Words by Bobbie Marchand / Images by Jill Futter
Sometimes, all you need are a few bits of asana to get your body back to feeling more like itself. We checked out a few of teacher Bobbie Marchand's musts!
PARSVOKONASANA (Extended Side Angle Pose)
Mmm....this pose is a whole lot of things: grounding in the legs, opening the groin, tremendous side body stretch, a giant open twist and a little hint of backbend. At the end of a long day, especially if I've been sitting a lot, this pose is glorious. Also, because Extended Side Angle Pose moves energy in so many different directions, it really encourages me to find just the right balance between effort and ease in the pose.
Ground the legs and stretch the side body: press the baby toe side of the back foot down firmly and feel a long diagonal line along the whole side body, through the extended arm, reaching beyond the finger tips
Open the groin and find the twist: press front inner thigh back using the upper outer arm (hand is to the inside of the front foot), next; draw the front hip under slightly and then rotate the torso towards the ceiling (or in the case of the photoshoot: the sky!)
Find a hint of back bend: lean the torso and head slightly back
UPPA VISTA KONASANA (Wide-Angle Seated Forward Bend)
A great asana to open the inner legs and hips, free and lengthen the lower back and move the lymphatic system in the legs....I like to take a good few minutes in this pose, starting more upright (as shown with the forearms on blocks) before working lower into the pose; this keeps the nervous system calm and helps me focus on deepening the pose with my breath, rather than force.
Legs do not need to be incredibly wide to receive the benefit of Uppa Vista Konasana. Depending on how you feel, a 90-degree angle can be plenty!
If the lower back is rounded, sit on the edge of a folded blanket to encourage a neutral pelvis and find length in the spine.
Knees and toes face up
Find patience and breath...patience and breath...
VIPARITA KARANI (Legs Up The Wall)
There are few poses that I love more than this; when I waited tables, worked long hours in the kitchen, or walked all over NYC in questionable footwear, I would come home, toss my legs up the wall, and, in 15 minutes, had new legs! It's basically a restorative inversion so it's great for circulation, reversing blood flow, reducing swelling in the legs and feet and aids in clearing the mind...the bonus: it's also a wonderful sleep aid.
Soften your knees if having the legs straight strains the hamstrings and low back
Let the muscles in the legs relax--they may even twitch after a few minutes!
Keep your head in line with spine (not shown in photo: we took artistic license with that!)
Bobbie Marchand was born and raised in Toronto, Canada and teaches at Prema Yoga in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn. Her practice is deeply rooted in Tantric Philosophy and the universal principles of alignment. Her classes celebrate grace, freedom and deep inner wisdom.