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Yama/Niyama


According to the classical hierarchy of the eight limbs of yoga, yama and niyama encompass the initial two stages of the yogic path. Yoga asana is the third step and students of the past wouldn’t have even begun an asana practice until they’d fully considered the yama and niyama.

Many who find their way to a modern yoga studio have already asked the questions and investigated these habits, though in different guises and alternative vocabulary. They’re also often subjects undertaken by yoga students who are moving from casual practitioners into more serious study. Your own introduction to these tenets of yoga might just be this very blog post.

The yogic path begins with a consideration and practice of the yamas, which give guidance on relating to others while in the world:

Ahimsa // non violence
Satya // truthfulness
Asteya // non stealing, integrity
Brahmacharya // right relationship to your vitality
Aparigraha // non grasping

Then, the niyamas focus solely on the individual in relationship with themselves:

Saucha // the body is a temple
Santosa // contentment
Tapas // self discipline
Svadhyaya // self study
Ishvarapranidhana // letting go of the ego

We are interdependent creatures, and the study and practice of the yamas is helpful as we navigate this busy world with its myriad of interpersonal dynamics. Consider the first yama of nonviolence. At first glance it’s fairly straightforward: Don’t be violent. Seems easy enough, right? But this directive could take an entire lifetime to integrate if more subtle variations are considered. Our words to or about others can cause harm, we can expose ourselves to violent situations or media, or we can be punishing towards ourselves. Backing off a posture when you feel your body isn’t ready for it that day could be considered practicing non violence.

The niyamas are guides for balancing what will be the longest and most complicated relationship of your life: the one you develop with yourself. Since it seems like things between you two are going to be serious, it’s best to really nurture this particular romance. The first niyama asks us to treat the body as a temple, which aligns pretty well with the caricature of the Yogi of a Million Dietary Restrictions. Which is fine, that’s a great way to understand this ethical code. But if that interpretation doesn’t speak to you, you might regard it as being considerate of what you put into your body and mind. It’s a way of showing care and reverence for your body and your Self.

The yamas and niyamas as moral and ethical codes assist us in our search for authenticity and well being. Consider them an invitation to bring Yoga fully into your life off the mat and outside of the studio.

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New Logo Reveal & Upcoming Events

Dear SGY Yogis...soon to be Wild Lights!

Each of us in this community is a unique, wild light, and we have made it our mission as a teaching staff to see this and cultivate it through deep practice and connection.  Our tagline Root, Rise, and Shine reflects that sense of groundedness that the studio provides all of us.  So many of you have spoken or written about this to us, and it has left an indelible mark on our identity.  Together we are ushering in a new era in which we transition beyond removing obstacles to the limitless beauty that opens up when those obstacles are removed...to the wild lights they reveal.

We are hard at work on our new website for Wild Light Yoga Center and we hope to have it completed by the end of November, at which time our name change will become official.  In the meantime, it gives me great joy to unveil our new logo, created by our very own teacher, professor, and graphic artist extraordinaire, Michael Salter:

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This logo represents so many beautiful things about our studio. We are each part of the roots of our community and together we create the lotus that captures each of our wild lights.  Our tagline, Root, Rise, and Shine is also reflected here.  The lotus is a historic symbol of transformation as well.  We've often heard how the lotus is seeded in murky, muddy waters and it's brilliant blooms are a gorgeous contrast to the environment in which they are birthed.  Each of us has our own murky waters, representing our own uncried tears, self-doubt, unexpressed longing, experiences of shame, heartbreak and tragedy.  This is what it means to be human.  These experiences make us who we are, and they make our lotus flower blossom that much more brilliantly.  Even when we find ourselves caught in our own darkness, we are pulled toward the light, where we may shine wildly and radiantly, inviting others to shine with us.  Many thanks to Salter for capturing who we are in this beautiful image.

With love,
Jess

Sa



Candlelight Meditation with Michele Bulgatz
Friday, November 10th, 8-9pm
$10
All Levels, No Experience Necessay

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Join veteran teacher and yogi Michele for an inward journey to the great Self in the abode of the heart. Your true nature as embodied consciousness is so much more than we experience at the surface of awareness. As Sally Kempton states in her book, Meditation for the Love of it, “Meditation is the basis for all inner work. It is the direct, naked encounter with our own Awareness that shifts our understanding of who we are and gives us the power to stand firmly at the center of our being. No one else can make this happen for us. Meditation does.”  Candlelight Meditation will create the conditions for this encounter with the deep Self.

We will prepare the body with some gentle movements, learn to take a *supportive seat, and practice pranayama, mudra and mantra as gateways to the sublime territory of the inner Self.  Seated meditation will be followed by savasana to integrate our meditation experience.

You cannot do this wrong. You are already alright.

*ability to Sit on the floor is not required, you may sit on a chair.
 



Unlocking Bandhas Workshop with Julie and Karanbanda workshop (480x640)
Saturday, November 11th, 1:15-3:15pm

$25/$20 SGY Diamond Members

Bandhas are "energy seals" in the body that channel the flow of energy and pressure, allowing for more functional support and sense of ease in many yoga practices. Join Julie and Karan for an experiential workshop where you will work with the physical access of bandhas and relate that to our understanding of these practices energetically in the subtle body. If you can access bandhas, your practice will come from the inside out and be more energetic in nature. Come to increase your understanding, awareness and use of bandhas to help you deepen your practice.

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Hollye Holbrook

An Introduction to Yoga Nidra

“You don’t have to try to be aware, as in classic meditation. You are resting as awareness itself.”

We’re thrilled to welcome Aricha P to the Sweaty Ganesh team. She brings a wealth of expertise in the Amrit Method practice of Yoga Nidra, or Yogic Sleep. This class is something we’ve never offered before, so here’s a brief overview of what Yoga Nidra is and how it provides an essential benefit to our modern American life from Aricha’s very own teacher, Kamini Desai.

Link to Video

If you’re looking for an hour a week of deep meditation to balance out your active Core26 or Vinyasa practice, check out Aricha’s Thursday evening class, held each week at 7:30pm. If you’d like to explore more resources outside of a class at the studio, you can find a banquet of tools right here.

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Free Your Hips and the Rest Will Follow

jess splits

Beyond our posture of the month, we’re offering even more opportunity to get hip. Join us for a hip opening exploration like no other. We'll combine meditation, pranayama, and asana tools from vinyasa, yin and restorative yoga to increase mobility in the hip joints, legs and lower back.  

This workshop will be paired with essential oils designed to awaken and rebalance all your chakras from root to crown, focusing specifically on the lower chakras as these play a huge role in hip mobility and stability.

Free Your Hips and the Rest Will Follow!
Hip Opening Aromatherapy Workshop for All Levels
with Jess & Karlene!!
Saturday, October 21st, 1:15-3:15pm
$25/$20 SGY Diamond Members



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Lizard Pose (October Posture of the Month)

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One of the hippest asanas around, Lizard Pose gets into the strong ligaments and muscles of the hips and pelvis. The hips are the hub of the body, connecting the upper body and the legs. Ancient yogis name this location in our bodies as the resting place of kundalini-shakti energy. When our hips are strong, balanced and flexible, they are the foundation for a yoga practice and a life that hold those same qualities.

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The sanskrit for this posture is Utthan Pristhasana. Utthan translates to “stretching out” and Pristha means “back of the body.” An alternate translation of Pristha is “page of a book,” an apt description as we are said to hold many of our leftover emotion in our hips. Some yoga teachers call our hips the “junk drawer” of our emotional body — as in, if we don’t know where to place an experience or emotion then we bury in our hips. Lizard Pose offers us a way to reread the previous pages of our lives and do a little editing by releasing what doesn’t serve us anymore.


Getting into the pose:
From Down Dog, bring your right foot to the pinky finger side of your right hand. Both arms should now be inside your right leg. For a yang hold of this posture, keep your left knee off the ground. For a more restorative version, uncurl the toes and drop your back knee.

Depending on your hip flexibility, you will either support your upper body on your hands or forearms. Go slowly as these are strong supportive muscles and tendons you are asking to soften. Sink the hips down while maintaining an equal weight distribution there as well as an evenness in your shoulders. Don’t collapse the chest — keep your chin up and shine your heart forward elongating the spine. Breathe.


Benefits:
Opens the hips, hamstrings, groin and hip flexors
Strengthens the inner thigh muscles on the front leg

Prep poses:
Child’s Pose
Warrior 1&2

Where to go next:
Pigeon
Hanumanasana

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Introducing: Wild Light Yoga Center

First...we are absolutely bursting at the seams to unveil our new name.  After months of hearing your suggestions, talking with trademark attorneys, and having long conversations about who we are as a studio community, we are thrilled to announce that we will become Wild Light Yoga Center

Wild? Yes wild...we are each unique and multifaceted, and wild connotes a sense of freedom, expression, and inner fire that comes from removing the obstacles in the way of our authenticity and our dharma or life's calling.  When we embrace what is wild within us, we harness our own voice and our own power, much like the banks of a fast flowing river allow that river to flow more deeply, more powerfully, and to greater distances.  And we are not just wild...we are wild light.  We are beings of light and yoga pulls us toward the light - toward that place of belonging, unconditional love, and untapped potential.  I have long felt it is my personal dharma to guide others along the path to find their light, shine it up and then give it to the world so that we create a ripple effect of brightly shining lights reaching far and wide. 

With deep love and gratitude,
Jess

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Bookshelf: Fierce Medicine by Ana T. Forrest

“When you shift your perception of life from victim mode—Everything bad happens to me—or
judging mode—This is great, this sucks—and shift to a curiosity and a desire to more fully
discern the truth, then you are walking with Beauty.”

fierce medicine


As the creator of Forrest Yoga, Ana T. Forrest has been transforming people’s lives throughout
the world for more than thirty-five years. Her unique blend of physical practice, Eastern wisdom,
and profound Native American ceremony takes her teachings literally off the mat and into daily
life—to heal everything from addictive behaviors and eating disorders to chronic pain and injury.
In Fierce Medicine, Forrest tells her own story of healing from the scars of abuse and physical
handicaps, and reveals the proven practices that enabled her to move beyond her past into a
life committed to helping others reconnect with their bodies, cultivate balance, and start living in
harmony with their Spirits.

In her unique, powerful, and inviting voice, Ana Forrest reveals how to:
● Learn to stalk fear and break free from it instead of running from it.
● Be attentive to your body, discovering its own inherent healing properties.
● Speak and act from a place of honesty and compassion.
● Cultivate an open heart that is feeling, responsive, and reflexive and able to
embrace change.
● Harness your intuition and the courage to live in alignment with your Spirit.

Whether you’ve never done yoga or are a seasoned practitioner, Ana Forrest’s practices,
stories,and exercises will help you uncover your own warrior’s heart. With this wise woman as
your trusted guide, you, too, can become centered,strong, and more alive than ever before.

Ana T. Forrest is an internationally recognized pioneer in yoga and emotional healing. The
creator of Forrest Yoga—a unique fusion of traditional yoga, new poses and sequences created
by the author, Eastern wisdom, and Native American medicine—she is a contributing expert to
Yoga Journal and other leading Asian and European wellness publications. Forrest teaches
worldwide at yoga conferences, workshops, retreats, and teacher trainings. She lives on Orcas
Island, Washington.

Tags:
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BRING RE:think Certified

bring rethink business

The gift and challenge of running a yoga studio is weaving yoga into the very way we exist as a
business. That means cultivating mindfulness, kindness and compassion in everything we do.
For that reason, sustainability is a huge priority for us.

We’re thrilled to announce we’ve been officially certified as a sustainable business through
BRING’s RE:think Business program! To attain certification, SGY worked one-on- one with a
sustainability expert to assess opportunities and make on-the- ground changes throughout our
operations. Areas of consideration included: energy efficiency and conservation, water
conservation, water quality and purchasing.

We are particularly happy to report that a lot of our daily practices were already in line with
BRING’s requirements!

Many of you spend a good deal of time and effort trying to reduce your impact on our planet’s
health, so rest assured that your yoga practice isn’t adding an undue amount to your global
footprint.

For more information on the RETHINK Business Program, you can visit their website.


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Awkward Pose (September Posture of the Month)

You left behind your teenage years thinking you’d never have to feel the uncomfortable angst of awkwardness again. Until you walked into a Core26 class. And now you’re willingly entering three stages of Awkward at least a few times a week.

It’s our September Posture of the Month and a beloved stop on the Core26 standing series express. The Sanskrit is Utkatasana, where ‘Utkat’ literally translates to “powerful or fierce.” Will you enter into and hold this posture differently now that you know that?

Because it is a very fierce and powerful pose. Meant to warm up the legs and align the lower body for the deep stretches to come, it requires precise alignment and considerable strength in its deepest expression.

Those new to this pose or practice will feel awkward, it’s true. With time, that feeling will fade and the once uncomfortable pose becomes familiar. Remember that drinking out of a cup was once awkward for you, too. So was walking, driving a car, reading an e-book. We can take the time in Awkward Pose to really feel how changing up our routine or expectations of how things ‘should feel’ can be challenging. In yoga and in our lives, we have the power to choose progress and do so with mindfulness around the new experience.

If you’re a longtime Core26 fan and very comfortable in this pose, you might use this month to scrub your old Awkward ways and look at this posture with fresh eyes. Pay attention to the cues during your classes and make adjustments instead of going by rote. We’ve all let our body just do its thing and relied on muscle memory in a class. Some of these habits are the result of particular attention and remain crucial to maintaining proper form. But others, the result of taking the easy route, may be bad habits that snuck in over time.

At the very least, by listening with a beginner’s mind while in Awkward pose this month, you’ll open yourself up to the opportunity for useful information to enter into your expression of these poses.

Important cues for each phase of Awkward:

--1--

It’s paramount to keep the feet parallel and at hip width. This allows for practitioners to receive the full benefits of the pose in their feet and ankles, like fresh blood flow to those joints in addition to increased blood circulation.

Keep the arms strong and steady, this opposition is what will allow your hips to drop lower. Try to imagine energy reaching out of your fingers straight to the front of the room and then drop your hips an inch.

Keep tension in the arms and core and release it everywhere else.

See? Easy.

--2--

Press into the big toe and balls of your feet, pushing into the ground to maintain your balance.

Continue to hold a straight spine and keep tension in the arms, dropping back into your seat and finding your eyes in the mirror.

Think ‘heels up, heels forward.’

Breathe.

--3--

Keep heels lifted just slightly off the ground, only enough to draw your knees to touch.

Float down until your hips are just above the heels and keep your knees together and pointed down. If you dropped a ball on your lap, it should roll forward to the floor.

Rise up just as slowly as you sank down. These last ten seconds can be the most difficult part of the entire series. You can do it, though, because you’re fierce and powerful

Hollye Holbrook

September at SGY

  • A Note From Jess
  • New Fall Schedule Begins October 1st!
  • Introducing Yoga Nidra with Aricha Pluid
  • Introducing Prenatal Yoga with Julie Coren and Melissa McCormack 
  • Music Class with Lyn and our very own Margaret Savoian!
  • Interested in Private Lessons?
  • Community Classes with Teacher Training Graduates
  • Posture of the Month: Awkward Pose / Chair Pose


 

Dear SGY Yogis and Yoginis,

It’s hard to believe that Fall is just around the corner, although there is already a palpable change in the air. We’ve had an amazing and also a difficult summer in some respects. Anecdotally, 2017 seems to be the year of upheaval, change, and emotional turmoil, and we need to remember that these are the prerequisites to tremendous growth and expansion…individually and collectively. So if you have been feeling any of the struggle, you are in good company. I heard a quote recently that speaks to this and it really resonated with me…”Everything is on time.” – The Universe.

Studio-wise, there has been quite a bit in the works the last several months. We are still working on our rebranding. After taking suggestions on new studio names from all of you, we narrowed it down to our three favorites: Fire and Light Yoga Center, Envision Yoga Center, and ROOTS Yoga Center. In looking deeper into trademarking, there are some concerns with each of these names and we are currently in the process of building on these names to create something more unique that also defines us and has grown out of our community suggestions. We will keep you posted as we move further along in this process, and hope to have our new name unveiled by the end of the month!!

We are also moving forward with the expansion on the Universe’s time schedule! We have preliminary designs drawn up and we’re working on the next steps with City permitting. Thank you to all of you who have volunteered to help!! We will be in touch when we are closer to the renovations, which we hope to start sometime in September. In a very fitting way, our current studio name references Ganesh, who is known as the Remover of Obstacles. One of Ganesh’s roles, however, is to place obstacles in our path so that we may learn and grow stronger by figuring out how to overcome them. Many of you have found such obstacles in your yoga practice…that balancing posture that doesn’t feel balanced at all to you…the way your breath gets away from you in an evening class or after a stressful day…the difficulty in getting to the studio during an extremely busy week. Finding our way around these obstacles makes us who we are and grants us the opportunity to find out what we’re truly capable of in life. I find it very serendipitous that we have encountered some minor obstacles in both the expansion and rebranding process. As we continue to work through these, we are moving toward the strongest, brightest, lightest, most vibrant and authentic version of ourselves as a community and as a studio.

I love seeing each of you at the studio, and I look forward to being there more frequently this Fall. I’ve been at home more the last couple of weeks caring for my partner who recently had back surgery. Thankfully, after a year of incredible pain and distress, he is on the road to recovery. His journey through chronic pain and the healing process has left me even more awed by both the fragility and the strength of the human body. And though we are not invincible as humans…injury or illness could strike any of us at any time…we have tremendous power in our own minds to heal and recover out of darkness…to come back stronger than we were prior to whatever setback or injury befell us.

With love and deep gratitude,
Jess and the SGY Teaching Team

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New Fall Schedule begins October 1st!


We’ve added back some classes and made a few changes to the schedule this Fall:

Monday 9:30am – IHP (instead of 9am)
Tuesday 4:30pm – 1 hour C26
Tuesday 6-7pm – Prenatal Yoga with Julie and Melissa
Tuesday 7:30pm – Restorative (1 hour)
Wednesday 6pm – Vinyasa (75 minutes)
Thursday 12pm – IHP (45 minutes; replaces vinyasa)
Thursday 7:30pm – Yoga Nidra with Aricha (1 hour)
Friday 4:30pm – IHP stays, but during teacher training weekends once per month, this will become a 4pm C26 class
Saturday and Sunday – 11am Vinyasas will be extended to 75 minutes
Sunday – 4pm C26 (90 minutes)

Check out the website for a complete schedule of our classes this Fall!


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Introducing Yoga Nidra with Aricha Pluid

 
Thursdays 7:30-8:30pm in the Moon Room
Starts October 5th
 


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Hello! My name is Aricha Pluid. I am a lover of reading, gardening, and travel. I began practicing yoga at 18 and although I merely sought exercise, I gained far more. Thus, after I received a degree in English, I chose to teach yoga instead of continue down the academic path. 

In my experience, a regular practice of yoga and yoga nidra meditation reveals powerful opportunities to approach and navigate welcome and unwelcome challenges. My aim is to inspire self-compassion and to encourage a fearless dedication to the practice of listening to (and honoring) innate wisdom. 

Gazing inward on a regular basis, we can go outward with more trust, love, and ultimately, purpose. My practice features elements of the following: Hatha, Kundalini, Flow, Restorative, Yin, and lovingly, Yoga Nidra meditation.
 


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Introducing Prenatal Yoga with Julie Coren and Melissa McCormack

 
Tuesdays 6-7pm in the Moon Room
Starts October 10th


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Join Melissa and Julie for a prenatal yoga class suitable for all levels, beginner to experienced. This class will incorporate elements of vinyasa yoga, kundalini yoga, breath work and mindfulness -- offering options that range from gentle to more challenging. Let's create space and build strength as we prepare the body and mind for labor and work towards a more comfortable pregnancy overall.

Melissa and Julie strive to provide a collaborative and respectful space that honors each mama on her individual path. Come connect with other mamas-to-be (and your growing baby!) in a judgement-free environment. Birth partners of all types are welcome! 
 

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Music Class

Friday, September 29th

6:00pm • Core 26 Class
Led by Lyn
Music mix by our very own Margaret Savoian!

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Interested in Private Lessons??
 

Private lessons are a fantastic way to take your yoga practice to the next level, whether you want to learn tips for arm balancing, heal from an old shoulder injury, strengthen your glutes, or work through chronic sleep problems. All of our teachers are available for private lessons. Inquire at the desk for more info!

Karan is currently taking on clients. To learn more about her and her approach to individual lessons, keep reading…


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Karan is a certified personal trainer and yoga teacher dedicated to her students’ desire to improving their well-beings through yoga and physical training techniques. She is a self-proclaimed “body detective” and enjoys exploring the places from which your aches and pains may stem before creating a regime to alleviate those burdens. She aims to bring you to a place of BALANCE in your body, believing that this shift will ultimately bring you to a place of balance in all aspects of your life.

Karan has maintained her personal training certification with AFAA since 2001, completing much of her continuing education through NASM. She is a registered yoga teacher through Yoga Alliance at the 500 level and has also completed an additional 200 hours in Yoga Therapy. She has been teaching for over 16 years, drawing on influences from all styles of yoga. She finds her greatest inspiration from Anusara Yoga in its approach to heart opening as well as finding “optimal alignment” in the body through a combined effort of strengthening and releasing. She believes that AWARENESS is the first and, perhaps, the most important step in the process and is adamant that her clients understand exactly what they are doing and why.

When not teaching or doing yoga, Karan loves whitewater kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, mountain biking, skiing, and spending time with her friends, especially her dog, Addy.


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Community Classes
with Teacher Training Graduates

Sundays from 12:30-1:30pm

 
We continue to offer donation-based community classes every Sunday afternoon 12:30-1:30pm led by our recent teacher training graduates. All classes with be either a 1 hour Core 26 class or a Vinyasa flow. Bring your friends! Any donations are most appreciated and all proceeds will go toward a scholarship fund for future trainees.

9/17 StormyJo
9/24 SMASH-UP*
*C26/VINYASA co-taught by SGYTT2017 Graduates! 

These classes end at the end of September, so catch them while you still can!




 
 

Posture of the Month: Awkward Pose / Chair Pose


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In Sanskrit, “utkata” signifies powerful or fierce. There’s no doubt about it, the three parts of this posture require fierce concentration and determination in order to maintain stability in the mind and body. Awkward pose strengthens and warms up the lower body for the rest of the Core 26 series.

Part 1:
Weight in heels.
Chest up.
Toes, heels, knees, and thumbs approximately hips width apart.
"Push" your upper body back.

Part 2:
Hips will be a little above the knees (not quite parallel thighs).
Spine straight (don't lean forward).
High on the toes with core engaged and straight spine is more important than depth of sitting.

Part 3:
Keep knees and thighs squeezing together throughout.
Knees slightly down and forward.
Hips 1/2 inch off heels in final posture.
All fingers together and arms tight and parallel to floor.

Pose type:
Standing; Balance

Benefits:
• Improves core stabilization by toning the abdominal muscles
• Strengthens and firms all muscles of the legs and upper arms (particularly the triceps)
• Makes hip joints flexible
• Sends fresh blood and oxygen to the knees, ankles, and toes
• Increases blood circulation to the knee and ankle joints, relieving rheumatism, arthritis, and gout in the legs
• Helps heal slipped disc and lumbago (pain) in the lower back

Preparatory poses:
Half-moon; Hands-to-feet pose

Follow-up poses:
Eagle pose

Tips & variations:
• The feet must be properly aligned, start to finish.This means there is only a six inch gap (about hip width apart) and that the feet are exactly parallel to one another (not v-ing in or v-ing out). It’s easy to set this up, but throughout all three parts of the posture, pay close attention that the feet do no change position.
• When moving into the different parts of the posture, make sure the knees and toes are facing forward toward the mirror.
• Right from the start keep your five fingers together and stretch your arms forward towards the mirror as much as possible It’s important to  energize the arms because it creates counter-balance throughout the posture. Be careful not to drop or relax the arms as you move from one part of the posture to another.
• If you notice tension in your shoulders or face, try to relax those muscles and move the energy to your arms or abdomen instead.
• Try to keep a normal respiration pace
• In part 3, don’t go all the way down if it hurts your knees OR you’re “hanging out”

Yes, it’s awkward. In fact all three parts of Awkward Pose are difficult, weird and are simultaneously amazing for your health. Go figure!


As with all postures, I encourage you to listen to your body and honor where you are mentally, physically and emotionally each day. The pose will be there again tomorrow... practice in such a way that you can be too!

Warmly,
Hollye and the SGY Teaching Team


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“A table, a chair, a bowl of fruit and a violin. What else does a person need to be happy?”
– Albert Einstein
 


 
 
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