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Kapotasana - King Pigeon Pose

 

The full expression of Kapotasana

 

Kapotasana, or "King Pigeon Pose",  receives its name from the Sanskrit words Kapota ("Pigeon") and asana ("posture" or "seat"). It is a beautiful and graceful pose, no matter what variation you choose to practice it in. It is also a position that can demand a lot of flexibility from the body, so care should be taken when attempting to embrace the full expression of this pose.

 

This pose is very thorough and affects many different areas of the practitioner's anatomy. It stretches the entire front of the body, beginning with the ankles, thighs and groin.  It then reaches up through the abdomen where it also stimulates the abdominal organs.  Finally, the stretch opens the chest and extends all the way up through the throat. It also stretches the deep hip flexors while strengthening the back muscles, making this a pose that is very good for posture. 

 

There are many poses that can be moved through before entering Kapotasana. including Virasana ("Hero Pose"), Bhujangasana ("Cobra Pose"), Dhanurasana ("Bow Pose"), Urdhva Dhanurasana ("Upward Facing Bow Pose"), Setu Bandha ("Bridge Pose") , or Supta Virasana ("Reclining Hero Pose").

 

Kapotasana can then be followed by poses like Balasana ("Child's Pose"), Adho Mukha Svanasana ("Downward Facing Dog"), Bharadvaja's Twist, or Pasasana ("Noose Pose"). Kapotasana is considered an advanced pose, and is not recommended for people suffering from chronic back pain or high or low blood pressure.

 Kapotasana can be found on our Advanced DVD here: The Goddess Series : Advanced.

Joined Prasarita Padottanasana - Wide Leg Forward Bend

 

 The Pose shown is a variation of Prasarita Podottanasana 

    Padottanasana, or "Wide Legged Forward Bend", is a Great pose for Sattva - "purity", literally "existence, reality" in Sanskrit.  Known for soothing the heart and mind while developing rootedness and balance, the anatomical focus of this pose includes the brain, liver, kidneys, spine, hamstrings, calves, hips, groin area, and knees. 

     The benefits of this pose are multi-fold, as it strengthens and stretches the inner and back legs and the spine while toning the abdominal organs.  It also calms the brain and allows for a positive meditative state while holding the pose for 1 minute to 90 seconds.

     This position is usually done toward the end of a series of standing poses like Adho Mukha Svanasana ( Downward Facing Dog Pose) or Uttanasana ( Intense Forward Bending Pose), and can be entered directly through Tadasana (Mountain Pose).

   There are many good follow-up poses for this Prasarita Padottanasana, including Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose), Bakasana (Crane Pose) , Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend) , Sirsasana (Head Stand)  or Utthita Parsvakonasana or (Extended Side Angle Pose).

 

 

 

 

The Right to Shine

Just last week, a video of beautiful Briohny Kate-Smyth was released by Equinox and became the subject of many complicated conversations surrounding something I feel is so simple and so vital: our birthright. Our birthright to shine with the radiance of a thousand stars, to follow our bliss and express ourselves exactly as our hearts command.      

Marianne Williamson comes to mind:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.   

While often the message in the media today encourages us to "set our spirits free," we come to discover that it is in word only and that when we actually do summon the courage to loose our societally imposed fetters and truly, authentically express ourselves, we are judged, and we are condemned. Others' insecurities and fears are projected onto those whose innocent, playful, childlike instincts lead them to do exactly what each of us was meant to do, express our creativity and our innermost joy that arises from our soul essence, our true nature.

Integrity means to align oneself with one's truth, to marry word and deed, intention and action in their purest states; the word "yoga" means union, oneness, bliss, it is the union of will and spirituality.  

What Briohny Kate-Smyth did in her Equinox practice was to do just that; she so gracefully and elegantly articulated her innermost essence through her practice,  and communicated pure embodiment and empowerment to the masses, to everyone who watched her liquid form move seamlessly on that mat.

 "The word ‘yoga’ refers primarily to an ancient Hindu spiritual tradition intended to overcome the narrow sense of individual selfhood, though its usage ranges from the very general to the specific and highly technical. The word is probably derived from the Sanskrit root yuj, which implies a yoke or harness, invoking the notion that when the ox and the cart are connected via the yoke, the resulting complex is greater than the sum of its parts. In its most general sense, yoga involves harnessing or integrating the forces of embodiment (mind, body, and spirit) in order to transcend embodiment."~ Alan Fox

" ... the resulting complex is greater than the sum of its parts," meaning that when we practice yoga, free from constraints, from externally imposed limits on our expression, we are able to be kind to ourselves, and to love ourselves. We are then moved to share this kindness and love, free to recognize our sameness, to embrace the notion of unity with others. We become greater than our individual selves, making our contribution to raising the energetic vibration on this planet-making the world a more peaceful, compassionate place.

When we look deeper, we start to see that learning to free ourselves of our own shame and our own judgments is the first step on the path to liberation from our attachment to our corporeal selves. Ironically,  as we learn to feel more at home with our outer selves, we are able to then travel inward, where we can unearth the treasures, the secrets that will eventually assist us in attaining higher levels of freedom--surrender, where we are actually able to let go of this identification with our bodies and embrace our soul essence in order to ultimately unite with the divine, to know this oneness, this bliss that is yoga. 

We posted Brihony's video on Facebook and were pleased to be met with myriad positive and supportive responses, confirming that women want to applaud other womens' courage to express themselves ... people, men and women alike who have suffered from all kinds of creative oppression want to be free of self-conscious judgement and move through life authentically, peacefully, powerfully. We chose one to highlight here:


<<Thank you for sharing! Cant be quiet about this one! We shouldnt judge! Our movement, situations in life, and our breath help us to discover who we are and where we need to go! Self discovery is a beautiful part of life. Embrace it whether you feel you need to Run Naked or Not. One of the best moments in life is when you can practice yoga/movement/or just walking around your house half naked or just in those panties and bra.....more women and people in general should try this sometime.......the freedom they experience from it will allow them to discover more about themselves and then in return not judge others! Great article! Pass the word!>>

And another timely excerpt that underlines yet again our deep desire for freedom of expression and a place to call home inside our own beings:

From LA Yoga Magazine's Editor in Chief, Felicia Marie Tomasko

"More than one million people (and climbing) have watched the video of Briohny Smyth practicing Yoga, courtesy of Equinox (check out the YouTube video here). Comments have ranged from the supportive to the critical, from the sheer joy of watching someone in love with their practice to decrying the implied sexuality of showcasing the movements clad in simple black top and bottom with an expanse of skin.

I have an admitted bias, having practiced alongside Briohny many times in the studio and every time, I am struck by the shared love of Yoga. And every time I have watched this video, I’m reminded of the beauty of the practice, the sheer sensuality of movement, of why any of us do yoga anyway. 

For me, it’s largely centered on cultivating and maintaining the relationship I have with my own body, mind, heart, and spirit. Every breath, every sun salutation, every arm balance, every child’s pose, every attempt at flipping upside down allows me to reset my internal systems in order to feel a sense of home. 

Ultimately, I believe we are all settling into the home of our Self. And like a dog circling its bed a few times to settle in, or a cat kneading its paw prints, the practice—in whatever way we engage—allows us to make our metaphorical bed, sweep beneath the imaginary rug, and shake out the couch cushions of our multifaceted physical and energetic existence. 

When we feel at home, wherever we are, we are free.

Celebrating our Freedom"

Here at Yoga Undressed, this is our mantra: Celebrate yourself and free yourself, so that you can be everything you were meant to be--unfettered, loved unconditionally, nurtured by your innermost heart and soul ...

Our practice was created to be a source of inspiration to all, a catalyst for freedom of all kinds, a beacon of truth and beauty, and your first step onto the path towards finding your own true home, your timeless essence and your true nature, vital, alive and filled with joy--at one with all things in this infinite universe.

 

 

 

Happy Holidays from Yoga Undressed~

Wishing everyone a healthy, happy, joyous and magical Holiday Season! May your hearts be filled with love and gratitude when you think of all of the gifts we each possess, those that are not of the material realm, but free, what we have inside and what we share with others ... 

May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words, and actions of our lives contribute to this happiness and freedom for beings everywhere!

* Sweet and Powerful Wishes for Peace on Earth *

Namaste~

Uncover Your Original Self this Winter~

Greetings!

We are especially excited to share our beautiful new series with you--high-level instructional Hatha and Kundalini Yoga DVDs taught in a Vinyasa format, demonstrated by exceptionally talented Yoginis who inspire reverence and joy in their practice.

Have you ever gone skinny-dipping? Can you recall how incredibly freeing that felt?-- the water running over every part of your body, the sensations of your skin surrounded, enveloped, caressed? Remember the laughter? Recall the exhilaration, the thrill of being in nature, at one with everything around you and with yourself?

Our Goddess series will remind you of these feelings, and go beyond, because we merge that kind of childlike freedom and joy with the art of yoga- the opportunity to experience yourself in an entirely new way- free of the constraints of clothing and and self-consciousness!

In the privacy of your own sacred space, come find yourself again, or perhaps for the first time ever in this gentle, kind, and loving way ...

Uncover your original self- your true self that is not defined by what you wear or what you show to the outside world in the realm of material possessions or adornments. Breathe, feel your skin and see yourself moving from one asana to the next in your most natural state, at one with yourself and the universe.

Turn up the heat and shed your coverings, imagine that you are on a sunny beach somewhere far away; travel beyond yourself and come closer to yourself than you ever thought possible. Join us in this sacred practice where we celebrate our bodies and our spirits in the most joyful, innocent and elevated way.

In the holiday mayhem, create peace and calm in your own private world and reveal the treasures that glow there, deep inside you ...

We invite you to join us here: http://vimeo.com/13221705

~Namaste