HOW TO Use a Yoga Blanket for Yoga Poses
Featured Product: Hand Woven Yoga Blanket
Purpose: Use during kneeling poses to cushion bones and joints, underneath you in repose positions to insulate from cold flooring, rolled or folded to provide support and stretch in poses, or just as a cover to warm you in Savasana
Compatible Exercises/Uses: Yoga, Restorative Yoga, Iyengar, Meditation
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The following two poses show two examples using Mexican Yoga Blankets. We sell two different types of Mexican Blankets – Premium and Classic. Both offer lots of color combinations, so hopefully you can find a color scheme you like! We have also created some “packages” to offer some better pricing on buying a group of items. You can find some Yoga Starter Sets with Mexican Blankets in our store — a great way to get everything you need at one time.
salamba = with support (sa = with
alamba = support)
sarva = all
anga = limb. There are variations of Shoulderstand that are “unsupported” = niralamba, pronounced near-ah-LOM-bah)
Step by Step
Fold two or more firm blankets into rectangles measuring about 1 foot by 2 feet, and stack them one on top of the other. You can place a sticky mat over the blankets to help the upper arms stay in place while in the pose. Then lie on the blankets with your shoulders supported (and parallel to one of the longer edges) and your head on the floor. Lay your arms on the floor alongside your torso, then bend your knees and set your feet against the floor with the heels close to the sitting bones. Exhale, press your arms against the floor, and push your feet away from the floor, drawing your thighs into the front torso.
Continue to lift by curling the pelvis and then the back torso away from the floor, so that your knees come toward your face. Stretch your arms out parallel to the edge of the blanket and turn them outward so the fingers press against the floor (and the thumbs point behind you). Bend your elbows and draw them toward each other. Lay the backs of your upper arms on the blanket and spread your palms against the back of your torso. Raise your pelvis over the shoulders, so that the torso is relatively perpendicular to the floor. Walk your hands up your back (toward the floor) without letting the elbows slide too much wider than shoulder width.
Inhale and lift your bent knees toward the ceiling, bringing your thighs in line with your torso and hanging the heels down by your buttocks. Press your tailbone toward your pubis and turn the upper thighs inward slightly. Finally inhale and straighten the knees, pressing the heels up toward the ceiling. When the backs of the legs are fully lengthened, lift through the balls of the big toes so the inner legs are slightly longer than the outer.
Soften the throat and tongue. Firm the shoulder blades against the back, and move the sternum toward the chin. Your forehead should be relatively parallel to the floor, your chin perpendicular. Press the backs of your upper arms and the tops of your shoulders actively into the blanket support, and try to lift the upper spine away from the floor. Gaze softly at your chest.
As a beginning practitioner stay in the pose for about 30 seconds. Gradually add 5 to 10 seconds to your stay every day or so until you can comfortably hold the pose for 3 minutes. Then continue for 3 minutes each day for a week or two, until you feel relatively comfortable in the pose. Again gradually and 5 to 10 seconds onto your stay every day or so until you can comfortably hold the pose for 5 minutes. To come down, exhale, bend your knees into your torso again, and roll your back torso slowly and carefully onto the floor, keeping the back of your head on the floor.
If you would like to read more about how to make modifications for this pose, or the benefits of the pose, visit Yoga Journal. YJ has great detailed information on Yoga poses.
From Shoulderstand, many practioners will then go into Plow Pose or Halasana
hala = plow
For further instructions on properly getting into Plow Pose, you can visit Yoga Journal’s website.