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All posts by Jason Crandell

Essential Sequence: Parsva Bakasana (Side Crow)

I love creating sequences for Parsva Bakasana. I always have. Since the posture contains so many components, there are countless ways I can take the class. I can focus on a sequence of upper body and core strengthening postures before tackling Parsva Bakasana. Or, I teach a practice full of deep, detoxifying twists before guiding my students into this peak pose. Other times, like in the sequence below, I’ll create a more balanced approach where each of the posture’s components is equally prepared.

Sequencing for Parsva Bakasana is also deeply satisfying because a sound, logical progression can help students break through and do the posture for the first time. Confusion is one of the biggest hurdles to doing this pose well—-or, at all. Often times students are physically capable to do the pose but struggle because they don’t know the building blocks. A good sequence demystifies the actions and helps you feel your way into the pose.

Since Parsva Bakasana is the foundation for more advanced arm balances such as Dwi Pada Koundinyasana and Eka Pada Koundinyasana I, it’s a nice posture to emphasize in mixed level classes because you can encourage the more seasoned students to work on these variations.

Here are a couple of thoughts about the practice before you begin:

Sequence Focus: Parsva Bakasana requires core strength, upper body strength, hip flexibility, and spinal flexibility. The practice begins with core strengthening postures, then transitions into a progression of twisting standing postures. The standing postures I chose will help open your hips and prepare your spinal muscles for the twisting component of Parsva Bakasana. Finally, the posture hits its’ peak with Bakasana and Parsva Bakasana. If Bakasana is a challenging pose for you, please check out my Bakasana sequence. Take your time, be patient, and enjoy yourself—-even if you struggle a little.

Before You Begin: For a longer, more intense practice, you can begin with Sun Salutations. Feel free to include as many lunge salutations, Surya Namaksar A, and Surya Namaskar B as you’d like. Otherwise, you can dive into the practice below.

After You Finish: This sequence is predominantly twists. Twists prepare the body for forward bends and backbends, so, really, you can go either way after you’ve concluded Parsva Bakasana. If you want to do forward bends, Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose), Upavistha Konasana (Wide Angle Pose), and Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend) are a good bet. If you want to do backbends, I recommend a Low Lunge to open the front of your thigh before transitioning into a few rounds of Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) and Urdvha Dhanurasana (Upward Bow Pose).

You could take a few minutes in seated meditation before calling it a day and resting in Savasana.

Parsva Bakasana Sequence | Jason Crandell Vinyasa Yoga Method

Want to practice this sequence at home? When you sign up for our newsletter, we’ll send you FREE print-friendly PDF download for you to keep.

{illustrations by MCKIBILLO}

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Essential Sequence: Immune Booster

It’s holiday season and, for me, it’s “My child is in preschool and constantly has the sniffles season.” Whether you’re in hyper-drive, ticking your way through the holiday to-do list or you’re feeling too depleted to get off the couch and do yoga, the yoga sequence here is invaluable to have in your back pocket during the winter months. It’s not a high-intensity practice – it’s a healing, nurturing, immune boosting yoga practice. The poses encourage relaxation, reduce stress, and facilitate circulation throughout your whole body. These are the three most effective things that yoga asana can do to help support your immune system.

Yoga for the Immune System

You’ll start off on your back in a Supta Padangusthasana series, which requires very little exertion for those of you feeling fatigued. From there, you’ll gently open your hips, where stress and tension often pool. Then you’ll move into forward bends, which facilitate quiet, inward-drawn attention. You’ll finish with some rejuvenating yoga inversions that reverse blood flow and open the neck and shoulders. (Sometimes they even relieve sinus congestion, although too much inverting can make it worse, so listen to your body.)

As you move through the practice, give yourself permission to slow down and settle in to your body and breath. Try to be as gentle and patient with yourself as possible – especially if you have a cold when frustration and impatience can rear its head. These qualities—going slowly, nurturing yourself, taking your time—are your own natural antidotes to stress, depletion, and fatigue. I hope this sequence helps you tap into them and have a healthy winter season!

Yoga for Immune System Sequence | Jason Crandell Vinyasa Yoga Method

Want to practice this sequence at home? If you sign up for our newsletter, we’ll send you FREE print-friendly PDF download for you to keep.

{illustrations by MCKIBILLO}

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Sharing My Story

Today’s fast-paced, social media-driven world can sometimes make it feel like we have to get our message across in 15 seconds (or 140 characters) or less. But recently, Yogaglo commissioned some videos of its teachers and I had the great fortune of having an amazing, leisurely conversation with the talented videographer Jonathan Pears. The result is this seven minute video, which I feel captures who I am perfectly. Thanks, Jon (his company is called Back to Awake) & Yogaglo! I love being part of your family.

I hope you enjoy watching it as much as we did making it.

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Essential Sequence: Two Core Yoga Routines

The holidays invite us to settle in, slow down, and spend time savoring the most essential elements of our lives. They also include planes, trains, automobiles, overeating, in-laws, expectations, and time spent on a completely different schedule. With everything that the holidays involve, it’s even more important to stay connected to your body and breath. To do this, you may need to adjust your expectations during this time of year. My recommendation is to keep your practice simple and straightforward. Focus on simple, essential postures that help you stay focused, grounded, and present.

I’ve created two short and sweet practices that will help you connect to your core. The two sequences represent a balanced approach to working with your center. One is a mellow sequence that will help soothe your digestive system. The other is a quick practice to fire up, stimulate, and strengthen your midsection. Both practices are effective, quick, and simple. In fact, they’re simple enough that you may want to get your friends and family off the couch and share your practice with them!

TWO CORE YOGA SEQUENCES

Core Yoga Sequence: Sequence to Soothe Digestion | Jason Crandell Vinyasa Yoga Method

There are many ways you can use these core yoga sequences. You can do either sequence on it’s own, you can combine them for a longer sequence, or you can use them as inspiration to get you on the mat and then add as many postures as you like. Please feel free to explore and experiment. For all of the yoga teachers out there, challenge yourself to create an entire practice for your students from these mini-sequences.

The core sequence includes variations and poses you might not have seen before, so I’ve included short instructions beneath the graphic.

Let me know how it goes for you and Happy Thanksgiving!

Core Yoga Sequence: Quick Core Yoga Sequence | Jason Crandell Vinyasa Yoga Sequence

1) Core Connector: Squeeze a block (or folded pillow) between your inner thighs to engage your inner leg muscles (adductors). Keeping the natural curve of your lower back, lift your feet an inch or two away from the ground. If you lift your feet too high, the posture will become much easier. Gently draw your navel toward your spine and stay for several breaths. Repeat a few times.

2) Reclined Side Crow: Side Crow (aka Side Crane) on your back is a killer abdominal strengthener. Start on your back. Start by lifting your head and chest off the ground and drawing your knees toward your chest. Twist your torso, reaching both arms toward the outside of your left knee. Stay for a few breaths and repeat on the second side. Repeat a few times.

3) Reclined Handstand: Start on your back. Lift your head, upper back, and legs off the floor. Raise your arms slightly off the ground and reach them away from you. Squeeze your legs together and draw your navel toward your spine. Stay until you collapse into a puddle on the ground.

4) Forearm Plank: Forearm Plank works your core much more strongly than regular plank. Start in Sphinx Pose with your elbows directly under your shoulders. Tuck your toes, then slowly lift your torso, hips, and thighs away from the floor. Stay here for a breath or two, then lift and straighten your knees. Stay for 5-10 breaths before lowering back into Sphinx pose. Repeat two more times.

5) Paripurna Navasana: Sit with your knees bent and your feet on the floor. Root down through the front of your sitting bones, lengthen your spine, and lift your feet until your shins are parallel to the floor. Continue to lift your lower back and lengthen your spine while you straighten your knees. If straightening your knees strains your lower back or tilts you backward, bend your knees. Take a few breaths here, then bring your toes back to the floor. Repeat two more times.

6) Ardha Navasana: This is a much harder version of Navasana. If it stresses on your lower back, simply repeat Navasana with bent knees. To begin, sit on your mat with your legs straight. Hold the outside of your thighs with your hands. Tuck your tailbone to rotate your pelvis back and slowly lower your back toward the floor. As you lower your torso, slightly lift your legs. Unlike Navasana, you’re slightly rounding your back toward the floor and allowing your chest to sink. Feel free to intensify the pose by interlacing your fingers behind your head. Take a few breaths before releasing and relaxing your whole body into the ground.

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Essential Sequence: Fold into Lotus Pose

Lotus Pose (Padmasana) is one you were likely familiar with before you ever set foot in a yoga studio. Surely you’d seen sculptures of Siddartha or photographs of Indian sadhus with their legs tightly folded together in a pretzel shape. It’s a pose that’s associated with serene states of meditation — and the shape of the pose really does encourage quiet.

Perhaps the tranquil look of the pose is what makes us all pine for it. But make no mistake — it’s not to be attempted lightly. It requires an enormous amount of flexibility in the hip joint and if your body just doesn’t “go there,” you risk hurting your knees.

In the meantime, you can get many benefits with a sequence that prepares you for Lotus. And if your body is ready to fold into the pose, you will know. (Trust me on this.) There will be no knee pain, no stress, no sense of prying or leveraging or forcing. Instead, it will feel like you are folding yourself into the pose.

Forcing your body into Lotus Pose is not worth it in the long run. Pain in your knees or your hips is a sign to back off. Got it? Good.

Most students make the same mistake when they open their hips for Lotus Pose: They focus on stretching the outer hips but forget to open the other muscle groups that make up the hip joint. While the outer hips usually need plenty of help, the key to freedom and balance in your hips is working with all the muscle groups that affect the joint, not just your external rotators. I can’t promise you a Lotus, but practicing the following sequence will make your hips be happier, healthier, and more supple as you work toward it.

If you want to make this sequence a stronger, sweatier flow practice, feel free to practice several Sun Salutations first. You can also add standing poses, arm balances, and inversions to increase the intensity of this practice.

If you’re in need of a quieter, more contemplative practice, you can finish with seated meditation or pranayama.

Hold each pose in the sequence for at least 5 breaths and be sure to practice both sides before attempting Lotus Pose.

Want to practice this sequence at home? When you sign up for our newsletter, we’ll send you a FREE, printer-friendly download to keep.

Padmasana or Lotus Pose Sequence Yoga | Padmasana Pose Sequence | Jason Crandell Vinyasa Yoga Method | JasonYoga.com

{illustrations by MCKIBILLO}

If you want to learn more about how to create great yoga sequences, I encourage you to check out my online course, The Art of Yoga Sequencing. And, as always, please sign up for my mailing list if you want to get a monthly reminder when new sequences go up.

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