Yoga 226

Pose of the Month-August by Emma Despres

Pose of the Month – August – by Emma Despres

Surya, the Sun God, has indeed been most abundant this summer as we have been blessed with seemingly endless warm and sunny days, making this a truly memorable summer full of picnics on the beach, yoga in the garden, swimming in the sea, stunning sunrises and sunsets and the most amazing uplifting energy.  Long may it continue into August!

This month also brings with it the festival of Lughnasadh (Celtic) or Lammas (Christian).  Lammas, meaning “loaf-mass” in Old English and was held in celebration of the first loaves baked from the first grain harvested.  The loaves were taken to the local church, where they were blessed by priests before being distributed among the congregation. Honouring this festival ensured an abundance of fruit and grain for the months to come.

The greenhouse and raised outdoor beds are certainly abundant this month with a bumper crop of tomatoes, runner beans, beetroot, carrots, courgettes and peas with the figs, nectarines and plums ripening on the trees – yum! There is nothing quite as wonderful as picking and eating the tomatoes and peas directly from the plant and the fruit from the trees, imbuing all that wonderful and vibrant “live” energy.

In our own lives too, we too can rejoice as the rewards of our labours become evident, while continuing to work towards the goal we established at the beginning of the year (if we did indeed set one) knowing that it will soon be realised – as the physical seeds we planted in the earth earlier this year are now sprouting results, so too we must hold faith that the seeds of our goals will manifest soon too.

This is a light filled time when we should try to remain patient and faithful, celebrating the fertility of the earth and spending lots of time in nature.  In our Yoga practice, what better way to acknowledge this than to ground our feet to the earth and open our heart to the sun and the sky – this is a time to truly embrace the joy, vitality and abundance of all life.

Vrksasana (tree pose)

Benefits

  • Tones the legs and buttock muscles;
  • Reduces stress – it is virtually impossible to worry and remain balanced at the same time;
  • Steadies the nerves;
  • Calming;
  • Develops strength and stability in the feet and ankles;
  • Stabilises and strengthens both the superficial and deep hip muscles;
  • Increases overall body strength;
  • Opens chest and tones shoulder muscles;
  • Gives a sense of balance and poise;
  • Concentration is enhanced;
  • Equilibrium between left and right sides;
  • Grounding and heart opening.

Common mistakes

  • Attention is allowed to wander away from the point of focus, leading to loss of balance;
  • Feet are in the incorrect position to begin with – point them directly ahead;
  • Not pressing the foot firmly into the opposite thigh so that the foot slips;
  • Sticking the ribs out and losing energy, rather than lengthening through the waist and tail bone and engaging stomach muscles to ground down and lengthen up;
  • Allowing hips to fall off centre and therefore not encouraging external rotation through hips;
  • Lifting shoulders up towards ears, rather than drawing down;
  • Hands pressed together with little awareness – press little fingers together to encourage external rotation.

Contraindications

  • None.

Photography by Nick Despres, please see www.nickdespres.com

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