Spring Cleaning for Yogis

A couple of weekends ago my friend and yoga teaching mentor, Chrissy Carter, held a three hour workshop at my neighborhood YogaWorks to clean up our standing poses. I remember having my mind blown when I learned in teacher training back in January that our pelvis wasn’t supposed to be squared to the side in trikonasana (triangle). BOOM. I’d been taught early in my yoga career to “pretend you’re in between two panes of glass” so I’d always been squaring my hips to the side. Same for ardha chandrasana (half moon). So, at the last minute, I decided to get up and go down to the studio for a reminder about these seemingly “basic” poses and two my teacher trainee friends showed up, too.

Here’s some of what I was reminded of:

Trikonasana:

  • Let your greater trochanter turn in a little bit – otherwise your femur is going to be running into your pelvis and you won’t be able to tilt your pelvis.
  • If you hinge your pelvis too far, you’ll be sinking your great trochanter into your hip joint. Ow.
  • Key actions include: front thigh turning out, back hip point rolls forward, rotate your torso to the sky.

Virabhadrasana 2: 

  • Your pelvis should be level. You can achieve this by swiping your front great trochanter downwards.
  • The back frontal hip point rolls forward so you can align your knee over your ankle.
  • The back leg appears to be internally rotating, but it’s neutral.
  • Key actions include: Back thigh rolling out while hip point keep rolling forward,  keep lifting your back thigh upwards, the weight in your front leg should be in the heel, not the toes.

Virabhadrasana 1:

  • It’s a neutral standing pose (because the front leg is neutral, duh).
  • The pelvis is in external rotation; it will never be squared forward.
  • Your back leg is externally rotated just a bit.
  • Key actions: Press the back thigh back by lifting your back inner arch while keeping your front knee over your front ankle; roll the back ribs forward.

Parivrtta Trikonasana:

  • Your pelvis IS squared forward in this pose because the stance is shorter so the stretch on your quad is less intense.
  • You can let your back thigh drop just a tiny bit.
  • But like the last two poses, aim to keep your back thigh bone moving backwards the entire time.

That’s just some of what we spent 3 hours on a Saturday reviewing. The whole concept of your back frontal hip point rolling forward while your back leg is externally rotating is still a mind blow for me, but I’m working on it.

Lole White Yoga in Central Park

When I entered and won my ticket to Lole White’s free massive yoga class in Central Park, it said the start time was 4:30 and I was like, “Oh well, can’t go. #adulting.” Then I realized the class started at 6 and I assumed probably later (because lots of adults in this city are lucky enough to have jobs) and left the office fifteen minutes early arriving around 6:10 to the Great Lawn. I own zero pairs of white leggings (for obvious reasons) but I wore my mint green pair (also not flattering, but less unflattering than white) and a white t-shirt. 

I was towards the back but I found an unclaimed mat and gift bag (with a Fuji water bottle, a water bottle light, a Lole no-slip headband (spoiler: it slips), a protein packet, a magazine, among other things) and sat down to warm up. 

The class was taught by three teachers and was more vigorous than I anticipated (but i loved every minute of it). There were volunteers walking around helping people with their alignment and it kinda-sorta made me want to take a teacher training course so I could qualified to do the same thing someday. Anyways. The chick in front of me wouldn’t stop stopping to take photos though – and having her male friend take photos of her in random poses. Put down your damn phone, girl.

The class was accompanied by the beautiful music Ingrid Michaelson and the weather was perfect. I rolled up my new mat, tucked it into my new tote bag, and peaced out through Central Park.

It was a good way to spend a Wednesday night.