Pose of the Month: Ardha Chandrasana – Half Moon

Pose of the Month: Ardha Chandrasana – Half Moon

By Jess Gruber Confession: When I first started practicing yoga, I absolutely hated this posture! I couldn’t balance, I didn’t have enough strength to lift my leg, I kept collapsing. Whenever the teacher cued it, I felt an unsteady sensation in my stomach, my jaw would clench, and my body would stiffen. Over time, I grew stronger in postures like the warriors and lunges, more flexible in wide legged forward fold, and more balanced in tree pose. Now, this is one of my favorite postures – it’s so dynamic, provides the ability to move through a variety of transitions, and no matter how many times I’ve practiced it, it’s still challenging. If you’ve been to my classes, you’ll know that this posture is a staple of my All Levels Classes! We play with transitioning in and out of this posture, consider the lines the body is making, all while elongating the body and allowing the breath to wave through the body with ease. Let’s try it! Grab a block, find an open wall, and take a few breaths or wiggles to open your breath and body in preparation to try something new/challenging! Step 1: Come to the wall and take a forward fold with soft knees and your right side against the wall. Take a few breaths here.   Step 2: Take a halfway lift with a strong core, elongated spine, and strong legs without locking your knees. Place the block in front of your right foot and bring your right hand to the block so that your wrist is underneath your shoulder. Creating strength and stability in your...
Pose of the Month: Ustrasana – Camel Pose

Pose of the Month: Ustrasana – Camel Pose

  Ustra – Camel; Asana – Pose or seat By: Juliana Cole, Yoga Instructor & Studio Manager, Yoga Heights   Hello, Yoga Heights community! How are you feeling? As you read this post, are you sitting or standing or lying down? Is your spine long, or are your shoulders hunched, or are you currently in a gentle backbend? I invite you to take a moment and check in with your body right now and notice how it feels. What adjustments can you make to feel a little bit better, if any, in this moment? Ok, take a minute to shuffle around and get comfy because we’re going to talk about your spine, and your spine in Ustrasana (camel pose).   After reading this sentence, close your eyes, inhale deeply through the nose, hold it in, release the breath slowly out of your mouth, and then open your eyes. Go!   I am pretty sure the majority of you reading this blog did some version of a chest opener/mini-backbend in order to release some tension in the shoulders. Why? Because the majority of us hold our stress in our shoulders and find that throughout the day, the fronts of our shoulders gradually roll towards one another and closer to our ears. It is rare, even for short people like me (I’m barely 5’2”), to be encouraged to repeatedly look up, stretching the fronts of our necks, arching the head back and bringing the sternum (the breastbone) to point towards the sky. Then we go to yoga class and hear sighs of relief and crackling bones as we start to roll...