From our Backbending workshop last week in Shenzhen at Dream Space Yoga!

From our Backbending workshop last week in Shenzhen at Dream Space Yoga!

From our Backbending workshop last week in Shenzhen at Dream Space Yoga!
I love this deep Shoulder stretch and Chest opener. It’s a great partner pose that is a real “feel good” pose for both partners.
I’ve been working a lot on opening my shoulders and my hip flexors to deepen my backbend poses.
If we are really honest with ourselves, the “yoga mirror” shows you everything you need to look at, all of your imbalances, all of your strengths and all of your weaknesses. Do you have the courage to look in the mirror — and are you willing to put the effort into making the necessary changes in your life — both on and off the mat to find balance?
What are you working on right now? What areas of your body need to open up or get stronger? What areas of your life need some attention?

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Working with my student on Upward Bow variations.

Working with my student on Upward Bow variations.

Working with my student on Upward Bow variations in our Shiva Yoga 40hr Intensive this past week!
The Upward Bow is a really nice backbend to help you open your shoulders in flexion. I’ve been working on this pose a lot in my own practice the past year. The work is really the same work as in the Downward Dog.
Hug the elbows in and push the biceps out. Keep trying to make space around your neck and keep the shoulders wide, as you move the arms deeper into flexion. Slide the shoulder blades down the back. Try to externally rotate the arms, as you push your chest through the arms.

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Knees Down Shoulder Opener with Block!

Knees Down Shoulder Opener with Block!

My translator and students looking on as I demonstrate an exercise that teaches the actions in the shoulders needed for inversions like the handstand and Head Balance. Shout out to @yogatuneup Jill Miller for teaching me this variation when I did YogaTuneup training with her 10 yrs ago. Hug your elbows in and push your biceps out, lift your shoulder blades (away from your neck) and widen your shoulder blades, externally rotate your arms, engage your core, reach your hips back and push your chest through your arms. Incredible! Check out the same actions in your Downward Dog or Handstand immediately afterward and you’ll be blown away at how clear you can feel the actions in these poses and your awareness of the muscles you need to stabilize your shoulders when working with the arms overhead (in flexion). A gift from one of our anatomy wizards (Jill). Namaste yogis!

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Arm Balancing Exploration

Arm Balancing Exploration

Yogis!  If you missed my arm balancing exploration workshop yesterday here's a couple simple general things that we covered.

Sequencing -- The arm balances are advanced warm up poses.  They are closely related to the standing warm up poses.  Take a look at arm balances you are working on in class.  Each one contains the actions of the plank pose and the low plank.  Look at what is going on at the hips, in the pelvic girdle.  Does the arm balance look like a triangle married with the plank or low plank? Does it look like the single pigeon married with the plank or low plank?  The standing warm up poses produce tapas, helping us to train the mind to concentrate, and also help us to warm the body up for the deeper practices.  When you are an advanced student the arm balances do the same thing for you.

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