Each Month, starting January 2018 and continuing through December 2018, I will present concise illustrated instructions for a yoga pose (if not two or three) that you can practice along with. Strung together, the twelve poses make up a balanced yoga sequence. This sequence will incorporate a warm-up at the start, then poses to take you through a wide range of movement and focused work, and finishes with some resting poses.

January | February | March | April | May | June | July | August | September | October | November | December

Uttanasana with the head supported

Benefits: This variation of Uttanasana removes mental fatigue and cools and calms the brain. It can help ease a migraine or stress headache. This is the perfect way to prepare for Sirsasana.

Models: Naghmeh Ahi and Kirsten Dalsgaard.

You will need one or two blocks to support the crown of your head. You may need a folded blanket.

Stand in TADASANA (Mountain Pose). Place your hands on your hips.

Draw your knees and thighs up and holding your legs firm, exhale and bend forward from the hips. Place the crown of your head on the support. If your head doesn’t quite reach without your having to bend your knees or pitch forward, then you will need to build up your support. If all that you need is a little more height, try placing a folded blanket on top of the block.

Place your fingertips on the floor beside your feet. Raise your shoulders away from the floor.

To release further forward, stamp your heels down, press your fingertips down and continue to lift your thighs. Comb your quadriceps up from the knees to the top of the thighs. Lift your sitting bones away from the heels. Allow your breath to become quiet and even. Hold for 20–30 seconds.

If your hands do not yet reach the floor, place your hands on blocks.

With a chair: If tight hamstrings are preventing your head from reaching 1½ blocks, you will need more height: Place a chair on your mat, facing in toward the wall. Lean against a wall, and walk your feet 1½ feet away from the wall. Reach forward and place your forehead on the chair. If your head does not reach the chair, raise the height of the seat: add a blanket, or place a bolster across it.

practice notes:

If (with your legs straight) your head still does not come into contact with the support, work toward the final pose this way: keep your hips resting against the wall reach your hands forward, palms facing in. Place your outer wrist bones on the top of the chair back. Extend out through your fingertips and lock your elbows. Draw the upper arm muscles back toward your shoulders.

Those with back injuries should not practice the final pose with the head down. Work to create ease in the spine and strength in the legs: practice this pose with the head up and your hands on blocks. Practice also the lateral standing poses and stage 1 (with the head up) of the forward bend standing poses.

With thanks and gratitude to my teachers, BKS Iyengar (1918-2014), Prashant Iyengar, Geeta Iyengar, Abhijata Sridhar, and Sunita Parthasarthy.

Drawings and text © Bobby Clennell. All rights reserved. No reproduction without prior permission.

©2008 – 2018 Bobby Clennell.