3 WAYS TO DO DOWNWARD FACING DOG IN A CHAIR

I once heard a yoga instructor of mine call downward facing dog a "resting pose." Ha! I beg to differ. This pose is an energizing pose and is very physically demanding for the upper body. It strengthens the arms, shoulders and core muscles while lengthening the spine and stretching the hamstrings. It tones the digestive organs, and when done with the head supported, this pose can also relieve headaches and menstrual discomfort.

These chair variations are incredibly helpful if you have sensitive wrists, upper body weakness, headaches, dizziness, or balance issues. 

The first two standing variations are pretty similar, but the first one will give you more of an upper body stretch. The second variation, gives you a lower body stretch while allowing you to rest your head. This variation is especially beneficial for headaches.

The third chair variation allows you to support your entire body weight on the chair. You don't have to worry about balance at all, but you still get the benefits of the upper body stretch, lower back pain relief and benefits for the digestive system.

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DID YOU KNOW?

Spoonie Yoga Tribe members can get personalized feedback on their yoga poses as one of the perks of membership. For more info, click here.

Q+A: SHOULD YOU DO THE SAME YOGA POSES EVERY DAY?

This is a question I get a lot, but on social media, I don't really have the space to go into it fully. In today's video, I'm giving you the long answer to this question, and I hope it helps you to decide what is going to work best for you and your yoga practice.

If you don't want to watch the video, you can read the full transcript below...

Q: Should I do the same yoga poses every day?

A: To be honest, I really can’t make that decision for you. The answer to this question is going to depend on what your goals are and ultimately it’s going to have to be something that you decide for yourself as you get to know your body and what it needs. 

Some people like doing the same sequence of poses every day because it helps them to feel grounded. It gives them a sense of routine and safety. If your someone who has a lot of anxiety or nervous tension, this might be a good option for you. Having that consistency can be really soothing for mind and body. It can also be beneficial if you’re using your yoga practice as a sort of physical therapy to relieve pain. If you have pretty consistent lower back pain, it would make sense to do the same poses each day to target that area.

Other people like to practice a different sequence of poses every day in order to give their bodies a diverse and balanced practice. This can be a good option too. If you’re someone who has widespread globalized pain, this kind of unpredictable practice can be good for your body as it works to release muscle tension and fascia. But even within this type of practice you’ll see foundational poses like child’s pose, downward dog, and savasana anchoring the practice.

If you’re just starting out with yoga and it’s been awhile since you’ve stretched or exercised, I would recommend starting with just one yoga pose each day and gauging how the pose affects you. When you’re in the pose, how do you feel? Does your breath feel restricted? Do you feel energized? Or do you feel fatigued all of a sudden? Also ask yourself how you feel energetically. We store a lot of emotions in our bodies so sometimes when we practice yoga those emotions get released and if we’re not ready for it, it can feel really intense. So ask yourself how do I feel right now? Do I feel anxious in this pose? Do I feel sad? Is this an emotion I can consciously sit with? Can I breathe through it? Or is the sensation too strong for me to handle right now? Maybe I need to back off and visit this pose again later. 

There are no wrong answers to these questions.

It’s all about getting in tune with yourself and trusting your intuition. 

I know that at first this idea can seem really abstract. Like okay how do I actually connect with myself? How do I “listen to my body?” 

And this is actually what we’re going to be talking about in my yoga membership program this month. Really going deeper into the idea of connecting with the body and really getting in touch with our inner wisdom. If you’d like you can try a week free and see if the membership is something you’ll benefit from. I’ll leave a link in the description box below and I hope to see you there.

Become a Tribe member.

2 NEW WAYS TO DO SEATED FORWARD BEND (PASCHIMOTTANASANA)

Contrary to popular belief, Paschimottanasana (seated forward bend) is not about touching your toes or being able to tap your knees with your nose. It's actually about creating length, as much length as you possibly can, in your spine and in your hamstrings. There are so many different ways to modify this pose. You can check out some seated modifications here, but in today's post, I want to show you a couple new ways to get creative with this pose so that you can experience the best and most comfortable stretch for your body.

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Paschimottanasana comes with so many benefits, including:

  • massaging the internal organs and improving digestion
  • relieving lower back pain
  • soothing the nervous system
  • stretching the hamstrings and spine

If you're a chronic pain warrior, getting down to the floor to practice this pose may not be a possibility. You could opt to practice this pose in bed, which is a super gentle and restorative option. Or you could practice this pose in a chair for a more energetic practice...

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HOW TO PRACTICE PASCHIMOTTANASANA IN A CHAIR

To practice this variation, sit at the edge of a chair with the legs extended in front of you. The feet should be flexed, toes pointed toward the ceiling. You can rest your hands on your thighs or on two blocks. Sit up tall, lengthen the crown of your head away from your tail bone. Tilt your pelvis forward and pull the low belly in to protect your lower back and create additional length in your hamstrings. Keep your neck neutral. Shoulders away from your ears. Hold for ten deep breaths.

If you're struggling with symptoms that make it hard for you to sit upright, you could opt for a supine variation instead...

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HOW TO PRACTICE PASCHIMOTTANASANA LYING DOWN

For this variation, you will need a yoga strap. To come into this pose, lie flat on your back with your strap at the ready. Bend your knees into your chest and lasso both feet with your strap. Begin to extend your legs and reach the heels toward the sky. Make sure that your strap is long enough so that when you extend your legs, you can still keep your shoulder blades and elbows glued to the mat. This will prevent you from straining your neck. If there is a bend in your knees here, that's okay! 

Take ten deep breaths here and then release the hold. 

HOW DID IT GO?

If you tried either of these variations, I'd love to know how it went for you! Tag me on Instagram and use the hashtag #spoonieyogatribe in your photos for a chance to be featured on my page!