Monday, January 5, 2015

In Rhythms Yoga: Monday Morning Heron Pose

Move into Heron Pose, Krounchasana, and receive the benefits of opening in the area of the hamstrings, the hips, and in the soles of the feet while extending and strengthening through the muscles of the spine. “Krouncha” in sanskrit is a heron and “asana” is a pose. While moving into the posture, focus on the breath and keeping the chest and heart space lifted rather than allowing the back to round.


In preparation for Krounchasana: move through a few rounds of Sun Salutations, Surya Namaskara in order to warm-up the body. For step-by-step instructions, click here. Focus on accentuating the breath with every movement.

To move into Krounchasana: start by sitting in Dandasana. For step-by-step instructions to move into Dandasana pose, click here. Come to a seat with both feet extended. On an inhale breath, lift the chest and on an exhale, draw the shoulder blades down the back, palms are resting at the sides.

Move into Ardha Virasana, Half Hero Pose. Bend the right knee and place the foot to the outside of the right hip with all five toes facing downward, touching the ground. If this is too much on the right knee, come to sit on a block or blankets.

Use props in order to support the pose. Sit on a block or blankets or use a strap around the sole of the foot. Place the weight of the leg on a chair for support or place the heel up against the wall to assist in the pose. Explore what works best in your body and find whatever variation helps to best serve the body, mind and breath.

Make sure the sitting bones, the Ischial Tuberosity, are both touching the ground. Draw the knees together. If the knees splay out to the sides, sit on a block for support. Bend the left knee and bring the sole of the foot to the ground in front of the left sitting bone. Place both hands to the outside edges of the left foot. For support, use a strap wrapped around the sole of the foot. Grasp the strap with both hands as close to the foot as possible.

On an inhale breath, begin to straighten and lift the left foot as high as the leg can comfortably go without creating any strain in the muscles of the legs. Keep the sitting bones grounded by extending the tailbone down and keep lifting the chest, the sternum, up towards the ceiling. Continue to extend through the spine rather than allowing it to round. Explore the different hand variations. Grab for the outside edges of the feet or for more of a challenge, grasp onto the wrist.

On an inhale breath, draw the chin towards the shin and lift and expand through the area of the collarbones. Continue to press energy through the left heel and allow time for the muscles of the leg to release tightness and allow for more opening. Stay here and breathe, for 3-5 full-rounds of breath. Create long and smooth inhales and exhales.

Repeat the same instructions on the opposite side.

Notice how we use the breath as a tool to soften in the pose. In each and every yoga posture, we have the opportunity to grow by pushing ourselves to our own edge (with compassion and mindfulness). The breath is an indicator of whether or not we are creating balance in the body. If the breath becomes labored, back-off and re-align the breath and body to find equilibrium.

Notice how you feel. Bring more awareness to the body and mind. Practice being more present in your day-to-day life.

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

Namaste,
Christi Iacono, owner of In Rhythms Yoga

Christi Iacono is a certified yoga teacher, at the 500 hour level. She is the owner of In Rhythms Yoga, in Clairemont. IRY is a small neighborhood studio in Clairemont, S.D., located in the Mount Streets. Christi guides adults, kids and families in the tradition of yoga. Christi has experienced many positive physical and mental transformations from her regular yoga practice. She enjoys sharing her experience, passion, and dedication with her students. She believes that yoga is accessible to all. Rather than forcing someone’s body into a pose, Christi carefully works with each individual to find the variation that will best serve their body.

IRY offers regularly scheduled vinyasa and yin-based classes on, Sat., Sun. (Yin-Yoga) and Wed. mornings as well as a Tues. evening class.
Go to www.inrhythmsyoga.com to see the full schedule, instructors and for private lessons.

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