Yoga – headstand

headstand yogaglo Source: Yoga Glo

The headstand was the first inversion I learnt in yoga. Well technically, the downward dog is also an inversion but this is the first inversion in which my legs were off the ground. The headstand is also known as the Salamba Sirsasana. This move requires some fearlessness, a straight back and some core strength.

headstand yoga

Alicia demonstrates her headstand here. Her body is not fully straight but actually you get a lot of stability even if you’re not ramrod straight. She goes into her headstand from a pike (i.e. with legs extended out) but that requires quite a lot of core strength. I found that the easiest way is to tuck your legs into your body first, like so: Continue reading Yoga – headstand

Power yoga class at Yoga Movement

I tricked my friend into joining a yoga class with me yesterday.

We had been to yoga before. A year ago, I convinced him to try out Hot Yoga with me at True Yoga. I managed to get a one-week pass for him. Not only did we not complete the class, it was the first and only class in the entire week he attended.

There was a lot of sweating and slipping on the mat. There was no flow to the series, just a bunch of strange static movements that weren’t necessarily yoga poses. Needless to say, he didn’t enjoy the experience very much.

Since then, I have learnt my lesson. No more hot yoga for him. Singapore was humid enough.

So it was with some apprehension that I sent him an email asking him to accompany me to Yoga Movement. It was going to be my first time there and I needed company, pretty please.

“Not a hot class!” I added in the email.

Yoga Movement has two outlets. We went to the older one at Carpenter Street, which was located just across The Central and close to Clarke Quay MRT. Service was great. We were supposed to arrive 15 minutes before class but we got lost looking for the entrance. We actually received a call from the receptionist asking if we were still attending the class as they were waiting for us. The big yoga studios would never call you asking where you were! Continue reading Power yoga class at Yoga Movement

Vinyasa and inversion workshop at Hom Yoga

hom yoga workshop

I took my first yoga workshop this Saturday at Hom Yoga. This is a boutique studio located on the 6th floor of Orchard Central (Somerset MRT) that specialises in hot yoga. The subject of this workshop, however, wasn’t hot yoga but vinyasa flow and inversions.

hom yoga vinyasa Continue reading Vinyasa and inversion workshop at Hom Yoga

Yoga – warrior 1

After our weekly Sunday hot yoga class, Alicia got down to demonstrating the Warrior 1 pose. In the Warrior sequence, there are three poses. This is Warrior I or Virabhadrasana I.

Warrior 1

Her Warrior I pose is accompanied by a very deep backbend. It is not necessary to arch so far back but it’s a good practice for backbends. Similar to most yoga poses, this requires alignment of the hips – both of them should face forward. The back leg should be strong and not bent. The back foot can either be off the ground like what Alicia is doing or grounded at a 45 degrees angle. Continue reading Yoga – warrior 1

Yoga – three-legged downward-facing dog

Phew, what a mouthful! This pose that I’m going to get Alicia to demonstrate today is called the three-legged downward-facing dog, or three-legged dog in short, or even one-legged dog. Eka Pada Adho Mukha Svanasana is the tongue twister if you want one.

third legged dog

This pose requires flexibility in the hamstrings and hip flexors. Notice how her back foot is grounded into the floor and she is pushing deeply with her hands. Also important is the hips and shoulders must remain square, i.e. one side of the body shouldn’t be lifted higher than the other.

I will now show you what YOU SHOULD NOT DO in three-legged dog.

three legged downward dog

This is my three-legged dog. This is a common mistake made by inflexible people like me who try to lift their leg as high as possible. What happens is that my right hip is twisted and raised higher than my left hip. My body is no longer aligned. My right knee isn’t facing the ground. I should have lowered my leg and concentrate on my hip and back rather than trying to force the height.

Today at yoga class, I told Alicia, “Okay, now take a photo of me. This is the yoga fail version of your pose.”

“Don’t call it yoga fail… Just say it’s the getting-there photo.”

She was being kind but I shall agree with her and say I’m getting there.

I found a good graphic showing how to get into this pose. As you can see, the hips should be of equal height and the knee should face downwards.

1001-down-dog-splitSource: Women’s Health Mag

If you would like to check out more of our yoga antics, click here.

Yoga – front splits

Front splits

After a good body combat workout session last night, I asked Alicia to demonstrate her front splits. The front split, in yoga speak, is also known as monkey pose or Hanumanasana. In one yoga class that I went to, the teacher told us to get into our “monkey pose” and we all returned her instruction with blank stares. Since then, I knew what the monkey pose was, although I beg to disagree how Alicia looks like a monkey here. If you recall, she also demonstrated the Dancer’s pose in another post.

Once this is mastered, there are variations that can be added to the split, including backbends:

Front splits backbend

A more challenging pose would be to grab the toes of the back leg, which pushes the back thigh deeper into the mat:

Monkey pose

In contrast, this is my current progress. I still have a long way more to go. Splits are one of those things that I’ve always wanted to achieve and it takes daily hard work of practising – something I’ve clearly failed at!

CYMERA_20130601_104401

I had a very good yoga teacher called Brenda who has since left Singapore to work in the US. She told me that once I’m down to my maximum split, I should lean forward until my belly touches my front thigh and hold the pose for a while. Then I should lean backwards into a slightly backbend to get a stretch for my back leg. Essentially, it’s shifting my weight back and forth to put pressure on the front and back legs, which would help me get down quicker.

I like this video from Yogi Juls that explains how to get into the splits.

Yoga – dancer’s pose

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Source: Nina Dobrev

Nina Dobrev, one of my favourite actresses, is also apparently an accomplished yogini. Here is a recent photo of her (pictured on the right) holding a Dancer’s pose, also known as the Natarajasan.

Now I’m not sure if being paleo has anything to do with yoga but I really enjoy practising yoga and have been trying to increase my flexibility for the longest time. I’ve been really lazy about it because it’s so painful to train. But for the past two years, I’ve been making new year resolutions to be flexible enough to do a split and have never reached that goal. I’ve gotten more flexible ever since I started yoga, yes, but the progress has been excruciatingly slow.

Dancer's pose

Here’s my Dancer’s pose. Terrible, I know. This pose requires both hamstring and spine flexibility, both of which I lack.

Dancer's pose

This is my good friend Alicia, who is also my yoga inspiration. Her Dancer’s pose is incredible as you can see. Her leg is nearly straight. I suppose she is even more flexible than Nina Dobrev! On a side note, Alicia’s sister Michelle has an interesting blog about travel and life in Singapore if you’re interested to visit.

I’m going to revisit this pose in a couple of months to see if I’ve made any improvements.