Unavoidable chair pose is one of our #10EssentialPostures. It’s yoga when you notice! It’s yoga when you care. It’s yoga when you gently encourage a less harmful way of being in the world.

Last weekend, on the water taxi across Kachemak Bay, on our way back from our summer retreat, with a dog named Jalapeño in the co-pilot’s seat, I had one of the most animated and delightful discussions about the 10 Essential Postures practice. We picked up a couple of strong and wiry women at Kayak Beach, they were from Santa Fe, had just spent 8 hours hiking along the ridge, were on their first visit to Alaska and were totally jazzed! They were hiking in Homer, going to explore glaciers in the Mat-Su and already imagining that what they thought was a “once in a lifetime” trip may instead become the first of many!

One of these bright and sophisticated ladies lept right into our conversation about yoga for mental health, accessible yoga and how to integrate the practice into every day! I had so much fun hearing her run through a litany of Sanskrit words trying to guess which postures are included in the 10 Essential. She, of course, has an Iyengar trained teacher! I also learned the Sanskrit names for postures from an Iyengar trained teacher. And while they’re not essential (I don’t use the Sanskrit names in this 10 Essential Postures series,) they do open up a whole new aspect of our brain’s capacity!

In my work as a psychotherapist, I try to help people heal and thrive by realizing connections between past and future, minds and bodies, relationships with self and others…. Therefore, I’m most interested in the respiratory, endocrinological and psychological benefits of the postures. Can you guess which ones best stimulate and soothe these systems? ‍♂️

Chair pose makes the cut! The opportunities to practice are endless… maybe it’s the easiest thing you could do right now to actualize your practice – just notice how you’re sitting. Bonus if you also notice breathing… ☺️

One of the big benefits for the musculoskeletal and circularity systems is in the stretch of backs of the legs, especially the calves and ankles (and if you’ve been wearing shoes with any kind of a heel, boy do they need it!) 

Chair pose and its cousin, squat, are not only going to help us move through our days with more ease, they’re going to help us maintain strength and relative independence as we age. Maintain mobility (in the joints and the abdominal organs,) the ability to engage, strength in the core of the body and truly enjoy the presence of your spirit in this body!

Just a little dip down with both legs firmly planted beneath you will help you progress towards more ease in this pose, keep the arms down or even anchored to something (or someone) in front of you for extra support. Thighs need to pull WAY back into the hip sockets. We had a great time this weekend across the Bay with a partnered version of squat… yogis went MUCH deeper than they thought they could with the support of their partners. 

Support yourself, support your partners, practice noticing your posture and enjoy the presence of your own loving awareness! Use the mantra “I am loving awareness” to keep you connected to that presence. Breathe.

Access to the full 10 Essential Postures course is coming soon! This is the last week to subscribe for free access.

Follow @yogamargi for more essential postures practice and inspiration from beautiful Alaska!

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