Ok okayyy…..yea yea so we’ve done a post about yoga before. And guess what…it’s good for you! For your mind, your body, and your spirit! Yoga lowers your stress level, and lifts your spirits….and some other things as well ;). But let’s get straight to business and the point of this post. You already know yoga is good for you. So what? Let’s move forward. Let’s move on to a challenge.
Yoga means union in Sanskrit, the original Vedic language of India. There are many forms of yoga and the discipline itself dates back thousands of years. Hatha yoga focuses on the union of left and right for physical and mental harmony that can serve as a base for meditation and other forms of internal yoga.
Miss Strong is going to be introducing a weekly Yoga Challenge. Every week, I am going to post my challenge posture for you to learn, try, master, or simply try and pronounce. The second part of the challenge is that you’re doing it…and Miss Strong wants to see you doing it. Post a picture to our Facebook page or email it to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll add you to the Miss Strong community. Challenge yourself. Let’s grow and push ourselves together.
Your first one? Natarajasana…yes, say that one out loud. “Natarajasana” can be broken down into several words. “Nata” means “dancer” and “raja” means “king/lord”. “Asana” means “pose”. So there you go! Dancing King Pose, inspired by the Hindu god Shiva. Shiva is also known as Nataraj, and is known as the lord of dance.
WHY IT’S AWESOME: This is a great pose for balance and concentration while also opening up the hips and toning the legs and glutes. And we definitely care about that, right?! It stretches the thighs and abs, improves posture, releases stress, and helps to reduce weight.
HOW TO DO IT:
1. Find your center and ground yourself in Tadasana, or mountain pose (both feet on the ground, equally distributed weight.) Find a point to focus on, and transfer your weight to your left leg.
2. Bend your right leg back at the knee, bringing your boot towards your booty, and grab the inside of your foot or ankle on an inhale with your right arm. Balance and align yourself.
FOR BEGINNERS: Hang out here. Don’t try to immediately raise your leg higher. This is a pose that takes flexibility, and if you haven’t stretched a lot before and need to work on balance, you can get hurt pushing to far too fast. Hold this pose for 5 breathes.
3. IF YOU ARE READY: Extend your left arm forward, while still holding your right foot with a right bent leg. Close your eyes. Feel stable.
4. When you are ready, gently begin to lengthen the back arm while raising the back leg and expanding your chest, leaning slightly forward. A good way to think of this, is to think of pushing your right foot away from you. Use the right arm that is grasping your foot, to very gently help lift your leg higher. Hold. Breathe. Inhale. Exhale. Be gentle and be grounded.
5. Hold this pose for 5 breathes, and gently release.
MODIFICATIONS: If you can’t quite reach your ankle or foot, try using a yoga strap or even a towel. Wrap is around the top of your foot, bend your knee, and come into the same pose, but hold onto the strap or both ends of the towel.
And here, is a wonderfully helpful video! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LTleU90H9hs
There is a happy dancer in all of us. Here’s to being happy, strong and free.
Until next week,