To encourage you to develop inner strength and agility through yoga practice, Inspirations & Celebrations recently commenced a 5-part original fitness tutorial series called the “Yoga in the Vines Series”, in collaboration with our friends, Yoga Instructor Kate Balog and Folktale Vineyards & Winery in Carmel, California.
Part 1 showed how to build energy and boost confidence, Part 2 taught us to relax and restore our minds and bodies, and Part 3 showed us anxiety-relieving poses.
Yoga in the Vines – Part 4
Finding clarity is especially important when you’re feeling uncertain or confused. To boost clarity, in Part 4 of this 5-part Series, Inspirations & Celebrations’ Fitness Contributor Kate Balog (a certified Yoga Instructor) shares 5 yoga exercises to help you unwind among the vines.
Yoga for Clarity
Let’s face it- life is confusing. We start off as children, playing around and being told what to do. Eventually, we grow up into adults, without any sort of instruction on the right decisions for our lives. We are forced to figure it out on our own through internal clarity… and a whole lot of trial and error.
The following sequence of yoga postures is designed to help you break through any confusion to find clarity. Whether it’s for a particular decision or just an overall sense of direction, you will feel a closer sense to the truth, who you are, and what you need. Take your time moving through each posture allowing your body to self-adjust. Pay attention to your breath, making sure to breathe deeply. It is recommended to sit in meditation for at least 5 minutes after the series for maximum benefit.
Urdhva MukhaSvanasana – Upward-Facing Dog Pose
- Correct Posture: Begin by lying face-down on the floor with the legs extended behind you, placing your hands on the floor alongside your lower ribs. Point fingers toward the top of the mat and hug the elbows close to the rib cage. Press the hands firmly on the floor as you straighten your arms, lifting the torso up. Press into the tops of the feet to lift legs a few inches from the mat. Hold for 3 breaths. Repeat.
- Benefits: Helps relieve mild depression, fatigue, and sciatica. Stretches chest, lungs, and shoulders. Strengthens wrists, arms, and back.
- Avoid If: Not advised for those suffering from back injury, headache, carpal tunnel or those who are pregnant.
Eka Pada Rajakapotasana – One-Legged Pigeon Pose
- Correct Posture: Begin in Downward-Facing Dog. Bring right knee behind the right wrist, placing your right ankle near your left wrist. Extend your left leg behind you so your kneecap and the top of your foot can rest on the floor. Square your hips and your torso to the front of your mat. Balancing your weight evenly between your right and left hips, fold forward on the mat. Make sure to keep the front foot flexed while in this posture. Hold for 5-10 breaths. Repeat on the other side.
- Benefits: Powerful hip opener, helping to release emotional tension and balance our overall emotional health. Increases flexibility and range of motion in the hips.
- Avoid If: Not advised for those suffering from knee or ankle injuries, or extremely tight hips or thighs.
Upavistha Konasana – Wide- Legged Seated Forward Fold
- Correct Posture: Begin by sitting on the mat with the legs extended in front of you. Place your hands on the floor behind your body and lean your torso back slightly. Next, open your legs as wide as is comfortable. Keep the tops of the knee caps and toes pointed straight up to the sky. Flex the feet and engage the thigh muscles. While keeping the spine straight, walk the hands forward on the floor as far as you can without rounding the back. Gaze forward and breathe. Hold for 5-10 breaths.
- Benefits: Deeply stretches the legs and spine. Calms the mind and relieves stress.
- Avoid If: Not advised for those suffering from a lower back injury.
Virabhadrasana II – Warrior II
- Correct Posture: Begin in Mountain Pose, standing at the top of your mat. Step your left foot back four to five feet, making sure the left foot is parallel to the line from the back of your mat. Turn your right toes to face the front of the mat, with the right ankle in alignment with the arch of the left foot. Raise your arms to the side at shoulder height, parallel to the floor. With your palms facing down, gaze over your front middle finger. As you exhale, bend your front knee towards at 90-degree angle. Make sure the knee does not move past the ankle. Sink the hips low, and keep your head directly over the tailbone. Do not lean towards your front leg. Engage the core and breath. Hold for 3-5 breaths. Repeat on the other side.
- Benefits: Powerful stretch for the hips, legs, and chest. Increases stamina and relieves backaches. Encourages a strong sense of self.
- Avoid If: Not advised for those suffering from diarrhea or high blood pressure.
Simhagarjanasana – Roaring Lion Pose
- Correct Posture: Begin by sitting on the knees, with the big toes touching and knees wide apart. Lean forward and place the palms of the hands on the floor between the knees, with fingers pointing towards the body. Straighten the arms fully and arch the back. Tilt the head back slightly. Keeping the mouth closed, relax the whole body. Inhale slowly and deeply through the nose. As you exhale, open the mouth and stick the tongue out as far as possible. While slowly breathing out, produce a clear and steady “aaah” sound. Keep the eyes open and gazing up towards the forehead. Repeat 5-10 times.
- Benefits: Relieves frustration and releases emotional tension. Develops a strong voice. Clears the throat, nose, ears, eyes, and mouth.
- Avoid If: None.
How to follow the ‘Yoga in the Vines’ Series
To follow this 5-part yoga tutorial series, subscribe to Inspirations & Celebrations by email, RSS, or Bloglovin.
If you’re in the Monterey Peninsula, to participate in a live “Yoga in the Vines” class, head over to Folktale Vineyards & Winery in Carmel. “Yoga in the Vines” is hosted weekly on Saturdays at 10 am and includes a 90-minute yoga class followed by a complimentary glass of wine (for $20 per person).
For more exercise tips and tutorials from fitness experts and celebrity trainers, check out the Fitness section on Inspirations & Celebrations. Be well and stay inspired on your fitness journey!
Fitness Contributor: Kate Balog
Kate Balog holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications, a Holistic Health Certification from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, and a 200-Hour Yoga Alliance Teacher Certification through Vinyasa Yoga School in Rishikesh, India. She has been trained in Hatha and Vinyasa yoga- asana, pranayama, meditation, philosophy, and yoga therapy. She is also a Reiki 1 & 2 practitioner. Kate’s teaching combines ancient yogic technique with modern understanding to create a felt energetic experience of alignment and balance. She currently teaches in Monterey & Carmel, California. Stay up to date on upcoming posts, classes & retreats at www.yogarise.org