Camel Pose, or Ustrasana, is a backbend as well as a great chest opener. Its element is water, which is fitting since it’s wonderful for blood flow and detoxing.
Anatomy of the Pose: Come to the knees and sit back on the heels with toes tucked. Lift off the heels to engage the torso and ensure that you’re in alignment with the hips, chest, neck and shoulders. Lift then drop the shoulders away from the ears. Inhale and bring the palms to the lower back opening up the chest. Exhale as you begin to drop the head back. Keep the hip bones pushing forward as they will want to fall back as well, keep them aligned! Stay here or reach the hands for the backs of the ankles, this will cause the shoulders and head to fall back more as well. Push the navel towards the sky to get a nice bend in the back as you continue to keep the hip bones pushing forward. Try to relax the neck and drop the shoulders away from the ears. Breathe here. To come out of the pose, slowly lift the head and then the torso – place the hands on the lower back or the floor for support if you need to.
Chakras Affected: Camel pose is a heart opener and therefore great for our heart chakra, or Anahata. Backbends and heart openers can bring emotions to the surface. Several people have reported crying, or feeling really angry, and some even say it makes them feel elated. Whatever is going on in your heart, be prepared for more than just a great stretch.
Benefits for Children: This can be a very deep pose for adults, but flexible children who don’t have far to fall find camel fairly easy. However, keeping the hands on the lower back is perfectly acceptable to get the benefits of this pose. Children who are experiencing growing pains may also get fast physical relief from camel. Follow with downward dog for a great full body stretch.
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We all know that laughter is contagious; Giggle Breath is just that: contagious laughter. Like its air element, it inspires us and moves the things around us. Humans are one of the only species that laughs, and those who laugh a lot tend to have incredible problem solving skills, as it triggers the same area of the brain.
Anatomy of the Pose: Come to criss-cross applesauce, or your comfortable seated pose. Inhale to fill the belly. As you exhale, begin to laugh. This is a lot of fun to do with a group, you’ll find that the pose ends up becoming very natural as it’s almost impossible not to go from forced laughing to genuine, doubled-over laughter.
Chakras Most Affected: Laughter is a beautiful emotion and it balances both our second and fourth chakras: sacral and heart. These trigger feelings of joy and abundance.
Benefits for Children: Children are naturally joyful and energetic; they wear their emotions on their sleeve. This pose is incredibly easy for them, not to mention it’s inclusive and builds confidence. It also reminds us to breathe correctly, into the belly.
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Mountain Pose is great for stopping and taking stock of where you are; reminding yourself to come back to the present. The mountain is still but full of life. Appreciate the breath here and rediscover your center.
Anatomy of the Pose: Come to standing, with big toes touching and feet rooted firmly into the ground. Center the pelvic bowl, not letting it tip forward or back. Gaze is forward. Remember to relax the shoulders and soften the face. Bring prayer hands to heart center and breathe here.
Chakras Most Affected: Mountain pose is excellent for the root chakra. It keeps us grounded and helps us to focus our breathing.
Benefits for Children: Stillness is not the easiest for children; they’re little balls of energy pretty much all the time. Mountain allows them to be quiet and still, and it is also wonderful for posture. When you need to help them calm down and breathe, have them come to mountain so they can bring their minds back to a more balanced state.
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Snake Pose, similar to cobra, is a whimsical pose that encourages relaxation and day dreaming. Its element is Earth, which helps to keep us grounded.
Anatomy of the Pose: Come to the belly, on your forearms. Let the third eye rest on the floor. Inhale to lift the head and chest, exhale to come back down. For fun: do a snake hiss when the head comes up.
Chakras Most Affected: Snake pose is wonderful for Anahata, the heart chakra. It opens the chest and helps to stretch the lungs and abdomen.
Benefits for Children: Snake is a fun pose for kids. It sparks the imagination and lets them role play. It also allows them to open the chest, which we don’t often get to do naturally.
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Lion Pose is great for letting go of our frustrations and insecurities.
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Dolphin Pose represents kindness and giving. This card reminds us to think of others and make all of our decisions with kindness and good intentions. Its element is water, which can signify imagination and going with the flow. Anatomy of the Pose: Begin in tabletop on all fours. Knees are on the mat, hip width […]
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