Intro to Hatha Yoga
I know you but you might not know me, my name is Katherine, I am the Web Editor and tweeter behind the tweets, if you will, at Pure Green Magazine. I am also a 500-Hour Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) of Hatha-Alignment Yoga.
I’ve extensively studied kinesiology, teaching methodologies, anatomy, yoga sequencing, and a specific lineage of philosophy called, Srividya Tantra which is the bedrock and unshakeable foundation of my yoga practice and teaching. I am so unbelievably thrilled to be penning this series of articles and to have the chance to teach and share bit by bit some truly helpful and powerful yoga poses, practicums and techniques.
BEFORE WE GET STARTED, let me give you more of an introduction. I first began practicing as a means of connection...a greater search for “more” of myself. What I discovered along the way was that there wasn’t necessarily something new to find but a greater understanding and deeper recognition of what was already there. Of course, there is always more to find, to know and to learn about ourselves but I hold firmly to the belief that cultivating a sense of recognition, honor and respect for what you already have is the most empowering place to start.
So, what you can expect to find here, is the way in which I see yoga as both a practice and a discipline. Although we will repeat many of the same actions over and over again you will also begin to develop and hone a very specific set of skills. You will begin to employ nuance to your gross outer form while at the sometime becoming acutely aware of the subtlety within your cognitive self. Simply put, we will practice yoga as the ritual of what our body already does. It is a beautiful, arduous and dazzling observation and engagement with our perfect design and I invite you to start from the premise that you are already powerful, that you have everything you need and to commit wholeheartedly to practicing from that perspective even though you may waver and most certainly falter. This practice is a process and I am truly delighted to be with you here.
SUPTA BADDHA KONASANA
I’d like to begin this series with one of my favorite restorative poses, Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) which can easily be done in the comfort of your own home. To get the most out of this pose I’d recommend finding a private and quiet area where you are less likely to be disturbed.
Supta Baddha Konasana is a pose that relaxes the Central Nervous System (CNS) and encourages the Parasympathetic Nervous System (PSN) to kick in so that you can feel a sense of relief, calm, and revitalization.
Being in this pose also helps to stimulate blood flow to your digestive organs, endocrine glands and pelvis and helps to your lower heart rate and blood pressure due to this more relaxed state.
I am particularly fond of restorative postures because of its incredible psychosomatic effects. And if you are new to yoga I’d also add that being in a more passive and supported pose like Supta Baddha Konasana, you are able to experience what it feels like to be in your body, a sensation that may at first feel different and perhaps even slightly foreign or uncomfortable.
Re-establishing a connection to your body through awareness is a powerful tool and something that allows your body-mind to function and self-regulate in the way it was intended to.
To begin, you will need to use props.
A bolster is ideal however you can certainly use blankets instead. If you are using blankets fold two or three (depending on size) to form a rectangle about 4 inches high and at least 3 feet long.
- Sit at the base of the bolster with your butt on the ground and lie back.
- Place the soles of your feet together and let your knees fall out to the side.
- If you have lower back or hip pain and discomfort prop blankets, pillows or blocks of even height beneath your knees. If pain persists try lowering the height of the bolster.
- Women who are pregnant should make sure to raise the height of the bolster significantly, measure about a 30 degree angle off the floor and consider crossing your ankles in front of you to prevent overstretching your already very open pelvic floor muscles!
- Once you have found a comfortable position you can take it a step further by placing a towel or any other prop you have to cover your eyes. This will allow a much deeper relaxation and leave you feeling much more refreshed.
- Stay here for five to ten minutes and roll over to one side before sitting up.
Incorporating restorative poses like Supta Baddha Konasana into your regular practice is a great habit. It’s even better for when you’re feeling jittery, stressed, menstrual (!!!) or can’t sleep. (Here is a great article from Forbes.com if you would like to read more).
Please join me again as we deepen and explore more of Hatha Yoga and feel free to reach out with anything you'd like to see here or know more about: firstname.lastname@example.org.