How is it Monday again?! I worked at a yoga studio most of the weekend as a Karma Yogi and took some really fantastic classes as well. The weather was absolutely perfect in Stockholm yesterday - sunny and 61 degrees. The whole city was out enjoying the warm air with smiles on their faces. I ran into some friends in Östermalm and joined them for a cocktail, sitting by the water. We could not get over the feeling of the sunshine on our skin. Divine.
Today in Asana on a Monday we will be diving into a most wonderful Yin pose: Bananasana. I am totally in love with this posture for a few reasons, the first being that it is called Bananasana. When you are in the posture, your body actually looks like a nice, ripe banana - how great is that!? Another reason I love this asana is because of the great side-body stretch that is allows.
I love balancing my Yang practice with some delicious Yin. Yang stretches and strengthens the muscles while Yin lengthens the fascia and other connective tissues. I have found that some days my body craves a vigorous, sweaty, powerful Vinyasa practice while other days I am aching for peace from a quiet Yin sequence. This discovery of the balance between Yin and Yang in my life and in my practice has lead me to an exciting opportunity in New York. As some of you know, Peppe and I will be returning to NYC for April, May and June (for various reasons). Fortunately, the timing works out perfectly to take on a mentorship with the beautiful and inspiring Kate Kuss at Pure Yoga! I could not be more thrilled for this next step in the journey and how it will benefit me as a teacher and in my own practice.
If you are going to be in New York between April 11th - June 27th, please come take my Ying/Yang class at Pure Yoga East on Saturdays from 2:30-3:45PM!!!
There will be some fun, flowing Vinayasa sequences paired with peaceful and opening Yin postures. Woohoo!!
Okay, back to Bananasana - because I know that you want to try this one before crawling into bed tonight. It is easy enough to get into but actually can be quite intense to hold for a long period of time. Yin is all about going to your edge and staying there. No need to let your ego seduce you into pushing past that edge - just find it and be there, explore how it feels, really experience the sensations in your body and in your mind. Bananasa provides the side body a stretch all the way from the IT-band to the tops of the ribcage.
Start by lying on your back with your legs straight out in front of you and your arms resting on the floor above your head. Clasp opposite elbows or hands together. Slowly, start to arch your arms and legs to the right - like a banana. As you arch, be sure to keep your hips and your glutes firmly on the mat. Come to your edge and stay there for awhile. Breathe. If you feel you can go a bit further after awhile, then do, but just to that next line of resistance then stop and breathe. To come out of the pose simply bring your arms and legs slowly back to center. Repeat on the left side as well and hold each side for 3-5 minutes.
I find it really helpful to keep my iPhone nearby and set a timer for each pose. That way, the mind is able to relax and let go instead of thinking about the time. You can also use the timer to ensure that you are doing a posture on each side (left and right) for the same amount of time. Remember the Peace Alarm Clock app that I told you about on Thursday? That app works well for timing Yin poses as well!
Here I am enjoying being a banana, exploring my limits in Bananasana:
That about wraps it up for this week's asana! Give Bananasana a try before bed tonight - I promise you won't regret it!