One of my favourite ways to share yoga with my fashion friends is through fashion photos featuring (intentional or not) models in yoga poses. I call this YOGUE ( y o g a + V o g u e ). Here is a classic supported shoulder stand. Salamba Sarvangasana in sanskrit. Sa means with and alamba means support. Sarva means all and anga means limbs. This is one of my favourite postures as it’s a great stress reliever. Whether it’s working for hours in front of a computer or carrying around too many garment & shopping bags which simultaneously make me feel my arms will soon drop to the ground beneath me and my neck & shoulders altogether disappear - a little time in this posture and I feel more human and less hard shelled creature. This posture is also said to be good for thyroid issues as your glottis is contracted.
It is always worthy to note postures that send us upside down are best not done by women in later stages of pregnancy and if a woman is in her menstrual cycle. This is because the prana (life force) travels in a specific direction and practicing postures against the body while performing a particular function (such as bleeding for women) is counter productive. This posture requires discipline for alignment and can be done with props if there is sensitivity to the neck. I always roll a towel under my neck when I am feeling extra stiff and cricketty. Obviously it’s best performed in a yoga class but whose to say a little mid-afternoon shoulder stand for those experienced enough wouldn’t serve as a perfect pick me up while hitting the office energy slump? ~ Sima
One of my favourite aspects of fashion is how a variation of a yoga pose is used. Here is dancers pose. The name comes from the Sanskrit words nata meaning “dancer”, raja meaning “king” and asana meaning “posture”. Nataraja is one of the names given to the Hindu God Shiva in his form as the cosmic dancer. As a certified yoga teacher I don’t recommend high heels + yoga. This post is more about sharing how you don’t have to choose one over the other. Everyone can be a styling yogi or yogini. I’ve long believed the way we dress and express ourselves in the world is NOT shallow but rather a beautiful representation of our inner world. Have fun and get your YOGUE on.
Calms the brain
Stimulates the pelvis, spine, abdomen, and bladder
Stretches the ankles and knees
Eases menstrual discomfort and sciatica
Consistent practice of this pose until late into pregnancy is said to help ease childbirth.
Traditional texts say that Padmasana destroys all disease and awakens kundalini.
My love of fashion has long embraced my passion for yoga. In fact, many modelling poses are a play on yoga postures. No one did it better than iconic model Veruschka, a german model, actress & artist born in 1939 in what is now known as Russia. Here she is in Hawaii in 1965 in tree pose in a photo taken by legendary photographer Horst P. Horst.
This is a excellent pose to stretch the body (especially the calves, thighs, groin and spine) and to increase balance. I always love to teach this pose because I myself have balance issues. It’s wonderful to see toddlers and young children play with this pose, It comes naturally to them and they are so limber. It’s also a really good posture to practice as we get older and balance becomes an issue. One can simply hold on to a chair or practice against the wall. In yoga there is no “doing yoga” there is only “practising yoga”. In that spirit we all have a “perfect practice”. Try it out and watch how quickly you’ll be able to in the words of one of my favourite Depeche Mode songs “get the balance right”. ~ Sima
Watching any child pop up into a handstand and jump back down on any playground, you are likely to see a broad grin: the benefits of a playful handstand is immediately obvious to a child. Whether done as play, in gymnastics or a yoga practice, handstands invert the body and help reverse the adverse effects of gravity.
Stimulates Endocrine System
Handstands are considered elevations in the yoga system because the head is lower than the heart in the final pose. Handstand, or Adho Mukha Vrkasana, helps to stimulate the entire endocrine system, according to Pam Werner of Sun and Moon Yoga Studio in Fairfax, Virginia. Once the body is turned upside down with the feet at the top and head closest to the ground, blood is moved to the head. This stimulates the pituitary gland in the head, which helps the set point for a healthy weight. The inversion brings blood to the thyroid glands to help regulate the production of T3 and T4, which also affects metabolism. Handstand brings blood to the adrenal glands to help reduce production of cortisol, the “stress hormone” that is released when we are on a deadline or moving through heavy traffic. Unchecked, some people experience adrenal exhaustion if they are not able to quiet this normal response to stressful situations.
Builds Upper Body Strength
Handstands requires upper body strength and this will build the large muscles used to sustain it, according to B.K.S. Iyengar, the venerable founder of Iyengar yoga practiced worldwide. These include the pectoralis major of the chest, the front of the shoulders, anterior deltoids and the back of the shoulders, posterior deltoids. You also build muscular strength of the large muscles of the back: latissimus and trapezius.
Helps Relieve Minor Depression
Handstands are a well-known remedy in yoga circles as a mood-elevator and can help reduce minor depression, according to “Yoga Journal.” By bringing blood to the head, you often can relieve a minor headache, improve digestion and elimination. The reason is gravity is bringing blood — and oxygen to the head, which is normally upright and slung forward to some degree that can create minor neck strain. During handstands, the small and large intestine are also inverted and the action of the inversion can help relieve irregularity by moving their contents. The inversion also puts pressure on the illeocecal valve, which can help prompt detoxification.
(SET-too BAHN-dah) setu = dam or bridge bandha = lock
Stretches the chest, neck, spine, and hips
Strengthens the back, buttocks, and hamstrings
Improves circulation of blood
Helps alleviate stress and mild depression
Calms the brain and central nervous system
Stimulates the lungs, thyroid glands, and abdominal organs
Helps relieve symptoms of menopause
Reduces backache and headache
Reduces fatigue, anxiety, and insomnia
Rejuvenates tired legs
Relieves symptoms of asthma and high blood pressure
Therapeutic for hypertension, osteoporosis, and sinusitis