Do you know what we do a lot of in yoga? External hip rotation. Trikonasana, Warrior II, Tree pose, Gomukhasana, Baddha Konasana are just a drop in the ocean of all the yoga poses that depend on external hip rotation. And, do you know what we do very little of? Internal hip rotation… and do you know what pose is alllll about that internal rotation action? You got it, it’s Virasana!
Camel pose is a yoga asana that will help you deepen your back-bending ability established in cobra pose, and also improve your core strength, and strengthen and stretch your hip flexors and quads. It’s great for the nervous system and the entire front of the body, and often associated with the heart chakra.
Sanskrit Term: GOMUKHASANA = COW FACE POSE Go = Cow Mukha = Face Asana = pose (pronunciation: go-moo-KAHS-anna)
Why You Should Practice Gomukhasana
If you are looking for some juicy hip opening action coupled with a deep shoulder stretch, look no further than the nice stretch that is Gomukhasana — it is such a great pose! This seated yoga posture is a more difficult pose than some other yoga poses, but the general improvements in your hip and shoulder mobility has so many yoga benefits from your Surya Namaskar to inversions. It’s not necessarily everyone’s favorite pose, but if you include it in your daily yoga practice, I promise you will quickly notice improvements.
Full name: PASCHIMOTTANASANA = INTENSE STRETCH OF THE WEST POST Paschima = West* Uttana = Intense stretch Asana = pose (pronunciation: POSH-ee-moh-tan-AHS-anna)
*West… What? The back of the body is referred to as the west side, and the front of the body is the east side. Legend has it this is because, traditionally, you would practice yoga at the break of day facing the sunrise in the east (think of those Surya Namaskar, or sun salutations), hence the front of the body being the east side. If this is confusing for you, sub out west for ‘back of the body’. Paschimottanasana = intense stretch of the back of the body pose. Or just call it a seated forward fold because that is what it is!
Full name: BHUJANGASANA = COBRA POSE Bhujanga = snake or cobra* Asana = pose (pronunciation: booj-ahn-GAHS-anna)
* The direct Sanskrit translation of bhujanga is snake. However, as cobras are common in India, and the form of bhujangasana is said to look like a cobra with a flared hood, it is translated as cobra for the position in yoga.
My first yoga teacher training was in India in 2015, not only was it an amazing way to deepen my yoga practice and learn about anatomy and yoga philosophy, but it was an incredible journey of self-discovery, and I met some truly special people there… a time and people which led to me exploring the beaches of Goa, healing from some pretty devastating heartache, learning Thai massage in a hill tribe village outside of Chiang Mai, and ultimately cycling through Asia to Europe and ending up in my now home of Berlin! When I reflect back on that YTT, I realize that the transformation I experienced during those four weeks on a spice farm in Goa has had a pretty profound influence on my life beyond becoming a registered yoga teacher. So today I wanted to talk about Yoga Teacher Training Europe options!
Sitting in stillness for just a few minutes each day can help cope with stress and anxiety, live a more balanced life, stay in the present moment, reset your brain function, and enhance relationships, both with a personal relationship with oneself and with others — to name just a few of the benefits of meditation. Meditation classes in a dedicated meditation center can be a good place to start if you’re finding the idea of meditating on your own and having a spiritual life for the first time a little daunting. I personally use Headspace and I love it. If you’ve already been initiated and are ready to try your first ever silent retreat, yaaaassssss! If you’re college students or young people and think meditation is for old folks, you are so wrong! Many campus ministry offices actually offer silent retreats these days. Getting away from your cell phones and modern world commodities for a few days has amazing benefits!
Learning the Surya Namaskar steps and beginning with yoga can feel overwhelming — there are so many amazing teachers, studios, online yoga courses, and, if your budget permits, IRL yoga retreats to learn the basics. But I honestly think the best, most accessible, welcoming — not to mention the cheapest — place to start with yoga for beginners, is at home by following the good ol’ Surya Namaskar steps… trust me, I’ve tried pretty much every style and platform of yoga going and home practice and self-guided learning is the most effective.