Hanumanasana

Hanumanasana

Kamala is a Yoga Teacher Trainer for SOYA and leads the RYT200 hour extended and immersion programs in Penticton, BC.  She is the owner of Purple Lotus Yoga and is leading several workshops in Vienna, Austria this July.

Legend of Hanumanasana 

Once upon a time, there lived a couple named Sita and Ram. They lived together in olden day India. There was also an evil villain named Ravana who lusted after Sita and carried out a plan to kidnap and take her away to his kingdom in (Sri) Lanka. When Ram found out that his beloved was missing, he enlisted the help of his monkey friend and devotee, Hanuman. Hanuman had the super power of being able to make giant leaps. He’s often depicted flying in a splits-like position.  Hanuman used his supernatural power to locate Sita who was held captive in Ravana’s kingdom. However, Sita refused to let Hanuman carry her home. Undeterred, the clever monkey-god built a bridge between India and (Sri) Lanka by carefully dropping stones into the ocean. Supported by Hanuman’s bridge, Ram and his army were able to heroically defeat the forces of evil and reunite with Sita.

This Hindu tale is rich with symbolism. Hanuman is an incarnation of Shiva who symbolizes universal consciousness or the unified field of energy that is everything. Sita symbolizes the divine feminine and the nature of material reality (the world around you). Ram symbolizes the divine masculine and the quest for spirituality reality. Evil Ravana symbolizes the ego and the bridge built by Hanuman is symbolic of yogic practices.

A lesson of the legend of Hanuman is that our bodies and our yogic practices (the bridge in our story) are by nature imbued with the innate intelligence that makes all things grow (Hanuman). When these practices are undertaken with an earnest longing for our highest potential (Ram), there is a remembrance of the true, transient nature of material reality (Sita) as well as an informed and healthy relationship with ego (Ravana).

As yogins on this path, ours is a dance of Sita and Ram, of seeing the divine in everyday things. We stay committed to the practices that bridge and eventually blend our spiritual world and everyday lives.

The pose of Hanuman is an invitation to reconnect to our own courageous and devoted heart.  Take giant leaps and make bridges of practice with these steps towards Hanumanasana. It’s an amazing leg toner as well as an opener for hips, psoas and groin.

  1. From Downward Facing Dog, step your right foot forward into a lunge. Rest your back knee on the floor. Lean back with your hips to straighten your front leg, toes up, heel presses down. Spread your front toes wide and press forward through the mound of the big toe on your front foot.
  2. Lengthen your tailbone downward then extend from your pelvis out your legs as you bring your hips toward the ground.

Modification: Any lunge is great prep for this pose or you can do the pose using blocks under each hand.

  1. Press down through your hands to draw yourself together and re-enter Downward Facing Dog in transition to the other side.

Like any good story of reunion and homecoming, this pose often involves a dedicated and courageous journey. The bridge of our practices is crossed one step at a time, by putting one foot in front of the other.

Join Kamala in Vienna, Austria July 5-6/14 for workshops on Hanumanasana, Arm Balances, lower back and shoulder therapeutics. Most days she can be found at Purple Lotus Yoga in Penticton, BC.

For info visit purplelotusyoga.ca/kamala-yoga

Adhomukha Virasana

ADHO MUKHA VIRASANA

Submitted by Nicole Schweizer, SOYA, RYT200 from Red Deer Alberta

Over 40% of Canadians suffer from sleep disorders.  A recent Harvard study concluded that by practicing just 30-45 minutes of yoga a day, people fell asleep 30% faster and reduced their nighttime waking by 35%. 
Adhomukha Virasana2Restorative yoga is one style of yoga that helps you relax and let go of the daily stresses.  If you suffer specifically from hormonal insomnia, here is one yoga pose that may help you to sleep: Adho mukha virasana (Downward Facing Hero Pose).

How to get into the pose:

Start kneeling on your mat. To support sensitive ankles, place a blanket on top of your mat. Place one or two bolsters or pillows between your legs. Inhale, with the exhalation lower the chest forward and down over the bolsters. Chest and head are supported.

A blanket to fill and support the space between hips and heels brings relief to your knees. Skin on your forehead is supposed to move towards the eyeballs, opposed to the hairline. Optional, feel free to support the arms as well, another pillow will bring release. Hold for 5 minutes. To release from the pose gently push off the bolster with arms at either side and remain sitting for a few breathes before moving on.

Pranayama: 5-3-5 Inhale for 5 counts, hold breath for 3, exhale for 5 counts. If you are new to breathing exercises, start with 4-2-4.

Benefits: stimulates Parasympathetic Nervous System, relaxation response; centers and grounds; releases spine and shoulders; very beneficial for hormonal insomnia; supports digestion; gently stretches hips, ankles; releases lower back.

Precautions: Pregnancy (open knees wider, move bolster towards the head), diarrhea, knees, ankles.

Nicole Schweizer, SOYA RYT200 is leading workshops on “Yoga for Better Sleep” at Red Deer Hot Yoga. Level 1 is May 24th and Level 2 is June 7th.  In these consecutive workshop we will be looking at the definition of sleep, the types, conditions and causes of sleep disorders. You will learn how yoga can be a powerful tool to improve your sleep and well-being!  For rates, registration & questions please visit www.nicole-yoga.com