Yoga is a marriage of physical, philosophical, and spiritual practice that is designed to help the practitioner in every phase of everyday life's challenges. Yoga by Robin teaches yoga to the young and old alike from a holistic vantage point, incorporating all phases of yoga including physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual.
The essence of Yoga is it's 26 base poses from which many hundred permutations can be derived. Below is some background information on some of these base poses, or click here to see a video of a class.
Gomukhasana or Cow-faced Pose
This pose cures cramps in the legs and makes the leg muscles elastic. The chest is well expanded and the back becomes erect. The shoulder joints move freely and the latissimus dorsi are fully extended (lats or muscle on sides of body moving toward your back). It also is good for people who sit at a computer all day or bending over a desk or tend to work with their upper back bent over.
Padmasana or Full-Lotus Pose
It is good to do this pose on a bolster or blanket as pictured here because your hips will be elevated above your knees. This allows for your knees to drop further to the floor and makes the pose more comfortable and better for your knees. This is considered to be one of the more relaxing poses. One is at rest without being sloppy. You are still extending your spine and relaxing your shoulders. The position of the crossed legs and erect back keeps the mind attentive and alert. This is why it is a good pose to practice pranayama (breath control). On a physical level, padmasana is good for curing stiffness in the knees and ankles because the blood is made to circulate in the low back and abdomen. It also tones the spine and abdominal organs.
Vrksasana or Tree Pose
As roots of a tree provide the foundation for its body and branches, so our feet and legs provide the support for our upper body to stand with strength and grace. Balance poses demonstrate our state of mind. Focus is necessary to maintain a steady balance if the mind is jumping from one thought to another.
Stand in Mountain Pose and draw your awareness to your feet. Gradually transfer the weight from your left foot onto the right foot. Visualize the sole of your right foot rooted to the earth.
Keeping the right leg strong and straight like the trunk of a tree, bend the left knee and place the heel against the right ankle. Bring the sole up against the inner shin or against the upper inner thigh with the toes pointing toward the floor. (do not place your foot against your knee)
Bring your attention to the left knee and gently draw it back to open the left hip.
Lengthen your tailbone toward the floor and extend the spine upward.
Bring the palms together at the chest. If your balance is steady, inhale the arms up. Gaze forward and breathe gently.
Release and repeat on the other side.
Warrior 1 (Virabradrasana)
Benefits: The chest is fully expanded in this pose, which helps with deep breathing. This asana relieves stiffness in shoulders and back, tones ankles & knees, and cures stiffness of the neck. It’s also helpful for reducing fat around the hips.
Begin this pose in Tadasana. Inhale, then raise both arms above the head; stretch up and join the palms. Inhale deeply, then walk the feet apart sideways to about 3 feet. Turn the right foot 90 degrees to the right, turn left foot in slightly. Rotate hips directly over right leg. Bend the right knee till the rt. thigh is parallel to the floor. Stretch out the left leg and tighten the knee. The face, chest and rt. knee should face the same way as the rt. foot. Stretch the spine form the tailbone up to the head, gaze up at the joined hands. Hold for about 20 seconds breathing normally.
Repeat on the left side.
*This pose is strenuous, so it shouldn’t be tried by persons with a weak heart, or those with knee or ankle problems. Even people who are strong shouldn’t stay in this pose for long.
Benefits: Physical: Spine, abdomen/buttocks, chest, posture, knees, and the edges and energies of these areas
Mental benefits: focus, willpower, and anxiety (intentions) experience: stillness, strength, stability:
Instructions including breathing: Breathe regularly for 3 inhalations and exhalations, close your eyes and center your body and breathe. Stand straight with knees slightly bent with a lumbar spine in the four natural curves. Stand with feet parallel to each other and hip width apart.
Assists: Instructor for deeper postures and breathing
Avoid if: Low Blood pressure, Insomnia, Knee Injury
Personal Insights: Lines of energy up the spine and down the legs, move into an integrated way with your edges
Uttihta Trikonasana (Triangle)
In this pose, you need to imagine that you’re in between two plates of glass or trying to be flat as a pancake to get the full rotation and extension of the spine. Also, to get the great lateral stretch along your lattisimus dorsi (lats). This pose strengthens and tones legs, removes stiffness in legs and hips. It allows the legs to firm equally and relieves backache as you laterally rotate the spine. It also can relieve neck strain because as you look up towards your hand you are strengthening the muscles on the side of your neck (sternocleinomastoid). It also strengthens your ankles as you ground yourself into your mat and develops your chest muscles as you open your heart to the side.
Downward Facing Dog
Benefits: It combines the benefits of a partial inversion and bending forward to remove stiffness. It is a weight bearing pose that stimulates the nerves in the arm bones and prevents osteoporosis.
Instructions including breathing: Inhale and center with Mountain pose, Your body is a full arms length away from your feet. Place your feet steady hand width apart. Your body should form a V. Press hands firmly on the floor. Distribute your weight between your hands. Lift heels off the floor and your bottom to the sky. Exhale, press through to your back and lengthen your spine cord. Stretch to your edges
Assists: Chair against the wall if you have trouble kneeling or getting down on the floor
Avoid if: Carpal tunnel syndrome, high blood pressure, head
Standing Forward Bend
Benefits: Lengthens the entire backend makes space between the vertebra of your upper neck. Gravity helps free the cervical spine and allows the neck muscles to relax. Improves overall circulation and has a calming effect.
This can be performed standing or sitting.
Instructions including breathing: Begin in Mountain pose. As you exhale, sweep your arms forward and then overhead. As you exhale, sweep your arms out to the side and bend forward from the hinge of your hips.
When you feel the pull of your back of your legs, soften your knees. Let your arms dangle and touch the earth. Knees are relaxed to your lower back.
Inhale roll up slowly. Raise your hands overhead. Repeat three times. Walk hands up slowly
Modifications: Block or a chair. Forward bends need to be done with caution if you have unmediated blood pressure or disc problems.
If your leg or back tightens then practice with elbows or hands on a chair.