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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.