Leah SugermanLeah Sugerman is a yoga teacher, writer and passionate world traveler. From Leah’s very first encounter with yoga, she was hooked. She fell in love with the pure dichotomy of the practice: the stark contrast between the strength and power compared to the grace and surrender. She enjoys the beautiful dance between the two extremes that happens on (and off!) her mat every day. Leah has been a passionate, dedicated student since her very first class. When not teaching, Leah can be found practicing handstands in the sand, finding magic and eloquence playing with words or traveling to far ends of the globe with her mat in hand. Follow Leah's travels and stay connected: www.leahsugerman.com
Articles by Leah Sugerman:
Vasisthasana (or Side Plank) is a powerful and challenging arm balance that requires strength, flexibility, and balance. Overflowing with benefits, this posture strengthens the wrists, arms, shoulders, core, and legs while simultaneously stretching the hips, groins, and hamstrings. A quintessential yoga pose of both strength and flexibility, Vasisthasana also requires balance, concentration, and grace to practice with ease. As with all yoga poses, a keen attention to the breath creates stamina in this difficult asana.
Adho Mukha Svanasana
Adho Mukha Svanasana, or Downward Facing Dog, is likely the most ubiquitous pose in the entire yoga practice. Utilizing the full body, creating both strength and flexibility, it is really no wonder that so many differing schools and styles of yoga have adopted this all-encompassing posture into their disciplines. A forward fold and a spinal neutralizing pose, Down Dog works to create length in the back body while simultaneously strengthening the arms, back and core. But even beyond just the physical, Adho Mukha Svanasana is often used as a ‘resting’ pose between other more challenging postures to both relax the mind and restore the breath. Allowing practitioners to draw their attention inward, this pose provides the perfect space to bring meditation into the physical asana practice.
The Importance of Forward Bends
There are many, many poses within the yoga practice that incorporate some aspect of forward folding. Forward bends tend to be more restorative, cooling postures that often move the head below the heart also creating the effects of an inversion. Introspective and soothing, these gentle (or deeper forward) bends work to lengthen the entire back body, stretching the neck, the upper, middle and lower back, glutes, hips, hamstrings and calves. Literally lengthening from head to toe, these postures create space and awareness throughout.
Yoga for the Core: Why It’s Important & How To Practice
The core can often be seen as this mysterious part of the body that is either toned by six-pack muscles or just weak. Oftentimes in yoga, teachers instruct students to “activate the core” without totally explaining how or what that means leaving students confused or desperately trying to suck in their bellies while holding their breath. The core can be somewhat complex, but it is absolutely imperative to a healthy and safe yoga practice and its strength can contribute to overall health and wellbeing.