga/

 

 

Veerabhadrasana (C)

Veerabhadraana C pic

Veerabhadrasanas namesake is the great warrior Virabhadra; incarnation of Shiva. When you move into ‘warrior pose’ you connect with the warrior within, that is part of you that is strong and confident.

Veerabhadrasana is one of the Prana Vashya Primary Series standing sequence of postures which works the muscles that support the pelvis and prepares you for back-bending.

How to get into the position

From standing at the top of your yoga mat, turn to the right with your feet apart by 3-4 feet and your arms extended; level with your shoulders.  Turn both feet to the right and bend your right knee so that the thigh is at a right angle to the floor.  Then turn your whole body the right and square your hips forward and lie down on the forward thigh stretching your arms forward, parallel to the floor, inhaling.

Exhale and stand up on the forward leg whilst extending your leg behind and your arms in front of you at the same time (so that you synchronize the straightening of the forward leg and the lifting of the back leg; using your limbs as a counter-balance to one another).

With every inhalation, extend your arms to open your chest.  With every exhalation, try to straighten the rear leg bringing it level with the hip.   Hold for five full breaths.

If you are struggling to hold this pose you can take your hands to your hips to assist with balance.

Benefits

Veerabhadrasana:

  • Works the hamstrings, ankles and legs and the muscles along the back
  • Dissolves body fat from the waistline

Contraindications and Cautions

Avoid this posture if you have issues with high blood pressure.

Damian is an authorised teacher of Prana Vashya Yoga.  To book a class with Damian you can contact him by:

Email: damiancadmanjones@gmail.com

Tel: 0777 900 1896

Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/queensroadyoga/

 

 

The Single Parent’s Guide to Yoga

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If you are a single parent, it can be difficult finding time for yourself. As such you will face some long, mainly sleepless nights; frustrations of trying to arrange childcare, and time spent tending to the inevitable illness.  While balancing all of this along with work and financial stability, your own self-care and fitness might be afforded a low priority.  But if you do not look after yourself then this is bound to have an effect on your ability to look after your child.

As tempting as it might be to postpone your own needs, while single-handedly caring for your child; staying fit and healthy not only ensures you are there to look after your child, it can help you cope with the stress of parenting (and everyday life).  Physical fitness, exercise, and healthy activities such as yoga and meditation have been shown to boost your mood and help you tolerate stressful situations as and when they arise.

Seeing and feeling the results of your efforts through yoga will boost your self-esteem. In addition to helping fight postpartum depression among new mothers, this may also lead to better parenting.  By loving and caring for yourself, you teach your child to love and care for themselves too.

Here is some advice on how to find the time to stay in shape:

 Start Small

 Finding time to exercise can seem daunting when you are a single parent; juggling a full-time job, childcare, and countless other responsibilities; you need to start small.  Even if you only have five minutes to spare, take those five minutes to yourself.  Try some basic yoga postures and/or find a quiet place to sit and meditate for a few minutes.  If you have not tried meditation before then you can start by finding a brief guided meditation video on YouTube.

Exercise While the Kids Sleep

 It can often be the case that the only time you get to yourself is while the kids are asleep. Try to make some ‘me time’ first thing in the morning and/or last thing at night.  In any event, yoga is best practiced first thing in the morning and/or last thing at night.  Yoga re-programs your subconscious mind with good healthy habits and you are closer to yourself (i.e. your subconsciousness) when your first wake up and just before bed.

Whether you are a single parent or not, there will inevitably be unexpected situations that arise that you will need to cope with.  By stabilising the breath when exercising (something which is very much emphasised in Prana Vashya Yoga) this trains the nerves to resist stress formed in the activity.  This skill can be easily transferred into daily life, preparing you to face life in a confident way and helping you keep your cool in stressful situations.

With the above in mind, be sure to prioritise your own self-care.  The better you take care of yourself; the better you will be able to care for your family.

Damian is an authorised teacher of Prana Vashya Yoga.  To book a class with Damian you can contact him by:

Email: damiancadmanjones@gmail.com

Tel: 0777 900 1896

Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/queensroadyoga/

 

Arm balancing

pick up pic

The pick up

The arm balancing sequence of postures in Prana Vashya Yoga works on strengthening your arms before stretching them to improve flexibility and release tension.  Unlike the use of your legs (as we are on our feet for most of the day) your arms need strengthening first.

The pick-up (as pictured above) is part of the ‘pick-up and jump back’ transition in Ashtanga yoga. It is similar to, and a slightly more advanced version of, Tolasana a.k.a scale posethat is part of the Prana Vashya finishing postures (in which you also lift the weight of your body on your hands, albeit with crossed legs). Extending your legs out in-front of you, then, requires additional strength.

With a regular practice of the Prana Vashya Yoga you can quickly build up the necessary strength for advanced arm balancing postures like Ashtanga’s ‘pick-up and jump back’ routine.  The sequence of postures in Prana Vashya increases proprioception; training your muscles to work independently (for example, when you move your shoulder it should not disturb your lower back).  This way, your muscles better support your joints.  When we talk about strength in yogic terms therefore, we speak about localised strength in a muscle; a muscle being able to take the weight or meet the demand being put on it without using other muscles in the body as well.

Benefits

Mastering arm balancing, including the pick-up transition, will make you incredibly strong and it increases awareness and confidence.

Contraindications and Cautions

Avoid this posture if you have any shoulder, wrist, elbow, or lower back issues.

Damian is an authorised teacher of Prana Vashya Yoga.  To book a class with Damian you can contact him by:

Email: damiancadmanjones@gmail.com

Tel: 0777 900 1896

Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/queensroadyoga/

 

 

 

Bhujapeedasana

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Bhujapeedasana aka “shoulder press pose” is an balancing posture in which you stand on both hands with your legs wrapped around your shoulders and feet crossed in front of you.  It is one of the Prana Vashya Primary Series arm balancing postures.

How to get into the position

Standing with your feet waist width apart, bend forward and take your arms inside your legs placing the shoulder inside and locking it against the back of your thighs.  Sit on your arms without placing the weight on them and without collapsing the position.  Ensure that your elbows are turned out and lift your knees up towards your ears to reduce the weight of your legs on your arms.  Hold this position for five full breaths.

With every inhalation, lift your waist high.  With every exhalation, press the palms of your hands against the floor to lift your knees.  Do not sit your weight on your arms; lift your knees.

At first, you will fall over when you attempt the full position!  In time however, you will build up the necessary strength.  Until then, don’t give up (!) and try coming up on your tip toes and work up towards taking all the weight into the palms and lifting your feet off the floor.

Benefits

Bhujapeedasana:

  • works the muscles along the anterior line of the body and the psoas, wrists, shoulders, and arms;
  • stimulates the thyroid gland regulating metabolism and balancing the nervous system; and
  • improves circulation.

Contraindications and Cautions

Avoid this posture if you have any shoulder, wrist, elbow, or lower back issues.

Damian is an authorised teacher of Prana Vashya Yoga.  To book a class with Damian you can contact him by:

Email: damiancadmanjones@gmail.com

Tel: 0777 900 1896

Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/queensroadyoga/

 

 

Pindasana

 

Pindasna aka “ear pressure pose” is an inverted posture in which both the ears are pressed by the bent legs and is one of the Prana Vashya Primary Series finishing postures.

How to get into the position

From Padma Sarvangasana (i.e. shoulderstand with your legs folded in lotus) and on the inhalation, bend your knees down to your chest bringing them by your ears so that they rest on the floor.  Then as you exhale, bind your hands and move your thighs closer to your abdomen so that they remain together.  Hold this position for five full breaths.

With every inhalation, lift your waist high.  With every exhalation, try to bend your knees more towards your chest and bind your hands further.  Ensure you keep the weight on your shoulders.

Benefits

Pindasana:

  • helps release tension from the hips
  • purifies the liver and spleen
  • strengthens the uterus and/or rectum

Contraindications and Cautions

Avoid this posture if you have any ankle, knee or hip issues.

Damian is an authorised teacher of Prana Vashya Yoga.  To book a class with Damian you can contact him by:

Email: damiancadmanjones@gmail.com

Tel: 0777 900 1896

Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/queensroadyoga/