Lord of the Fishes - Overview
Beginner: Lord of the Fishes is a challenging sequence. It is designed to teach you to "go with the flow," so bare that in mind as you attempt the postures. It doesn't matter how far you go into each posture, just breathe, be comfortable and enjoy! The breath body link is Lotus Link. Stretch arms overhead and cross the wrists on the inhale. Arms descend on the exhale and the elbows bend as the wrists and hands begin to open. Keep your shoulders low and body aligned as you move through the link. Advanced: Lord of the Fishes is invigorating and inspiring. Focus on expressing each pose fully. Use the deepening moments to check your alignment. Lift and open through the torso to keep the breath full. The Lotus Link will draw your attention to your hands, their grace, strength and fluidity. As you are comfortable with the timing of your breath, focus on using the energy from your center to lift the arms and provide graceful support to the hands as they express the unfurling of the lotus flower.
Beginner: Crouch is a great way for beginners to work on lengthening the spine and hamstrings while strengthening the legs and feet. If you cannot sink your heels all the way to the floor, try widening your stance, or use a prop or folded towel beneath your heels. Advanced: The advanced practitioner contines to benefit from the crouch position by focusing on really lengthening the spine and focusing on keeping all three bandhas lifted and engaged. Are your elbows pressing firmly into your knees? Keep your chin and shoulders down.
Beginner: Plough posture can be a challenge for a beginner yogi. Only go as far into the pose as you are comfortable. You can place a pillow behind your head and shoulders for comfort, and modify the pose by using a block, rolled towel or pillow under your hips for support. Don't overextend. In time, you will gain flexibility in your spine and find your expression of the pose. Advanced: Plough is a joy for the advanced yogi! Your body rolls back easily into the pose. Does your torso feel crushed? Lift from the tail and continue to lengthen through the spine as it curls over your head to create space for the chest and neck. Can you inch your toes back a little farther?
Seated Head to Knee Pose
Beginner: This is a great pose for a beginner to comfortably work on gaining flexibility in the spine and legs. Consider sitting on a pillow to help align the spine. If there is any pain in the hamstring of the extended leg, you can bend the knee to release that tension. Keep your neck long and reaching as you fold forward. Advanced: Advanced yogis can savor the ease and folding over the extended leg while seated on the floor in head to knee pose. If you can easily hold your foot, you can try reaching the extended arm past the foot to get a deeper stretch in the sides of the waist. When deepening in the pose, try to create a super straight line in the spine, and then sink that straight line back down along the extended leg.
Beginner: Sage twist is a wonderful way for beginner yogis to begin to gain flexibility in the spine while massaging the abdominal muscles. No need to overextend! Twist as far as you are comfortable and keep your ear in line with your shoulder. Sitting on a pillow can help keep your spine lifted and long in this posture. Advanced: Advanced yogis can continue to deepen in sage twist by inching the fingers and hand of the backward facing arm ever deeper into the spiral. Are you slouching? Don't crumble into the pose, lift up and out!
Beginner: Sage pose is a challenging one for the beginner yogi. If the hand placement is too difficult, just rest your hands along the floor, palms up and fingers pointing to the back. As you get more comfortable, you can work on wrapping your arms around the back body and clasping the hands. Advanced: The advanced yogi loves the fluid motion that accompanies the move into this sage pose! Keep the fluidity by deepening with the rhythm of your breath. As you lift the chest, straighten and lengthen the spine, then lower that line back down as you continue to reach the upper body towards the foot.