Michelle loves teaching yoga, and has found new inspiration since focusing entirely on her practice and teaching. She’s completed teacher trainings in Jivamukti, Ashtanga Series 1, Bikram Yoga, and Maya Yoga Level 2, and done intensive teacher trainings with Ana Forrest, Lino Miele, Patricia Walden, Shiva Rae, Desire Rumbaugh, and Marc St. Pierre, Michelle does ongoing classes with Nancy Gilgoff, and Kelly Morris.
On your blog you mention that “yoga is harder when you’re doing it right, but better for you”. Can you expand on this, and share three alignment tips for three poses that often get overlooked?
Doing the postures correctly means that our bodies are integrated. Rather than falling back onto where we are naturally strong, or flexible, in an integrated pose we’re using muscles and alignments throughout the entire body, and you will feel your weak places much more.
For me, Chaturanga has been a 12 year adventure. For the past decade I’ve done it wrong: with shoulders rounding and caving in as I lower down. And the pose was easy! But to integrate the shoulders down the back, and keep them lifted as I lower down is almost impossible. In working with this pose, I am feeling muscles in my arms and using my core in new ways. It’s fantastic to come to this pose as a beginner again. It makes me a better teacher.
Top 3 Alignment Tips
1 Students from all over the world practice at Maui Lotus Yoga, and the hand position in downward facing dog is where a lot of people lose it. To protect and strengthen the wrists, the crease of the wrist should be parallel to the front edge of the mat. The full palm of the hand presses down, with the weight of the arms rolling in toward the webbing between the thumb and index finger. I encourage advanced students to pick up their pisiform bone (the wrist bone on the pinky side of the hand) while in weight bearing poses.
2 Feet are where we connect to the earth. When the feet are properly anchored, you work the core of the body. You will feel your pose all the way up into your belly. I encourage students to separate their heels a little bit, and then energetically move those heels in toward the midline of the body. They will feel energy moving up the inner leg. At the same time, pressing into the big toe mounds will lift the arches of the feet, and activate the core. When students do this in shoulderstand www.yogajournal.com/poses/480, you can see their entire body integrating the pose. It’s beautiful.
3 In most poses, even when our limbs are extended, begin to pull energy in toward the midline of the body. This gives your postures a lift. It works especially well with arm balances. Always draw your energy in toward the center, to experience this lifting up.
What can people looking for at-work stress busters do?
A healthy workstation can change your life. I did some research on this; you can read the results here.
What can people looking for at-home stress busters do?
Ancient Tibetan wisdom prescribes looking at the sky. If you begin to feel overwhelmed, and need perspective, go outside and look up!
Recommend a Yoga Insider
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