YogaGivesBackChallenge Poses 21-30

YogaGivesBackChallenge

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Last time, I shared the second third of the poses from the YogaGivesBackChallenge, which was a 30-day yoga challenge and charity challenge on Instagram. Today I’ll be sharing the final third of the poses. During this yoga challenge, the number of posts determined the donation amount that sponsor @aloyoga and possibly the hosts  @beachyogagirl (Kerri Verna) and @kinoyoga (Kino MacGregor), would make to @yogagivesback, a nonprofit focused on raising awareness and funds to alleviate poverty in India

At the end of the challenge, Kino reported that there were over 91,000, which was enough for Alo Yoga to donate $1000 to Yoga Gives Back. Although it was originally planned that Alo Yoga would donate $2500 for 100,000 posts and the hosts would donate $2500 at 150,000, Kino said “since it was so close and we are so touched by your poses and participation” she and Kerri would match the donation for a total of $2000 which “will fund micro-loans to women entrepreneurs and keep children in school in India”.

Pose 21: Baddha Hasta Sirsasana B or Bound Hands Headstand B

According to Kerri, “if you have a solid handstand practice” this pose “isn’t as hard as it looks”. I’m not to the point of being able to do a headstand yet, and Salamba Sirsasana or Supported Headstand was the pose for that day’s JuneOYourChakras (which I’ll be telling you about soon), I considered this my attempt for both. I didn’t get a full headstand, but did get a little lift.

Pose 21: Baddha Hasta Sirsasana B or Bound Hands Headstand B for YogaGivesBackChallenge

Pose 22: Mayurasana or Peacock Pose 

Kino said, “This was one of the hardest poses for me to even begin to make sense of in my practice”. Even with her instructions that followed this statement, I found it difficult as well. I couldn’t balance my whole body weight. I was able to lift one foot, but not both.

Pose 22: Mayurasana or Peacock Pose for YogaGivesBackChallengePose 23: Bharadvajasana or Bharadvaja’s Twist

I was able to get this pose pretty easily following Kino’s example, although I think it would have been a little easier if I had worn different pants. For those who might wonder, the shirt is a Firefly shirt that says Keep Calm and Stay Shiny.

Pose 23: Bharadvajasana or Bharadvaja's Twist for YogaGivesBackChallenge

Pose 24: Kurmasana or Tortoise Pose

Kerri said to feel free to bend the legs for this pose, which I found I had to do. I think my minpin was a little concerned about me being in this position, which I found a little difficult to comfortably get back out of. You can see more of my minpin on @phoenixxphyre and he makes an occasional appearance on Embracing Adventure.

Pose 24: Kurmasana or Tortoise Pose for YogaGivesBackChallenge

Pose 25: Baddha Hasta Sirsasana D Bound Hand Headstand D

According to Kino, this headstand variation is in the Ashtanga Yoga Second Series. I am still working on being able to do a headstand, so I certainly wouldn’t be able to do it with my hands behind my back. So, here’s another prep pose for a bound hands headstand. I didn’t get a full headstand, but I did get a little lift again.

Pose 25: Baddha Hasta Sirsasana Bound Hand Headstand for YogaGivesBackChallenge

Pose 26: Urdhva Mukha Paschimattanasana or Upward Facing Intense West Stretch

I’m definitely not able to fold my legs up as high as Kino or reach my feet, but I was able to straighten my legs and grab my ankles.

Pose 27: Eka Pada Sirsasana or One Foot Behind Head Pose

Years ago, I was able to get a leg behind my head. Apparently I am nowhere near that flexible anymore, so I did the pose that Kino did right before putting her leg behind her head. I’m not sure if there is a separate name for that or not.

Pose 27: Prep pose for Eka Pada Sirsasana or One Foot Behind Head Pose

Pose 28: Vrschikasana or Scorpion Handstand

Kino suggested that if unable to do a scorpion headstand to try it from a forearm balance. I can’t do a forearm balance either, so I decided to do a prep pose closer to Dolphin Pose, which was suggested in a YouTube video by Ekhart Yoga on how to get into a forearm balance.

Pose 28: Prep pose for Forearm Balance for Vrschikasana or Scorpion Handstand

Pose 29: Pincha Mayurasana or Feathered Peacock Pose

I’m not able to do regular peacock pose, much less the feathered one, so instead for this pose I kept going with the forearm balance prep with a lifted leg. According to Kino, “It never matters whether or not you do a pose. What matters is the journey that the experience of the practice takes you on.”

Pose 29: Forearm Balance Prep for Pincha Mayurasana or Feathered Peacock Pose

Pose 30: Mukta Hasta Sirsasana C or Free Hands Headstand C

Since I’m unable to do a regular headstand, I was not able to do a free hands one, so I kept going with the forearm balance prep, this time getting the second foot in the air. I’m sure you can tell by the blurriness that it was not for long.

Pose 30: Forearm Balance Prep for Mukta Hasta Sirsasana C or Free Hands Headstand C

Although I was not able to do the full expressions of any of the final third of the poses, and in some cases could not come anywhere close, I did make the attempt. Kino acknowledged in her final post of the challenge, “this month has presented some challenging asanas that take a lifetime to really practice”. There is always time to keep improving, but at least I know what my starting point is. I’m currently participating in the BacktoBackBends Challenge with the same hosts. You can follow my progress with that on @investinginfitness.

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YogaGivesBackChallenge Poses 11-20

YogaGivesBackChallenge

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The YogaGivesBackChallenge was a 30-day yoga challenge on Instagram. It was also a charity challenge in which the number of images hashtagged #yogagivesbackchallenge by the end of the challenge determined the donation amount from one of the sponsors (@aloyoga) to the other (@yogagivesback, a nonprofit focused on raising awareness and funds to alleviate poverty in India). There was also a possibility of a donation from the hosts @beachyogagirl and @kinoyoga.

According to Kino, there were over 91,000 posts by the end of the challenge, which met the goal for Alo Yoga to donate $1000 to Yoga Gives Back. While the original setup was that Alo Yoga would donate $2500 for 100,000 posts and the hosts would donate $2500 at 150,000, Kino said “since it was so close and we are so touched by your poses and participation” she and Kerri would match the donation for a total of $2000 which “will fund micro-loans to women entrepreneurs and keep children in school in India”.

Previously I shared the first ten poses from the challenge. Today I’ll share the next ten poses from the challenge, some information about them, and a bit about my experience with them.

Pose 11: Nakrasana or Crocodile Pose 

This pose was supposed to be done with Chaturanga jumps, which you can see performed by Kino here. My middle sank too low attempting Nakrasana to begin with, so there was no way I could do jumps from it. So, I modified it with my arms higher. I had done Les Mills Pump’s Pump & Burn earlier in the day, so I’m not sure if I was just tired from that or if I’m not strong enough yet, but even with the modification I wasn’t very successful at the hopping part.

 

Pose 11: Nakrasana or Crocodile Pose for YogaGivesBackChallenge

Pose 12: Mukta Hasta Sirsasana A or Tripod Headstand 

I attempted this pose the same way that Kino did it, which at least let me get my legs in the air, but I came back down quickly in the same direction my legs were traveling and ran into the plastic tote in front of me, effectively making my attempt more like an elongated somersault than a headstand.

Pose 12: Mukta Hasta Sirsasana A or Tripod Headstand for YogaGivesBackChallenge

Pose 13: Urdhva Dhanurasana or Wheel Pose

Although I can’t drop back into the pose like Kerri, I can almost reach it starting from the floor and pushing up. Hopefully with practice I can get my head off the floor and eventually be able to reach the pose by dropping back into it.
Pose 13: Urdhva Dhanurasana or Wheel Pose for YogaGivesBackChallenge

Pose 14: Marichyasana C or Marichi’s Pose C or Sage’s Pose C

Kino says that this seated twist “is a powerful tool to cleanse the inner body”. The first time I was presented with a twist requiring reaching around like this, which was Pasasana or Noose Pose earlier in this challenge, I wasn’t able to get it, but this time it was not difficult. I technically should have had the unbent leg out straighter with my foot pointed up though.
Pose 14: Marichyasana C or Marichi's Pose C or Sage's Pose C for the YogaGivesBackChallenge

Pose 15: Laghu Vajrasana or the Little Thunderbolt

Kerri calls this pose “quad burner“. Although the full expression of the pose takes the head to the floor, she recommends only going as far as one can while still being able to come back up using the quads, so that’s what I did. I thought I would manage to get further with all the squats I do with Les Mills Pump, but maybe they were tired from that. Side notes: Weird things tend to happen with my hair during yoga poses, and this one was no exception. For those interested, the hanzi on my shirt is for Firefly, which is from the show of the same name.

Pose 15: Laghu Vajrasana or the Little Thunderbolt for YogaGivesBackChallenge

Pose: 16 Shalabhasana Locust Pose

This pose reminds me of some of the swimming moves from Insanity: The Asylum. According to Kerri, this is a “great posture for strengthening the QL, triceps, core, gluteus, and hamstrings”. I believe it!

Pose: 16 Shalabhasana Locust Pose for YogaGivesBackChallenge

Pose 17: Ustrasana or Camel Pose

I actually skipped over this pose initially, perhaps because I was thinking I originally did it since it looks so close to Laghu Vajrasana from Day 15. I ended up doing it for JuneOYourChakras, which I’ll be recapping soon.

Pose 18: Krounchasana or Heron Pose

The full expression of this pose has the leg fully extended and against the nose. That wasn’t happening for me. Kerri says not to worry if you can’t extend the leg or grab the foot and to use a strap or keep the knee bent. I didn’t use a strap, but my knee is slightly bent, and I grabbed above my ankle instead of the foot.

Pose 18: Krounchasana or Heron Pose for YogaGivesBackChallenge

Pose 19: Marichyasana A or Marichi’s Pose A or Sage’s Pose A

This pose is a harder version of the Marichyasana C from Day 14 of this challenge. Kino says that “this is an important pose for giving yoga access into deeper forward bends and arm balances”. Although getting into Marichyasana C isn’t difficult, adding the bend was, and I did not get all the way down.

Pose 19: Marichyasana A or Marichi's Pose A or Sage's Pose A for YogaGivesBackChallenge

Pose 20: Bhujapidasana or Shoulder-Pressing Pose

According to Kerri “this posture isn’t as hard as it looks and is really all about balance”. She also says that “hooking the feet makes it a lot easier”. I was able to reach it by hooking my feet, but only briefly. I think part of the problem was that I didn’t start with my legs high enough, but at least I got off the ground.

Pose 20: Bhujapidasana or Shoulder-Pressing Pose YogaGivesBackChallenge

Most of the poses in the second third of the YogaGivesBackChallenge were new to me. It was nice to be able to try them and have an idea of what my starting point is, so that as I practice more, I can visually see my progress.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this yoga challenge recap. I’ll tell you about the last third of this challenge, as well as some other challenges, in the future. If you want to follow along with my progress in other challenges, including the BacktoBackBends challenge which has the same hosts, you can do so on @investinginfitness.

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YogaGivesBackChallenge Poses 1-10

YogaGivesBackChallenge

Click to go to @kinoyoga on Instagram.

The YogaGivesBackChallenge on Instagram is a 30-day charity challenge in which the number of images hashtagged #yogagivesbackchallenge by the end of the challenge will result in various donations from one of the sponsors to another and possibly from the hosts. The challenge is hosted by @beachyogagirl and @kinoyoga and sponsored by @aloyoga and @yogagivesback.

As of the halfway mark, there were over 50,000 posts, so Alo Yoga is donating $1000 to Yoga Gives Back, a nonprofit focused on raising awareness and funds to alleviate poverty in India. If there are another 50,000 posts, they will donate $2500. If there are a total of 150,000 posts, then the hosts will contribute $2500, resulting in a total of $5000 raised for Yoga Gives Back. It is my understanding that it’s okay to join the challenge late and to catch up on poses, which is what I did when I joined on day 10.

Today I’ll share the first 10 poses, some information about them, and a bit about my experience with them. Though I started with pose 10 and did a daily pose along with a few I needed to catch up on for the first few days, I’ll share them in the order they were assigned rather than the order I did them in:

Pose 1: Ardha Matsyendrasana or Half Lord of the Fishes Pose

The challenge started off easy enough with this pose, which is a pretty simple twist, at least for me, but this stretch has come up in a few Beachbody workouts. It’s actually in Les Mills Pump‘s Flow, followed by extending that leg my elbow is on, so having this simple version was kind of a welcome respite from some of the other poses I’d been trying in this and other challenges I’m doing. Ardha Matsyendrasana or Half Lord of the Fishes Pose for YogaGivesBackChallenge


Pose 2: Utthita Parsvakonasana or Extended Side Angle Pose

This pose was supposed to be Parsvakonasana B or Revolved Side Angle Posture, which means I should have had my other hand down on the same side of my leg like Kino, and would have been facing the camera with my chest. (If you want to try this pose and aren’t able to do that Kerri suggests putting your knee on the ground and twisting.) What I ended up doing was closer to Extended Side Angle Pose.

Utthita Parsvakonasana or Extended Side Angle Pose for YogaGivesBackChallenge


Pose 3: Prasarita Padottanasana or Standing Wide-Legged Forward Bend Pose

This is a pretty basic pose for me, having done a lot of these type of forward bends in other workouts. However, I could still improve my flexibility. For example, I could work up to being able to do it the way Kino does. For beginners, Kerri offers the option of using a chair while advanced yogis could try a headstand. I stuck with the middle road of just doing this pose. Prasarita Padottanasana or Standing Wide-Legged Forward Bend Pose for YogaGivesBackChallenge

Pose 4: Utthita Hasta Padangustasana or Extended Hand to Big Toe Pose or Standing Leg Raise

Kerri says that this posture is challenging for most people, so I don’t feel bad that it was a bit difficult for me to get up into. I was not able to straighten my supporting leg and could only mostly straighten my raised leg, but this is honestly better than I thought I’d do. Perhaps someday I’ll be able to raise it as high as Kino does, but she says to prioritize balancing rather than worrying how high the leg lifts, which I think is good advice.

Utthita Hasta Padangustasana or Extended Hand to Big Toe Pose for YogaGivesBackChallengeUtthita Hasta Padangustasana or Extended Hand to Big Toe Pose for YogaGivesBackChallenge

Pose 5: Pasasana or Noose Pose

This pose is technically supposed to include an arm bind. Kino says that the deep twist is part of the intermediate series and not to be surprised is the full bind eludes you at first. So I wasn’t surprised when it did. Kerri offered the option to instead do a simple twist with hands in prayer, so that’s what I did. She uses this pose to prep for side crow and fallen angel, neither of which am I ready to try. Pasasana or Noose Pose for YogaGivesBackChallenge

Pose 6: Gomukhasana or Cow Face Pose

I did this pose the way that Kerri ends hers. She said that if the hips are tight one leg can be straightened. I found it pretty comfortable as it was. Gir decided to photobomb me while I did the pose. If you want to see more of her and my other dog, Apollo, you can do so on Instagram @phoenixxphyre. During BecauseYogiSays, which I’ll recap soon, I was able to do this pose again with the arm bind that Kino demonstrates. Tonight at my husband’s suggestion, I also tried the way that Kerri did right before this version, with my arms outstretched, and it made for a really good IT band stretch.

Pose 6: Gomukhasana or Cow Face Pose for YogaGivesBackChallenge

Pose 7: Bakasana or Crow Pose

Although Kerri said not to worry if I couldn’t fly and just to stay on my toes and keep leaning forward, I had to try to fly. I had seen a suggestion from Jenny at Popsugar Fitness to start in downward dog and walk forward then do a little hop, so that’s what I did. I couldn’t hold it for long and tried it a few times. To my surprise, one of the times I held it was captured by the camera (although it made my feet look kind of weird). I tried it again today in the JunieBeYou challenge, which I’ll be doing a second recap of soon, and did slightly better. 

Crow pose or Bakasana for YogaGivesBackChallenge

Pose 8: Vriksasana or Tree Pose

This day was actually supposed to be Vatayanasana or Horse Face Pose, but it hurt to put weight on the knee, so I did as Kino suggested and did Tree Pose instead. Kerri offered low lunges and half lotus as alternate options as well. I guess I was a little wobbly because the camera did something weird to the foot against my leg and I have been wobbly in trying tree pose since, so balancing in this pose is something I’ll need to work on.

Vriksasana or Tree Pose for YogaGivesBackChallenge

Pose 9: Tittibhasana or Firefly Pose

This pose shares a name with my favorite show (although it’s of course named after the insect, which we called lightning bugs where I grew up). I was hoping I’d be able to pull it off, but alas. I tried it multiple times and could sort of hook my legs and sort of extend them, but I couldn’t do either for more than a split second. Kerri says that this pose gets easier the more flexible your hamstrings are such that a hamstring stretch might be a better substitute.

Tittibhasana or Firefly Pose for YogaGivesBackChallenge

Pose 10: Garbha Pindasana or Womb Embryo Pose

This pose usually has the arms through, but Kerri said that if this wasn’t an option just to try to wrap the arms around the legs. I didn’t end up wrapping my arms but rather just trying to balance with a hand on either leg. I didn’t balance long before I fell over. Although I didn’t try to do it this time, I remember sitting in the last position she is in, in lotus while balancing on her hands, when I was in junior high.

One thing I have liked about doing this yoga challenge so far is that I have gotten to try some new-to-me poses. I had never tried Crow Pose, Firefly, or Womb Embryo pose before this challenge, and it had been a long time since I had done some of the others like Tree Pose, Standing Leg Raise, and Cow Face Pose. I also liked that taking pictures of many of these poses allowed me not only to check my execution of the poses, but to see some of the  muscle definition I’m developing through Les Mills Pump. This challenge has been the opposite of JunieBeYou in that the poses were often given in Sanskrit without the English version, but I looked up the English names when needed so I could learn both, and am starting to remember some of the simpler ones like Bakasana (Crow Pose) and Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose).

This challenge still has several days left, so if you’d like to join in the fun, check out this post for more info on how to do that. You can follow along with my progress in this and other challenges on Instagram @investinginfitness.

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