Looking to up the ante with your practice? Maybe you’ve hit a plateau and are looking for a way to get back on the trail. No need to raise the stakes and do anything risky, instead increase the value of your practice by trying out some of these variations on classics postures.
Vyaghrasana (Tiger pose)
>Begin on hands and knees, placing the palms directly under the shoulders and the knees below the hips.
>Lift the left leg bring the head and the toes toward each other, arching the back.
>Begin to bend the elbows, being sure the keep them close to the ribs, and bring the chest a few inches above the ground.
>Keep your weight evenly distributed on both the palms by engaging your core.
>Maintain the position for 10 slow deep breaths or as long as is comfortable.
>Pictured below is the same asana being performed on the forearms.
How it helps:
This variation is great for strengthening the triceps and middle and upper back between the shoulder blades. It is also good for strengthening the spine and increasing its flexibility through the back bending motion. Be sure to rest in sharnagar mudra (surrender pose) afterward to relieve the back.
Build strength in your vinyasa flow with these variations.
>Begin in parvatasana and raise the left towards the sky.
>Give your self a few breaths here, pressing the right heel down and stretching the calve.
>On the next inhale bring the left leg to the tricep (first image) shifting the shoulders forward while engaging your core.
>Stay here for a few breaths and then send the left leg skyward again, then returning to parvatasana. Repeat on the other side.
>In the second variation you begin the same way. When bring the left leg forward bring the knee to the chin.
>Keep the spine long and bring the thigh as close to the body as you can.
>Engage the core and hold for as long as is comfortable. Release by taking the leg back to the sky. You can repeat a few times on this side before changing to the right side.
How it helps:
Both of these postures are great for strengthening the core and the arms. It opens up the hips and gives a good stretch the the spine.
Vinyasa should always be played with and can offer so many small variations that make you feel stretch and challenged. Don’t think too much, just let the body do the work and you will create a beautiful vinyasa sequence that leaves you flowing through the day.
“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening, that is translated through you into action. And because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique.” -Martha Graham
Article by Manish Pole and Catherine Juliano