Arm balances are one of the most exciting and challenging postures in the yoga practice. Some of the more easily accessible arm balances give students a sense of self-confidence and accomplishment from the practice. Having faith in yourself to continue the journey of yoga is part of the faith that it takes to devote yourself to the practice every day. An easier arm balance like Bakasana or Crane Posture, provides a safe forum for all students to experience their own inner strength. When working on Bakasana take the time to set up the key alignment principles of the posture rather than just orienting towards what may appear to be the goal. The movement pattern that you program into your shoulders and core for a basic arm balance will be the foundation of all the other arm balances. Think about stabilizing the rotator cuff muscles while protracting the shoulder to create length and strength. Draw the elbows inward and do not allow them to splay outwards. If you absolutely must bend your arms keep the elbows aligned with the wrists or else your shoulders will be out of alignment. Firm the deltoids while connecting the push forward with arms into the power of latissimus dorsi underneath the wing tips of the shoulder blades. Draw the lower ribs in to active serratus anterior, the transverse abdominals and the internal obliques. Do not flatten your back. Instead curve the spine under into a tight spinal flexion, supported by the core muscles. Engage the pelvic floor and pull the heads of your femurs into their sockets to connect the activation of the legs with the tight network of strength in your torso. Gently grip your fingertips on the ground while maintaining contact of the base of your hand in order strengthen the wrist. Bakasana is a careful integration of the entire body, lifted inwards so that the power of your life force draws along the central axis of the body and is directed towards the center of gravity. If you try to just “do” Bakasana without going step by step through the subtle energetics of the posture you may indeed balance on your arms, but you will miss the internal work that makes yoga transformational. On a more pragmatic level if you do not set up Bakasana from the inside out then you will be able to move deeper into Bakasana. For example, when the shoulder girdle and core are integrated in Bakasana you can jump into and out of the posture with grace and ease. Much more challenging variations like Eka Pada Bakasana A and B are only possible once you have the foundational keys of the healthy alignment firmly established. The goal of any posture is in fact the journey into the inner body. If you orient towards the external result and get overly attached to it you may sacrifice the internal essence of the posture. Perhaps true strength is setting your fully mind on a goal with complete non-attachment to ever really getting there.
Take Flight with Bakasana
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Dedicated to transporting the torch of Ashtanga Yoga throughout the world, Kino Macgregor broadcasts the amazing practices and benefits to all. In her motivational yet easy going approach, Macgregor aids her students in developing and deepening their understanding of their own life through yoga. As one of only 14 people in the United States to receive Certification to teach Ashtanga Yoga from its founder, Sri K. Pattabhi Jois in Mysore, India, Macgregor finds that yoga?s most authentic manifestation is through its message of spiritual empowerment, composed flexibility, and expressive harmony. As the youngest woman to receive the Ashtanga yoga certification, Kino Macgregor has completed the challenging Third Series and is now learning the Fourth Series. Based at her yoga teaching center in Miami, she travels throughout the world sharing her message of Ashtanga Yoga. Without any previous knowledge in movement training, Kino MacGregor tried her first yoga class at the early age of 19. Three years later, she joined Govinda Kai's Mysore-style classes in New York City and became a devoted Ashtanga Yoga practitioner. After seven months of traditional Ashtanga practice, Macgregor traveled to Mysore, India to meet her true spiritual teacher, Sri K. Pattabhi Jois ("Guruji"). After seven years of consistent trips to Mysore, at the age of 29, she received the Certification to teach Ashtanga Yoga and has since has worked tirelessly to spread the inspiration and benefits of practicing. After devoting a major portion of her life in personal growth work, Kino Macgregor returned to her home of Miami Beach to create an area devoted to the incorporation of yoga, and holistic health. In 2006, she and her husband, Tim Feldmann, founded Miami Life Center, where together they now facilitate daily classes, and workshops in addition to upholding an international traveling and teaching schedule. As a life coach and Ph.D. candidate in holistic health with a Master?s Degree from New York University, Kino Macgregor integrates her passion into awareness and empowerment within her yoga teachings. She has been featured in Yoga Journal, Yoga Mind Body Spirit, Yoga Joyful Living, Travel & Leisure Magazine, Ocean Drive Magazine, Boca Raton Magazine, Florida Travel & Life Magazine, Six Degrees Magazine as well as appearing on Miami Beach?s Plum TV and the CBS Today Show. Her individual products include four Ashtanga Yoga DVDs (Kino MacGregor ? A Journey, A Workshop; Ashtanga Yoga Primary Series; Ashtanga Yoga Intermediate Series; Introduction to Ashtanga Yoga), an Ashtanga Yoga practice card and a podcast on yoga. She is currently working on a fourth DVD. Trailers and excerpts from the DVDs can be viewed at her website (kinoyoga.com) or on YouTube.