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Home Practice- Building a Strong Chaturanga

Lowering down to chaturanga is quite difficult when you are just beginning your yoga journey. It involves building strength in your chest, which for most women is an area that we are lacking in strength.

In between classes I encourage you to roll out your mat at home and grab two blocks; place those blocks shoulder width apart, with your hands on the blocks be sure that your thumbs are in line with your chest. Have your knees on the ground and focus solely on building strength in the chest. Remember core needs to be pulled in and engaged, take a deep breath in and on the exhale slowly lower down and hover. See how in the picture my bum is lifted slightly so that my spine is long? Make sure that you aren't sagging in the lower back, to correct that draw the belly in and feel the lift through the back. Then push yourself back up to straight arms. Try several rounds everyday to build the strength you need to safely and properly do chaturanga.

30 seconds to Fabulous!

Holding forearm plank for 30 seconds builds core strength and is much easier on your lower back than doing traditional crunches or sit-ups.  Begin by laying on your belly and then positioning your elbows directing under your shoulders. Hands can be in fists or palms down on your mat. Tuck your toes under and lift your entire body off of the mat, hovering. Imagine that your front ribs are coming together like corset being tied in the front of your body. Draw your bellybutton in towards your spine. Continue to breathe as you hover and focus on your inhale and exhale, trying to maintain equal length and a steady rhythm. Relax for 30 seconds and then try holding forearm plank again for 30 seconds. 

If you practice this everyday you will notice a greater improvement in all of your yoga poses. 

Don't believe me? Try it! 

Making Headstands Accessible for Everybody

When headstands aren't accessible because of a neck or spine injury try helping your yoga students into a restorative headstand using a wall and blocks. 

Stack several blocks up against a wall, if using four-inch blocks you will need 3 for each stack and if using three-inch blocks you will need 4 for each stack. Kneel down in front of the stacks, facing the wall, and place your head between the stacks so that the tops of your shoulders are on the blocks. Position your arms like you would in a Tripod Headstand. Tuck your toes under and take your bum to the sky similar to Downward Dog. All of your weight should be on the blocks and your head will not be touching the floor at all, slowly lift your legs up to the sky while leaning into the wall with your back. Some students may need help lifting the legs to the wall, simply hold one leg for the student and allow them to push that leg into your hands as they lift the other leg up to the wall. Stay here for several breaths and come down slowly one leg at a time when you feel ready.