Exercices of yoga by Gabriela Sobel zen nun and teacher of yoga
This asanas (postures) can be practised in serie, or you can also choose one of them and practice it. If you go through this serie, the best is to keep it in this order. But if you like , you can alternate the dog´s posture ( the first one) with the other ones. Try to be precise in following the instructions, and enjoy the work. If you have some doubts, ask an advanced student of Iyengar Yoga. This selection was planned for people interested in zazen practice, who need or are looking for a good exercise to reach a good posture.
1. Dog´s posture (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
This is a stimulating, basic and complete posture. It helps to stretch the body and liberates your energy. But if you find it difficult, you can also practice the "half" posture, (image B), ardha adho mukha svanasana. A: Hands pressing the floor, downwards and forwards. Fingers open , looking forwards. Relax the head. Sitting bones up. Stretching the spine which should not be curved at any position. You can begin with bent legs and heels up. After stretching the back, stretch your legs without changing the position of your back. Many people find it hard to rest their heels on the ground, so you can leave them higher, touching a wall. Give priority to stretch the spine and the elbows, and not to rest the heels on the floor. Legs should be parallel, aligned with your hips, and toes looking forward. B: Place your hands on a support or against the wall, at the same level of your hips. Put your legs perpendicular to the floor. Do not let your waist or your dorsal spine fall down. Stretch your back, first with bent legs, and then stretch them slowly. Still take care that your legs and your feet are parallel and aligned with your hips. To check it, have a look at your knees. Do not let them face outwards or inwards. If having your hands on the wall, put them both on the same line, and press the wall stretching the elbows.
2. Legs stretch (Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana I y II)
Facing a wall, place one of your leg up (I), supporting it on a shelf, a window or a chair. Look for a confortable position and raise it gradually afterwards. Then turn your waist 90 degrees (II). In both postures, keep your knees stretched. Make sure that you keep your hips horizontal.
3. On the floor and against the wall.
A -Viparita karani B -Upavishta Konasana C -Badda konasana In all of these postures it is very important to be close to the wall, but in keeping the lower back and the sacrum relaxed and in contact with the floor. If your lower back does not touch the floor completely, put a little distance to the wall until you succeed. You can use a mat to make it more confortable. A: Legs are together, knees stretched. B: Legs open , knees stretched. C: Feet together, relaxing the hips as much as possible. In these three postures, it is very important to relax the lower back and the sacrum. The arms rotate outwards to open the chest naturally. The palms of the hands face upwards. Use a blanket and put yourself as close as possible to the wall whereas your back stays in contact with the floor. Otherwise take some distance to the wall. Check that the sacrum stays in contact with the floor.
4. Ardha Halasana
Fold carefully 3 or 4 blankets and put on the side of a chair, like in the picture. Lay down on the blankets in front of the chair with your face up, and shoulders on the blankets. Move your legs up, and then place them on the chair. Place your hands on your upper back to help you if needed. Your elbows should not be wide open, and they should lay on the blankets. Place your back perpendicular to the floor. Put your thighs on the chair stretching the legs. The edge of the blankets will make a step wich relieves the cervical spine from excessive pressure. Relax the abdomen, and put the arms close to your head. Relax completely. When you put down the legs, do it slowly, keeping the legs a little bit bent. First bring back the arms, placing them on the floor to support you. Note for women: Do not practice this posture or any inverted one if you have your periods. (legs up, like in the last 3 postures is ok)
5. Simple twisting.
Laying down, facing upwards, bend the right leg and turn it to the left, try to put the right knee on the floor. Otherwise use a cushion or a pillow to support your knee. The right shoulderblade should touch the floor. You can persue harder in stretching the right leg (B), and in using a belt with your left hand to bring your right feet closer. If you choose this variation, keep the right leg completely stretched and use all the length of the belt you need. Use a pillar or something fixed with your right hand
6 - A relaxing posture.
Allways finish any serie with a relaxing posture. Savasana is a real posture, it is not just like laying on the floor. It means the posture of the dead, so try to be totally relaxed. Facing upwards, arms rotating outwards, hands facing up, legs and feet also turned a little bit outwards, let them relax without any hold. Relax the tongue and all the little muscles of the face. Keep this posture at least for 5 minutes, closing your eyes.elps you to find a better posture. Then change legs.