Living with Harmony ~ A Blog for your Mind & Body


Restorative Yoga : Child's Pose

Posted in How-To,Yoga,Yoga Blanket,Yoga Bolster,Yoga Pose by Harmony on October 26, 2010

Turn Child’s Pose (Balasana) into a true restorative pose that you can hold for 10 minutes or so. By adding props – such as yoga blankets and yoga bolsters – to a pose, we can extend our time in these poses to really maximize on the poses ability to release stress and deepen the stretch slowly.

When setting up the props, evaluate your personal comfort level. If you’re feeling too much tension in an area, add another blanket, pillow, block, or whatever you are using. As you relax deeper and deeper into the pose, you can always remove some of those props as your muscles and joints give in to this lovely gentle stretch.

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Balasana Child Pose in Stress Relief Yoga — powered by eHow.com

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Prenatal Yoga – Volume IV

Posted in How-To,Stability Ball / Yoga Ball,Yoga,Yoga Bolster by Harmony on July 20, 2010

Following is the fourth video in our series of Prenatal Yoga on a Ball. Each have run about 10 minutes long. To make one continuous practice, watch each of the last four Tuesday videos for a nice practice. In today’s video, Sara shows us a side stretch and some gentle backbends on the ball. You’ll need a yoga bolster and a Yoga Ball for this portion of the video series.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this series.  Even if you aren’t pregnant, you may enjoy trying some of these yoga poses on the stability ball, or even to learn how to incorporate a yoga bolster into your practice.

Prenatal Yoga – Volume III

Posted in How-To,Stability Ball / Yoga Ball,Yoga,Yoga Bolster by Harmony on July 13, 2010

A Prenatal Yoga Video on the Ball continues in this third of four videos. Please visit the last two Thursday videos if you haven’t watched those yet. In this 9-min section of an ongoing Prenatal practice, you will need 1-2 Yoga Bolsters and a Yoga Ball.

Prenatal Yoga – Volume II

The following Prenatal Yoga video using a Yoga Ball is the second in our four-part series. If you missed last week’s video, you may wish to start with that 10-minute video before watching this 9 1/2 minute continuation of this practice offered by Sara Varona.

In today’s practice you will practice doing the ever-so-important-for-pregnancy squats in which you will use the Yoga Ball, but you may also wish to add a Yoga Bolster, Yoga Blocks, or a Yoga Blanket if you struggle with doing squats with your heels flat on the floor. This is also a great time to use Yoga Wedges which will offer that stable, sloped angle to raise your heels and still have the necessary support.

In addition to squats, you will perform some arm-strengthening exercises – perfect practice for carrying your new baby!

Restorative Yoga – Reclining Hero Pose

Posted in How-To,Yoga,Yoga Blanket,Yoga Block,Yoga Bolster,Yoga Pose by Harmony on March 23, 2010

Hero Pose by Yoga JournalHero Pose can be a real challenge for some of us. Especially if you are an athlete with tight quads (like a cyclist). But I’ve found, that if something is a challenging pose for me that it’s probably the one I should practice more to help balance me out physically.

You can click on this image to visit Yoga Journal’s page on how to do Hero Pose if you’d like.

So, if you are challenged in Hero Pose, the idea of reclining or lying back in this pose can be awfully intimidating. This is where yoga props will be your best friend.

Follow the video to see how you can set up bolsters, blankets, blocks and more to get comfortable in this pose and enjoy it’s benefits.  This is our fourth, and last, video in our Restorative Yoga session.  Well, at least for this month…maybe we’ll add more in the future since props will almost always be used in restorative postures.

Restorative Yoga – Legs up the Wall Pose

Posted in How-To,Yoga,Yoga Blanket,Yoga Bolster,Yoga Pose by Harmony on March 16, 2010

Legs up the Wall Pose is also known as Viparita Kirani in Sanskrit. I’ve mentioned this pose before in another blog post, but for some of us, watching a video is easier than reading step-by-step instructions.  This actress also incorporates a yoga blanket under the spine, which is nice for someone who wants the softness under their spine, wants to use the blanket to open their heart center more, or someone who wants to reduce the backbend in this pose.

The yoga props used in this video are a Yoga Bolster, a Mexican Yoga Blanket, and a wall (or a chair as a substitute – but most of us should have an open wall in our house that could accommodate us in this pose).

This is our third of four Restorative Yoga videos.  Please check last week’s video on how to fold a yoga blanket if you missed it.

Restorative Yoga – Ideas on How to Use Props

Posted in How-To,Yoga,Yoga Blanket,Yoga Block,Yoga Bolster by Harmony on March 2, 2010

For the next four Tuesdays, we’re going to share with you some videos on using props in Restorative Yoga Poses. This first video shows an example of setting up a yoga bolster, a yoga blanket, and some yoga blocks. It’s a short video (<2min) so it is not all encompassing, but hopefully will give you an idea on how to incorporate the variety of yoga props on the market.

Yoga props can be used in many ways – to provide support and stability or to enhance a stretch in some poses. Yoga blocks, for instance, can be used to bring the floor closer to you in a standing pose, so you can focus on the proper alignment and still have stability in your pose. A yoga block can also be placed under your hip in Half Reclining Hero Pose to intensify the stretch in your quadricep. But yoga props are really fantastic in Restorative Poses because they help comfort and support you in any posture so that you can totally surrender into a pose for a longer period of time.

So, take two minutes to watch this video (and join us again in the upcoming weeks) to start getting ideas on how to use yoga props in some nice relaxation poses.

A Relaxation Pose with a Yoga Bolster

Posted in How-To,Yoga,Yoga Bolster,Yoga Pose by Harmony on February 16, 2010

On a personal note, this is one of my most delicious poses.  If you’re new to yoga, you might be snickering over my choice of words.  But try it, and you will find poses that are “delicious” or “yummy” to you.  No kidding!  The ones you want to turn to to wash away your stress or worries, or ones that leave you rejuvenated.

The prop that you will want for this pose is a round bolster.  Some people might prefer a rectangular bolster, or yoga blankets.  We offer a variety of bolsters to choose from:  a variety of color choices, cotton, organic cotton, or hemp.  To see all of our bolster choices, click here.

This pose is a little awkward to get into, but well worth it.  I have a different way of getting into this pose, than how YJ describes below.  I would rest my left side hip on the left end of the bolster, with my buttocks (sit bones) flat against the wall, knees bent.  Then as you roll onto your back, extend your legs straight up the wall.  Some other people somersault into this pose, but (to me) that is too energizing to go into a relaxation pose.  No matter how you choose to enter this pose, I hope you enjoy it.

Viparita Karani

Excerpt from Yoga Journal – visit YJ to learn more about this pose, such as the benefits.

ViparitaKarani_248

(vip-par-ee-tah car-AHN-ee)
viparita = turned around, reversed, inverted
karani = doing, making, action

Step by Step

The pose described here is a passive, supported variation of the Shoulderstand-like Viparita Karani. For your support you’ll need one or two thickly folded blankets or a firm round bolster. You’ll also need to rest your legs vertically (or nearly so) on a wall or other upright support.

Before performing the pose, determine two things about your support: its height and its distance from the wall. If you’re stiffer, the support should be lower and placed farther from the wall; if you’re more flexible, use a higher support that is closer to the wall. Your distance from the wall also depends on your height: if you’re shorter move closer to the wall, if taller move farther from the wall. Experiment with the position of your support until you find the placement that works for you.

Start with your support about 5 to 6 inches away from the wall. Sit sideways on right end of the support, with your right side against the wall (left-handers can substitute “left” for “right” in these instructions). Exhale and, with one smooth movement, swing your legs up onto the wall and your shoulders and head lightly down onto the floor. The first few times you do this, you may ignominiously slide off the support and plop down with your buttocks on the floor. Don’t get discouraged. Try lowering the support and/or moving it slightly further off the wall until you gain some facility with this movement, then move back closer to the wall.

Your sitting bones don’t need to be right against the wall, but they should be “dripping” down into the space between the support and the wall. Check that the front of your torso gently arches from the pubis to the top of the shoulders. If the front of your torso seems flat, then you’ve probably slipped a bit off the support. Bend your knees, press your feet into the wall and lift your pelvis off the support a few inches, tuck the support a little higher up under your pelvis, then lower your pelvis onto the support again.

Lift and release the base of your skull away from the back of your neck and soften your throat. Don’t push your chin against your sternum; instead let your sternum lift toward the chin. Take a small roll (made from a towel for example) under your neck if the cervical spine feels flat. Open your shoulder blades away from the spine and release your hands and arms out to your sides, palms up.

Keep your legs relatively firm, just enough to hold them vertically in place. Release the heads of the thigh bones and the weight of your belly deeply into your torso, toward the back of the pelvis. Soften your eyes and turn them down to look into your heart.

Stay in this pose anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes. Be sure not to twist off the support when coming out. Instead, slide off the support onto the floor before turning to the side. You can also bend your knees and push your feet against the wall to lift your pelvis off the support. Then slide the support to one side, lower your pelvis to the floor, and turn to the side. Stay on your side for a few breaths, and come up to sitting with an exhalation.

Yoga for Runners: Props to Improve Stretching

Posted in How-To,Yoga,Yoga Block,Yoga Bolster,Yoga Strap by Harmony on December 1, 2009

Click on the image to go to iYogaLife to watch the slideshow.  You’ll learn how to incorporate different props in these 4 poses that’ll benefit runners.  What props will you use?  Straps, a bolster or blanket, and a block.

Using Props in your Practice

Using Props in your Practice

As a picture slideshow with text, it’s easy to follow along.  Read thru the instructions, try it yourself, re-read the instructions for the finer points.