I’m Brian Aganad, the creator of The Asana Academy. Whether you are completely new to yoga, a seasoned veteran, an aspiring or experienced yoga teacher, there is something on this page for you!
What is Yoga? The Asana Academy Definition:
Yoga can be whatever it is that you want so as long as it affects you positively. There are millions of reasons why people do yoga, physical exercise, physical healing, injury prevention, athletic performance, emotional recovery, overcoming fear, disorders, and addictions. No one reason is better than the other. Yoga is about acceptance and self-improvement at the same time. Your reason for doing yoga is a personal one and the correct one.
However, with the above said, there are a few things yoga is not.
What Yoga is Not
I can say this with certainty, yoga is not something than causes physical or emotional pain, or perpetuates negativity on any level. Yoga is definitely not:
- A Competition
Yoga is not a competition or a race to be better than your neighbor next to you in a yoga class or the neighbor you live next to. Turning yoga into a competition with someone or something to the point where it becomes a destructive behavior rather than an uplifting one defeats the entire person.
- A Beauty Contest
Yes, I understand that yoga changes your physical body and will make you more beautiful, and I understand that many people do yoga solely for this reason, but please please please try to understand that yoga is a little bit deeper than that!
- A Self-Righteous Activity
Doing yoga doesn’t make you morally superior to everyone around you. Sorry. If anything, doing yoga should make you more understanding of the people around you and put you more in touch with your surroundings.
Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.
Why Learn the Standing Poses?
Seriously, the standing poses are everywhere. Step foot in any yoga class and you’ll see them. Plus, you’ll enjoy your yoga class that much more if you aren’t dependent on the teacher teaching them to you, because they often times won’t.
But even more importantly, they provide a solid foundation for any yoga practice. You’ll open your hips, stretch your hamstrings, strengthen your arms, legs, and core, improve your balance, and fine tune your breathing.
Doing these poses will provide some serious balance to your yoga practice and they will teach you some fundamentals lessons about your body that you can eventually apply to the more complicated stuff.
I was a stiff guy, and I’m talking really stiff when I started doing yoga. Never mind touching the feet lets talk the shin bones. I started with the standing poses religiously (not in a religious way) and they worked wonders for my body and I hope they’ll do the same for you.
A Couple of Things to Note
- In my description of the standing poses, I’m writing assuming you are trying them with your right foot forward. If you prefer to do the left, just switch my instructions and you’ll be fine. But let me give you a little hint, you should be doing both sides! 😛
- At the top of every pose, you’ll see “Must Do’s”. I should clarify that these are not literal “Must Do’s”. If you can’t do them, it’s okay, in fact, it’s normal. Think of them more as the 3 priority points of the pose and focus on those first. The rest of the stuff below, in essence, is just details. You can add more detail to your standing poses as you get more comfortable doing them.
- Some of the descriptions of micro movements I give within the poses are quite detailed and you may not understand them initially. Part of the magic of the standing poses is that the more you do them, the more you’ll feel ‘turn on’ in your body. If you do Triangle Pose for 30 days in a row, you’ll surely feel new things working in your body on day 30 versus day 1.
A General Thing on Feet: Read This Before You Dive Into the Standing Poses
Your feet are the base of every standing pose and as I always say you must build the poses from the ground up. The feet are the only contact points with the ground in all standing poses and that makes what you do with them crucially important.
I like to teach students to imagine your feet as two geometric shapes, a rectangle and a triangle. The rectangular portion is made up by your inner heel, outer heel, pinky toe, and big toe. The triangular portion is created by the arches in your feet. Essentially, the triangle runs from the center of your heel to the left side of the ball of your foot, the center heel to the right side of the ball of your feet, and finally, from the left side of the ball of your foot to the right side of the ball of your foot, lots of words for such a short description, I know.
In order to maintain stability and balance in the pose, and all other standing poses, generally you are pressing the rectangular portion of the foot down and lifting the triangular portion of the foot up (especially if you are flat footed).
By simply being aware and pushing with your feet in this way, you will greatly protect the knees. Remember, yoga should make you walk better, not prevent you from walking at all.