I had always scorned “yoga selfies”… until I took some. And then I started a home practice and got inspired to take a few pics and was surprised to get a good look at my own alignment. I discovered that my hips were not as square as I’d thought and I needed to make some adjustments in things like “triangle” to get my spine straight. I practice and work at two studios with mirrors, which I used to haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaate, but I’ve found that a few pictures and peeks in the mirror here and there have been really helpful. So once every few months I snap a few shots.
These aren’t related to alignment, they’re just a couple pics I took while visiting family in Pennsylvania in early Spring. The students who take my Yin classes regularly know that I often include “toes pose” (or I recently heard someone call it “fire toes” which pretty accurately describes the sensation!) I LOVE “fire toes” and it’s counter pose (stretching the tops of the feet.) I love it because I’m on my feet A LOT and they often hurt. If I didn’t do this constantly, my feet would not be so flexible and would hurt even more. While most of my students hate it in the moment, they express appreciation for it and being glad to stretch their feet when it’s over. It’s INTENSE but for me, after the initial couple minutes when the “fire” subsides, I could hang out here for awhile. Same for the counter pose (below – sitting back on your heels and then dropping back and lifting the knees, stretching out the tops of the feet and compressing the soles) – I just flop right back and rest on my forearms for a bit. Trust me, you want to do this one every day.
I’ve also become fond of experimenting with various mudras (“hand yoga!”) and enjoy finding new ones to give students to try in class. This one is “Surabhi Mudra” (or “cow” mudra – the fingers are said to look like upside down teats!!!) I spent a good couple of days practicing this one until my fingers got comfortable and I could hold it. It’s a hard one to get the first few times but I knew that my regulars in my two meditation classes would be up for trying (and they were!)
I like Surabhi Mudra also for two reasons: One, it’s a complicated one and takes a bit of focus to hold it. In meditation, your mind is less likely to wander when you’re trying to keep your fingers held in this “cow puzzle.” Two, it’s a mudra for wish fulfillment, which is just lovely all around. (It also helps regulate metabolism and balance the three doshas.)