Yoga favorites – Part 1: The first 6 poses from Program I
Hi guys! It’s time for a closer review of yoga program I, the program for surfers, dancers, cross country skiers, beginners or intermediete yogis, or for anyone interested in learning!
I will not go through the entire program now. We will use some weeks from now, on Tuesdays, for this program. That’s because the goal is that everyone would be able to perform all the exercises in this series in a responsible manner, and perhaps help others to do the same. Here is the program again:
- Mountain pose
- Standing half forward bend
- Big toe pose
- Handstand jump
Who would have thouht that a tiny bit of this program would contain so many exercises? We will begin at the beginning with Mountain Pose:
1. Mountain pose
Stand with your feet together so that the big toes touches each other. Arms hanging down alongside the body. The second toes should now be parallel. Lift the toes and balls of the feet one foot at a time and stretch the toes apart, and put them down again. Sway slightly back and forth and from side to side just to check that you are standing firmly.
Tighten the thighs (you can even think that they should rotate slightly inward) and tuck your pelvis in under you. In other words; do the opposit of showing off your ass: D Tighten the buttocks and stomach.
Pull your shoulder blades back and towards each other (think of a good soldier posture) and then lower them down as far as you can. We want to stand strong, but relaxed at the same time.
Look straight ahead. Raise your arms out to the side while inhaling deeply, stretching your arms completely over your head. Stretch as far as you can into the sky, without losing the posture we have now established.
2. Mountan pose to Standing half forward bend
From mountain pose with your arms above your head and lungs filled with air, think that you are going to dive forward. Look straight ahead, exhale, dive and bend your hips until you reach 90 degrees (as shown in Figure 2 above). Arms are simultaneously lowered down alongside of the body.
Keep a small arch in the lower back and keep pulling shoulders slightly towards eachother. (The exercise can also be performed by grabbing the left leg with your left arm and right leg with your right arm. I Forgot to take a picture of it folks, sorry!)
3. Standing half forward bend til Big Toe Pose
Continue diving forward while exhaling until you reach the big toes of your hands. You can grab your toes just to signal that you came all the way down. Keep that light arch in the lower back.
Place your hands in front of each fot as shown in Figure 2 above. Spread your fingers. Look a little ahead of your hands on the ground. We are preparing for a little jump backward. But first, we will take a look at an easier version, which is to step backwards to the plank by lungeing.
4a. Big Toe pose to Plank using a Lunge
We just exhaled, emptying our lungs. Inhale deeply again, all the way down into the stomach, and take a big step backwards with your right leg and then left leg until you end up in the plank, all this while exhaling.
Imagine that you are going to step as far back as possible. Your knees should never get in line over your toes. It usually helps to think that you should move backwards instead of leaning forward into the lunge. If you look at the picture in the middle you can see that the left knee is next to the left shoulder. The left ankle and leg is in 90 degree towards each other. (I Will be returning to classic mistakes people make when we are finished with the program.)
When in plank position: Remember a few things; Do not let your hips drop down towards the ground. This is to protect your back. Tighten the buttocks and thighs. Push your shoulders up towards the sky. Keep a straight line from your back to the neck. You may see even a little more straight forward than I do on this particular photo. I would rather that you keep an even straighter line from the spine to the neck.
4b. Big Toe pose til Planken via Hand Stand Jump
This variation is for those of you that are already slightly stronger in the core muscles and looking to practice a little more balance. From inhaling in Big Toe Pose in picture 1, imagine a slow motion jump with your ass straight up in the air. Imagine that you will hover a little half a second up there before extending your hips and land formly in the Plank.
Your arms are straight down from the shoulders and standing in a 90 degree angle to the ground (the pictures are taken in a tiny uphill, so a bit hard to see here)
Voila! First and last part of the program is now ready for testing. This can be a very good start and end of a program or classes where you see the students already standing up. I usually take adwantage of that and start the training there. To end the class like this just reverse the steps we just did!
4a Reversed. Plank to Big To pose throug Lunge to Mountain pose through Standing Half Forward Bend
4b reversed. Plank to Big Toe pose through Hand Stand Jump to Mountain pose through Standing Half Forward Bend
As you may already see from the film, there is a certain flow in the program. Each exercise builds on another. Furthermore, I will also go through the various goals you can set for your training, so that each work out has a specific purpose. To finish off; here is of my favorites these days that fit nicely into a yoga class: