Ustrasana and the wall

Ustrasana at the Wall. Photo courtesy of YogaTeacherCentral.com

I had an amazing yoga class at Yoga Tree in San Francisco. One of the highlights was this variation of Ustrasana, which I hadn’t seen before. In this variation, you do Ustrasana with your thighs facing the wall. This variation has great benefits: by pressing your legs against the wall, you bend backwards with your abdominals rather than just throwing your head back. It helps you integrate your ribs with the rest of your front body and is a great way to focus on ab strength in your backbends! And we all could use a little more core.

How to:

  1. Fold your mat in half 3 times and place it next to the wall to get a nice cushion for your knees.
  2. Kneel in front of the wall with your legs pressing into the wall.
  3. Bring your hands to your low back, fingers facing up or down.
  4. Lean backwards, focusing on pressing your thighs and hip points to the wall, keeping length in your lower spine, and tightening your core muscles. The point of this variation is not see how far back you can bend, but to feel the backbend coming from your abdominal muscles.
  5. After a few breaths, return to upright, and try it again!

What do you think about this variation? My lower back felt great in this pose, and I’m very excited to integrate this variation into my regular practice for a while.

  Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful day,   samantha attard sig
samantha attard happy healthy humanSamantha Attard, PhD, is the founder of Happy Healthy Human. Sam is a performance coach and yoga instructor who helps people eat, move, and live with intention. Learn more here.

Join the Happy Healthy family to get special invites, event discounts, and lessons on living with intention.


No Comments

Let go of everything you don’t need.

When my yoga teacher said this yesterday while we were in standing forward fold, I almost laughed because it was so appropriate. But it’s probably just as relevant at all other times of the day too.


No Comments

I was an eagle

Garudasana (yogajournal.com)

Since Laura Marling’s album “Once I was an eagle” refuses to leave my head (not a bad thing)…let’s talk eagle pose (garudasana).

How does eagle pose reflect its namesake? It takes some focus to remain standing on one leg while your entire body is tied up in knots. As you twist one leg around the other, your bent standing leg ends up placing you in a little perched seat that can actually feel quite stable despite the fact that everything is off kilter, and to me, your twisted up arms in front of your face feel quite like wings.

To remember in this pose:

-lengthen the spine, keep your hips level and even

-keep the integrity in your stomach and low spine to stabilize you

-lift the arms so your triceps are parallel to the floor. If this is too much pressure on your shoulders, or you feel like you’re jamming your shoulders towards your ears, just give yourself a hug instead.

Eagle is a delicate balance, requiring strength and focus, but there is ease in the pose your body can find comfort in it.

Good counter poses: uttanasana (standing forward bend), trikonasana (triangle pose), or parsva konasana (extended angle pose).

More eagle pose info:

Yoga Journal

Stories about Garuda

 


No Comments