yoga

Unity. Stronger. Together – Recap of STRONGER WEEKEND

Last Saturday, it was my privilege and honor to lead yoga at the Stronger Weekend event at Rose Bowl Stadium. What an amazing experience full of amazing people!

If you weren’t there, the event consisted of around 1,400 people who came together to participate in a day full of health and wellness activities, engage in inspiring conversations about nutrition, socialize and network with one another, as well as participate in fun and challenging workouts. We even attempted to break the Guinness World Records title for the most people holding a plank!

The experience couldn’t have been any better and I thank LIVESTRONG for inviting me to teach and everyone else who came out for a lovely afternoon.

This event was not only incredibly inspiring to me; it opened my eyes to something that I believe is important to remember: The power that we have when we all come together is unbreakable.

Whether it be a team or a group of friends, everyone has something unique and important to bring to the table to create magical experiences together. Stronger Weekend was the epitome of that!

I am walking away from the experience with a fresh perspective that we are truly stronger together physically and mentally.

This week I want to invite you to promote unity amongst your community, your family or workplace. The process of unity requires patience, communication and understanding, but with those combined together, the outcome is beautiful.

Yes, we are all strong independently, but imagine what can happen when you combine your strengths with the strengths of others in a positive, amicable way!

History of the Warrior Pose

Throughout your practice in yoga, you become familiar with warrior pose. In fact, there are three different warrior poses that each make you feel confident, bold and strong.

Not many people stop to think about the story behind the poses that they are doing. Of all the yoga poses I discussed earlier, I made sure to emphasize their benefits, but today I want to do something a little different and give you the benefits and a brief history about the warrior poses.

Warrior I Pose

Warrior I pose requires that you stand tall and strong with your feet apart and your arms firmly reaching up to lengthen your belly, your waist, and open up your chest.

This pose is great for strengthening your glutes and hamstrings and because you are expanding your chest in this position, it allows you to balance your heart chakra and energize your body.

Warrior II Pose

Warrior II pose is very similar to Warrior I, except you are reaching your arms outward instead of upward. Something that the warrior poses have in common in terms of benefits is that they all require concentration and force you to ground your body.

Just as Warrior I pose strengthens your legs and opens up your chest, Warrior II pose does the same and also builds up a lot of strength in your arms.

Warrior III Pose

Out of the three warrior poses, this one may be the most complicated. With this pose, you are shifting all of your weight into one leg and reaching your arms forward, over your head.

Warrior III pose can improve your posture, tone your entire body, and of course improve your balance and flexibility.

Once you have done this pose with one leg, try and switch the weight to your other leg afterwards.

History of the Warrior Poses

Now that I have shared some benefits of the three warrior poses, let’s get into the history behind them.

The story of the warrior poses feature two characters, Shiva, a hindu deity, and his wife Shakti who are madly in love. The only issue is that Daksha, Shiva’s father does not approve of their marriage.

When Daksha decides to hold a large gathering, he uninvites both Shiva and Shakti and when Shakti, who is very upset, confronts her father about this, he insults her marriage with Shiva resulting in Shakti deciding to end her life so that she would no longer be able to face her father anymore.

Shiva is so incredibly upset and angered by his wife’s passing that he rips a lock of his hair out, throws it on the ground, resulting in a large hero to emerge called Virabhadra. Shiva tells Virabhadra to kill the guest at the gathering, including Daksha, Shakti’s father.

Virabhadra does this and cuts off Daksha’s head.

It is said that the three warrior poses each represent the poses of Virabhadra as he transforms into a warrior. Warrior I pose represents Virabhadra transforming upwards out of the ground from the lock of hair, Warrior II pose represents Virabhadra taking out his sword to slice off the head of Daksha, and Warrior III pose represents Virabhadra placing Daksha’s head on a stake.

Now that you have a bit of historical context on the warrior poses, I hope you will keep this powerful story in mind the next time you practice them!

3 Advanced Yoga Poses to Master

Earlier, I shared three beginner yoga poses with you that I felt were essential to master in order to advance your practice further. Today, I want to challenge you to dig a little deeper and provide three yoga poses to try that are a bit more advanced.

The poses I want to talk about today are: Garland pose, Eagle pose, and Intense Side Stretch Pose. Just as the poses earlier possess benefits for your mind, body and soul, these do as well.

Let’s talk about their benefits and tips on how to master them:

Garland Pose

Garland pose, also referred to as Malasana, consists of positioning ourselves in a way that we may find ourselves doing very rarelysquatting. Because we are so used to keeping our bodies upright by sitting at a desk or on our beds daily, we don’t realize that we are disregarding the core joints in our bodies that supply us with long-term mobility.

Garland pose requires that you completely bend your knees and lower your hips so that your pelvis aligns with the back of your heels. While in this position, you want to make sure the palms of your hands are in prayer pose and that you are using your elbows to push against your thighs to stretch and widen them.

This pose promotes stronger legs, hips, thighs and back while also improving your digestive system due to the way your body is positioned. This is a wonderful pose to resort to when you feel as though your hips could use more opening and to prevent any issues within those areas in the future.

Eagle Pose

Eagle Pose provides the perfect challenge for you to explore during your practice. By doing this pose, you’ll have the chance to test your balance as well as your physical and mental strength.

Eagle pose invites a great stretch throughout your body from your upper back and arms all the way down to your calves, hips and ankles. Because this pose requires that you hold this position for around a minute (or longer depending on your progress), it forces you to concentrate and take your mind away from any distractions that have been flooding it.  

This pose will definitely take some practice before you can hold it for a longer duration of time, but it is a challenge that will leave you feeling a lot more relaxed afterwards.

Intense Side Stretch Pose

Last but not least, Intense Side Stretch pose is a further extension of Mountain pose and requires a satisfying stretch to your spine, hips, and legs. It is another variation that challenges your balance and calms your mind as you rest in a forward-fold position.

Many recommend doing this pose if they are feeling any tightness in their hamstrings and calves, especially as a result of running or any other form of training. Benefits with this pose include better posture and digestion.

Just like the other poses listed here, Intense Side Stretch pose can take a bit of practice before mastering, but it is key to grasp your alignment and develop a solid form first before you focus on holding your balance.

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