Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose)

Lain’s Notes:

I use a strap, since I normally feel tension in my shoulders, also my hips don’t allow for both feet on the ground as of yet. This pose feels very nice when I’ve been on the computer too long in a day.

“Yoga 4 Love’s Big Book of Yoga Postures” Lisa Ware E-RYT 500:

muka=face

Stretches the ankles, hips and thighs, shoulders, armpits and triceps, and chest.

“The Key Muscles of Yoga” Ray Long MD:

“The upper arm stretches the lower fibers of the pectoralis major. The pectoralis minor contracts, drawing the scapula of the lower arm forward. The rhomboids of the lower arm contract to stabilize the scapula, lifting the ribcage. Eccentrically contracting the upper arm pectoralis major facilitates this stretch.”

External rotation of the shoulder girdle & upper arms.

“The upper arm infraspinatus contracts, stretching the subscapularis. The lower arm subscapularis contracts, stretching the infraspinatus.”

“The Complete Book of Vinyasa Yoga” Srivatsa Ramaswami:

Keep your palms on your feet and keep your back straight. Stay in pose for six long breaths. Switch legs to keep symmetry.

(this version does not have hands binded behind the back)

“Healing Yoga” Swami Ambikananda

“What the hands are engaged in directly impacts on the heart, and what the heart feels impacts on the hands.”

Legs in front, bending one leg and place heel alongside the opposite buttock. Bend other leg and place it on top of bent one. Reach up on arm on the side of the top leg, read around and up between the shoulder blades with opposite arm. Bind.

Use strap if the posture forces your head forward.

Janu Sirsasana (Head to Knee)

“Yoga 4 Love’s Big Book of Yoga Postures” Lisa Ware E-RYT 500:

janu=knee sirsa=head

Calms the brain, stretches spine, shoulders, hamstrings, and groin. Stimulates the liver and kidneys, and improves digestion.

Use a blanket under the knee if injured.

“The Key Muscles of Yoga” Ray Long MD:

“The gluteus medius contracts and abducts the bent leg…Anterior fibers also medially rotate the thigh, protecting the knee.”

“The Complete Book of Vinyasa Yoga” Srivatsa Ramaswami:

Bend forward, hold your foot with both hands and place your forehead on your knee or further down the shin.

“Healing Yoga” Swami Ambikananda

Direct breath to the back. The muscles of the lower back will expand as you breathe in and contract as you breathe out.

Bend one knee and place heel into groin. Raise arms overhead. Pivot forward from the hips, extending arms and body down the outstretched leg. Release all effort and yield to gravity.

“Yoga Body: Anatomy, Kinesiology, and Asana” Judith Hanson Lasater PhD:

“This pose is an asymmetrical one and therefore can cause torque at the sacroiliac joint…create the forward bend not by bending over her straight leg but rather by reaching and bending forward from the bent knee side ilium, thus reducing the torque over her SI joint.”

Svarga Dvidasana (Bird of Paradise)

Almost fell….multiple times haha

Lain’s Personal Notes:

This pose looks very intimidating and I can’t properly hold the bind myself (I used a strap) but that doesn’t mean I won’t attempt it. One day I might master it, or I may not. The fun is in trying!

“Yoga 4 Love’s Big Book of Yoga Postures” Lisa Ware E-RYT 500:

Begin in bound extended side angle pose. Step back foot forward so feet are parallel at the front of the mat. Bring yourself up to standing, keeping the bind. Extend the bound leg into a straight position when steady. You can use a strap instead of binding with your hands.

“YogaJournal.com ‘Bird of Paradise: 5 Steps to Master this Standing Pose'” YJ Editors

 How to get into this pose:

Start in Warrior Pose II -> Baddha Utthita Parsvakonasana Bound Extended Side Angle Pose -> Baddha Uttanasana Bound Standing Forward Bend -> Svarga Dvijasana variation—Bird of Paradise with a bent leg -> Bird of Paradise

Dhanurasana ( Bow Pose)

“Yoga 4 Love’s Big Book of Yoga Postures” Lisa Ware E-RYT 500:

dhanu= bow

Mimics the shape of a bow with its strings stretched back ready to shoot an arrow.

Stimulates the organs of the abdomen and neck. Stretches entire front of the body. Increase the challenge by performing the pose with your thighs, calves, and inner feet touching. If it isn’t possible to hold your ankles, wrap a strap around the fronts of your ankles and hold the free ends keeping your arm fully extended.

“The Complete Book of Vinyasa Yoga” Srivatsa Ramaswami:

While exhaling bend both your knees and catch your ankles with the respective hands. Then while inhaling raise your head and chest, and pull both your legs up with your hands.

“Chakra Meditation” Swami Saradananda

Help to open your heart Chakra. Aim your legs as high as possible. Look up and hold for 30 seconds, then relax. Repeat 2-3 times.

“The Heart of Yoga” T.K.V. Desikachar

It is essential to rest between an intense back bend such as bow. We have to give ourselves this rest even if we do not feel the need for it. It gives us the opportunity to feel the effects of the posture and allows the muscles time to return to their balanced state.

“Healing Yoga” Swami Ambikananda

This posture acts powerfully on the psoas muscle. Important to stretch the quadriceps before attempting this pose. Careful not to let your shoulders crunch up around your ears. Keep the back of your neck lengthened by looking straight ahead rather than upwards.

Tadasana (Mountain Pose)

Lain’s Posture Diary: I have decided that in order to really remember what I’m learning in my training with the Yoga 4 Love program, I want to put all of the interesting bits from the books for each pose in a little blog entry, along with a photo of myself. I will site my sources at the beginning of each section.

“Yoga 4 Love’s Big Book of Yoga Postures” Lisa Ware E-RYT 500:

tada=mountain

Benefits: Improves posture, relieves sciatica, reduces flat feet.

Variations: arms upward, interlacing fingers and extend them straight in from of torso, cross arms behind back.

“The Key Muscles of Yoga” Ray Long MD:

The erector spinae and quadratus lumborum lift and straighten the spine in Tadasana. Increase the lung volume during inhalation by contracting the accessory breathing muscles in various combinations.

“The Complete Book of Vinyasa Yoga” Srivatsa Ramaswami:

The first pose, known as the hill pose, posture that lends itself to a variety of vinyasa sequences. Exercise the entire body. When practiced regularly, tadasana will instill a good sense of balance and mental calm.

Both feet together, ankle bones touching. The muscles in lower extremities should all be relaxed. Knees relaxed but not bent. Lift the chest slightly, and bring shoulder blades together

“Relax & Renew, Restful Yoga for Stressful Times” Judith Lasater PhD:

Standing Well: Mountain Pose

Standing in the postural awareness. Like the mountain poised between heaven and earth, this pose establishes a foundation through the legs and feet and encourages the lift of the spine.

Stand with feet hip-width apart. Adjust the pelvis so that it sits exactly over the tops of the thighs. No “locking the knees”. Eyes should be level with the horizon . Your legs should feel active but not tight.

It gives the practitioner confidence, and conveys a sense of poise and self-esteem.