Category Archives: Yoga Poses

Fertility Yoga Practice

This practice is designed to do as a full series, or you can select the asanas that you have time for if you desire a shorter practice. They are in a good order for you to select from. We included asanas that open the hips, bring blood to the pelvis and reduce stress in the mind and body. Inversions are your golden child for increasing fertility because of their power to heal the nervous system, increase circulation, and calm the mind. For more enhanced instruction on these poses feel free to contact us for a private session at the studio or on skype. 

Balasana

  1. Start in child’s pose, you can support yourself on a cushion, and rest for as long as you can, or at least 10-20 long, slow breaths. Set yourself an intention for your practice, such as, I am creating a safe space for my baby or I am filled with fertile energy.
  2. Lift yourself slowly and begin to flow through cat and cow for 3 minutes, moving with the breath.
  3. Take a rest in child’s pose, circle the wrists. Visualize the energy around you whatever color you like, something that soothes you.

Balasana (1)

  1. Stretch into downward dog, we recommend a minute here or three rounds of 5 breaths if you need a rest in between in child’s pose. Stretch and breath!
  2. Come back onto your hands and knees, and step one foot forward into a lunge, please move the foot under the knee to avoid strain, and be sure to activate your core and legs. Stay here for 5-8 breaths. Slide the foot back and repeat on the other side. Feel the power in your legs and core, and know you are are filled with strength and personal power.
  3. Step your foot back through in between your hands, and begin to walk it over towards your opposite wrist as you lower your knee down behind your arm. You can support yourself on a cushion like Kira for a modification. We caution you on this pose if you have knee issues or very tight hips. Please modify or skip this pose until you have enhanced instruction from a good teacher. To exit the pose you can roll to your side in a fetal position for a few breaths or swing the leg back to rest in child’s pose. BREATH DEEP. Let tension release with each exhale and any emotional anxiety to release.
  4. Repeat on the other side.

Balasana (2)

  1. Find your way into a seated position and bring the soles of your feet together. Sit tall and stretch your knees towards the floor and lift your heart. Visualize the space in your pelvis as a fertile ground for your baby or filled with light. Stay here for 8-10 breaths, breathing into your belly.
  2. Extend your legs out in front of you and take them as wide as you can. When you feel a gentle pull in the inner thighs breath and flex your feet to root your legs down. Stay for 8-10 breaths without strain, but you want to feel a stretch.
  3. Pull one foot towards you and cross the opposite leg over your thigh. Sit tall and wrap your arm around your leg and look over your opposite shoulder to get a good rinse in the spine and digestive system. Stay for 5-8 breaths on each side.

The last series of poses are so important, you can do these as an evening practice, and stay in them for several minutes each and up to 15-20min in savasana.

Balasana (3)

  1.   Lift your hips onto a cushion, right under the sacrum and practice your  yoga breathing for 10 breaths.
  2. Lower down slowly and pull the knees into the chest for a few breaths.
  3. Once your back feels ok, move your sit bones to the wall as close as you can and swing your legs up the wall. The closer your glutes are to the wall, the better it feels on the back. Stay for 5-10 mins.
  4. Bend the knees into the chest and when you are ready, move away from the wall enough so you can lie flat on your back for as long as you like. It is helpful to do a guided meditation for this or listen to some quite music and practice a point to point relaxation, like yoga nidra.

Recommended Meditations to Try:

Second Chakra

Breathing Practice

Loving Kindness Meditation

Inner Balance with Shoulderstand-Salamba Sarvangasana

It is important to practice what is called inversions in yoga. Inversions are said to have many benefits, such as calming the nervous system, easing the mind, reversing blood flow which can help clear congestion on many levels in the body, and keep the skin healthy and young. Yogis of the past said inversions are the fountain of youth, defying gravity and all her pressures…

Cautions to practicing inversions will be high blood pressure at first, as they might increase blood pressure but later on one may find it helps if medicated, pregnancy if you are new to yoga, and common things like back pain or injury, shoulder injury or neck issues. These poses are not to be taken lightly when practicing. Make sure you know your body or ask your yoga teacher for help and advice.

This week’s pose is a moderate inversion, meaning it is somewhat of an all-level inversion as it can be easily modified until one is strong enough to hold themselves up. Practice for a few breaths at a time, and work your way to a nice 15-20 breath hold over time. As always, I gear these simple articles to those with a bit of experience, consult with a qualified teacher if you are unsure of doing this on your own.

The practice

Start at a wall if you are new to the shoulder stand practice, and practice the first few steps using the wall, otherwise skip the wall prep and continue from there.

  1. Lie down on your back with your shoulders on a thinly folded yoga blanket that is on top of your yoga mat, and your head off the blanket. Bring your sit bones to the base board of your wall and rest your legs up the wall, arms at your sides.
  2. Bend your knees to 90 degrees placing the soles of your feet on the wall.
  3. Press your feet into the wall to lift your hips so they are in line with your chest. Place your hands to your lower back. See if this is too difficult and decide if you want to go on.
  4. Keeping the knees bent, keep pressing your feet into the wall to bring the hips more in line with the spine, if you can do this, take one leg up in the air in a straight line from hip to ankle. A lot of times my students over extend the leg to far over their heads, so think leg towards the wall, not towards the top of your mat.
  5. If you can do this confidently, take the other leg off the wall and hold yourself in the inversion by walking your hands down your back towards your shoulders.  Keep lifting the hips, using your core and gluing the legs together as if they were one leg.
  6. Stare at the big toes, and keep the weight of your body on your shoulders, not neck, remember this is not neck stand, it is shoulder stand.
  7. Keep lifting the legs up, and stay for as many smooth breaths as you can.
  8. Lower the feet to the wall when you are ready, and slowly lower down to your mat with the legs up the wall to rest.
  9. For more advanced practitioners, feel free to practice away from the wall, taking the legs into halasana first, and then lifting them into shoulderstand, and reversing the process to come down.
  10. Take your time lowering, to avoid any back spasms, use your core and legs to help you.  Rest for a few mins after in savasana or legs up the wall if you like.
  11. Sequence this pose at the end of your practice or practice on its own.

Doing the Crow

Bakasana is waiting for you, you just have to unpack it in pieces.

Try these asanas to get you there.

Bakasana  or crow pose is not only an arm balance but a hip opener so you have to prepare the body for both, once you work towards these asanas below you have the tools you need to condition your body to do crow, the mind stuff is on you, the yogi, to achieve to find the inner balance and focus. This is a great warming pose and a way to introduce arm balances into your body!

Asanas

  • Warm up with Surya Namaskara for 3-10 rounds, Classical will help to open the hips
  • Insert Chataranga Dandasana into Surya Namaskara, drop the knees if you are not strong enough yet, but at least you can get the framework of the arms, as you can see above, Bakasana has chaturanga arms in its basic stage.
  • To strengthen the arms you can do deltoid push ups, these are when we turn the hands slightly in and then lower slow. Think inhale up, exhale down for 3 counts each.
  • Try to hold Chaturanga for 3 breaths and gently lower all the way down, try not to plop, you will need to use a lot of core for this, keep your shoulders back, do not crowd your ears, practice this a few times every day to build strength
  • If low Malasana or yogic squat is hard, practice this for 10 breaths several times a day to open up the groin and hips.
  • Practice Lizard pose until you feel you can hold the asana for 8 breaths on the hands or forearms, use blocks until you can do away with them.
  • Practice doing crow on your sit bones:
    • Sit on the floor with your knees bent
    • Lift your heels so your big toes are the only thing to touch the floor
    • Widen your knees and bring your arms to the inside of your legs like doing crow on your sitbones
    • You will want to try to get the outside of your arms to slide down your legs so the knees are higher than the elbows
    • Tip back onto your sit bones like you do in boat pose and squeeze the arms to the legs, do this for 8-10 breaths to get the crow sensation in the body, activate the lower core a lot by drawing up and in.
  • Other helpful asanas you will find will be: Virabhadrasana I, Lolasana with blocks, Tolasana, Plank, Uttanasana, and perfecting your Vinyasas.
  • Remind yourself to breath and practice everyday, and soon your find the confidence to fly!

crow asanas

This article is designed for those with an instilled asana practice who understand the way to modify and practice the asanas listed. If you do not know these asanas yet or have not practiced them, ask a qualified teacher for help! Most teachers offer private sessions and can work with you one on one to help you achieve your asana goals. Pictures never replicate practice and good instruction! 

Jennifer has been teaching yoga practices like asana, meditation and pranayama for over 10 years in Northeast, Oh. She owns her own small studio outside Cleveland called Awaken Yoga. For more information on private sessions or skype private sessions, email her at hello@awakenyoga.com. 

Feel free to post your questions, I am happy to help!

Smoke & Mirrors: Dedicating your Practice to LOVE

Smoke and Mirrors - Dedicating your practice to Love

Do you have those moments where you feel things are not as they seem? Well you are spot on because no matter what, that is usually the case in our everyday lives. Things are always going on behind the scenes in peoples’ lives, minds and hearts. But if we really knew the truth, what would change? Probably…everything?

That is why this year I dedicated my heart practice and living practice to LOVE. You see, when you love unconditionally, none of that matters. You can just say, “I don’t like that you did that to me, but I love you nonetheless”. Or to yourself, “I know you are hurting, but I love you nonetheless”.

Life is changing but love is this one steady thing I can count on to get me through.
With love, you become a more honest, grateful person when it is true love to the core of your being that you use as your fuel for living. I can say, “I love you…but”, and that will start to negate the love you feel. Try instead, “I give myself permission to feel confused or hurt. I will not attach it to anything so I can move on from it, then the love is still there in my heart and does not get lost”.

This practice is one leading into forgiveness, which leads into compassion, which leads into kindness, which leads into LOVE.

When we forgive we are compassionate to others’ needs, and kind in the situation at hand, while honoring ourselves. This creates love in the heart. So it is not to be a door mat. Would you call the Dali Lama a door mat? I think not. He is a brave and beautiful light in the world, but always with that smile, it seems, and always with that open door of wisdom to him. And he knows how to handle himself with politicians and war-minded people, much scarier people maybe than you or I are dealing with.

We know when people are angry or vengeful, the source is usually hurt in some way. So through love, kindness, forgiveness, it is up to them to decide to do the same. Instead of an eye for an eye, try a loving kindness meditation based on the Buddha’s wisdom of compassion and unconditional love to release your pain.

I have dedicated this month to Kuan Yin energy because I want to learn the deep lessons of love. When sitting for meditation, I held my hands in Padma Mudra, symbolic of the lotus of the heart, and mentally chanted Kuan Yin’s Mantra, Om Mani Padme Hum, Shanti, Shanti, Shanti. I immediately felt a sense of love and compassion in my heart, and a smile on my lips. It was in my heart I saw myself struggling to pull a gigantic root out (a.k.a. my ego) and I realized I was not trying to release this root compassionately, but diligently as I always do with hard labor and stress.

I immediately heard my message, “stop trying to rip something out and make use of it”. So I decided to energetically rototill it instead. With this non-motorized tilling device in mind, I ground that root to pieces and started to fertilize it into the earth in my mind to give back those thoughts, emotions, and traumas that no longer serve me. I felt a loving release, and I know I may have to re-till the earth again more than once to get this right. But knowing I have a technique to do this now is all I needed to get the process going. I will keep going back to this to help myself process my pain and my attachments.

So what is my conclusion for all of this? I say trust your gut feeling first. When you feel you cannot trust yourself or someone else in any situation follow that and ask the heart “why”, as the heart and the mind are both very knowledgeable. Then assess what you come up with, or meditate as I did to reset the mind clutter, and see your truth.

“I know I can change, I know I can be the best human being possible, and with each breath I hope to send myself in that direction this year, with loving kindness”.

Kuan Yin Meditation

Here is the mudra. Use it while seated comfortably. Dim the lights, put some white noise on if you need too, and maybe add a little aromatherapy to help you relax. Do your breathing as I have offered you before, and try to unplug with this mudra for several minutes. You can listen to the short meditation below to guide you along.

Padma Mudra

Padma Mudra

Bonus: Shoulder & Heart Opening Practice

Yoga poses for compassion and heart opening are pictured here for added heart opening! Play the track below for instruction. If you just want to use the pictures, try each one for 5-8 breaths.

  1. Simple shoulder opening cycle (3 parts)
    Shoulder Opening Cycle - Part 1

    Shoulder Opening Cycle – Part 1

    Shoulder Opening Cycle - Part 2

    Shoulder Opening Cycle – Part 2

    Shoulder Opening Cycle - Part 3

    Shoulder Opening Cycle – Part 3

  2. Shoulder opener with the strap

    Shoulder Opening with strap

    Shoulder Opening with strap

  3. Anahatasana

    Anahatasana

    Anahatasana

  4. Yin inspired seal pose

    Seal Pose

    Seal Pose

  5. Child’s pose

    Child's Pose

    Child’s Pose

  6. Lying on your back with a rolled blanket

    Heart Opening Savasana with rolled blanket

    Heart Opening Savasana with rolled blanket

With love to you!
Jennifer