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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone!<br><br><br><br>
Are there any yogis out there? I have been doing yoga on and off for the past 3 years, and there are still some darn poses that I just can't quite get. I started again last week after a break of about a year (my senior year in high school was just too hectic... I didn't have even a moment's spare time!) and my body is as unresponsive as ever. All the progress I had made in the more difficult poses has completely dissipated. Here are the poses that I am currently having difficulty with:<br><br><br><br>
Posterior Stretching Pose: This is the one where you have to lean forward and grab your big toe. At the height of my yogi days I could grab my ankle, but right now, I am really embarrassed to say that I can only go a little bit past my knee and go no further. Any tips for this one?<br><br><br><br>
Plow: Your legs have to be straight as they go over your head and then touch the ground behind your head. I have never been able to accomplish this one. I think it is because of my extreme difficulty in keeping my legs straight. I have been doing this for three days now, and I can't see behind my head, but even when I feel like I am doing the best I could possibly do, I am still a foot or two above the ground. Well, at least I'm keeping my legs straight, lol! But I always feel as though if I were to try and go a bit farther backward I would end up toppling over.<br><br><br><br>
And then the head stand. I haven't even attempted this one recently. Even after 3 years of yoga (on and off, and never with a teacher) I have never been able to do it. I'll probably have to wait till I get a teacher before I even attempt this again.<br><br><br><br>
Any ideas anyone? I would greatly appreciate any feedback!<br><br><br><br>
Oh, and on a happier note, my meditation is going really well. I started on Sunday I think, and I have been able to go for 5-6 minutes each day. And I always feel so wonderful afterwards. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/grin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":D">
 

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I always do best in the Posterior Stretching pose when I have had a really through warm up (compared to if I just do the pose with no warm up at all). I think practice is just the key for that one- continue doing your yoga, and you will probably become more flexible over time (back to your original flexibility). As for the head stand, perhaps just do a shoulder stand? It's still a very beneficial pose. I think some poses just come naturally to some more than others.
 

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pachimottanasana is the sanskrit name for 'intense east stretch' or seated forward bend. work on downward facing dog (adho muka svanasana), head-to-knee pose (janu sirsasana), and staff pose (dandhasana). work on tailbone alignment/direction. bent knees are a good idea too.<br><br><br><br>
do plow (halasana) modified with a chair. bring the feet onto a chair, or walk them down a wall.<br><br><br><br>
which headstand are you looking to try? sirsasanan 1 or 2? one is more difficult than 2. 2 is tripod headstand where you press into your palms and your hands and head are in a triangle formation. you shuld be able to see your fingertips. Working from kakasana/bakasana (crow/crane) will help build the strength and balance for headstands.
 

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My advice is don't take a year off<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)"> I just took a yoga class after about 3 years from taking a class. I have to say I felt a little tight as well. However, after to days of stretching sessions, I have about 75% of my flexibility back. I hope I will be back to 100% in a couple weeks.<br><br><br><br>
Like Nicky, I make sure I am warmed up before session. I usually do enough cardio to be make sweating, then I stretch for 15 or 20 minutes. Helps a great deal. Plus, I don't get those dang charlie horses in class.<br><br><br><br>
Just keep at it and you will be grateful to yourself when you are 80 years old and dancing.
 

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headstands are really something that you should practice with a teacher, but as yo have limited hamstring flexability you should really work on that first. headstands require a lot of core strength and loose hammys. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)"><br><br><br><br>
I concur with the warming up before doing instense stretches. and don't push yourself. hamstring injures are the worst.<br><br><br><br>
in yoga, slow and steady is the key.
 

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It sounds to me like you're missing some basic stretching exercises. For instance, I'm an avid hockey goaltender, so I'm incredibly flexible. I was teaching a goalie camp for the past two weeks, and each day I led the stretch for both groups of goaltenders. I'm naturally flexible, but I did work at some of it when I was in my teens (and Yoga, with the mute on, was awesome for this). Fortunately, all of it has stayed. But leading the stretches every day made me INCREDIBLY sore. I learned two things:<br><br><br><br>
1. I need to do this regularly. Even if you're doing Yoga on and off, at the very least try to do some stretching every other day. This will keep your flexibility up and lead you into those hard-to-do stretches.<br><br><br><br>
2. Try to stick with it. Really, honestly try to stick with the routine. Whether it's getting in a class or doing it at home, keep going! If you can't do what you once could, that means you're losing the flexibility you gained (obviously). You're missing those old stretches you used to do, and you might be trying to get into too difficult of stretching when you should really just start over.<br><br><br><br>
I stopped doing my stretching after I stopped extremely competitive hockey playing, and so my body isn't used to doing so many stretches. Had I kept with, at minimum, trying to stretch every day, I would have felt a lot better after the camp, haha!<br><br><br><br>
Anyway, hope any of that helps you!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks, everyone, for your very helpful advice!<br><br><br><br>
Nicky, you are right about practice. I think I just have to keep at it, slowly and patiently, until I become more flexible. I am able to do a shoulder stand and really love that pose, but hope that I will be able to master the head stand one day, too!<br><br><br><br>
Zoebird, thank you for the advice. I will work on the poses that you suggested, and will definitely try halasana with a chair or wall. I hadn't heard of the two different headstands being described as 1 and 2, but from your description it sounds like I am trying to do 1.<br><br><br><br>
Ducati, you are absolutely right in that I shouldn't have taken a year off! However, I just couldn't avoid it. Every minute of every day, including weekends and holidays, was taken up by work! Hopefully I won't have that problem anymore, from now on. I think it sounds like I just need to practice a lot and build up my strength. Unfortunately, I don't like cardio exercises (I know that sounds a bit silly)... I wonder what other warmups I can do?<br><br><br><br>
Purrpelle, thanks for your thoughts. I really do have unflexible hamstrings. I always have! I'm not really sure what to do to strengthen them up, but I will research around and see if I can find something. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)"><br><br><br><br>
Concept, I don't warm up at all before beginning yoga. I actually never heard of it, before reading this thread! No one ever told me that you needed to warm up, because the exercises themselves are quite basic stretching exercises (aren't they? <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/huh.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":confused:"> ). Have you got any suggestions as to what stretching exercises I might do before beginning yoga?
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Leia</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
Thanks, everyone, for your very helpful advice!<br><br><br><br>
Nicky, you are right about practice. I think I just have to keep at it, slowly and patiently, until I become more flexible. I am able to do a shoulder stand and really love that pose, but hope that I will be able to master the head stand one day, too!<br><br><br><br>
Zoebird, thank you for the advice. I will work on the poses that you suggested, and will definitely try halasana with a chair or wall. I hadn't heard of the two different headstands being described as 1 and 2, but from your description it sounds like I am trying to do 1.<br><br><br><br>
Ducati, you are absolutely right in that I shouldn't have taken a year off! However, I just couldn't avoid it. Every minute of every day, including weekends and holidays, was taken up by work! Hopefully I won't have that problem anymore, from now on. I think it sounds like I just need to practice a lot and build up my strength. Unfortunately, I don't like cardio exercises (I know that sounds a bit silly)... I wonder what other warmups I can do?<br><br><br><br>
Purrpelle, thanks for your thoughts. I really do have unflexible hamstrings. I always have! I'm not really sure what to do to strengthen them up, but I will research around and see if I can find something. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)"><br><br><br><br>
Concept, I don't warm up at all before beginning yoga. I actually never heard of it, before reading this thread! No one ever told me that you needed to warm up, because the exercises themselves are quite basic stretching exercises (aren't they? <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/huh.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":confused:"> ). Have you got any suggestions as to what stretching exercises I might do before beginning yoga?</div>
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Sun salutations will warm you up. and just stretch consistantly and you will loosen up the hammys. a good flow is Incline Plank to Forward Bend, the Incline Plank tightens, warms and strengthins the hams and the forward bend stretches.<br><br><br><br>
I start with 3 breaths in IP and 3 breaths in FB, then 5 breaths, then 8, then repeat.<br><br><br><br>
table is a good alternative to IP if you lack upper body strength. you can PM me if you have questions.<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/bow.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":bow:">
 

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The person above does have a good recommendation for warming up. Just do some very easy warm up stretches like trying to touch your toes, stretch your back out very good, and make sure to get a full rotation of the arm joints. That should be it, but it will loosen you up enough to do the stretches, and, more importantly, hold the stretches during yoga.
 

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mmm, I think a warm up should consist of at least 15 minutes of Sun Salutations.<br><br><br><br>
concept, i think that what you are suggesting may not be enough to warm up the muscles sufficiently for stretching.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thank you for your advice everyone! I will try out your suggestions <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)">.
 

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'warm up' stretches include modified forward bend (generally called rag doll with bent knees and relaxed arms and shoulders), modified downward dog (again, bent knees), cat stretches, and perhaps a gentle crescent lunge. then, move into sun sals, and then into the 'body' of your practice. you have to ease into yoga poses, you use yoga to warm up for yoga.
 

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Some poses I look very good in. Some poses I've been working on for three years and don't get it. Of course, I probably should practice more, but I have to realize that my body is unique to me and I may not be able to do every single pose I desire to perfection.<br><br><br><br>
I can do a pretty mean backbend, and I look very good in "eagle's pose" and can twist fairly well. But when it comes to forward folds, staph pose, or others that require a flat spine while bending at the waist, my lower back simply will not cooperate. I do o.k. but I'm not where I think I should be after 3 years. But that just might be my particular spine - it does good backwards and not forwards.<br><br><br><br>
I think we have to be satisfied with the baby steps we can take, keep trying to peel at the layers of resistance, but also accept ourselves and our limitations. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)">
 

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Discussion Starter #14
<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Tweety</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
But that just might be my particular spine - it does good backwards and not forwards.</div>
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Me TOO! I think I've got a funny spine though. It arches a lot in the lower part, so I can't lie flat without getting a terrible back ache. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/undecided.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":-/">
 

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flat spine while bending from the hips. bending from the waist is going to bend the mid and lower back. that's the way we're constructed.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>zoebird</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
flat spine while bending from the hips. bending from the waist is going to bend the mid and lower back. that's the way we're constructed.</div>
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Just to clarify, when I said "waist" I really meant bending at the hips with a flat total spine. In my mind there was no difference, but when I think, duh, there is and I appreciate you pointing that out.<br><br><br><br>
It may be the way our bodies are designed but it's personally the hardest pose for my body.<br><br><br><br>
My original point remains. Accept your body, work to improve, but accept your bodies limitations and as mama used to say "if it don't fit, don't force it".
 

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being clear about which body part you mean helps clarify what the issue is in the pose.<br><br><br><br>
when i read 'while bending at the waist' it said to me 'of course her back isn't flat--it can't be in that position. which is why i assumed, then, that yuo meant 'hips.'<br><br><br><br>
and yes, forward bends are difficult for a number of people for a variety of reasons: tight hamstrings, tight lower back (even if you can back bend, it doesn't mean your lower back isn't tight), tight hips. so, it's not unusual to have more 'backward' motion than forward.
 

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I finally did a full back bend tonight. I was so happy and Michelle, the instructor, was so proud, she clapped for me. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/blush.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":eek:"> I've been doing yoga on and off since 2002 and this was the first successful time ever. Plus, she had taught us a new relaxation pose on Monday which I love. The idea is that you are lying on a river bed. Prop a cushion or blanket under your knees, place another high blanket right at the curve of your back so your butt is firmly on the floor and your shoulders are pressing into the floor with your chest expanded outward, and finally a nice cushy blanket for your head. It's relaxing and it feels like a nice stretch too. A woman in my class was telling me that she was having asthma problems recently until she did that pose and she felt it fully opened her up.<br><br><br><br>
God, I LOVE Yoga! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/grin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":D">
 
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