final poses

Head to Knee Pose and Stretching Pose or Janushirasana and Paschimotthanasana

At this point there is 10 minutes of class left so we have to muster up the strength to make good use of our time. Sitting on our butt we extend our right leg out and place our left foot against our right leg, making a 90-degree angle between the legs. Sucking our stomach in we bend our lower spine, stretch out and interlock both hands beneath our right foot. Looking at our stomach and a slightly choking sensation in our throats we push our right foot until our right knee is locked and our heel is off the floor. Then we lean forward trying to get our elbows to the floor, while breathing normal and keeping our stomach sucked in. This stretch works out our calves, lower back and the top of our arms. We hold this pose for 30 seconds before switching and stretching our left leg for 30 seconds. After we are done with our left leg we lay down and immediately do a sit up. The sit up consists of laying flat on the ground with our hands above our head, taking a deep breath and curling our spine upward one vertebrae at a time. When we are up we reach our toes and exhale loudly twice before attempting Stretching Pose. Staying seated, we bend our knees slightly and grab our big toes with our index fingers. We wiggle our butts back away from our toes until our knees are locked out straight. With our gaze is forward we pull on our toes and try to put our stomach on our lap and our elbows on the mat. We hold this pose for 30 seconds before lying down and repeating all three postures again.

Spine Twisting Pose or Ardha-Matsyendrasana

The final pose of the session, we begin Spine Twisting Pose by laying the outside of our left knee on the mat, wrapping our right leg overtop so that our left knee and outside of our right ankle meet at the same place. We stretch our left hand up, twist our spine and reach around our right knee and place our hand where our left knee and right ankle meet. Once we have this pose we turn and look over our right shoulder in the side mirror. If possible we grab the back left of our shorts with our right hand. Either way the key to getting a good stretch is to lift your spine up, look over your right shoulder and to twist as we exhale. We repeat this posture on the other side but do not do a second set and instead go into our final breathing exercise, Blowing in Firm Pose.

Blowing in Firm Pose or Kapalbhati in Vajrasana

At this point you should be tired, exhausted and craving to be elsewhere. We sit atop out feet and shins with a straight back and our hands on our knees. This breathing exercise consists of exhaling through the mouth while making a “woosh” sound. Although we are focusing only on exhaling but our lungs will inhale automatically when we stop exhaling. After 60 seconds we pause and repeat the posture for 30 seconds, after which we Savasna and relax in the room. At this point we can close our eyes for the first time in 90 minutes. As good as it feels to be done at this point I usually get up to go to the bathroom or sit outside in the cold. It would behoove me to spend more time in the classroom but I tend to get to class 20 minutes before so by the end of class I usually want to get outside and feel the cold stucco wall against my sweaty skin and relax in the fact that I won’t be doing yoga again for another 70 hours.