Hatha Yoga

Yoga Tip of the Month

Backward Bends Can Help Us Stand Tall

Good posture will help you experience greater health, alertness, vitality, and joy. But stress, tension, and anxiety tug at our spine to undermine good posture. Here are yogic remedies that can help us stand tall through the greatest of challenges.

Cobra Pose. The cobra pose helps us to strengthen the deep muscles of the spine that hold us erect. Backward bends in general are energizing. Practiced daily this pose will offer you the strength not only physically, but energetically to meet all of life’s tests. Affirm mentally as you practice this pose: “I rise joyfully to meet each new opportunity.”

Practice the cobra pose once a day followed by the child’s pose. Experience the energy and “can do it!” awareness that results from improvement in your posture.

To practice:

  1. Lie face down on the floor with the hands placed beside the chest and flat against the ground. Keep the elbows hugged tight to the body.
  2. Press the pubic bone into the floor. Maintain this action throughout your practice. For anyone with a history of low back issues roll the tops of the thighs towards each other. This internally rotates the hip joints. This serves to broaden the low back keeping it from being compressed.
  3. Phase I:Inhale and lift the forehead off the floor. Notice the gathering of energy in the spine. Exhale keeping the head off the floor.
  4. Phase II:  Inhale and lift the head further as the shoulders begin to come off of the floor. Extend forward with your heart bringing the bend into the upper region of the spine (bending behind the heart center). Come as high as you are able without pressing the hands into the floor. Exhale and remain energetically aware of the gathering of spinal energies. Be sure to maintain length through the spine. The neck should extend in a graceful curve. Take care not to jackknife the neck.
  5. Exhale to exit out of the pose. Return your body one inch at a time back to the floor. Follow the practice of the cobra pose with the child’s pose.

There is a third phase to the pose which you can read about in “The Art and Science of Raja Yoga” by Swami Kriyananda. Consider practicing Phase I & II consistently for a month to build up the deep spinal muscles before proceeding to add Phase III.

Please welcome Ananda’s Yoga Teacher Trainees!

On September 19th ten radiant souls began the 2008-2009 Ananda Yoga Teacher Training Program. It was a lovely first weekend together. The program is a 200+ hour training program that meets for 11 weekends spanning 7 months. Topics of study include asana study and practice, pranayam, astral body, “How to Teach Ananda Yoga”, Meditation, Yoga Philosophy and Lifestyle, applied anatomy and much more! The program is co-taught by Willow Kushler and Murali Venketrao. Murali brings great humor and delight to the often dreaded study of anatomy. Chocolate somehow works it’s way into the content each class!

If you have an interest in taking the program in the future now is a good time to begin preparations. Please email Willow Kushler or call her at 425-806-3700.

Check the yoga schedule and visit one of Ananda’s many classes. Remember that Yoga is for Everyone

Welcome and bless the trainees . . .
Front Row: Randa Hilal, Marjorie McIntyre, Natalia Morales, Prem-Shanti Rider (Re-taking), Carole McDonald, Cindy Gottfried
Back Row: Paula Scher, Brian Dotson, Vanessa Downer, Diana Piermattei