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A New Approach to Your Favorite Hot Yoga Standing Exercises
prepared by Tomasz Goetel and Lucas Rockwood
squeeze your inner thighs together. Inhale to come back to standing straight. Ground the feet in to the floor. repeat with each exhaling breath.Half-Moon (Backbend) How to do it: First and most important: LIFT UP through the chest toward the ceiling to support your lower back and sacrum.lift the rib cage up and reach back through the arms one inch. go slowly at first and then increase the intensity. Give yourself a tangible goal. contract the gluts (buttocks) together. relax your neck and let your head fall back. make sure you don’t “crunch” into your lower back. each time you exhale . . Keep your arms straight and reach back. thoracic vertebra and heart up. Lift your chest.
flexible spine.” Ground the feet. As you can already see the back wall. The “strong” feeling in the legs and hips is the foundation for this back bend.Beginners: If you have a sensitive neck. more towards the end”. The next step is to see your heels. your arms will be pointing down towards the floor behind you. contract the gluts. If you have a lower back issue/injury. hold the position a few seconds longer then the rest of the class. Then straighten out the elbows and squeeze you palms together flat. Don’t be frustrated. flexible spine. but instead of dropping back. We’re lifting up through the”heart” as we reach back. You will eventually shift your weight slightly towards the heels. there’s no rush. if you can’t go as far back as the others. place the palms of your hands in your lower back and drop your head back only as far as comfortable on your neck/lower back.look for the back edge of your yoga mat. it is okay to keep your head between the arms (ears and arms together). The “back-bending” is one of the most advanced parts of Yoga posture practice.” Here’s another one: “Work from the feet up. Advanced: Strong legs. continue lifting up the heart. Drop the head even further back and begin to look for the floor behind you. Once you see the floor behind you . begin to relax your lower back. Have somebody take a picture! :) . Give yourself plenty of time. Intermediate: Here’s a GREAT KEY to back-bending: “Strong legs. Lear to see the back wall behind you. engage the inner thighs. If you like. The way to do this posture is “less at the beginning.
. relieving the pressure from your lower back. the fingers under the heels and the elbows behind the legs than it is to straighten the legs! Slowly lift your hips up to the ceiling as you press your face into your shins in a combined motion until you completely straighten your legs. bend forward from the waist keeping your knees straight. thighs lifted and back flat. your chests to your knees and after 2 to 3 counts . It’s more important to keep your upper body pressed to your legs. Careful with your knees and squat down.press your face to your shins.Hands-to-feet Pose How to do it: To come down.this allows the elbows to work around the back of the calves. Lift your hips up toward the ceiling and place the fingers under the heels so the little fingers touch together . Touch your stomach to your thighs. Just hang forward and relax your whole body.
and pull your head to your feet. Intermediate: Now that you’re getting close to straightening your legs. Your neck vertebra should line up with your back vertebra. This combined movement will allow you to use your body for leverage in order to better stretch your hamstrings. Strengthen your arms pulling up on your heels and contract your quadriceps muscles (front of the thigh). Take your time in the first set and soften. not the shoulders. students with limited flexibility: do the best you can in keeping your hands and arms behind by bending your knees more. ascend the same way you went down. don’t let it happen. lift your hips UP toward the ceiling and then SCOOP your tailbone UNDER to stretch the muscles around the sit-bones. One footnote: your hands will have a tendency to slide up. or simply hold onto each elbow behind your knees. Be careful coming out of the pose. press your face into your shins. forefinger and the webbing between your thumb and forefinger touch the floor. Soften and relax the area you’re trying to stretch. lift your shoulders up toward the ceiling. It’s going to feel weird at first. keep your hands down. If you are NOT able to place your hands underneath the feet. both connected by the sciatic nerve. relaxation and intensity. grab a hold of your calves. . if needed. Pull on your heels with your ARMS. slowly begin to look down at the top of your feet. as you lift your hips forward and up toward the ceiling and front of the room. cup your heels from the side so the thumb. Keep working to straighten the legs an inch at a time. If you place the fingers under the heels. ankles or heels. Advanced: If your legs are straight and your upper body is flat against your legs.Beginners: Please be careful: if your back is sensitive or injured . In this pose. Instead. The final position is to touch your head to your feet. Keep your chin on your shins. it is the hamstrings (back of the legs) and lower back. When it’s time to grab your heels. but after a few times you should start experiencing a deeper stretch. using your arm strength to pull up on your calves. it shortens the hamstrings and inhibits your flexibility. An important concept in understanding the dynamics of yoga is “isolation”: flexibility and strength. We’re not done yet. Toward the end of the posture. Don’t crunch your neck. and relax.BEND YOUR KNEES as you lower your hands to the floor. The shoulders work BACK towards your hips and AWAY from the ears. softening and hardening.! Halfway into the pose. You can even place your hands on your thighs to protect your back further. don’t place your fingers under your heels. exhale. keep your knees bent and place your hands on your thighs.
And from the left foot all the way up your leg. shoulder. The key: “Hips down and chest up!” . keep the upper body high and the hips low. you won’t be able to isolate backward. Tuck the right buttock-cheek under as you push the right knee back out with your right elbow. Your left arm and shoulder should be directly above the right arm and shoulder forming a vertical line. That way. so that you’re able to twist your upper body backward. a triangular space is formed between upper thigh and under the arm. Bring your left hip forward slightly. hip. Keep the weight on the outside of the left or extended leg’s foot. completing the triangle shape. shoulder and extended left arm forms the diagonal line. Drawing an imaginary line from your right foot to the left foot forms a horizontal line. upper torso. If you bring your hip too far forward. left side of chest and upper torso to the back wall. At the same time twist your upper body.Triangle Pose How to do it: Bending the right leg.
. This will act as a brace to help lower the hips. make sure the knee stays directly on top of your ankle. This supports the knee and helps prevent injury. both physically and emotionally. This is a “Power” pose.Beginners: When you bend your right knee (assuming you’re practicing the right side). and especially not on top of the toes. At the same time lift your chest toward the ceiling in one combined motion. Do not let your hips “sink” down. Make sure the fingertips only LIGHTLY touch the floor. you’ve got to lower the right hip (assuming you’re practicing the right side) by bending the right knee. You may place your right forearm on top of your right thigh. Advanced: Lear to hold this posture without strain and effort. Assuming you’re practicing on the right leg bending: Feel the circulation of blood and prana flow down from the left side of the body into the right. . The left side feels empty and the right side is full. BREATHE! Many beginners have trouble lowering the hips down. Then. Feel the connection with he floor through the feet. this will offer tremendous leverage and by pressing the outside of the left foot into the floor you can better lower the right hip into position. you should feel stable and strong. straighten your arm and touch the right big toe with your fingertips to start developing strength in your hips.. Intermediate: Here’s your mantra: hip down and chest up! In order to properly position yourself in this posture. This will help exaggerate the triangular space between the right thigh and underneath the arm. In this posture. at the very end of the pose. You already have the leg and hip strength necessary for a strong foundation. not on top of the heel. Lift the inside (medial) arch of the left foot to position your weight on the outside of the left foot.
pancreas. The forehead should meet the knee. Tighten the sphincter muscles . Tuck the chin into the chest .udyana bandha.Standing Seperate Leg Head To Knee Pose How to do it: Step out to the right. pull your abdominal muscles in . rounding your spine (like the Rabbit pose). eventually straightening your front leg. Squeeze your buttocks. 3 to 3 1/2 feet. The internal benefits of this pose: by stretching the muscles across the internal organs. the right foot is at 90 degrees. liver and spleen thus strengthening the immune system. .jalandhara bandha. Separate your hands slightly on either side and toward the front of the foot. Curl down. Touch your forehead to the knee. Push against the floor on the exhaling breath. The left foot is turned out at a 45-degree angle. we help the kidneys.mula bandha. squaring your hips and shoulders to the back wall. Turn your body to the right. Hold for twenty counts.
Separate your hands only a few inches apart just in front of your extended foot and push against the floor to eventually straighten the leg. You can internally rotate the thigh of the back leg INWARDS to help yourself square out the hips. Advanced: Now that both legs are straight.bring the palms back together in a “prayer” position: Namaskar. . Soften the hips. This will help you round your back even more. Intermediate: If both legs are straight . round the spine more. use the mirror to check the hip alignment. bring your palms together only a few inches in front of your extended foot so as you straighten your arms you’re able to round your spine completely. arms straight. In other words. This is a good posture to practice discipline: tapas. Here’s a Yogic concept to reflect upon: throw away what’s unneeded and keep only what’s useful. Ground the back foot into the floor. Use the breath to your advantage. As you lift up through the belly button and lower abdominals. shorten your step slightly. look at your chest. Ground the front foot into the floor. stop fooling around and eliminate any unneeded idiosyncrasies. If the heel of the back foot lifts off the floor. so that the forehead makes contact with the knee the entire time. The fingertips one inch in front of your toes. and then breathe as smoothly as possible. exhaling allows for greater flexibility.Beginners: It is okay to bend your front leg up at the knee as much as you need to. If necessary. Push against the floor at the very end of the exhale when you are “breathless”. Breathe “ujjayi” at first. Pick up the lower hip to square both hips to the floor. The breath takes up room in your body. A rule of thumb to remember as you advance in your practice: no “extra movement other than necessary” and “economy of motion”. The elbows straighten out and the arms go behind your ears. inside edge. outside edge. not the belly.
. Keep the abdominal muscles in. Second Part How to do it: Keep your feet and arms in place. Keep your spine as straight as possible. you’re gonna need it!) and lower down. Come up on the inhale. Make sure your arms. Inhale (ujjayi. and extend from your shoulders. You should be able to see two inches of your thighs in the front mirror. and hands are in a straight line. arms strong with the biceps and triceps engaged. the more you access the quadriceps. but slightly above parallel. come onto your toes as high as possible.Awkward Pose. allowing you to use the lower back and hips as well as the thighs to hold you up. Your thighs are not parallel to the floor. until your hips are two inches above your knees. think of your wrists and hands as an extension of your arms. Your hips are in a neutral position. wrists. Hold for twenty-five seconds at least. Do not bend your wrists or cup your hands. The more you come onto your toes and bring your knees up.
Advanced: Get up on those toes as high as possible!! At your level. just stay a few seconds extra. Concentrate on one point and focus your eye-gaze: “dristi”. Remember. If you let the knees turn in or out. check that you’re NOT arching your back. we benefit by effort and improvement. you put too much pressure on the ligaments of the knees. not by performance. The higher you come up on your toes (on the balls of the feet). to build better stamina and control. this should be easy. take a peek in the side mirror and make sure your spine is straight.Beginners: Make sure your upper body is feeling strong: tighten your chest.a straight line. not the case here! So don’t be too hard on yourself if you’re a woman: having trouble achieving the final prefect position may take some extra time. But don’t look too long. the more you are engaging the upper thigh (quadriceps) muscles. Then come up slow. Intermediate: Every now and then. and abdominal muscles before you come down bending your legs. The hips should be in a neutral position. Usually women have the genetic advantage in yoga posture practice. a few seconds at most. arms (triceps). Think “Heels and knees up!” Keep your knees in the same line as your ankles. Hold it a little longer then the Teacher asks. It’s much harder (and effective) to keep the hips properly positioned: one or two inches HIGHER than the knees. It’s hard to tell if your spine is straight when you’re looking forward. Many advanced students go TOO LOW! If you drop too low. scoop the tailbone under and align it with your lower back . This posture is easier for men. . because your ankles are stronger. Don’t be disrespectful. you’re not engaging the quads as much as needed. which is to strengthen the knees by strengthening the quads. While you’re looking. which will defeat the purpose of the Second Part Awkward.
Straighten your standing leg. Then drop your elbows below the upper calf pressing the forearms into your leg. tighten the quadriceps of the upper thigh. keeping the weight forward toward the big toe. bring the chin to the chest (Jalandhara Bandha). eventually extend all the way until the upper leg is parallel to the floor. In the final position. Relax your wrists. Slowly extend your right foot out as far as you can. and lower your forehead to your knee. thumbs behind the ball of the foot. elbows and shoulders. Your heel should be farther in front than your toes. keeping your stomach off your thigh. . Think of pulling the foot of the kicking leg in toward your upper body. Drop your shoulders. Round and curl your upper body. keeping a firm grip with your fingers. Keep your wrists straight and relaxed and extend you arms. which will allow a greater range of motion in the kicking leg to stretch to your full potential. the elbows are below the calf and the kicking leg is parallel to the floor.Standing Head to Knee How to do it: Lift up your right foot interlacing your fingers at the ball of the foot. which will help support your lower back. and tighten the standing leg thigh muscle to protect the knee. Once your upper leg is straight. Keep your upper knee a little above waist level.
Advanced: Once the forehead is on the knee. If both legs are straight. Intermediate: Once your kicking leg is fully extended. in a light. If you’ve got a sensitive lower back. it is a sign of a beginner the use what we call a “death grip” on the foot. Then extend the other arm forward: look. interlaced grip. protect your lower back. and drop your shoulders down. Build strength in the standing leg. hamstring flexibility.these take time to develop. If you’re down to your foot. Use the strength of the thighs and hips. Just for fun. Drop your elbows and shoulders even further down. or if you’re trying to kick out. Keep your knee slightly higher than the hip of the extending leg. It takes strength. focus. and stamina . engage and use the quads (front thigh muscles) even more to support this position.. Eventually.Beginners: Be patient. slowly look down towards the floor and get the forehead to the knee. relax your wrists. The wrists should be straight and the shoulders down. your upper back rounded. the elbows can touch together below the extended knee. make sure the front leg doesn’t pull you down. press the forehead into the knee and round your back even more. where the arms are working hard to keep the leg up. We’re no longer using the arms. be careful and hold over your knee in front of you. ma. holding your kicking foot only with one hand. Integrate the core-strength into the pose. no hands! . extend one of the arms forward to the mirror. No longer use the arms. as well as the core for support. this is one of the most advanced postures in the Hot Yoga series. in the second set.
as you look into the front mirror. Pick up your right foot by the ankle. Find a soft part of your foot or leg. Use the first set to focus on balance and alignment. and palm facing the front. But keep your chest higher than your stomach.Standing Bow Pose How to do it: Turn your right hand. completing the back bend. fingers together. . Your right hip turns slightly back (the hips are not parallel to the floor) and your foot should eventually “grow” out of the top of your head. thumb toward the back wall and elbow touching the side of your body (palm out. Kick back as you let your right shoulder go back. Keep your right knee behind your body. use the second set as a “kicking” set. Lower the body down and reach your arm forward toward the front mirror. extend your right shoulder and arm away from your side. elbow in). Stand tall with your shoulders and hips square to the mirror. raise your left arm up to the ceiling. palm facing out. so the stomach is parallel to the floor. thumb back. and your left arm higher than your chest. Lower your upper body down far enough. Beginners. squeeze your grip.
40% standing leg stretching and 20% shoulder and hipjoint release. your chest is a little higher than your stomach and your arm and shoulder are a little higher than your chest. palm out. This completes the back bend. At the advanced level you must start by kicking high in order to release the back hip. Your knee should be directly below your foot. you need to turn your right shoulder back behind your head. The more flexibility in the standing leg. you should have the hamstring flexibility to lower down to where your stomach is parallel to the floor. because of the tension in the hamstring. the leg can kick up behind you. If you loose your balance. If your standing leg is not flexible. “Unfreeze” the shoulder and let it go back. Try to find your starting point within the first five to ten seconds of the posture. baby! . and your right knee behind your body so you won’t be able to see either one in the front mirror. If you’re still not able to straighten the upper leg. Intermediate/Advanced: This pose is 40% back bending. elbow in. Balance and breath. (your grip should be right below your ankle). you can’t kick too high. flush to the mirror. leaving you enough strength to kick your leg up. or you won’t be able to lower down. Don’t kick back too much. at the end of the pose (be careful). take a peek at the side mirror. This way. this will give you a better visual perspective. begin once again. Keep your left arm strong and fully extended toward the front mirror. like an archer squeezing the arrow from the bow.Beginners: Make sure you’re holding your foot properly. get down and start kicking. So kick back just enough to lower the stomach down to parallel. If your upper foot is turning in and out . Assuming you’re holding your right foot. thumb back. Look in the front mirror and see that the bottom of your upper foot is in a vertical position. Get down right away. in order to initially release the back hip. The key to the pose is judging how high to kick initially. away from the hip. Hold onto a soft part of your leg. it’s an indication that your hip is not in the right position. At your level. the higher you kick initially. wrist straight and palm flat. Ultra Advanced: You need to kick up high right away. You’re probably closer than you think! Then just lock out the kickin’ leg. don’t waste too much energy getting to your starting position.
com All rights reserved © 2010 . The Barkan Method of Hot Yoga.barkanmethod. www.A lot of information provided in this booklet is based on the teaching of Jimmy Barkan.
e energized you! FULL DEAILS & REG F GISTRATI ION: ww ww. To omasz will teach you how Hot Yoga c can be use for stren ed ngth AND f flexibility.com Or email m lucas@AbsoluteYogaS Samui.Hot Yoga mmer H Y a Im rsion Co n ourse e 31 Oct-5 No ov 2010 l Koh Sam mui.com or call +1. and his tea aching team will m show you foods that cleanse and foo that clo your sy ods og ystem… it’s all about creating a s new. r Detox xify & Clea anse your body thro r ough yoga AND nutrition.HotY YogaIm mmersio on. an propel f i nd forward in yoga. Adjus stments & Alignme ent are ofte the key to moving en y g from a beginner to an inte r ermediate a and then o to an on advan nced practit tioner.878 m 8.310. Upper Body St r trength Po oses are the “missing link” in most H Yoga c Hot classes. Thailand l W With Toma Goete asz el Funda amentals and Beyo ond including how to move pas o st “tricky poses.” o y overcome injuries. To understan your bod is to nd dy understand your yoga practice. During two gues lecture w g st workshops. Tomasz a .4829 *All Levels (beginners w l welcome) .