When I tell people that I teach yoga, their reply is most often a variation on the following: “Oh. I really NEED to do yoga, but…,” followed by some explanation about a lack of time, childcare, flexibility, or money.
In a perfect world, people of all colors, shapes, sizes and abilities would have access to a yoga class that suits their needs This concept of a therapeutic, accessible style or yoga is a new one, but it is slowly replacing the more familiar image of super-bendy, spandex-wearing women.
So, you may be asking if yoga is right for you?
- Do you have a body? Then yes!
- Do you breathe? Yes again!
- Do you like the feeling of being more relaxed? Fantastic!
Welcome to yoga. If this is your first class, put on your stretchy pants (pajamas are completely acceptable yoga-attire) and roll out your mat.
In the coming weeks, I will present five asanas (the sanskrit word for “poses”). These should be safe and accessible for most bodies. However, if anything feels uncomfortable or panic-inducing, then by all means, stop. Yoga is a personal practice – not a competition – and physical/emotional pain is the opposite of what we’re trying to achieve here.
Apana’sana – This pose works with the energy around the belly, or apana. It is also called the wind-relieving pose. Don’t say I didn’t warn you! (wink, wink.)
Contraindications (or, reasons you should NOT try this):
- If you are in the 2nd or 3rd trimester of pregnancy, you could try a variation of this pose in a chair, but not on your back, please.
- It should go without saying that if you experience sharp pain in any area of your back or knees, then this may not be the best pose for you. Don’ worry – we’ll find another.
Let’s get started!
- Begin on your back, with your knees bent. You may wish to lay a folded blanket on top of your mat, for extra cushy-comfort.
- Lift your feet off the mat, bringing your knees towards your chest, with your feet relaxed.
- Place your hands on your knees, with your fingertips pointing towards your feet.
- Now, as you inhale, straighten your arms, moving your knees away from you.
- As you exhale, draw your knees closer toward your chest.
- Repeat as few or as many times as you like. Play with how this feels on your low back and hips, maybe close your eyes and notice how your energy-level changes.
Benefits of This Pose
- This pose is often excellent for those of us suffering with low back pain. It can help the muscles surrounding the low-back to relax.
- The gentle rock across the tailbone can also bring relief to folks with SI joint pain.
- And finally, this is an excellent pose for relieving belly-aches of all sorts. If you’re a mom or dad, you have likely used a similar technique on your baby.