BEST Yoga Poses For Core Strength!

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Hey yogis, this video was filmed a while ago when I was in Costa Rica but I wanted to share it now because I think it's super useful for those of you wanting to evolve your practice! The biggest game changer for me in my own practice was tapping into my core strength. Once I was diligent and consistent in working on ab, back and hip flexor strength, I saw huge improvements in the rest of my practice. Not that it matters whether or not you "advance" your practice, but it is nice to feel more stability in standing poses and have a smoother time with transitions. If you practice these 5 yoga poses every day or as often as you can, I guarantee you will see major improvement! Even for seasoned yogis, please watch the video and pay attention to the alignment cues because we all need a tune up every now and then :) Here are the other classes I mentioned in this video: 🔹 YOGA FOR WRISTS: https://youtu.be/tSD35Q15rm8 🔹 15 MIN CORE CIRCUIT: https://youtu.be/7-2GShJtR50 🔹 PLANK POSE CHALLENGE: https://youtu.be/Jr2tV05_dms



Namaste,
Kassandra

Please do subscribe to my YouTube channel



☮ Website: http://www.yogawithkassandra.com ☮ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kryoga ☮ Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/yoga_with_k... ❤ Your donations help me improve my channel and the quality of my videos, thank you! http://bit.ly/ywkdonate Yoga with Kassandra - Disclaimer Please consult with your physician before beginning any exercise program. By participating in this exercise or exercise program, you agree that you do so at your own risk, are voluntarily participating in these activities, assume all risk of injury to yourself, and agree to release and discharge Yoga with Kassandra from any and all claims or causes of action, known or unknown, arising out of Yoga with Kassandra’s negligence.

SIGN UP FOR MY **FREE** 7 DAY YIN YOGA IMMERSION PROGRAM TO IMPROVE FLEXIBILITY!


Hey yogis, this video was filmed a while ago when I was in Costa Rica but I wanted to share it now because I think it's super useful for those of you wanting to evolve your practice! The biggest game changer for me in my own practice was tapping into my core strength. Once I was diligent and consistent in working on ab, back and hip flexor strength, I saw huge improvements in the rest of my practice. Not that it matters whether or not you "advance" your practice, but it is nice to feel more stability in standing poses and have a smoother time with transitions. If you practice these 5 yoga poses every day or as often as you can, I guarantee you will see major improvement! Even for seasoned yogis, please watch the video and pay attention to the alignment cues because we all need a tune up every now and then :) Here are the other classes I mentioned in this video: 🔹 YOGA FOR WRISTS: https://youtu.be/tSD35Q15rm8 🔹 15 MIN CORE CIRCUIT: https://youtu.be/7-2GShJtR50 🔹 PLANK POSE CHALLENGE: https://youtu.be/Jr2tV05_dms



Namaste,
Kassandra

Please do subscribe to my YouTube channel



☮ Website: http://www.yogawithkassandra.com ☮ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kryoga ☮ Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/yoga_with_k... ❤ Your donations help me improve my channel and the quality of my videos, thank you! http://bit.ly/ywkdonate Yoga with Kassandra - Disclaimer Please consult with your physician before beginning any exercise program. By participating in this exercise or exercise program, you agree that you do so at your own risk, are voluntarily participating in these activities, assume all risk of injury to yourself, and agree to release and discharge Yoga with Kassandra from any and all claims or causes of action, known or unknown, arising out of Yoga with Kassandra’s negligence.
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All of our backs could use a little love. Our spine does a lot for us, it's our turn to do a little bit for it. 

Whether you are experiencing pain in your back due to hunching over at your computer all day, or you are looking to increase your spinal flexibility to further your yoga practice - this Yin sequence is great for everyone!

These poses will focus on the spine. It will help you to improve your posture. It will also help you to get deeper in to back bends and forward folds.

Yin yoga is a passive practice. These poses should be held for between 2-4 minutes, and instead of pushing yourself deep in to the pose, find your edge and stay still. Let gravity gradually open your body in to the posture, working the joints rather than the muscles.

Have 2 blocks close by, roll out your mat and give your back the attention it deserves.

1. Melting Heart -  Also known as puppy pose. Start in table top pose. Making sure your knees are comfortable. If you have any pain in your knees, you may want to add a blanket or double pad your mat underneath them, as you will hold on your knees for a few minutes. Check that your hips are directly over your knees. Walk your palms forward, until your forehead and chest melt down to the mat. Either keep your forearms flat or to get deeper in to your triceps and chest, bring your palms together and reach the thumbs towards the back of the skull. Keep the low belly drawn in towards the low back, so as to not overstretch this area. The focus in this pose is in the upper, not lower back. Breathe in to the space you are creating.

2. Sphinx - From puppy pose, slide forward on to your stomach. Plant the pelvis on to the floor, widen the elbows and palms. Lift the chest, shining your heart forward. Squeeze your shoulder blades back behind you, as you pull your heart forward. Breathe in to the front body. If you are starting to feel any pinching in the back, you may have taken the back bend too deep. Walk your arms forward to lessen the bend. If you are comfortable here, and want to increase the stretch, you can try straightening the arms by lifting the elbows from the ground. Again, if you feel any pinching, don't push it for the sake of the pose, lower back to the elbows.

3. Easy Child's Pose - This pose is extremely nurturing for your spine. Press up to hands and knees. Keeping the knees close together, sit back on your heels. Extend your arms back at your sides. Let the forehead come down to the mat, or if it's more comfortable rest on a block. Let your spine round naturally, to counteract the deep back bend in Spinx. Let your arms be heavy by your sides. Relax fully, breathing in to the back body.

4. Caterpillar - Come up to a seat, extending your legs out in front of you. Have your feet about hip width apart, with blocks close by in case you want them. Allow yourself to naturally round, as you fold forward over your legs. Take a bit of a bend in the knees if it feels good for your body. Choose to let your head dangle, while gravity slowly takes you further in to  the pose. Or if you are closer to the ground, you can prop your forehead up with a block or two stacked. Lowering the blocks as your body opens up in to the forward fold. Turn your palms upwards, so that you don't find yourself tempted to use muscular effort to pull deeper in to the fold. In this intense fold, can you breathe deeply down through the back body? After a few moments here, be mindful as you slowly come out of the pose. Start to push your hands in to the ground and keep breathing as you slowly lift back up.

5. Supported Bridge - Lower all the way down to your back. Bend your knees and walk your feet in close to the sit bones. Push your feet in to the floor, lifting your hips up off of the mat. Slide your block underneath the hips on either the lowest or middle height. Whichever level feels right for your body today. You can choose to keep your knees bent, feet flat on the floor. Or extend your legs out in front of you. Check in with your spine, that it's not feeling compressed or aching here. When you are ready to exit the pose, bend your legs if they are extended, and slide the block out to the side.

6. Lying Spinal Twist - This is another great counter pose after deep back bends. Laying on your back, open your arms out to the sides. Bend your knees and bring the soles of the feet to the floor. Shift your hips slightly to the right, and lower your knees down to the left. Keeping the knees stacked one on top of the other, or crossing the right over the left. See if you can turn your head and gaze towards the right fingertips. Creating as much space as you can between the right hip and right shoulder. After a few minutes hold, float your knees back up, shift the hips the other direction, and drop knees to the right.

7. Savasana -  Take up some space on the ground. Get comfortable as you extend the legs and arms long. Turn your palms to face up. Let your body relax fully. Let the breath return to its natural rhythm. Take a few moments here, noticing the effects of this practice on your spine. Digest the work you have done during this time on your mat. Give yourself this gift of stillness for a few minutes more before you carry on with your day.

Struggle with timing in Yin poses, find yourself constantly thinking about when it should be over? Practice along with me in the video below, so all you have to do is hold the post until I lead you out.



Namaste,
Kassandra

Please do subscribe to my YouTube channel



☮ Website: http://www.yogawithkassandra.com ☮ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kryoga ☮ Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/yoga_with_k... ❤ Your donations help me improve my channel and the quality of my videos, thank you! http://bit.ly/ywkdonate Yoga with Kassandra - Disclaimer Please consult with your physician before beginning any exercise program. By participating in this exercise or exercise program, you agree that you do so at your own risk, are voluntarily participating in these activities, assume all risk of injury to yourself, and agree to release and discharge Yoga with Kassandra from any and all claims or causes of action, known or unknown, arising out of Yoga with Kassandra’s negligence.


SIGN UP FOR MY **FREE** 7 DAY YIN YOGA IMMERSION PROGRAM TO IMPROVE FLEXIBILITY! 

Hey yogis, this week's free yoga class is a yin yoga practice for your spine! Whether you have back pain or just want to improve your overall spine flexibility, these are my favorite poses that target the area. You'll want to have two blocks close by for this practice or some large couch cushions. We'll play with lateral flexion, extension and spinal rotation. This class is suitable for all experience levels. Remember that if it hurts, you've gone too far! Never force your way into a pose and come out of it early if you need to.




Namaste,
Kassandra

Please do subscribe to my YouTube channel

So you want to lotus pose! I have heard you, the requests for this lesson have been flooding in.   BUT I want to start it with a caveat that for many people this is not a great pose to do.

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So you want to lotus pose! I have heard you, the requests for this lesson have been flooding in.

BUT I want to start it with a caveat that for many people this is not a great pose to do. Whether you're an advanced practitioner or not, it has more to do with your anatomy. This is more of an intermediate to advanced practice, not because of the poses but in knowing your body, when it feels good to continue, or when you should stop.

The following 7 poses/mini sequences will help you to open your hips and test the waters of Lotus before attempting to get your body in to the full expression of the pose at the end of the practice.

Be mindful as you work through these postures and particularly the peak pose. Don't place too much expectation on your body or yourself. Rather, if you feel any sort of discomfort or pain, ease out and stop for today. Do not just tweak your body in to the pose for the sake of the pose, while risking injury.

The more intense the hip openers are, the harder you will find it to breathe. Focus on your breath, let it be your guide. 

Check your ego at the door, and if you're ready to proceed, roll out your mat and follow along.

1. Seated Hip Opener Sequence - Sitting as if cross legged on your mat, bring your right shin in front of your left shin. As you inhale, find length in your spine. As you exhale, crawl your fingers forward, folding over the legs. Right from the get go, let go of what you think this pose should look like. Rather than hunching over to get lower, think instead of lengthening out of the low back. Crawl the fingers in to lift the torso back up. Cross your right foot over the left thigh so the sole is flat on the ground. Hug your right thigh in with your left arm, bring your right fingertips behind you. Open the chest to the right side in a twist. Unwind back to center. Then switch sides, starting with your left shin in front of the right.

2. Low Lunge Sequence - Making your way in to downward dog, take a few breaths here. Maybe paddling the feet out, bending the knees deeply, or moving in any way that feels good to you. Kick the right leg up, coming in to three-legged dog. Bend the knee and kick the right foot over to the left. When ready, step your right foot forward between the hands at the top of your mat. Lower your back knee down to the floor. Check that your right knee is stacked over the ankle. Come to the fingertips as you pull your heart forward. Press the hips forward and down. Find length in your spine. You may choose to take this in to a quad stretch, bending the back knee, and reaching the opposite hand back to grab hold of the foot. Drawing the heel in towards the glute. After a few breaths, release the hold of your back foot.

3. Warrior Sequence - Tuck your back toes under and lift the knee from the mat. Spin your back foot parallel to the short edge of your mat. Lift up in to Warrior 2. Bend deeply in to the right knee, squeezing it open (not collapsing the knee in). Arms up at shoulder height, reaching fingers front to back. This is a big external hip rotation. Take in to reverse, bringing left hand down towards the back thigh and reaching the right arm up to the sky. Return to Warrior 2 briefly. Then straighten your right leg, shift the hips back, lean the chest forward, bring the right hand down and left arm up, coming in to Triangle.  Think of drawing your left shoulder and hip back. Your palms reach away from each other. After a few breaths, push in to the feet to lift yourself back up.


4. Wide-Legged Forward Fold - Bring your hands to your hips, and turn your right toes in so that both of your feet are parallel to the shorter edges of your mat. Inhale to lift and lengthen up. Exhale, to tilt and hinge forward from the pelvis. Bringing the fingertips down to the ground. Soften the head and neck. Push down through all four corners of the feet to stay steady here, as you take a few deep breaths. Walk your hands forward to lift your chin and chest up. Then walk your hands towards the front of the mat. Framing your right foot as the toes point forward, tucking the back toes under. and keeping the back knee lifted. Let the pelvis be heavy here in Runner's Lunge.

Take a vinyasa flow, then switch sides. Making your way through 2, 3 and 4 on the other side.

5. Half Lotus Tree Pose - Standing at the top of your mat, shift the weight in to your right foot. Lift your left foot up, clasping hold of it with your right hand. Bring the left foot to the groin, so that the sole of the foot is pointing up. Your knee pushes down, setting up in a standing half lotus. This is a deep external rotation. You may also want to try bringing your left arm back behind you, clasping hold of the right elbow. Stand tall, and hug in to the midline. If you feel any sort of pinching and pain here, it's a good indication that lotus pose may not be right for you. Slowly release your hand and set the foot back down. Try it on the other side.

6. Grounded Sequence - From downward dog, step your right foot to the outside of your right hand. Lower the back knee down. Curl the right toes up, and roll on to the outer edge of your right foot. Stay up on your palms, or maybe make your way down to the forearms. Wherever you are, relax your arms, simply using them for stability. Lifting up to the palms, toe heel your right foot over to the left side of the mat. Bring the right knee down behind the right wrist. Square off the hips here in Pigeon pose. Keep the chest lifted, or fold down to rest the head on the hands, fists stacked, or a block. Stay here for 5-10 breaths. Lifting the torso back up if folded over, roll on to the right hip so that you can bring the left leg in front of you. Stack your left ankle over your right knee, so that the left shin is directly over the right shin. This is your square pose, and when you look down you should see a little triangle between the legs. Keep your feet flexed. You can stay lifted here, or again initiate the fold over the legs. Take another 5-10 breaths here. Walking the hands back in, cross the left leg further over the right, so that the knees stack in Shoelace. Draw your heels in close to the glutes. You may once again opt to fold over the legs, or place hands on the knees and push down while you round the back like in Cat. Repeat this sequence through on the other side.

7. Lotus Pose - If after that whole sequence above, your knees are feeling good, then you may be okay to move in to Lotus Pose. From a seat, cross your right foot. Bringing the top of your right foot on to the top of the left thigh, so the sole of the right foot is facing up to the ceiling. Maybe you want to stop here and work the half lotus for today. If you are feeling discomfort, you may want to play with lifting and turning your shin and calf muscle. If you are ready to go further, bring the top of your left foot, on to the right thigh, so the sole of this foot is also facing up. Let your hands rest on your knees. See how the pose feels while you take a few breaths here. Unravel the legs, giving them a shake, before trying the other side.

After you have attempted the apex pose, be sure to finish by laying on your back with knees together and feet wide for a gentle internal hip rotation. Follow it up with a laying spinal twist, and of course Savasana.

Are you new to some of these poses, try practicing the full flow in the video below first.


Namaste,
Kassandra

Please do subscribe to my YouTube channel



☮ Website: http://www.yogawithkassandra.com ☮ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kryoga ☮ Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/yoga_with_k... ❤ Your donations help me improve my channel and the quality of my videos, thank you! http://bit.ly/ywkdonate Yoga with Kassandra - Disclaimer Please consult with your physician before beginning any exercise program. By participating in this exercise or exercise program, you agree that you do so at your own risk, are voluntarily participating in these activities, assume all risk of injury to yourself, and agree to release and discharge Yoga with Kassandra from any and all claims or causes of action, known or unknown, arising out of Yoga with Kassandra’s negligence.
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