Monday, August 12, 2013

Monday Morning Yoga: Fierce Goddess, Mother and Daughter Yoga

Try mother and daughter yoga to encourage a connection and bonding experience. Young women not only benefit from yoga on a physical level, but they also benefit by learning to practice finding acceptance rather than wanting to change to meet societal pressures. Yoga teaches us to find contentment in the moment and to find comfort in knowing that we are exactly where we are supposed to be on our journey.

To do Figure Four Pose, Eka Pada Utkatasana: Stand with the feet side-by-side, either big toes touching or up to hip-width apart for more stability.

On an inhalation, bend the knees and recline into an imaginary chair, and raising the arms over the head. Exhale and bring the hands to the heart with the palms and fingertips connecting.

Shift the weight to the left foot and lift the right foot, crossing it over the left and placing it on your left thigh, above the knee. Flex the right toe towards the face to protect the knee joint.

Inhale and lift the chest, and on an exhale sink lower in your imaginary chair. Maintain a tall spine.

Find a drishti gaze, a non-moving object to focus on, and keep the breath flowing, finding a balance of ease and effort in every breath.

Stay here “sitting” upright in your chair, or challenge the balance by bending the knees more, shifting the torso forward and bring the palms to capture the left chin. The gaze moves towards the earth.
Breath in figure four for 3-5 full round of breath, inhalations and exhalations.

To come out of the posture: If you moved into palms capturing the chin, slowly begin to lift the torso back over the hips with a flat back.  If you stayed “sitting” upright in your chair, begin to straighten the left leg.
Gently uncross the right leg and ankle. Bring the feet together on the floor. With the hands at the heart, connected, take a few breaths to come back to a “natural” state of breathing.

Yogic philosophy encourages a strong and focused presence, while practicing compassion. Young women can learn to let go of negativity and focus on inward gratification and happiness rather than outward approval. They learn to practice positive self-dialogue on their yoga mats as well as in their daily lives. Through yoga practice, we learn to follow our heart and listen to our intuition. 

Focusing fierce energy while practicing challenging postures, like figure four, allows yogis to access the determination and unrelenting courage it takes to meet challenges and obstacles in daily life. Yoga is a safe and healthy way of accessing this inner strength that resides in each and every one of us.

Yoga for young women can take on many style and forms. I have found pre-teen girls to enjoy thematic stories, like the Greek Goddess, Artemis, as shared by Sydney Solis, in her book, “Storytime Yoga”. The Goddess Artemis, was a child of Zeus and Leto. Artemis helped her mother, Leto, when giving birth to her brother Apollo. She realized how good it made her feel to help others and she became dedicated to protecting others, especially young girls until they became old enough to marry. Artemis was known as a goddess of the hunt. She carried a bow and arrow, and she was in touch with and comfortable expressing her masculine side. She came alive when challenges presented themselves, and she was independent and driven.

Artemis possessed the qualities that we want our daughters to learn. Practicing yoga allows girls to find focus with their breath and find acceptance with the moment, in a non-judgemental and non-competitive fashion. When balancing in Figure Four pose, they receive benefits of focus and concentrated energy on every breath in order to find stability. They build strength in the legs, gain flexibility in the hips, and build strength in the core. Most importantly, they access their inner strength, that encourages them to care for themselves, others, and live an authentic and courageous existence.

Check with your doctor before performing any form of exercise including yoga. Always honor your body. If a posture gives you pain, gently come out.

Namaste,
Christi Iacono
In Rhythms Yoga- Contact christi@inrhythmsyoga.com for more info. Go to
www.inrhythmsyoga.com for class schedule and privates.

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