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Pose of the Month

December Pose of the Month

Pandangusthasana - Toe Stand!

Balance is a precarious thing. In both life and yoga, our ability to stay balanced is based on a complex interplay of strength and flexibility, solidity and malleability. We have a tendency to think that balance is a thing that we achieve, but in truth it is a process. Like homeostasis, we are always moving towards it and away from it, but because the circumstances of our bodies and our lives are never static, balance is a thing that we have only momentarily and which we must constantly work to reestablish.

I’m probably not telling you anything that you don’t already know. You have probably sensed this in your own life. Sometimes it might seem as soon as you have your job or your relationship or your schedule all nice and neat the way you want it, something comes along to knock something out of place.

Hey, I’ve got news for you and it’s really really good.

The work of being knocked off balance and struggling to regain it is what builds the strength that we need to have to maintain balance for longer periods of time. This is truth both physically and philosophically. The way you wobble in a pose is the way your body learns how to be in that pose. The way you wobble in life is the way you learn how to be in your life.

Pandangusthasana, aka Toe Stand, is a beautiful pose that almost everyone hates because it challenges both beginners and experienced yogis. Not to be confused with the pandangusthasana of the Ashtanga tradition, this toe stand is a creative exploration of a tip-toe urdhva namaskarasana and beyond! You need so many tools to maintain balance in toe stand for long periods of time: hip and foot flexibility, hip and foot strength, excellent posture, and really really strong legs. Oh yeah, and focus. And a steady gaze.

Basically, no matter what level of expertise you have in asana, this pose is going to show you where you need to work. As my teacher would say, this pose is “not free for anyone.” It will show you where you’re strong, where you’re weak, where you’re supple, and where you’re holding tension.

I would recommend warming up the feet before you try this pose, by sitting on them, flipping over them, and/or massaging them.


If you’ve never done toe stand before, there’s absolutely no reason to start by trying to achieve the full expression of the pose. Save something for later. Start practicing for this pose by standing in tadasana, lifting your heels, coming into a squat on your toes, and then standing back up again without putting your heels down.


Once you feel like that is working for you, try doing it with one leg pulled into the chest.

Now it’s time to add in the element of padmasana (lotus). Start by bringing each foot into padmasana in tadasana.

The next step is keeping balance in this funky half padmasana. Bring one foot into padmasana, bend the other knee and come in to a low squat. Come back to standing and repeat on the other side.


Alright, now you’re ready. Maybe. It doesn’t matter. Whatever happens is great. Just try it and see what happens.

Stand in tadasana. Bring your right foot into padmasana. Bring the hands to the heart. Lift the left calf. Come into a low squat on the left leg.


Now try it on the other side…



Like I said, this pose isn’t free for anyone, and finding balance in it may be more complicated than balancing your checkbook. Jk. No one writes checks anymore. Finding balance in toe stand may be more complicated than Tetris-into all the things you want to do in a day into your google cal. Er, remember Tetris? Never mind.

Anyways, the point is not to become a toe stand statue, but to play with the pose and enjoy the work of finding and losing balance. While you’re at it, try that off the mat, too.


September Pose of the Month

September Pose of the Month

Viparita Karani | Legs-Up-the-Wall | Waterfall

Viparita Karani, often called Legs-Up-the-Wall pose or Waterfall pose, if taken away from the wall, translates to “inverted” (viparita), “in action” (karani). By exploring this pose physically and intellectually we can tap into a flipped perspective. As yogis we often work towards “perfecting” or “achieving” a desired outcome in our asana, a reflection of human nature to strive towards greatness and to master the tasks we set in place for ourselves.

This month, as we embrace the philosophy of Yoga Therapy, you are invited to consider how you define and evaluate your work, worth, and value, on and off your mat. In supportive poses like Viparita Karani, discover what it feels like to focus on doing less instead of more. You might also notice what it feels like when you can allow your poses to be what they are, rather than pushing yourself to go after a pose. We invite you to explore prioritizing wellness over perfection and utilize asana to reflect on how you are relating to yourself and your world.


Viparita Karani offers an ideal opportunity to relax both mind and body, especially when you combine the physical posture with slow rhythmic breathing. Physical support, muscle relaxation, and a deep, steady breath can help us to activate the “rest and digest” function of our nervous system. The “rest and digest” system promotes a sense of self-compassion, presence, and safety, while also supporting healthy digestion and sleep.

In Viparita Karani, see if you can invoke a sense of receptivity, rather than activity. With each breath, allow yourself to surrender into the support of the ground. Give yourself permission to let go of effort and fully embody the calm, safe, and supported space you have created for yourself, within yourself.

In addition to the cognitive and emotional benefits of the “rest and digest” response, Viparita Karani also offers significant physical benefits. Elevating the legs allows for lymph and other fluids to nourish swollen ankles, tired knees, and congested pelvic organs, refreshing the legs, hips, and reproductive area (for folks who menstruate, this is helpful at any point of your cycle). Practicing Viparita Karani consistently can also help manage chronic discomforts, such as arthritis, digestive issues, blood pressure, migraines, respiratory ailments, urinary disorders, varicose veins, and uterine discomfort associated with menstruation and menopause.  


Practicing with the support of a wall:

  • Determine the height and distance you need from the wall.
    • If your hips and legs are feeling stiff, we recommend that your support prop (a folded blanket, block or bolster) should be lower and placed further from the wall.
    • If you are feeling more flexible and open, you may prefer to use a higher support prop and practice closer to the wall.
  • Set your support prop a few inches from the wall, sit sideways on one end of the support. Exhale and swing your legs up wall. Rest your shoulders and head on the floor.
  • Your sitting bones should be “dripping” into the space between the support and the wall.
    • Your torso should arch gently from pubis to the top of the shoulders. You may need to adjust your support prop or position.
  • Release the base of your skull away from the back of your neck and soften your throat and jaw muscles.
    • If your shoulders, upper back, or neck are feeling tight, we recommend a  small rolled blanket under your neck to support your cervical spine.
  • Let your shoulder blades soften into the ground and release your arms and hands by your side, palms up.
  • Keep your legs firm enough to hold them vertically, and invite the weight of your belly to release into the back of your body.
  • Soften your gaze or close your eyes.
  • Breathe!
  • To dissolve the pose slide the support out from beneath you, allowing the body to come to the floor before turning to the side and return to your seat.


  • Adding a bolster for more support.
  • Using a strap, snug around the thighs, just above the knees to help hold the legs in place.
  • Taking the pose without support of the wall. Using a block benea the sacrum with legs “floating” in space.






August Pose of the Month

August Pose of the Month

Alternative Vinyasa

You probably recognise the term “vinyasa” as a popular style of yoga but it also refers to a particular pattern of action: chaturanga-to-updog-to-downdog. Your body may be down with all of these chaturangas, or it may not. Perhaps the first several chaturangas feel great, but then it goes south. Maybe the classic “vinyasa” series just doesn’t feel safe right now because you have an injury. All of the above are valid sentiments in a community of ever-changing individuals.

The reality is that for some students, the repetitive action of plank-to-chaturanga-to-updog-to-downdog is not needed or appropriate. And for others, we just have days when the body shouldn’t be doing the sequence or we need time to build strength. But that doesn’t mean we need to avoid Vinyasa classes all together. We just need to get “slightly more clever than our habits.” - Desikachar

One definition of “vinyasa” is “to place in a special or purposeful way.” When we look at the classic “vinyasa” sequence, there are are a lot of benefits, including: strengthening (plank and chaturanga); neutralizing (utilizing both forward folds and backbends); rhythmic and meditative (synching movement and breath and bringing us into the moment).   

If you know some alternative vinyasas, and if you stay in tune with your body, breath, and energy as you flow, you can intuit what you need in a given vinyasa or sun salutation: more strengthening (sthira)? More ease (sukha)? More meditation through movement and rhythmic breath? Pause? Then find a pose or combination of poses that embody that.

NOTE: If you're working with injury, ask your doctor what positions and/or actions (extensions, flexions, and ranges of motion) are appropriate or risky. Also, listen to your body. Even if it’s considered a “safer alternative,” if a pose or pose variation feels painful, don’t do it.

Here are 10 alternative vinyasas we will be working with this month, but feel free to explore and be creative (speaking to both teachers and practitioners).  

1. Hold Plank

Simple idea that can have profound results in terms of strengthening. Skip the chataraga and updog and just take an extra breath in plank. Energize the heels and gaze slightly forward. focus on spreading the shoulder blades and pressing into the floor. Really tone the transverse abdominal muscles and notice if the elbows want to splay or the hips dip. If needed, you could even bring your knees down here to prevent compressing the low back. But once you’ve cultivated the core strength to keep your lower back safe and supported, see if you can press your thighs up without sticking your bum out.

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2. Strengthening for Those with Wrist Pain

If you want the strengthening component, but you need a break from being on the hands and a time out for your wrists, drop onto forearms and enjoy some time in Forearm Plank or Dolphin.

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3. Chaturanga Push-up

My personal fav and the ultimate strengthening alternative. Also, it may be that transition from chaturanga-to-updog that is problematic. It’s a lot on the shoulder! If chaturanga is fine and you want to keep it spicy, but skip updog transition, you can add the chaturanga push-up. You don’t need to go super low with your chaturanga, and you can modify with one or both knees on the floor (keep your knees behind your hips).

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4. Lower Slowly From Plank-Press to Prone Backbend

Emphasis on keeping it slow when you lower will result in a pass through of chaturanga building strength and mindfulness. Once you are on the floor you can press to cobra, low cobra, or shalabhasana. A great opportunity to add an extra breath to strengthen the back body and elongate the rhythm of vinyasa.

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5. Knees-Chest-Chin  

You can bypass chaturanga and head straight to cobra by passing through knees-chest-chin. From plank, shift your shoulders in front of your wrists, just as you would for a chaturanga or chaturanga pushup. From there, lower your knees to the floor (they’ll be behind your hips). With your knees down, and your shoulders and chest forward, you’re set up perfectly for a cobra or low cobra pose. Release the tops of your feet to the floor as you slide through to cobra. This is a well established fluid alternative to chaturanga that tends to maintain the rhythm of the classic “vinyasa.”

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6. Introspective Flow

Skip the chaturanga and the backbend, and get more time in forward folding shapes that encourage you to draw inward, but still enjoy the strengthening aspect of plank. From Down Dog, sink the knees towards the floor for floating anahatasana, float forward to Plank and return to Down Dog. Great for practicing axial extension of the spine as well.

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7. Hang out in Down Dog

If you need a break from movement and you just want to be still, hang out in down dog! Feel free to add variation like staking a hip or twisting.

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8. Cat/Cow

Keep flowing with the breath but take the effort back a notch by dropping into some cat cow.

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9. Classic Vinyasa on Blocks

Just as it sounds! Blocks under the hands will take pressure out of the wrists and allow for more space. Space is a powerful idea to work with in your vinyasa flow. See how space enables clear transitions and a meditative rhythm.

10. Child’s Pose

Tune in and breath. Have a moment of meditative pause to empower your practice.

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July Pose of the Month

July Pose of the Month

Prasarita Padottanasana / Standing Wide-Legged Forward Bend

July at Reyn Studios is all about reflecting, decompressing, and growing from a place of awareness and stability. To cool both the physical and metaphysical body, we will be breaking down Prasarita Padottanasana ((pra-sa-REE-tah pah-doh-tahn-AHS-anna,) Standing Wide-Legged Forward Bend,) and exploring some of its variations. Folding poses are associated with turning inward. They are a time to slow down and turn the focus towards yourself, acknowledging and releasing ideas and patterns that are not serving to the self or others, and refocusing your awareness to those which are. Prasarita Padottanasana calms the mind and soothes the nerves, something all of us could use a bit more of in the oppressive New Orleans heat and contentious political atmosphere. By exploring familiar shapes such as Prasarita Padottanasana, we are able to feel the impacts of micro adjustments and optimal alignment in our practice. The sense of empowerment we find in this asana coincides with the strengthening of the thighs, stabilization of the knee joints, and lengthening of the hips, hamstrings, and calves. Habitual practice of Prasarita Padottanasana improves the strength and flexibility of the spine as well. In our constant attempt to manage our stress, anxiety, depression, and fatigue, Prasarita Padottanasana is a welcome addition to our practice as it is associated with an improvement in these areas. A four month study published in the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies found that participants in yoga, particularly a practice that incorporated the wide-legged forward bend, showed a reduction of blood pressure, heart and respiratory rate as compared to the control group.

Our practice is inspired and initiated for a variety of reasons, but the improved sense of well being, health, and harmony are results that keep us coming back to the mat. In a world that often feels demanding, insensitive, intolerant, and detached, it is our work as yogis to do the self work that allows us to fight the fatigue this environment cultivates. We must rejuvenate ourselves with our practice and our community in order to counter negativity and enhance compassion and tolerance. In order to utilize the benefits of yoga we must practice from a place of self-awareness, grounding and centering. From a strong foundation we are able to expand, stretch, and grow. In the words of yogini CHARITY FERREIRA “Whatever your intention, when you make positive changes grounded in self-awareness, you can connect with the truth of who you are and why you do what you do.”


Prasarita Padottanasana A

Stand in Tadasana (Mountain Pose) facing one of the long edges of your sticky mat. Step or lightly hop your feet apart anywhere from 3 to 4 1/2 feet (often aiming to have the ankles in line with the wrists when the arms are outstretched is ideal)

  • If you need a bit more support walk the feet towards one another a bit.
  • Rest your hands on your hips, shoulders firm on the body, ribs cinched in.

  • Check that  feet are parallel to each other. Lift your inner arches by drawing up on the inner ankles, and press the outer edges of your feet and ball of the big toe firmly into the floor.

  • Engage the thigh muscles by drawing them up and back.

  • Inhale and lift your chest, lengthening front torso  so it feels slightly longer than the back.

  • Exhale and, maintaining the length of the front torso, hinge at the waist to lean the torso forward from the hip joints.

  • As your torso approaches parallel to the floor, press your fingertips onto the floor directly below your shoulders. Extend your elbows fully. Your legs and arms then should be perpendicular to the floor and parallel to each other.

  • Inhale draws the spine into the back torso so that your back is slightly concave from the tailbone to the base of the skull. Bring your head up, keeping the back of the neck long, and direct your gaze upward toward the ceiling (think cow pose).

  • Energetically push your top thighs straight back (without hyper-extending the knees) to help lengthen the front torso, and draw the inner groins away from each other to widen the base of your pelvis.

  • Keep the concavity in the back as you exhale, walking the fingertips between the feet.

  • Take a few more breaths and with an exhalation press your inner palms actively into the floor, fingers pointing forward. Bend your elbows straight back (like chaturanga)  and lower your torso and head into a full forward bend maintaining the length in the torso as you go.


Modifications for Greater Access or Depth

If you have the flexibility to move your torso into a full forward bend, walk your hands back until your forearms are perpendicular to the floor and your upper arms parallel (again, think chaturanga). Be sure to keep your arms parallel to each other and widen the shoulder blades across the back. Draw your shoulders away from your ears. Option to grip a block longwise between the forearms, pressing the hands actively into the floor. This action of the arms will also get you ready for poses like Headstand variations and Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Pose).

  • Balance the weight evenly between the four corners of your foot to help keep your hips in the same plane as your heels, as there is a tendency to lean back, causing undue tension.

  • The idea here is to get your head below your heart, which will reduce “hot-headedness” and invite an introspective quality that is emotionally and energetically nourishing. Bringing the head to a block if it does not reach the floor facilitates this connection and calming of the senses.

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  • Bend your knees if you need to for this variation.

  • When you find yourself in a steady and comfortable position, take 5-10 deep breaths, without constricting the back of the throat. On particularly hot days, try exhaling through your mouth to let go of excess internal heat. Stay in the pose anywhere from 30 seconds to 1 minute.

  • To come out, bring your hands back on the floor below your shoulders and lift and lengthen your front torso. Then with an inhalation, rest your hands on your hips, pull your tailbone down toward the floor, and swing the torso up. Walk or hop your feet back into Tadasana.

Prasarita Padottanasana B:

  • Follow the same set up as for the A variation.

  • Head reaches to the floor, crown may rest on the floor.

  • Hands remain on hips


Prasarita Padottanasana C:

  • Maintain the same actions as previous variations for basic set up and alignment.

  • Clasp hands at sacrum.

  • Squeeze the palms together, drawing the elbows back, muscularly opening the heart and shoulders.

  • Work with gravity in the fold, crown of the head reaching for the floor, hands and draw away from the spine.


Prasarita Padottanasana D:

  • Maintain the same actions as previous variation for basic set up and alignment.

  • From the folded position fingers reach for for toes.

  • Lock the index and middle finger around the big toe, elbows extend outward as you fold.


Reyn Studios

June Pose of the Month

June Pose of the Month

Simhasana / Lion Pose

June at Reyn Studios means the temps outside are just as hot as those in the studio! The heavy, sticky heat of New Orleans can really take its toll on us. We move slower, feel confined to the climate controlled indoors, and are always looking for some sort of relief. Simhasana (sim-HAHS-anna), or Lion Pose, gives us the opportunity to cool the body with our breath. A seated pose, with many options for modifications to fit every yogi’s practice, Simhasana is characterized by its distinctive roar produced on our exhalations. The exaggerated opening of the eyes and stretching of the mouth and tongue encourages us to embody our inner lion. Utilizing this pranayama tool we are able to unlock our voice, release contradictions in the throat and chest and to bring energy and awareness to our throat.

By cultivating the essence of a fierce, roaring lion we are able to release nervous energy and find new strength within ourselves. Routine practice of Simhasana can help manage anger and anxiety, especially if we feel as though we have not be able to express ourselves the way we’d like. The grounded, intentional power and release we find in Simhasana builds our confidence and gives clarity and conviction to our voice allowing us to use it wisely and to address the injustices around us without feeling burdened, scared or overwhelmed.

Blowing off steam mindfully through Simhasana we can lighten our load and practice. Physically Simhasana relieves tension in the chest and face. Working with the humidity to keep our skin plump and wrinkle free Simhasana stimulates the platysma (a flat, thin, rectangular-shaped muscles on the front of the throat) which when contracted pulls down the corners of the mouth tightening the skin and muscles and smoothing the wrinkles in the skin on the neck. According to traditional texts, Simhasana destroys disease by activating the tonsils and immune system. Lion pose facilitates activation and awareness of the three major bandhas (Mula, Jalandhara, Uddiyana) which help us throughout our entire practice.


From a table top position cross the right ankle over the back of the left. Feet point slightly out.Sit the hips back on the heels, allowing the perineum to rest on the right heel.


Bring hands to rest on either the knees or the floor just in front of them. Fan the fingers out and press down through the palms like a lion sharpening its claws.

Inhale deeply through the nose.


As you exhale open your mouth wide and stretch your tongue out, curling its tip down toward the chin, open your eyes wide, contract the muscles on the front of your throat, and exhale the breath slowly out through your mouth with a distinct "ha" sound. The breath should pass over the back of the throat. Option to lift slightly off the heels and you push into the hands and gently arch the spine. Gaze (drishti) at the spot between the eyebrows (bhrumadhya-drishti) or at the tip of the nose (nasaagra-drishti).

Modifications for Greater Access or Depth

Those with knee injuries should take caution when practicing Simhasana and opt for a different leg variation when necessary.

Simhasana can be practices with many leg variations.

Legs Uncrossed (Vajrasana is a kneeling pose- sometimes called thunderbolt)


Legs Crossed in front of you in Sukhasana or Siddhasana (Easy pose- can find more space in the pelvis by sitting on a block)


Legs in Mandukasana (Frog Pose- to add a hip opener- for this modification try placing your palms on the floor in front of you with your fingers facing towards you. Keep your hands a few inches from your body, and then lean forward slightly.)


Legs in Padmasana (lotus pose- more advanced variations of this pose walk the hands forward to to tilt the pelvis towards the Earth, fingers face the knees)



Interesting info on the mythology of the pose

Reyn Studios

May Pose of the Month

May Pose of the Month

Virabhadrasana II / Warrior II

April was a big month for us at the studio! Our studio manager, Melanie, got married, and our staff doubled down on preparations for our upcoming teacher training. With our efforts focused elsewhere we missed sharing a pose of the month with you in April. May will find us exploring our strength and power in Virabhadrasana (veer-uh-buh-DRAHS-uh-nuh) II or Warrior II pose. Virabhadrasana is a standing pose that enhances stamina and stability attributes of the warrior incarnation of Shiva it is draws its name from.  

Regardless of our daily routines, we all could benefit from the deep hip opening, stretch in the legs, groins, and chest, and improved concentration we cultivate in Virabhadrasana II. When we include this pose in our practice, we build strength in the entire body. Strong activation of the feet tones the arches of the feet and ankles. We tone the pelvic floor and abdomen as well as generate more powerful muscles in the thighs and buttocks, improving our stability and endurance on and off the mat. Properly aligned Virabhadrasana can relieve backaches and improve digestion as well as open the chest and shoulders, which encourages improved breathing capacity and circulation.


Begin in a wide legged stance, feet parallel and engaged, shoulder stacked over hip. Pivot the front foot toward the short side of the mat, lining the heel up with the arch of the opposite foot. Knees should be inline with and facing the same direction as their corresponding foot and ankle. Activate the thighs as you inhale the arms parallel to the floor aligned with the legs, palms face down, shoulders drawn onto the back body.

Exhale and bend front knee over the front ankle, so that the shin is perpendicular to the floor. If possible, bring the thigh parallel to the floor. Check to see that your front big toe is visible by drawing the front knee back, opening the hips. Take a wider stance if your knee is moving in front of your ankle. Press evenly into the outer edge and inner toe mounds of the back foot to anchor the pose and charge the muscles of the extended leg. Sink evenly into your hips.


Maintain equal length on both sides of the torso by keeping the shoulder stacked over the hips. It is tempting to lean the torso over the front leg, but to maximize the benefits of this pose keeping the shoulders and hips aligned is best.  Let the tailbone draw towards the pubis, and draw the belly towards the spine on your exhales to keep the torso open.  Broaden across your collarbones and lengthen the space between your shoulder blades. Engage your triceps. Drop your shoulders and lift your chest. Turn the head to look over the front leg, gaze is focused just beyond your middle finger.  Hold for 5-10 breaths. 


Inhale as you press through both feet, turn the front toes parallel with the back, and release the arms.  Repeat on the opposite side for an equal number of breaths.

*To Note*

Virabhadrasana II can be modified to meet you where you are. Adjusting the distance between the feet to improve your balance can make this pose more accessible as we build our strength and flexibility. It is very important to maintain proper knee alignment to avoid straining the joints. The bent knee often drifts inward; correct this by drawing towards the pinky toe side of the foot as you work to bring the thigh to parallel. To increase the intensity of this pose, outwardly rotate the arms so that the palms face up, shoulder blades draw down the back. Once you feel capable of building from there try rotating the arms inwardly and outwardly with your breath as you hold the strength in your legs.

The fierce energy of this pose and its ability to ground us while opening our hips and chest create an intensely liberating experience we hope you connect with as much as we have.

Reyn Studios

March Pose of the Month

March Pose of the Month

Shalabasana / Locust Pose

The pose of the month for March is shalabasana, or locust pose. It's a prone backbending posture that we practice often in class, but one that's so valuable for back health that it's worth taking the time to explore more in depth. If you spend any time in your day seated, working at a computer, driving, etc., there's a good chance your shoulders slump forward. Shalabasana helps to counter the all-too-easy slump, greatly improving our posture and how we sit, stand, and move through our lives. 

If we practice locust thinking that it should be a big backbend, we'll only feel frustrated by it. Instead, think of it as a chance to bring greater strength and integrity to the posterior chain of the body - backs of shoulders, arms, spinal muscles, glutes and hamstrings. This is an especially important focus since our vinyasa practice gives us so many chances to stretch the back of the body. We want to make sure our backs are strong as well as open. 


To practice the pose, start by lying on your belly, with the forehead to the floor and the arms down by your side. Turn your heels slightly apart, big toes slightly together. This will initiate an inner rotation of the legs.

Improper vs. proper feet alignment

Improper vs. proper feet alignment

Start the pose by drawing your shoulder blades towards one another and down the back, away from your ears. This will lift the fronts of the shoulders off the ground. Then lift the head, the legs and the arms. Spinning the palms down towards the floor will help encourage the external rotation of the shoulders, keeping the chest open. Feel that your legs stay hips width distance apart, and that you're lifting and lengthening from your inner thighs, rather than clenching the outer hips to lift the legs. As you are lifting, focus on creating a sense of length through the whole body, from the crown of your head to the tips of your toes, rather than trying to lift high up off the ground. Remember this posture is about strength, rather than a huge range of motion. If you feel compression in your lower back, lower the legs a little and think of reaching them longer behind you. Also imagine your lower belly wanting to pull away from the ground (though it won't, of course), instead of getting a bigger backbend by pushing your belly into the ground. Because we're lying on our stomachs it will naturally be harder to breath into the belly. So, focus on moving your breath up into your chest, helping it to reach further forward. Make sure to keep the back of the neck long, and the legs straight. If it's uncomfortable for the fronts of the hips, place some padding under the pelvis.

Opposite arm and leg variation

Opposite arm and leg variation

There are many variations to explore and ways to make the posture easier or harder. You can interlace your fingers behind your back, which will allow for more ease in opening the chest. You can also work opposite arm and leg, lifting the right leg and extending the left arm forward. This can help us become aware of differences in sides. If you struggle with understanding the action of inwardly rotating your thighs, try it with a block between your feet. Press your feet into the sides of the block and try to lift the block as you lift the rest of the body. Whether it lifts or not, this will turn on the inner thighs and train the body to know how it feels to lift without compressing the lower back. You can also practice it with the hands on the ground, like a modified cobra. Or for grater challenge, extend the arms overhead, or interlace fingers behind your head, pressing the back of the head into the hands. This also strengthens the neck.

Interlaced fingers behind the neck variation

Interlaced fingers behind the neck variation

In our vinyasa practice, the fronts and tops of the shoulders get very strong - think planks, chatarungas, down dogs. Shalabasana gives us a chance to bring more strength to the back and bottom of our shoulders, so that our shoulder strength is more balanced. Try incorporating more of it in your practice this month and see if you notice a difference - perhaps in place of up dog during your transitions. 

Reyn Studios

February Pose of the Month

February Pose of the Month

Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana I + II/
Extended Hand to Big Toe Pose I + II

Liberate your pelvis, strengthen your core, and lengthen your hamstrings this month with Extended Hand to Big Toe Pose! Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana I + II is a special way to begin and/or end any one of your asana practices. You can lie it down or stand it up! In either relationship to gravity, this pose is an excellent way to activate (as well as just get a sense of) your entire body from the mounds of your big toes to the crown of your head~

May these following variations and alignment queues inspire you into having a more subtle, sensual, and holistic experience in Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana I + II.

(and no fears if you think you have the tightest hamstrings in the world! by extending some patience and compassion towards yourself, this pose can be accessible to you at any point in your flexibility journey!)



*To Note*

Our bodies are expressions of where we’ve come from (what we’ve been through) and where we are striving to move towards; therefore, all bodies and expressions will look drastically different from one another regardless of how similarly we place our bones and engage our muscles. It is not so much about the aesthetics of the form as it is about the sensations of flow that we are attempting to cultivate within these postures. Therefore these images that proceed are not intended to create an ‘ideal’ of what your practice should or should not look like, instead these images are intentionally being used as a means to communicate abstract ideas about anatomy via a more relatable format so that you may be guided into your exploration of this posture verbally as well as visually.

Remember, these poses are not static! Keep flowing with the waves of your breath ~ And let the easeful rhythm of your inhales and exhales help balance out the efforts of your muscles that assist you in sustaining the postures.

May the process of practicing this pose be one that empowers you

Reyn Studios

January Pose of the Month

Camel Pose / Ustrasana

Embrace the possibilities of the New Year by opening up your heart with this January’s pose of the month, Ustrasana! Practicing Camel Pose is a sure fire way to bring more space as well as strength into your central channel of energy, your spine. By mindfully activating your musculoskeletal system with the appropriate amount of care and attention, Ustrasana may safely leave you feeling restored, renewed, and revitalized in your own body, breath, and mind.

May these following offerings of queues and modifications inspire you into a more dynamic, authentic, and holistic experience of this posture. We hope you enjoy the exploration and embrace the unknown of what’s to come with curiosity, care, and compassion!

*before practicing camel pose, make sure to thoroughly warm up the range of motion in your hip flexors (psoas and quadriceps) as well as your upper back (thoracic spine)!*



Mix & match the use of props, the placement of your palms on your heels or sacrum, the position of your head, etc. to find the unique expression of this posture that makes the most sense for your body at the particular time of your practice!

We look forward to opening our hearts with you in the New Year!

Reyn Studios

*To Note*

Our bodies are expressions of where we’ve come from (what we’ve been through) and where we are striving to move towards; therefore, all bodies and expressions will look drastically different from one another regardless of how similarly we place our bones and engage our muscles. It is not so much about the aesthetics of the form as it is about the sensations of flow that we are attempting to cultivate within these postures. Therefore these images that proceed are not intended to create an ‘ideal’ of what your practice should or should not look like, instead these images are intentionally being used as a means to communicate abstract ideas about anatomy via a more relatable format so that you may be guided into your exploration of this posture verbally as well as visually.

December Pose of the Month

Bakasana / Crow Pose

As things get a little cooler and slightly more chaotic during this holiday season… keep your core warm and your mind focused by steadily practicing this month’s pose, Bakasana! Crow pose is a great way to strengthen, expand, and increase your ability to remain centered both physically and mentally. By focusing on the alignment, actions, and sensations of this pose, you will be carried into the present moment and lifted up from worrying about the past and grounded away from anticipating the future.

Hopefully these following queues for Bakasana will help you create activating intentions with greater clarity, calm, and power! So that you may access a deeper sense of space and strength within your spine, core, and arms.

Crow pose asks for your hips to be in deep flexion, your low belly to be activated, and your arms to be sturdy; therefore, practicing these postures before you enter into Bakasana will appropriately awaken and ready your body for what’s to come.


Soften your hips and spine into flexion by breathing deeply into your lower abdomen and lower back while in child’s pose.


Awaken the muscles of your abdomen, arms, and hip flexors with these two effective core poses.


Cultivate steadiness of mind by meditating in Malasana before heading into your Bakasana balancing practice.


Now dive into a Bakasana practice that makes the most sense for wherever your body and mind may be at during this time of your life! Remember to stay rooted in the present by activating clear intentions that will help you resist the urge to focus solely on judging the outcomes of your practice! 

Variations with Block


Propless Variations


May you feel empowered to practice at your own pace and in your way this holiday season!

Best of health and harmony.

Reyn Studios

*To Note*

Our bodies are expressions of where we’ve come from (what we’ve been through) and where we are striving to move towards; therefore, all bodies and expressions will look drastically different from one another regardless of how similarly we place our bones and engage our muscles. It is not so much about the aesthetics of the form as it is about the sensations of flow that we are attempting to cultivate within these postures. Therefore these images that proceed are not intended to create an ‘ideal’ of what your practice should or should not look like, instead these images are intentionally being used as a means to communicate abstract ideas about anatomy via a more relatable format so that you may be guided into your exploration of this posture verbally as well as visually.

November Pose of the Month

November Pose of the Month

Wide-legged Standing Forward Fold / Prasarita Padottanasana

Release and let go of stagnant energy that is no longer serving you this fall ~ by diving forward into a deeper journey and understanding of this November’s pose of the month, Prasarita Padottanasana. This posture, not unlike many other inversions in yoga asana practice, helps to stimulate your internal organs, revitalize your systems of digestion and circulation, as well as increase blood flow and oxygen to the brain. In regards to the musculoskeletal system - prasarita padottanasana may aid in strengthening several joints and muscles in your body i.e. arches of your feet, your ankles, knees, quadriceps, and other hip flexors; as well as lengthen many joints and muscles in your body i.e. calves, hamstrings, groin, and one’s entire spine! And as this pose alleviates restrictions in your body, the potential for releasing restrictive patterns of thought, feeling, and perceiving arises ~ therefore allowing your entire organism to receive the holistic benefits that can come from practicing the posture and art of letting go.


Traditionally there are four different expressions for the arms to embody in this posture : A, B, C, and D.


With whichever expression of the arms that you choose to embody ~ practice breathing length  into the front of your spin with every inhalation and breathing strength and stability into the fronts of your legs with every exhalation. Notice and enjoy how these actions provide the back of your spine and legs with more space!


If your palms are unable to make contact with the ground or if the tightness in your hamstrings is restricting you from finding full length in your spine → welcome props into your practice props! Place your blocks on any height they need to be so that you can place your palms onto their support ~ and bend your knees as much as you need to so that you can extend your spine despite the restriction in your hamstrings!


Lastly if you would like to play around with transitioning out of prasarita padottanasana and into pincha mayurasana (forearm stand) ~ a block in between your palms can be super helpful in keeping your arms activated as you begin to rock your hips over shoulders and fly your fit over your hips!


Enjoy exploring these few (but not all!) ways to experience this forward fold. We hope these tips and variations are helpful and inspiring to any degree! May this posture give your body and mind the space and release they need in order to return to their natural state of wholeness, balance, and harmony ~

Reyn Studios

*To Note*

Our bodies are expressions of where we’ve come from (what we’ve been through) and where we are striving to move towards; therefore, all bodies and expressions will look drastically different from one another regardless of how similarly we place our bones and engage our muscles. It is not so much about the aesthetics of the form as it is about the sensations of flow that we are attempting to cultivate within these postures. Therefore these images that proceed are not intended to create an ‘ideal’ of what your practice should or should not look like, instead these images are intentionally being used as a means to communicate abstract ideas about anatomy via a more relatable format so that you may be guided into your exploration of this posture verbally as well as visually.

October Pose of the Month

October Pose of the Month

Downward Facing Dog  / Adho Muhka Svanasana

Access a deeper understanding of and appreciation for your downward facing dog with these brief but helpful tips and insights! As being one of the most frequented postures in an asana class, adho muhka svanasana has the great potential to enliven and restore your body back into integrated balance and wholeness; however, when not practiced mindfully it also has the potential to cause chronic harm and inflict injuries onto your wrists, shoulders, neck, and back. Therefore taking the time to learn about how to more efficiently place your bones and how to more effectively engage your muscles in downdog is critical for a yogi’s health! Without there typically being enough time in public classes to really (and nerdly so) break all of this anatomy down - this virtual space is here to provide you with the information that you may be looking for in order to explore more safely and receive more deeply the full range of glorious benefits that downward facing dog has to offer your body and mind.


When establishing structural integrity within a posture it is vital to first and foremost address the foundation of the pose. In downward facing dog your foundation is in your hands- how they are meeting the ground beneath them. The structural integrity of your entire body depends upon how you are placing and engaging the bones and muscles of your fingertips, knuckles and wrists. While on all fours allow your fingers to spread apart, let every knuckle make contact with the mat, and position your wrist creases parallel to the front edge of your mat. And now the work begins- focus on maintaining all of this foundational integrity as you lift your hips back and up into downward facing dog. As this foundational integrity becomes easier to maintain with your hips lifted, shift your focus up to the heads of your shoulders and begin mindfully activating the muscles of your arms. Notice how when you spin the biceps of your inner arms towards the front your mat and the triceps of your outer arms in towards the midline, more space arrives in between the vertebrae of your neck, more length is established in your side body, and a deeper opening occurs in your shoulders.


Movin on up! Bring your attention to your ribcage. Notice how when you focus on sending your chest back to your thighs, your ribcage tends to flare open and therefore dump weight into your low back as well as strain the fronts of your shoulders. Combat this harm by knitting the front and lower part of your ribcage into your belly on every exhale. Feel this action bring length back into your spine and stability back into your shoulders!



Good Form


If you find that extension of your spine (let alone hyper-extension!) is challenging to cultivate in down dog, and your spine often times feels fixated in flexion while your hamstrings feel strained…


Try bending your knees substantially and experimenting with blocks! Place the blocks underneath your hands or feet and notice how extension of your spine and legs is easier to access with the assistance of the props. For example:

Screen Shot 2017-10-04 at 12.05.39 PM.png

There are a variety of other ways in which you can activate your body and experiment with your props in adho muhka svanasana! These are just a few offerings to get you interested and engaged in playing around with the posture more mindfully so that you may find and feel what works best for you. And once your bones and muscles feel organized enough to healthily maintain this posture for several breaths ~ go ahead and experiment with softening and clarifying your gaze back to your feet or turning your gaze inwards and closing your eyes. Then just let time pass and allow the rejuvenating benefits of this gentle inversion resonate and settle into your entire nervous system ~ happy and safe travels upside down ~

Reyn Studios

*to note*
our bodies are expressions of where we’ve come from (what we’ve been through) and where we are striving to move towards; therefore, all bodies and expressions will look drastically different from one another regardless of how similarly we place our bones and engage our muscles. It is not so much about the aesthetics of the form as it is about the sensations of flow that we are attempting to cultivate within these postures. Therefore these images that proceed are not intended to create an ‘ideal’ of what your practice should or should not look like, instead these images are intentionally being used as a means to communicate abstract ideas about anatomy via a more relatable format so that you may be guided into your exploration of this posture verbally as well as visually.