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Practice with Clara

Neck and Hips (33-mins) Hatha

A Hatha class stretches the neck, chest, and shoulders to relieve the muscles strained by working at a desk. This class involves hip-openers, twists, and lunges. Pranayamas create a sense of calm and groundedness. Focus on the breath and slower-paced movements with long holds to deregulate the nervous system.

Style: Hatha

Duration: 30-minutes

Level: open-levels

Props: none

Focus: shoulder and neck stretches.

Location: Lila Familia Production Studio, Vancouver, BC

Music: none

Yoga is about bringing ourselves into the moment through the breath and physical body. We do this to create more calm and equanimity in body and mind. This lowers our stress and deepens our sense of well-being.

May we recognize that we shift our energies and physical bodies as we breathe and move.

Opening Movement

Come up to stand at the top of your mat.

Close your eyes and begin to inhale and exhale deeply through the nose.

Turn your palms forward.

This is a standing expression of savasana, corpse pose.

Bend your knees and roll down into a standing forward fold.

Moving Meditation – Boa Breath

This pranayama is from Chien Lung by Constantine Darling; it’s from the martial art Tai Chi. Boa Breath has a calming effect on the body as the gaze is soft, the movements are slow, and the breath is deep. This style of breath is a moving form of meditation and encourages a meditative state.

How to do it:

  • Inhale roll up slowly to stand, take wrists to the chin
  • Exhale out the mouth, draw arms wide to the sides and bend the knees
  • Inhale arms out in front of you as if you’re holding a beach ball
  • Exhale hands slide down to thighs, chin to chest
  • Inhale hands up the midline to the chin
  • Exhale bow forward and down, hands to ground or thighs

Floor Poses

Baddha Konasana (seated bound angle pose) variations

  1. Seated cat/cow
  2. Neck release
  3. Twist

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (downward dog)

Anjaneyasana (low lunge) variation

  • Take your hands to your front thigh and press the leg forward and down, OR
  • Take your hands and clasp them behind your back
  • Draw your chin downwards towards your chest
  • Breathe into the stretch across the front body

Mrigasana (deer pose)

Repeat the same sequence from a down dog on the other leg.

Backbends

Salabasana (locust pose)

Dhanurasana (bow pose)

Closing Poses

Balasana (child’s pose)

Marichyasana (seated spinal twist)

Ardha Gomukhasana (half cow face) variation

  • Extend one leg out in front of you
  • Take half cow face with the other leg
  • Take both hands to the extended leg’s toes, ankle, or shin.

Kumbhaka Pranayama (aka breath retention)

Kumbhaka is a form of breath retention; do not do this pranayama if you have difficulty breathing or anxiety. Breathe normally with longer inhales and exhales. If you take kumbhaka pranayama, hold to a point where you don’t feel any discomfort.

Benefits of Kumbhaka include:

  • Better oxygenation to improve overall health and concentration occurs when we retain the breath as it increases the carbon dioxide level. This event activates the respiratory center in the brain and leads to a greater exchange of oxygen.
  • Improvement of lung capacity
  • Strengthening of the diaphragm

Maha Bandha (aka, the great seal)

Maha Bandha is the combination of all three bandhas that includes Mula bandha (the pelvic/root lock), uddiyana bandha (core/abdominal lock), jalandhara bandha (chin/throat lock).

A bandha is an energetic lock/seal we create in the body. Bandhas channel and move the Prana through the body with more integrity.

Benefits of Maha Bandha:

It strengthens the pelvic area and the nervous system. It supports immunity, betters digestion and the inner organs, promotes strength and energy in the body.