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  • Dr. John Bohlmann, N.D.

Strike a Pose for Health (5)

It's time to introduce our 4th pose. If you've been practicing the previous poses as suggested, you have likely experienced the challenges of holding a pose for longer than 30-45 seconds at a time. There is a tendency to get a little bored, frustrated, or fatigued after the first minute causing your mind to get stirred up in the subsequent 4 minutes of practicing the pose. You may have experienced a strong urge to just skip the last couple of minutes altogether, so you could jump into the activity or task that your mind decided was more enticing than the yoga pose. It's this urge that yoga is meant to help you control. Discipline of the body begins with discipline of the mind. A focused mind will help you connect with what you truly desire in life, so using this practice to direct the mind can benefit you in all areas of life.

Before introducing the next pose let me start with the same general ideas for you to consider that were proposed in the last pose.

  • Practice only if you choose to do so and if you feel healthy enough to do so.

  • You might want to follow the linked video showing you how to get into the pose if you've never done it before

  • Allow 5 minutes of uninterrupted time to experience the pose

  • Practice barefoot if possible and on a firm surface

  • Maintain the pose for the entire 5 minutes if possible. Rest only if needed and make subtle adjustments along the way to explore your body's capabilities within the pose.

  • Plan to do your pose once in the morning and once in the evening for 3 consecutive days

  • Pain is not a call to "push through". Stop and rest if there's pain

  • It might even be worthwhile to keep a notebook handy to jot down any insights gained during your practice.

  • You may experience different emotions during your practice. Let them come to light so you can determine how they are contributing to the creation of your life (positively or not). Happiness always serves your best interest! Boredom is the indication that you are not engaged in the practice.

  • Pay attention throughout your day to see where your pose practice supports your activities (movements or thought processes)

Now to introduce our fourth poses:

Extended Side-Angle Pose

Extended side-angle pose is similar to warrior 2 pose but becomes more challenging due to the twist and lunge involved. Once again this is a sided pose and you will be changing positions in the middle of your practice.

I like this pose because it improves hips mobility, encourages good core muscle balance and helps release tension from the upper back, neck and arms. It's one of the poses I use to unwind before bed each night and it does wonders for encouraging restful sleep.

Getting into extended side-angle pose:

  1. Set your timer for 2-1/2 minutes (you're going to practice both the left and right sides for a total of 5 minutes)

  2. Stretch your arms and hands out to the sides at shoulder level

  3. Step your feet wide so they are beneath your hands

Begin on the right side by turning your right foot out so your toes point to the right.

  1. Turn your left foot slightly to the right (maybe 45 degrees)

  2. Bend the right knee to 90 degrees while keeping the left leg straight and the left foot fully grounded.

  3. Lean over resting your right arm on your right knee, and take a moment to make sure your feet stay grounded.

  4. Now slide your right hand down to the floor inside the leg and plant your palm on the ground.

  5. Begin the twist by turning your head to the left then continue to twist all the way down your spine to your hips

  6. Finally, reach your left hand up to the ceiling, extending as far as you can without pain.

  7. Breathe easy!

While in extended side-angle pose:

  1. Tune in to your breath cycle. A steady and complete breath cycle is necessary for optimal oxygenation of your cells

  2. Find a balance between effort and ease. Don't over-twist trying to "force" the pose.

Switching positions:

  1. Begin releasing the pose by bringing your arm down - untwisting the spine

  2. Take a deep breath in and begin to stand

  3. Exhale and stand up tall

  4. Turn both feet back to parallel while bringing them together.

  5. Repeat the steps above only turn the left foot to face the left and turn the right foot 45 degrees to the left.

  6. This time the left knee will bend, your left hand will be on the floor and your right hand will be extending to the ceiling.

To come out of extended side-angle pose:

  1. Begin releasing the pose by bringing your arm down - untwisting the spine

  2. Take a deep breath in and begin to stand

  3. Exhale and stand up tall bringing the feet together.

  4. Take another complete breath in and out to anchor your experience into your body and go about your day!

Here's a basic video showing extended side-angle pose being performed.

Enjoy this pose for now and I'll be introducing a new pose in a few days!

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