Bathtub Yoga

legsup

Yes!  You can do yoga in the bathtub!

Warning:  the tub is not the best place for your standing poses.  In fact, PLEASE do not do any standing poses (or inversions!!) in a full bathtub at all.  And of course you must exercise caution even still; the tub is a slippery spot.

I will confess–there are some days where I don’t even get onto my mat, and I choose instead to do my practice in the bathtub before bed.

First I fill the tub with hot water, epsom salts and baking soda.  After it has filled, I add the essential oil (or mixture) of my choice: lavender and vanilla are favorites.

I soak and relax for a few minutes, a big glass of water at hand, then begin a sequence something like the following:

1cow2cat3lunge

4twistlunge5runnersstretch6januskfjbakjbfcka

7twist8boat9boatarms

10virasaasas11cowface12fb

1. & 2.  Cat & Cow poses:  inhaling deeply as you arch, and exhaling as your spine rounds

3.  Lunges:  front knee touches the front of the tub (my little tub, anyway), and reach through the big toe side of back leg, pressing it against the back of the tub.  Throw in a little crescent/back bend if you’re moved to.  You can hold on in front for security

4.  Twisted Lunge:  hands on the sides of the tub for leverage in your twist

5.  Runner’s Stretch:  bend one knee and stretch other leg straight in front; square hips; lean forward over straight leg, keeping a flat back

6.  Janu Sirsana:  sit back with one leg folded to the side as in Virasana (Hero Pose, step #10 above); twist torso to face straight leg and lean over straight leg; can use side of tub for leverage if twisting

7.  Marichyasana–seated twist:  from a seated position, bend one leg in front and cross the other one over (see photo above).  Inhale, raise opposite arm from lifted knee, and cross it over.  Use sides of tub for leverage.  Inhale and lengthen the spine, exhale and deepen the twist

8. & 9.  Navasana–boat pose:  from a seated position, lift both legs up in front of you, forming a V shape with your body.  You can rest your feet against the wall, reaching through the inner feet and pressing them against the wall.  To test your core strength, lift both arms straight overhead as in photo above

10.  Virasana–Hero Pose:  from kneeling, allow seat to sink between the knees and touch the bottom of the tub.  If this strains your knees, spread them as far apart as the tub will allow–but keep drawing your inner heels toward the sides of your buttocks; don’t let them splay out

11.  Gomukhasana (“cow face”) arms:  inhale and lift both arms overhead.  Bend one elbow around behind your back and reach for midpoint between shoulder blades.  Bend other arm from lifted over head and reach down back, trying to grasp the hand that’s between the shoulder blades (see photo above)

12.  Seated Forward Bend:  stretch both legs out in front of you.  Inhale and lift arms overhead.  Exhale, and fold forward from the hips with a flat back.  You can grasp the faucet with both hands, as shown above, then bend elbows out to the sides as you exhale and deepen the forward bend.  Try not to round your spine too much

Final Pose–  Legs Up the Wall (headline photo):  turn around so your head faces the faucet. Scoot your hips as close as they’ll get to the back of the tub.  Raise both legs and rest them against the wall, releasing all effort.  Clasp your hands behind your head and cradle it, elbows resting on sides of tub, such that it can sink as low as possible without you drowning (ears are submerged; nose and mouth are not).  Breathe deeply and savor this slight inversion.

Then turn back around, put your feet up (lower) on the front edge.  Relax completely.

Enjoy your yoga bath, and take care!

P.S. For more on bathtub yoga, visit tubyoga.com by Susan Atkinson

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Creating Space for a Home Yoga Practice

ImageBedroom Yoga Sanctuary

I practice yoga six days a week, mostly at home.  I go to class about once per week.  There is a space at the foot of the bed that is just big enough for my mat.   There is a cabinet for my props.  There is a blank patch of wall for kicking up to handstand.

My apartment is not big.  It’s four rooms (this is New York!), yet I have found it possible to carve out this space.

Just as I have set aside a space in my home for my practice, so have I carved out a place in my schedule.  I have a commitment to myself to show up on my mat every day, for at least twenty minutes.

That IS the practice!

The practice is not an elaborate series of postures.  It is not a checklist of shapes I have made with my body.  The practice is that act of getting my (sometimes recalcitrant, often weary, really quite busy and has-a-thousand-other-things-it-would-like-to-be-doing) a** onto that mat for a minimum of twenty minutes a day.  What happens after that is none of my business.  The practice seems to take on a life of its own.

I follow the same sequence of postures each time, which helps take the thinkwork out of it.  Frequently, though, I change up it midway.  I add a pose that seems right for the moment, or I skip one (or a whole bunch of them, if it’s that kind of day).  There have been days when I get on the mat, lie on my back, take a few twists and then lie in savasana.  Some days are like that.

But every day, I go up to my room and unroll my mat.  I light those candles and a stick of incense.  I sit and breathe for a few moments, then I begin to move.