Thursday, September 8, 2016

Monkey, Moon, Moo: 4 Poses your Legs will Love

Love your legs because they love you.  If you’re fortunate, your legs transport you where ever you wish to go.  In tandem with your hips, your legs allow you to stand up, sit down and walk upright.   Your beautiful legs are truly a miracle.  Here are 4 fun poses your legs will love – along with playful designs by Yoga Teddy Bear and friends Yoga Cow, Yoga Monkey, Yoga Moon and others.  Give your legs some love!

1.  Hero Pose (Virasana)  (from Yoga TeddyBear: Warriors Coloring Book)

Sit on the floor with your legs folded underneath you.  There are many ways to accomplish this.  You might keep your knees together and your feet apart.  See if you can sit on the floor between your heels.  If this is too intense, sit on your heels.  If your knees complain, roll up a towel behind your knees to create space before you sit.  Finally, you can sit on yoga blocks, a bolster or a pillow.  Place your hands on your thighs and reach the top of your head upward so your spine is long and straight like a proud hero.  Breathe in slowly for one.  Breathe out for two.  Count to 10.

2.  Monkey Pose (Hanumanasana) or Half Monkey Pose (Ardha Hanumanasana) (from Yoga Teddy Bear &Friends Coloring Book)

From Hero Pose, slide one leg out in front of you like you’re sliding on a banana skin.  Sit on your back foot (Half Monkey), or try to stretch your back leg behind you like a monkey jumping from tree to tree (Monkey Pose).  Lift up your arms if you can.  Breathe in and breathe out 10 times.  Nice monkey moves!  Switch sides for an equal amount of time. 

3.  Crescent Moon Lunge (Anjaneyasana)  (from Yoga Teddy Bear:Moons, Stars & Earthly Delights Coloring Book)

From Monkey Pose, shift forward so that your hands frame your front foot.  You’ll feel a little stretch in the hip of your back leg. Put your hands on your front knee and straighten your arms so your spine curves like a crescent moon.  Reach your arms up and lean back a little more.  Flex your tummy to protect your lower back.  Reach toward the sky with your heart and look up at your hands. Hey, diddle, diddle... stay in the middle!  Then switch sides.

4.  Heron Pose (Krounchasana) (from Yoga Teddy Bear: Balance & Bend Coloring Book)
Return to Hero Pose. Sit tall and step one foot onto the floor with your knee bent. Using both hands hold your standing foot, then lift and lengthen your leg like the neck of a heron.  If your hamstrings are tight, keep your knee bent.  Lengthen your spine.  Flex your leg muscles and breathe, counting to 10 with your breath.  Gently release your leg, return to Hero Pose, and switch sides.

While you practice these poses, remember Yoga Teddy Bear’s favorite tips:  slow down and take your time.  Keep breathing slowly.  Enjoy what you’re doing and notice what you’re feeling.  Enjoy and appreciate everything your beautiful legs do for you.  Smile – it’s my favorite yoga pose!  May your day be filled with love, and may all beings everywhere be happy and free.  Namaste.