Top 5 Yoga Poses for Climbers

Rock climbing is an adrenaline-pumping sport that builds arm, shoulder, and core strength, improves flexibility of hips and hamstrings, and sharpens mental focus. It can include bouldering, outdoor climbs, and indoor climbs, and requires knowledge of proper technique and usage of equipment for the safety of the climber and anyone else involved in the climb.

It has increased in popularity over the last decade, which is evidenced in its first appearance as a competitive sport in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Yoga can help climbers further increase their focus, agility, and strength. The following are 5 postures in particular that, when practiced regularly and consistently, can improve a climber’s performance.

1. Sukhasana or Seated Meditation

Easy pose 1

Meditation is known to have a myriad of benefits like reducing levels of stress and anxiety, increasing sense of well-being, and improving focus, to name a few. Since most climbing routes, particularly in an indoor gym, are as physically challenging as they are mentally (they are akin to figuring out a puzzle), being able to focus under pressure will serve any climber.

Practice seated meditation at the start of your practice, or better yet, before a climb, and you’ll be mentally prepared for the challenges that ensue.

2. Prasarita Padottanasana C

Wide-Legged Standing Forward fold

The flexibility of the hamstrings can determine a climber’s ability to reach the next hold on a climbing route. Having space in the hamstrings will help to step up and across with greater ease. It can also prevent hamstring strain, especially if the same step is taken by a climber whose hamstrings are tighter.

This particular variation of the Wide-Legged Forward Bend, with the added shoulder opener, is excellent as it will strengthen the legs while lengthening the hamstrings, and also do the same for the shoulders.

By working on increasing the mobility of the shoulders are, you also decrease the possibility of injury, and the leg strength you get will help you pull up as you climb.

3. Sucirandhrasana or Thread the Needle

Credit: Julia Lee

Credit: Julia Lee

A climber’s ability to externally rotate the hip (in conjunction with open hamstrings) helps when stepping up to their next hold. A climber is always front-facing, and quite close to, the wall.

The more open the hip is in external rotation can help a climber be static with ease (imagine being in Warrior II with the front of your pelvis facing the wall, with your hands above your head, gripping two holds).

Eye of the Needle pose will increase range of external rotation by opening up the outer hip and outer thigh.

4. Phalakasana or Plank Pose


Understanding how to recruit the core muscles to support the entire body will be useful for a climber in progressing their skills. All movements are centred around, and initiated from, the core. A strong core is also useful in preventing injury.

Practicing Plank pose will help strengthen the core muscles while demonstrating how it stabilizes the pelvis, taking any strain out of the lower back.

5. Ardha Pincha Mayurasana or Dolphin Pose

Dolphin Pose

Just like Plank, Dolphin pose is excellent for strengthening the shoulders and core. With active shoulder adduction in Dolphin, practitioners also build stability in the shoulders which will greatly benefit the climber who spends a lot of time stressing the shoulders—whether when hanging, or pulling up.

Creating stability and strength in the shoulders will protect them from the wear and tear of climbing.

Rock climbing builds confidence, strength, and focus. It challenges the climber to know their body and its strength, and calls on the need to utilize said strength intelligently to help them, especially on long climbs.

A yoga practice is a great complement to a climber’s training regimen as it strengthens and stabilizes the body, improves suppleness, and sharpens the mind. As greater connection to the body is made, a climber can move with greater confidence and ease.

Image Credit: Paige Yeaton

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10 Yoga Poses to Relieve Hip Pain

Ranging from mild tenderness to severe distress caused by diseases like arthritis, hip pain is a common complaint among individuals of all ages. Persons with severe hip pain or pain radiating from an easily pinpointed spot (compared to noticing a generalized area of tightness) should seek proper medical attention before trying any of the following poses.

If like millions of people, the hip pain is mild and likely caused by stiffness of the muscles, try these all-abilities-friendly yoga poses to relieve hip pain.

Prior to practicing any of the following yoga poses, cultivate heat and movement in the body with 3-5 rounds of Surya Namaskar A (Sun Salutations A) and 3-5 rounds of Surya Namaskar B (Sun Salutations B).

For each of the poses below, feel free to hold for 5-10 breaths. Listen to your body and shorten or lengthen the practice based on how it feels best to you.

Parivrtta Anjaneyasana (Revolved Low Lunge Pose)


With the increase in sitting at work and at home, the hips are placed in constant flexion. Major muscles like the psoas major, iliacus, and rectus femoris—which aid in flexion at the hip—become shortened and tight.

Parivrtta Anjaneyasana stretches the deep muscles like the psoas major and iliacus to help counter a life of sitting in flexion. Reaching back with the opposite arm to foot help increase the stretch of the quadricep muscles like the rectus femoris.

Figure 4 and Purvottanasana variations (Figure 4 and Table Top variations)


The hips are often metaphorically described like a bowl filled to the brim of water—it takes balance to make sure nothing spills. However, some life choices and habits, like wearing high heels, shift the body’s balance and tip the hips forward—leading to an anterior tilt of the pelvis, lordosis of the lower back, and posterior compression of the lumbar spine.

Something as seemingly harmless as slouching on the couch tips the hips backward and leads to a posterior tilt of the pelvis, kyphosis of the lower back, and anterior compression of the lumbar spine.


For yogis with more mobility, lifting into a variation of Purvottanasana can increase the sensation of the stretch. Practicing the Figure 4 stretch with a slight anterior tilt of the pelvis helps engage the spine and remind the body to shift weight equally into the sitz bones, as well as stretch the external and lateral rotators of the hip.


For yogis who experience discomfort and pain in Figure 4, releasing onto the floor for Thread the Needle pose is a great alternative. Focus on grabbing the back of the thigh rather than the front of the shin to protect the knee joint.

Eka Pada Rajakapotasana – Variation (Pigeon Pose)

Credit: Jacqueline Buchanan

Credit: Jacqueline Buchanan

Pigeon Pose variation of Eka Pada Rajakapotasana provides a very similar action and group of muscles stretched as Figure 4. This is the next step for students who have more open hips. Yogis with very tight hips should stick with Figure 4 or Thread the Needle to avoid placing unnecessary weight and harm on the outside of the knee, which can compensate for a tight hip.


To add on to the external and lateral rotation stretch at the hip, a lift of the chest and focus of the shoulders squared for the hips increases the stretch in the hip flexors, i.e. psoas major and iliacus muscles. Additionally, the bent leg in both Pigeon Pose and Figure 4 is working to open the inner thigh and often shortened and tight adductor muscles.

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)


While the previous poses have asymmetrically examined one hip at a time, Baddha Konasana offers a symmetrical pose to notice the balance in the body. This is a great stretch for the adductors. For some yogis, this posture might feel unbearable, so starting in Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclining Bound Angle) is recommended if your hips are really tight.

Janu Sirsasana (Head-to-Knee Pose)


While hip pain is the common denominator, the manifestations can include discomfort in the thighs, inside of the hip joint and groin, and outside of the hip joint and buttocks. Janu Sirsasana tenderly addresses all those points.

This posture also asymmetrically stretches the hamstring muscles, which tend to be overworked when the hip extensors (like the glutes) are weakened due to sitting for prolonged periods of time.

Virasana – Variations (Half Hero Pose)


This pose seems simple, but it offers a great deal of bang for your buck. Preparatory for Krounchasana, these variations of Virasana are powerful standalone poses.


While one knee is tucked away in half Virasana, providing a stretch for the quadricep muscles, the other knee is reaching toward the chest, stretching the hamstring muscles. When the knee is cradled by the arms, the external and lateral rotators are given a little extra love.

Additionally, a very gentle rocking of the leg and body with the intention of self-love provides a time of pause and nourishment in the practice.

Bharadvajasana – Variation


Unofficially named “Splatter Paint” by one of my teachers, this pose offers a gentle twist in the spine and release of the compression often carried in the lower back. It also offers a stretch for the abductors and internal and medial rotators, like the gluteus medius and minimus.

Knocked Knees


A gentle releaser after lots of external and lateral rotator stretches and adductor work, the knocked knees action is more of a passive release than muscle activator. Practicing the pose reclined offers more of a passive quality and slows down the heart rate. Practice with the feet about mat-distance apart and softly release the knees together.

Supta Garudasana – Leg variation (Reclining Eagle Pose)


Rather than have the legs work and fire up in standing Garudasana or Eagle pose, the reclined version with just a leg twist invites a deeper quality to the stretch of the powerhouse muscles of the glutes.

Additionally, with the arms open in a t-shape, the shoulder blades can stay rooted and flat on the floor to provide a deep twist of the spine. Gaze in the opposite direction of where the legs fall to increase the spinal twist, or look the same direction as the knees to create a little less twist and a more restorative quality to the pose.

Ananda Balasana (Happy Baby Pose)


Finally, ananda (happiness or bliss), after moving the hips all over the place! Rest on the back and gently bring the knees to the armpits. Eventually, the thighs will melt to the floor beside the ribs. Foster more intentional breath here and think about slowly melting tension from the hips.

After 3-5 breaths, find your way into a well deserved and important Savasana. Stay in Savasana for a minimum of 5-10 minutes.

In Conclusion

A side effect of practicing hip openers is a release of deep-rooted emotions in the body. A helpful tool for grounding is to place an index card of your favorite mantra and/or a sacred item to the front of your yoga mat and focus on those items if/when emotions flood through your body.

The hip joint is often considered the strongest joint in the body as well as being one of the most mobile because of its nature as a ball-and-socket joint. While able to withstand normal wear and tear, the hips are not indestructible. It is important to balance stretching with strengthening the muscles of the hips to reduce and minimize future hip pain.

Help our community grow in knowledge and strength and feel free to share ways this practice helps you as well as ways you have helped reduce or minimize your hip pain!

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So planen Sie Lernziele

Zum Abschluss der Lernserie von SPIEGEL WISSEN und SPIEGEL ONLINE bleibt nur eine Frage: Wie trainieren Sie auch in Zukunft weiter regelmäßig Ihre grauen Zellen? Hier erfahren Sie es.

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Ask a Yogi: Can Yoga Help Relieve Headaches?

We’ve all been there: we get halfway through the day and our head is screaming, our temples are aching, our jaw is locked—we have a headache. We may choose to drink some water or pop some pain-relieving medication and go about our business, but is there something more we could be doing to resolve our headaches?

From quick fixes in the moment to more long-term lifestyle changes, from specific poses to general remedies, yoga can help prevent and reduce headaches that may be plaguing you. Let’s go through the best options for yoga-inspired headache relief, and explore why and how they work.

1. Start Simple—Just Breathe

Breathing deeply is good for relieving muscle tension all over your body, as well as lowering your blood pressure. Breathing deeply and slowly slows your heart rate, and increases the amount of oxygenated blood that’s getting to your brain, which can immediately help you feel more clear-headed.

Reduced blood flow to the brain has been noted in several studies as being related to the onset of migraines. Breathing exercises also give you an opportunity to stop and assess what factors may be contributing to your pain—is it the way you’re sitting, have you been looking at your screen too long, are you drinking enough water?

Use these deep breaths as a time to close your eyes and reflect, and see if anything needs to change in your posture or your environment.

2. Develop a Regular Yoga Practice

If you suffer from regular migraines, studies show that practicing yoga regularly reduces “headache activity, medication intake, symptoms, and stress perception” in patients who participated in long-term yoga therapy compared to those who did not.

This is most likely due to whole host of physiological and psychological benefits of yoga, including muscle strengthening and relaxation, lowered stress hormones, and improved immune strength.

3. Relieve Tension with Therapeutic Touch

A yoga practice in which the instructor provides touch-based assistance and alignment cues can also help with any tension that may be contributing to pain. The therapeutic touch (TT) that some yoga instructors may provide has been shown to provide a significant improvement in the intensity of a tension headache—even over what would be expected of the placebo effect.

In some people, touch like this can release ‘happy’ neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin, which help relieve tension and dull pain. This is not the case for everyone, however, so as yoga instructors, we should always ask before touching anyone in our classes, especially those who come to us with pain.

In a pinch, you can also massage yourself, taking your fingers and pressing them over your temples or your jaw to relieve the stress you’re holding in your facial muscles.

4. Practice Inversions

3 Quick Tips to Improve Your Headstand

Again, where a headache may be caused by lack of proper blood flow in the vessels around the brain, an inversion can be the perfect fix to get lots of blood above the neck. This can be as simple as Downward Facing Dog or Forward Fold, or if you’re advanced, try headstand.

If you’re in a significant amount of pain, however, try not to practice any inversions with your feet off the ground, as your balance and strength may be impaired by your pain. If you do practice full inversions, try them with the support of a wall.

Inversions can also be a good solution for headaches caused by sinus pain. It may feel very intense at first in the places where you’re feeling the pressure, but a simple, warm-up flow followed by several inversions of your choice can loosen up that painful mucus and make it easier to expel.

Try a short, gentle flow with some upside-down poses, and then try irrigating your nose with a Neti pot (and sterilized, warm salt water!) and/or blowing your nose.

5. Try These Specific Poses

 Credit: Kristin McGee

Credit: Kristin McGee

Cat-Cow pose and Child’s pose can be great for relieving tension and stress in the neck and shoulders, which may be radiating up into your head.

The same can be said for gentle twists, such as open Seated twist or Supine twist, because they release the long muscles on either side of your spine that are connected to the neck’s smaller muscles, which are in turn connected to the base of your skull.


Trying standing in a gentle Forward Fold with your feet hip-width apart and let your hands dangle or grasp your opposite elbow in your opposite palm, then mildly shake your head ‘no’ and ‘yes’. This uses gravity to help loosen the neck muscles and vertebrae, providing some gentle relief.

eagle arms chair-1

To relieve any stress that has perhaps accumulated between your shoulders, try Eagle arms while seated (on both sides), Cow Face arms, or Thread the Needle pose—these are all great poses for targeting that tough-to-reach area in the middle of your back, between your shoulders.

So yes, yoga can go a long way toward both preventing and treating headaches. Practicing yoga as part of a beneficial lifestyle change as a whole (including diet, exercise, and prioritizing your mental health and stability) can lead to a reduction in chronic aches and pains, generalized inflammation, and headache frequency and severity.

Try out one of these poses the next time you find yourself battling a headache, or try implementing some of these tips and let us know how it goes in the comments below.

Image Credit: Odette Hughes

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I’m Sam Harris-Hughes, And This Is How I Pilates

Australian-born Sam Harris-Hughes began her university studies in Applied Science Human Movement, in thought of becoming a clinical physiologist or cardiac scientist. But shortly before graduating, she began her professional career in doing her first love…dance.

Chasing her dreams of performing on stage around the world, she also found a new love in Pilates. It was a natural marriage of her two interests—dance, and sport & exercise science. Learning and teaching Pilates allowed her to combine the knowledge she gained from her studies and her fascination for human movement, along with her enjoyment for…well, moving!

Now, she teaches Mat and Equipment-based Pilates in several studios in Berlin and Hamburg alongside her ongoing career in musical theatre, and is the first Plates instructor to be featured on DOYOUYOGA. She enjoys working one-on-one with people to create personalized programs and get life-changing results for them. She hopes to one day open her own Pilates, Barre and dance fitness studio, and write her very own ‘You’d Never Believe It’s Good For You’ cookbook.

Name: Sam Harris-Hughes
Occupation: Pilates Instructor and Musical Theater Dancer
Location: Hamburg, Germany
Favorite Pilates style: Equipment-based Pilates eg. Reformer, Cadillac etc.
Favorite Pilates exercise: Side Reach with rotation on the mat or Climb-A-Tree on the Reformer.
Pilates is… Mindful movement. It is a learning and rehabilitation tool for healthier posture and movement patterns, and a stronger mind-body connection.

Sam Harris 1

What Do You Love Most About Pilates?

I love that Pilates is so diverse in how it can be used. It can be used as a rehabilitation tool, for treating a specific condition, for general strength, health and fitness, for specific sport/activity training, or just to make your body feel good.

How Has Pilates Changed Your Life, Personality And Physique?

I used Pilates initially for rehabilitation for a chronic knee injury I’d been dealing with and an acute spinal injury. Not only do I now never have a problem with my knee or back, but I’ve also successfully used Pilates exercises and principles to treat other injuries or problems that I’ve had since as a result of my dance career.

Pilates has been the number one reason for why I’m still dancing.

It’s also made me more even more aware of the health state of my body and how it feels, and therefore, has sparked my interest in nutrition. When I treat my body well with healthy (but of course delicious) food and practice Pilates regularly, my body, mind and soul feel fantastic. And I definitely notice it on the outside too.

Sam Harris 2

What Everyday Things Did You Get Better At Because Of Pilates?

For me, walking up and down stairs was the first thing I noticed became easier. No knee pain! But I notice a lot that my back feels so free, especially first thing in the morning. So basically every movement of everyday is made easier for that. My balance, which was already good, is something that’s also improved.

How Do You Keep Your Pilates Practice Interesting And Challenging?

I love to play around on different machines or with different props. That’s a really great thing about Pilates…there’s so many options! I also take classes from different teachers, either online or in a studio. Even just the slightest adjustment to an exercise can change it.

What Book, Website Or Person Inspires You?

Joseph Pilates (the creator of the Pilates method) wrote a book called Return to Life through Contrology (Contrology being what he originally called his method). Every now and then I like to read through this book for inspiration.

I also have a number of teachers that I either personally know, or know of online or through Instagram, that inspire me a lot. These include Sally Anderson, Sarah Colquhoun, Tracey Mallet, Meredith Rogers and GoneAdventuring Pilates- Kristi Instagrammer (just to name a few).

The website PilatesAnytime features some wonderful teachers from around the world and also provide many lectures to help my knowledge in the field to keep growing.

sam harris 3

Which Pilates Exercise Challenges You the Most?

The Roll Up. It’s a relatively basic exercise but targets my weaknesses.

What are Your Go-To Pilates Exercises When You’re Stressed or In Need of an Energy Boost?

If I’m stressed, the first place I feel it is in my shoulders and neck, so I get out my foam roller and do some simple Chest Lifts over the roller. It opens up my chest, re-leases tension in my upper back and helps me breath better.

If I need an energy boost, then The Hundred does a great job of that. Gets the blood pumping around my body, gets my mind focused and my core engaged.

What Do You Listen To When You Practice Pilates?

I either have the radio on in the background, or I’m just listening to the teacher. I like to allow someone else guide me through my practice, unless there’s something specific I want or need to do.

sam harris 4

What’s The Best Advice You’ve Ever Received?

Be happy doing what you love. My mum told me that and I can’t agree more. If you love what you’re doing, than you will do it well.

What’s Your #1 Piece of Advice for Those Just Starting Their Pilates Practice?

Stick with it. At first, Pilates can be confusing as it seems like there’s a lot of information that you need to process, think about and do. But one day, maybe after a few sessions, it will click and all of a sudden you will feel what your supposed to be feeling and it will all start to make sense. And that will just be the beginning!

Facebook: Sam Harris-Hughes
Twitter: @SamHH_Pilates
Instagram: @samhh_pilates

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5 Yoga Poses to Strengthen and Stretch the Psoas

Asana yoga classes are an excellent way to connect with, and increase awareness of, the body. In yoga class, it’s common to hear anatomical terminologies used to refer to the body, particularly in identifying muscle groups, bones, and joints.

While the average student might not know what the iliopsoas actually is, it is a sure bet that it has been mentioned in at least one class they have attended.

The Iliopsoas Defined

More commonly shortened and referred to as the psoas, iliopsoas refers to the joined psoas and iliacus muscles. It is the strongest muscle of the hip flexor group, originating in the upper vertebra of the lumbar spine and attaching to the lesser trochanter of the femur (a tiny prominence near the head of the thigh bone).

It is the only muscle that connects the lumbar spine to the lower body and as such, has a huge impact on posture and optimal performance in physical movement—yoga included.

The psoas is (partly) responsible for facilitating hip flexion, or drawing the thigh and the spine towards each other. Postures like Navasana and Bakasana, where deep hip flexion is required, will activate the psoas.

When the psoas is tight, it might be felt in backbends like Ustrasana (Camel pose) or Setu Bandhasana with the lumbar spine hyperextended. As a result, to lengthen the psoas, think about postures that open up the front line of the body. To strengthen the psoas, consider poses wherein the front of the thigh is actively moving towards the front of the abdomen—or more subtly, using the psoas to hold the pelvis in neutral.

Let’s have a closer look at the following poses that will help lengthen and strengthen the psoas.

Low Lunge or Anjaneyasana


This low lunge with the back knee down is an accessible posture that helps to lengthen the psoas of the back leg. With the front leg forward and the knee bent at 90° above the heel, have the back knee down and under the hip or slightly behind it.

Draw up through the hip points to maintain length in the lumbar spine, while allowing the pelvis to sink forward and down as you exhale. The hands can rest on the front thigh, or the arms can reach upwards.

2. Twisted Lizard or Parivrtta Utthan Pristhasana


Twisted Lizard pose deepens the stretch you receive in Anjaneyasana. From Adho Mukha Svanasana (Down Dog), step the right foot forward outside of the right hand. Keep both hands in the same line as the front foot.

With your back knee down on the mat, bend the back leg bringing the heel towards the buttock. Take the right arm behind you and hold the outer edge of the back foot. On an exhalation, bend the right elbow pulling the left heel closer towards the glute.

This is a big opening for the quadriceps of the back leg. Focus on lifting the front of the hip bones towards the navel to lengthen the psoas.

3. Apanasana or Pavanmuktasana


Start in constructive rest or Ardha Savasana, with the legs bent so the knees sit directly above the heels. Bring the right knee towards the chest, interlacing the fingers on top of the shin bone, and pulling the thigh against the right side of the abdomen and chest.

Keep the muscles around the right hip relaxed. Begin to walk (or slide) the left foot forward bringing the left leg as straight as you can onto the mat. As you extend the left knee, focus your attention at the front of the left hip. Energetically ground through the back of the left leg, particularly the inner thigh which will help to lengthen the left psoas.

4. Modified Boat or Navasana


Begin in Dandasana with the spine lifted and lengthened. Bend the knees so the heels are closer towards the buttocks with the soles flat on the mat. Bring both arms forward, and while maintaining the length of the spine, begin to lean back.

The weight of the torso is being pulled to the floor but it is the contraction of the psoas that helps to keep the spine aligned. This modification of Navasana is a great way to strengthen the psoas.


In the full pose, Puripurna Navasana, the heels are lifted in line with the knees (or the legs completely straight) with a focus on keeping the spine in axial extension, as it will want to flex. Recruit the psoas to keep the thighs and front body towards each other.

5. One-Legged Plank Pose


From Table Top pose, step the feet back into a high plank. Stack the shoulders above the wrists so the arms are vertical, and neutralize the spine, ensuring the pelvis isn’t collapsing towards the earth.

Inhale–gaze forward and exhale–lift the right foot to a hover. Draw the hip points forward towards the chest to help maintain a neutral pelvis. The psoas of both legs will activate, and as a result, strengthen to keep the pelvis stable. Specifically, the psoas of the right leg will stabilize the lifted leg, and the psoas of the left leg will stabilize the pelvis.

Note: Asymmetrical postures to be done on both sides (1, 2, 3, 5).

The psoas is a key player in our yoga practice. Our ability to move through our asana practice with ease can be dependent on our psoas being strong and flexible.

Beyond the mat, the psoas also directly impacts our posture, making it an important muscle to strengthen and lengthen. In doing so, we can relieve lower back pain, improve our overall posture, and feel stable in our bodies.

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4 Popular Yoga Poses And The Meaning Behind Them

So you’ve been practicing yoga for a while now, maybe even teaching it, and you’ve pretty much nailed all those pose names…even in Sanskrit. You know the difference between Warrior I and Warrior II, and your vinyasa is on point.

But how much do you really know about how these poses came to be and what their names really mean? Why do we practice them? Here’s a look at four popular yoga poses and the meaning behind them.

Mountain Pose or Tadasana

Moving Mountains - A Meditation on Tadasana

There’s a lot more to this pose than meets the eye. In Sanskrit, this pose is typically known as Tadasana—’tada’ meaning mountain and asana meaning posture. However, this pose has another name: Samasthiti. ‘Sama’ means upright, straight, and unmoved, and ‘sthiti’ means standing still in steadiness.

This pose is meant to evoke the stillness, strength, and power of a mountain. According to B.K.S Iyengar, many of us do not pay attention to how we stand, and thus develop injury or imbalance in the spine and hips.

By standing consciously in Mountain pose with our knees, thighs, and core engaged, and our weight evenly distributed on our feet, we create a lightness in the body which creates agility in the mind. This pose serves to root us, to ground down into the earth, and invite steady energy into the body.

Child’s Pose or Balasana

Woman in Child's Pose

The pose of the child (bala), a pose that is deeply satisfying after a long day or vigorous yoga practice, is meant to draw up feelings of security and comfort—much like what we felt as young children even before birth.

Child’s pose or Balasana is about cultivating that childhood attitude of curiosity that we tend to lose in adulthood. In a way, we are surrendering down to the earth, bringing ourselves back home to our deepest self.

As Alanna Kaivalya puts it, “This is one of the paradoxes of yoga philosophy: First we need to remember our divine nature, and when we are established in it, we need to forget it again in order to stay engaged in the world.”

Warrior Two

got warrior 2

Named for the fearless warrior, Virabhadra who is said to have defeated his enemies with a thousand arms, Virabhadrasana II is meant to channel strength and determination.

There are a few different versions of the creation story of this pose, but the underlying theme is that the philosophy behind it originated on a battlefield, or as the result of an epic battle. In that sense, we can think about the challenges in our lives using the metaphor of a battlefield, using the strength of a warrior to persevere.


The Art of Relaxation-How to Master Savasana

You’ve probably heard your yoga teacher say that this is the most important pose in class, and you may have met this with some skepticism. This posture is also known as Mrtasana or Corpse pose, and morbid as it may sound—yes, the aim is to be motionless.

By remaining totally still without falling asleep, we are able to exist in complete consciousness, (ideally) being totally at ease in the body and mind, without the pressure of our worldly troubles. This allows us to reconnect with ourselves, so that we may deeply understand and be in union with ourselves. This is the overarching aim of yoga: for us to be presented to ourselves.

As Lao Tzu said, “ no thought, no action, no movement, total stillness: only thus can one manifest the true nature and law of things from within and unconsciously, and at last become one with heaven and earth.”

Next time you’re in a yoga class, holding a pose and finding the thoughts wander, see if you can really home in on the intention of the pose. Use the name of the posture to guide you, and channel the spirit of that name.

Whether it’s the steadiness of a mountain, the strength of a warrior, or the stillness of a corpse, the names of yoga poses do carry meaning. See how doing so can take you a bit deeper and help you to inspire your practice.

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