February Flexibility Challenge (Week One)

New month, new yoga challenge. This month is called Let’s Get Flexy in 2015. Strange name aside, I am enjoying it. I will admit, after last month’s challenge this one is an ego boost – I am naturally quite flexible. That said, some of these are proving to be quite difficult. So here we go.

Day One: Extended Side Angle Posex is a favorite. It’s a wake up for the entire body. It is a balancing pose, it opens the chest, it stretches the arms. As with all yoga, the foundation is so important. Setting up your legs, making sure you are breathing deeply, listening to your body are all so very important. But once it’s all set, I could hold this pose for hours.

Day Two: Frog Pose is an amazing hip opener. Starting on all fours, bring your forearms down to the floor. Widen your knees, one at a time, as far apart as is comfortable for you and bend them so your thighs and shins form a 90-degree angles. Flex your feet. I like to reach my arms out straight in front of me – which helps to lengthen my core. It’s very necessary if you are going to try day three!

Day Three: Only three days in and we were asked to do Compass Pose. My friend and to talk me in to the pose. It wasn’t until I saw the picture of myself that I realized how wild it looked. To get in to the posture, you have to cradle your shin by taking the crook of the elbow around the knee on the same side of the body and the crook of the opposite elbow into the sole of the foot. Forgetting about the full expression, that move alone feels amazing and I should remember to do it every day – especially on working days. Sitting on a chair is just the worst.

Day Four: Bird of Paradise is a pose I only started doing last year. It is similar to Standing Bow Pulling Pose in that it is a great combination of balance and flexibility. When I first saw my teacher do it at Yoga Shanti I thought she was insane. Getting a proper grip and strengthening your standing leg are the most important things. Extending the top leg fully will come in time.

Day Five: Heron Pose was actually harder for me than Compass Pose but that’s because it requires more core strength. I should seriously be taking Pilates like seven times a week. I work on all the rest but my belly is just an embarrassing mess.

Day Six: Wide Leg Forward Folds always feel so good for my back. Sitting in a chair all-day at work, this is a great stretch for me. Generally, I set up by standing straight, holding both arms out to the side. I try to position my ankles under my wrists so my legs are wide, but not too wide. Just folding over from there is a great stretch for the hamstrings (I stood up and did it just now and it felt great). Clasping hands behind your back and stretching them up over the head adds but it not necessary if you aren’t ready for that. Just keep your hands on the floor and enjoy.

Day Seven: Upward Facing Dog is always energizing. I hate that we just plow past it in Vinyasa classes as a transition from Chaturanga to Down Dog so it was nice to hold for a while today. And fun to modify for the above photo. I need to take a picture of myself in that posture once a month – see if I can get my toes any closer to my head.

Happy Saturday y’all!
Namaste!

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