Hurdlers Pose – Mommy’s Yoga Challenge

Since I am coo-coo and like Crow Pose it’s no surprise that Hurdlers Pose is the next stop on the Mommy’s Yoga Challenge. Hurdlers also relies on arm strength, open hips and utilizing your core muscles. When warming up for the pose you want to focus on stretching these muscles with low lunges (Crescent Moon), planks and Pigeon pose.

To begin, start in three-legged downward dog.

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Next, flow into runner’s lunge with your right foot out wide pointing away from your body and fixed just outside the mat. Bending your right arm, wedge your elbow under your right thigh, basically shoving your tricep into your hamstring until your thigh is resting on that tricep shelf. Bring your left hand shoulder width and even with your right hand. Be sure to keep your fingers spread to maintain balance throughout the pose.

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Your left elbow and waist will eventually make contact. So the next step would be to gently lower your body onto your elbows and the shelf that has been created by your triceps.

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Just as in Crow Pose fixate your gaze on a spot for balance and concentration. Once you have your spot of focus, lift your right foot from the ground.  Now press into your hands, lean your weight forward, and lift your left foot off the ground so you’re balancing on both hands equally.

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Stay here for five breaths to seven breaths, then lower your feet to the ground. Step your right foot back and take plank or back into downward dog. Sound the applause because you just conquered the Hurdlers Pose!

 

Crow Pose

When I was first faced with this pose I was scared sh**less. Thinking I would fall on my face and that my arms weren’t strong enough I hesitated with even trying. Now, I’m obsessed and this pose one of my top favorite. If you bang out push-ups with complete ease and have the ability to bust out some substantial planks you’ll be able to handle the crow pose. So let’s get started with the first pose of the Mommy’s Yoga Challenge! (And yes I bit the bullet and just did the pictures selfie style.)

First, warm up. The crow pose is no easy feat so make sure you are warmed up before jumping. As I referred to above, bumping out a couple of sets of push-ups along with some planks will get the blood flowing through the muscles you’ll be utilizing.

Next, find a starting pose that works for you. The crow pose  can be started from a couple of different poses:

Frog Pose. This hip-opening pose is actually the same as crow, except in an upright position! Bend down into a low squat, feet facing outward and elbows pressing against inner thigh.

Forward Bend. Stand with your feet a couple of inches apart bent at the waist until you are touching the floor (you can always bend your knees if need be).

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In either start pose, when you place your hands on the floor be sure they are under the shoulders and therefore shoulders width apart. Spread your fingers open, this was earth changing when I started becoming aware of this simple tip for my poses. Spreading your fingers provides more stability once in a pose.

Next, to move into crow pose, bend your elbows slightly, lift up onto your toes and try to position your knees onto your triceps, as high above the elbows as possible.  Basically using your triceps as a shelf for your knees/top of shins. Focus on tightening everything, your thighs against the sides of your torso, your shins into your upper arms and your abdominal muscles inwards.  (To make it easier in placing the knees on the arms, you use a yoga block to stand on in order to give some extra inches to make it easier to get your knees on your triceps.)

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One of the most important things you can do in crow pose is keeping your gaze forward. So be sure to keep your eyes forward.  If you look elsewhere you will lose your balance and end up on your face. Keep your neck long and not arched or angled.

Next, shift your weight into your knees resting the weight of your body into the shelf you created with your triceps. Lift up onto the balls of your feet, continuing to shift your body weight forward. Lift one foot off the ground, then the other.  When you feel practiced and balanced enough try lifting both feet at the same time. Each day is different for me, sometimes I can lift both or sometimes I am a one foot at a time kind of gal.  Once both feet are off the floor, touch the big toes together and try touching your heels to your booty.

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Finally, once you have achieved crow and can hold it for more than a few seconds, you can tweak your form in order to perfect your pose.  Try to straighten your arms without losing the shelf completely and remember to continue to tighten everything inward. Feel as if you are tightening your muscles around the bones, joints and organs of your body and frame. Remember to keep your fingers spread dispersing the weight into the pads of the fingers and not so much in the palms to relieve tension in the wrists. Hold and for 5 to 7 breaths and WAH-LA! CROW POSE!