Eight-Angle Pose | Yoga with Bianca ?
When I first tried yoga, the instructor cued us through?chaturanga (tricep pushup) and I couldn’t hold my elbows next to my sides. I kinda laughed inside because my arms were so weak. I continued to show up on my mat and?I would take?chaturangas on my knees. After months of taking classes, my body finally understood how to do a chaturanga. ?Over time, I was able to improve my form in this foundational pose and this unlocked my access to most of the yoga arm balances, including eight-angle pose. In this post, I will show you how to get into eight-angle pose?in a safe and accessible way.
Just to preface this tutorial, everyone’s body structure is different. Our muscles, joints, and bones are built differently and any injuries will also change the dynamic. If you have hip, wrist?or shoulder injuries, I would avoid arm balances for now until your body is ready.
With any yoga pose you are attempting, you can use the following template to break down the pose:
Breaking Down Eight-Angle Pose – SOUL
Core, arms, wrists
Inner thighs, outer hips
U-?Understand Muscle Action
Extension of hamstring muscles and core stabilization
To prepare for this pose, I recommend flowing through sun salutations, hip-opening poses and core strengthening poses. Once you have flowed through the recommended poses at the links here, your body will?be ready to try eight-angle pose.
Forward Fold Variation
Eight-angle pose requires open hamstrings.?Check out my splits tutorial here for more hamstring stretches. I like this variation of forward fold because it also?stretches your IT band. In this variation, your ankles are crossed which mirrors how your ankles are positioned?in eight-angle pose. Hold this pose for 5 to 10 breaths.
Firelog pose is a deep hip opener. Place your ankle on top of the opposite knee and work your shin parallel. Flex your feet to protect your knee joints. Ground your sitting bones to the mat and balance your weight evenly on both hips. If you find that there’s a space between your top thigh and your bottom ankle, you can place a block underneath for more support. Hold this pose for 5 to 10 breaths.
Cradle your Leg
Next, take your top leg and cradle your shin with your arms. You can extend your other leg or keep it bent for now. Try getting your shin parallel to the floor. Place the sole of your foot on the inside of your elbow. Move side to side and take deep breaths as you do so.
Elephant Trunk Pose
Elephant trunk pose is a fun arm balance that builds lower core and wrist strength. Take the leg that you cradled and place your leg above your shoulder. Getting your leg above your shoulder requires open inner thighs as well as outer hips. My favorite inner thigh stretches are horse pose, frog pose and prone frog pose.
Side story: one time I was teaching class and I cued through 4 poses in a row?and laughed out loud because I realized all 4 poses were named after animals!
Try to get your leg as high as you can on your shoulder. Support your calf with your hand. Then plant your hands down on the mat next to your hips. Extend your bottom leg out long. Make sure your fingers face forward and your wrists are in the same line. Press your top leg firmly into your arm while you press out from your hands. Engage your lower core?while you press through your hands.
Layer one, lift your seat off the mat but keep your front heel planted. At first you may need to sit back down after a few seconds. Try getting up three times and keep your breath steady. Layer two, after you lift your seat, lift your heel off the floor and point your toes. Try to hold this pose for 3 to 5 breaths.
The key to this pose is the leg pressure on your arm and really pulling your core up and in. From here, we build on elephant trunk pose.
There are a few ways to get into eight-angle pose. This tutorial will show you how to get into eight-angle from elephant trunk pose. While you are in elephant trunk pose, lift the heel of your extended leg and hook your ankle on top of your other ankle. See this in action at the video below.
Once you hook your ankles, bend your elbows back like chaturanga and press both inner thighs firmly into your arm. Pin your elbows next to your ribs and extend your hamstrings out. While you bend your elbows back, you also lift your hips up. Try to keep your shoulders level. I’ve included photos that show you the front and side views of this pose.
The key here is to squeeze your inner thighs as much as you can. This will help you balance. Hold this pose for 3 to 5 breaths. For more advanced yogis, try transitioning from eight-angle pose to hurdler’s pose.
Bringing it all Together- Yoga Flow
Here’s a video that brings these poses together. Remember to breathe and have fun with it! Hope you enjoyed this tutorial and please feel free to comment below with feedback, questions or requests.
In this post, I’ll break down three partner yoga poses you can try with your friends and family this holiday week!
Partner yoga is so fun because you get to share the experience with someone else. I am definitely that person at a family party or friendsgiving talking about the benefits of yoga and/or inviting everyone to come to class. 🙂 I remember at one family party, my brother’s girlfriend and I tried a partner yoga pose (it was one where she got into high plank on the floor facing one way and I stacked my plank on top of hers facing the other way) in the living room just for fun!
The great thing is you don’t need to be an advanced yogi to try these. Alright, let’s go!
Headstand x Dancer’s Pose
This pose connects headstand and dancer’s pose. Before you start, check out my?headstand tutorial here.
So step one, one of you get into headstand (for more advanced yogis, you can try it with handstand or one-legged wheel pose). The partner that will do dancer’s pose should capture both of your ankles to stabilize both of you.
Once you both feel stable with your foundation, your partner will start to remove one hand away and take his/her palm and capture the inside arch of her foot or ankle. Make sure this partner’s shoulder opens outward and the eye of her elbow faces out to protect her shoulder.
For you in headstand, keep your breath steady and core engaged. For you in dancer’s, kick your foot back into your palm to lift your leg higher. Find one steady point that isn’t moving to focus your gaze on. Hold the pose as long as you’d like and?slowly release.
Balance out right and left and take turns being the headstand partner!
Handstand x Legs up the Wall Pose
This is a really fun way to practice your handstand with some help! Have one partner get into legs up the wall. This partner gets to chill for a bit! Stand in front of your partner about one leg’s distance but facing away. Then go into forward fold, on an inhale lift your spine halfway and then plant your palms shoulder width distance apart. Try to have your wrist creases parallel in one line. Lift your right leg as if you were going into standing splits, then connect that foot to your partner’s. Then lift your left leg to connect your other foot. Now you’re in handstand!
Your hands will be pretty far forward at first, so hug your lower core in and wrap your front ribs in, then walk your hands back slowly closer to your partner. As you do this, keep pressing your feet into your partner’s to help you get your hips stacked over your shoulders.
The best part? You get to jump off! Take turns being the handstand partner.
Locust or Bow x Legs up the Wall Pose
This one is really fun and requires some bravery and lots of trust and communication! One of you go into legs up the wall. Have your partner stand in front of you then interlace your hands with hers. Bend your knees then place your feet in a V position on her hips. The trick here is your toes should be right around her hip bones for a stable foundation. Grip your partner’s hips with your toes.
Bend your knees a lot and stabilize your hips.?Ask your partner to lean her weight into your feet. Use your hands to draw her closer to parallel to the ground. At this point, she is balancing on top of your feet.
Then here’s the trick, once your hips are stable, imagine yourself at the leg press machine and press out through your legs. For the flying partner, engage your spine and core as you balance and be fearless here! The next important trick for you is to use your toes. Imagine you are playing piano on their hips with your toes; this will really help you balance!
Once you both feel confident and stable, start to release your hands.
Then you can?play?with resting your arms on the ground and the flying partner can go into floor bow pose.
Then gently release your partner and take turns being the flyer!
As you can see, we had so much fun playing with these poses! Hope you do too and let me know in the comments below!
In this post, I’ll be sharing 3 practices that are useful for days when you only have five minutes to do yoga.
I got up early Monday morning to take a C2 class at CorePower Yoga before work. The room was heated to 98 degrees and it felt so good because if you know me, you know I’m always cold. Brrr. I started moving through the first poses of class and all I could think of was wow, I am so so tight. Then, I tried to think back to the last time I made it to a yoga class and realized that it had been a week. During the week, I usually practice on my own at home or the gym but nothing beats going into a yoga studio and leaving all distractions at the door. If you’ve been practicing yoga, you’ll notice that your body feels so much better with regular practice. I’ve noticed that I’m a lot less reactive and generally more relaxed when I can make it to my mat more consistently. That’s when I thought to myself, I really need to set aside time to practice yoga every single day, even for just 5 minutes.
So here are my three tips!
Practice Your Breath
Here’s a breathing exercise that will help you relax.
Close your eyes.
Inhale through your nose to the slow count of four ? 1-2-3-4.
Breathe in as much air as you can and once you reach 4, hold your breath for 4 counts ??1-2-3-4.
Exhale through your nose to the slow count of four ? 4-3-2-1.
Repeat this 3 to 4 times or until you feel more calm and relaxed.
Practice Your Flow
The physical part of your practice does not need to be 60 minutes long for it to be a complete one. Maybe you decide to put your phone away for 15 minutes, roll out your mat, and just move to your breath. I think a little bit each day is better than nothing! Maybe your yoga for the day is just taking some shoulder and neck rolls while sitting at your desk at work. That is perfect!
This week, I was feeling a lot of tension in my shoulders so it felt good to stretch out that area. Here’s a 3 minute flow that encourages shoulder mobility. Think of areas where you feel the most tension or tightness and practice some poses that target that area.
Practice Your Gratitude
I’ve had to constantly go back to gratitude this week. How about you? It’s easy to get overwhelmed, especially during this time of year with the holidays coming up. When you start to notice feelings of discontentment, anxiety, or any other feeling that is not serving you, start to think of things you are thankful for. Start with the most basic things and keep going from there. Gratitude will reframe your thoughts and your day.
I hope these three tips were helpful and thank you for reading!
Share with me?one thing you are grateful for in the comments below.
We live in a results-driven society. We are busier than ever these days. The world we live in places a high value on achievement.?At first it seems like the formula is to work harder towards building the life and future we truly want. In this post, I want to share some things I am learning. I want to share how taking it slow and cultivating an inner stillness can open the door to our best life yet.?
It’s interesting to think about our perspective?on time. Have you considered it? Whether it’s realizing how old we are going to turn when our next birthday comes around, to wondering where 2016 went (the first week of November has come upon us), sometimes it’s easy to feel like time is on fast-forward. Because of this, I think setting an intention of slowing down is so important.
The thing is (and those of you who are more type A will probably resonate with this), when we slow down, sometimes we think, well if I don’t work at this right now, it won’t get done. It won’t happen.
I’m starting to see that this isn’t exactly the case.?
Here’s what I’m learning-
Slow down to go fast…?I’m starting to see that time is on my side. Time is on your side too. I think this applies to pretty much everything! Maybe you are looking for a new job. Or maybe you just started dating someone. Perhaps you are working towards certain fitness goals. Wherever you are right now,?I think taking your time is the best thing you can do for you.
But it’s not just taking it slow. It’s realizing that the things at work in your life are happening for you even while you rest. While you sleep. While you aren’t putting in the hard work at the gym, work, school, etc.
Why is that?
Live Life with an Open Hand
I think the reason why taking your time and getting “rest” are worth it because if it’s for you, it will happen. This is something I have observed to be true time and time again. You will never have to force anything that is meant for you.?This is true in all areas of life- career opportunities, relationships, friendships, basically everything.
When you live life knowing your intrinsic worth and how loved you are, the game changes. You stop operating from a place of lack and move into a place of provision.
For me,?I am able to know my worth and understand my value through my relationship with Jesus. It’s a sweet journey to be on just knowing that it’s all a gift. It’s that ultimate rest from striving, proving myself, and being on the proverbial hamster wheel.?This is what helps me live life with an open hand.?
This leads me to the next thing-
Be Thankful for What you Have While Working for What you Want
We have a natural?desire to be fruitful and progress in life. I think it is so important to have goals and pursue them with our best abilities. Lately, I’ve been reflecting on what it means to be thankful for what I have now, while working for what I want. It is really easy to get so focused on the destination.?I’m learning that it’s about the moments in between.
It’s easy to spot this in our own lives. Have you ever found yourself thinking, “when ? ? ? ? ? ? ?? ?happens, then I’ll finally be happy.” I do sometimes. I counter these thoughts by?remembering the days that I prayed for what I have now. ?
When I was a sophomore in college, my friend’s biology class had a field trip at Little Corona?Beach?in Corona del Mar, California. The field trip was centered around observing all the living things in the tide pools during low tide. Once we got to Little Corona, I fell in love. I thought to myself, “wow, I’d love to live here.” That day, I saw my very first sea star and tons of purple sea urchins and teal sea anemones.
I always had CDM in the back of my mind since then. I finished college and started my career. After three years of working, an opportunity opened up to move to CDM.?My dream of living in CDM came true. It wasn’t a linear path and I didn’t know it would happen. I say prayer of gratitude every time I come home.
I look back to that memory because it’s a reminder of how life can surprise you. Sometimes you’ll get exactly what you wished for, or sometimes life gives you something better.?
What are some blessings you are standing in today? Does slowing down to go fast resonate with you?
Thank you for reading!
There’s something so magical about golden hour.
The way the sky glows in Corona Del Mar right after sunset is one of my favorite sights.
After work, I often like to go to the beach and watch the sunset. When I hear the waves and feel the salty air on my skin, my day is instantly uplifted.
All the cares of this world seem to fade away and I am left feeling at peace.
The ocean grounds me.?It reminds me of the beauty and mystery of life.
I want to share with you a three minute yoga flow that will help you reset your body and uplift your mood.
I took a stand-up paddle board yoga class and I learned about my fears.?
I try to spend most of my Saturday mornings outside. I usually start off my weekend with a beach run in Corona Del Mar or a hike somewhere in Laguna Beach. This morning,?@supbliss?was hosting a stand-up paddle board (SUP) yoga class in Newport Beach led by Kylan Fischer (@yoga_ky). I was really excited to do a full yoga class in the water. I’ve gone paddleboarding since and did a few poses but the last time I took a SUP yoga class was during a yoga retreat in Aruba with Rachel Brathen (@yoga_girl). You can see more from that?retreat at?#BiancainAruba!
I can’t seem to sleep in on Saturdays because my body is used to the early wake up call from the week. I read in bed for a while then got up. I walked to my car and had to smile to myself because of the Southern California weather in October. It feels like summer still.
The water was so calm and I was excited to get out there. We paddled out and found a spot by some boats and anchored down.
It felt so good to be out in the sun.
Kylan started off class telling us that stand-up paddle board yoga is pretty different from doing yoga on land.
Kylan led us through the integration poses. I thought to myself, wow even?downward facing dog feels different. Your core is activated the entire time while you’re on the paddle board.
My next thought was, don’t fall in the water.?
So I started off class pretty cautious and taking things slow and controlled. My main focus was not to fall in. Then I started to learn more about myself?as we moved through the poses. I’ve always known I had perfectionist tendencies but being out in the water brought it out more. I wanted to stay dry?on the board. I also know I am a risk-taker but the risks I take are usually calculated.
I couldn’t help but smile and laugh during the class because it felt amazing going back to the basics and feeling like a beginner again.
There’s just something about trying something new.
I love the playfulness and freedom that comes with it.
Then we tried some arm balances and inversions. It was so much fun! The board takes it to a whole new level.
And then, as I was watching the other two flow on their boards, I fell in the water! What? I know! I don’t even think I was doing a yoga pose but it happened.
I started to ask Kylan about falling. She has an incredible yoga practice and her inversions are amazing. Kylan mentioned she’s become really good at falling and knows her exit strategy.
That’s when I realized-?I hold myself back in my inversion practice because I don’t want to fall. I’m afraid of falling.?It was such a big moment for me because I am currently working on handstand and forearm stand in my practice. But there’s a lot of fear tied up with those poses for me: fear that I’ll fall or that I’ll get injured. Sometimes, there’s even a fear that I’ll actually get the pose.
Why do we let fear run our lives?
What are we keeping ourselves from doing because of fear? Whether it is yoga or anything else in life, it’s easy to hold ourselves back.
Today I realized I’m going to have to fall. A lot. And I’m going to have to try and it won’t be perfect right away.
Who knew that a stand-up paddle board yoga class would show me some areas in my life where I’m playing small and allowing fear and perfectionism to take over.
What are you fearful of?
What would happen if?we just went for it and didn’t worry about falling?