By Michelle Mass | February 16, 2017 | People
We caught up with some of Philly’s most dedicated yogis to chat about their favorite poses, and how these poses benefit the mind, body, and soul.
"This is a photo [of me] in Sirsasana headstand. The photo was taken from a hotel balcony while I was practicing my favorite pose when traveling in India! The main benefit of Sirsasana is the effect gravity [has] on circulation within the lymphatic and cardiovascular systems. The lymphatic system can drain more efficiently, and blood from the veins in the legs can move back toward the heart with less resistance. It is said in Light on Yoga that 'Regular and precise practice of Sirsasana develops the body, disciplines the mind and widens the horizons of the spirit. One becomes balanced and self-reliant in pain and pleasure, loss and gain, shame and fame and defeat and victory.' For these reasons, it is a pose that becomes essential to daily practice. Please note that this pose should not be practiced if one has high blood pressure or too much Pita or heat in the body."
"Candy Cane opens the heart and shoulders. It is one of my favorite postures because of all the core engagement! This posture also creates strong balance for students to zone into their practice and intention for one hour."
"It took me many years of pushing my limits in practice, trying to master fancy arm balance and back-handing positions to realize that my favorite pose is seated meditation. The psychological and relaxation benefits have affected me to the core. It did take me years to be able to sit upright comfortably for long periods of time though, so I recommend not shying away from a regular practice of all those strengthening positions! As Patanjali says in the yoga sutras, 'Yoga is the stilling of the fluctuations of the mind.' A strong mind is more beneficial than a strong body if you ask me!"
"My favorite pose is Vasisthasana, the side plank pose! It is my favorite because it helps me to build strength and stability, and there are so many different variations and ways to make it more challenging. I can stretch my spine and open my chest in a way that feels so healthy after a day of being hunched over. If there is one great thing to do for your body every day to help improve your posture, it is to do a plank pose!"
"My favorite aerial yoga pose is the Flying Heron Series. Unlike a traditional heron pose on the floor, Flying Heron allows a whole-body stretch and includes several variations, culminating in the final back-bending version. This makes the pose accessible to beginners and more advanced practitioners alike. In particular, the Flying Heron Series stretches the hamstrings, hips, spine, and shoulders. The placement and movement of the wraps also initiates lymphatic massage, while the upright variations of the pose focus more on stretching the legs and hips. What's more, the support of the fabric that's holding the leg allows you to relax into the pose for an extended period, fully allowing the muscle fascia to open."