Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Cow’s Head Sequence

Sorry for the silence. I’ve been working on another article for Yoga Journal’s newsletter for teachers and I got bogged down in my rewrites. I’ll let you know when “Enliven Your Teaching: from Routine to Animated” gets posted (March 28 or so).

So I’ve been hunched over a desk for the past week--time to open the shoulder and get the blood flowing into the hips and legs. Here’s a sequence using Gomukhasana (Cow’s Head Pose) we worked on last time:

Gomukhasana Sequence

-Sukhasana (Easy Pose) Sit in a comfortable, cross-legged position with the sitbones on a folded blanket. Increase the height of the blanket if you can’t sit without rounding the lower back. Take a few minutes to really concentrated on balancing the pelvis and lengthening the spine.
-Virasana + Namaste
(Hero Pose with Namaste hands in back) Lower your hips between your ankles (or onto a block), trying to keep the knees together. Keep the lower spine long and make sure the tailbone points down. Try to hold the pose for awhile and, if you can, lower your hips closer to the floor to deepen the stretch. This may work better with a folded blanket than a block under the hips. Bring the hands behind the back and either cross the arms at the lower back or bring the hands to the prayer position.
-Right Angle pose at wall Stand with the hands against the wall, even with the shoulders, and the step the feet back until your head, arms and side ribs are in a straight line. Press the finger tips to the wall as you stretch your sit bones back to lengthen the sides of the torso. To deepen the rotation of the shoulders, relax the upper back and let the head hang between the arms.
(Triangle Pose) Feet are grounded evenly (right toes to the side, left slightly off-center), the hips are square, the tailbone points down and the side ribs lengthen. As you start to lean to the side, begin the twist low in the back and then move it to the chest and shoulders. The arms stretch away from each other as you lower to the shin or thigh. Finally, the head turns to look at the ceiling as you keep your neck long. Switch sides.
-Garudasana (Eagle Pose) Bend the elbows and lift them to be even with the shoulders. Cross the left elbow over the right and center the elbows with your breast bone. Without hunching the shoulders, interlock the palms. If you can't do this with out hunching, rest the palms on the shoulders or try and grab the right pinky with the left thumb. Repeat with right elbow over left.
-Uttanasana (Intense Forward Bend) Fold from the hips while stretching through the backs of the legs. Keep the weight balanced between the balls and heels of the feet.
-Gomukhasana (Cow’s Head Pose) See last week’s blog.
-Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle) Loop your belt around your hips and over the sides of the feet, as you draw the heels towards the pelvis. Gently lower yourself to the floor or a folded blanket and loosen or tighten the belt so the knees can open towards the floor. Stay as long as you like.
-Savasana (Corpse Pose) Try to let everything completely release in this final relaxation.
©Brenda K. Plakans. All Rights Reserved.

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