West Chester Alert

Please note that we will run on an adjusted schedule during the upcoming holidays.

National Yoga Month Calendar

SEPTEMBER IS NATIONAL YOGA MONTH!
Join the acac mind body community for a month-long celebration of mindfulness both in the club and online. Follow along here or on our Facebook page; share an “exer-selfie” on our Facebook page for a chance to win some acac swag! Download a printable calendar here.

web_Mountain Pose

September 4: Mountain Pose (Tadasana)

At the top of your mat, stand with your feet together, but heels slightly separated, or with feet hip-width apart (about four to six inches or “two-fists’ distance”) and parallel. Center your weight over the arches of your feet. Ground down through the mounds below your big toes and your outer heels. Line up the back of your skull with the back of your tailbone. Draw your lower ribs back if they tend to jut forward. Rest your arms alongside you with palms facing in or forward. Broaden through your chest and collarbones. Root down through your feet and lengthen up through your crown. Relax your face and jaw.

web_Forward Fold

September 5: Forward Fold (Uttanasana)

Inhale your arms up overhead. On an exhale, hinge forward from your hip creases (bending your knees here is fine!). Keep your spine long as you hinge forward bringing your hands through heart center and keep your belly pulled in. Press the tops of your thighs back as you fold without shifting all of your weight into your heels. Bring your fingertips to the floor (or blocks), and press into them to help engage your deep core muscles. Keep your weight centered over the arches of your feet and continue grounding down into the balls of your big toes and your outer heels. Keep knees bent to feel the belly on the the thighs; only straighten your legs to the point that you feel the stretch in the middle part of your hamstrings. Relax your head, face, and jaw. 

 Plank_web

September 6: Plank Pose

Place your hands shoulder-distance apart (or just slightly wider), with your wrist creases parallel to the short edge of your mat and your fingers spread evenly apart; press a little more weight into the inner edges of your hands. Step your feet back to the back of the mat hips distance (4-6 inches) apart. Press your heels back and the heart forward. Keep the back of your skull in line with the back of your tailbone, gazing at the floor just in front of you. Press your hands into the ground as though you were pushing it away. Pull your lower belly in. To work these same actions in a less challenging variation, lower both knees to the floor, making sure your knees stay behind your hips (not directly under them, as in table pose).

web_Low Plank

September 7: Low Plank Pose (Chaturunga)

From plank pose and keeping your fingers spread evenly apart, resisting your thumbs toward your fingers, and your fingers toward your thumbs (like you’re clawing the floor), and pressing your index knuckles firmly into the ground. Shift your body forward a little, bringing your shoulders just past your wrists (but not so far forward that you feel like you’re balancing on your toenails!). Keep your shoulders as high (or higher than) your elbows as you bend your elbows straight back to lower down. Try keeping a little space between your elbows and your rib cage—perhaps letting the elbows flare out just slightly so that they point toward the back corners of your mat). Prioritize staying broad through your collarbones and keeping your shoulders from dipping below the height of your elbows.

Practicing with your knees on the floor can be especially helpful for working with safe, healthy alignment in chaturanga. 

web_Cobra

September 8: Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)

From chaturunga, lower onto your belly with the tops of your feet resting on the floor, hip-distance apart or slightly closer depending on what feels most comfortable for you. Stretch back through your big toes so that your feet point straight back, and press all of your toenails—especially your pinky toenails—into the floor. Engage your low belly. Bend your elbows and place your palms on the floor beside you so that your elbows are stacked over your wrist creases. On an inhale, lift your head and chest using your back strength to move into the backbend. Keep your chin slightly tucked to lengthen the back of your neck.

web_Downward Dog

September 9: Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

From cobra, press back onto hands and knees (“all fours”) with your knees slightly behind your hips. Line up your wrist creases parallel with the front edge of your mat, spread your fingers evenly apart, and resist your thumbs toward your fingers, and your fingers toward your thumbs (like you’re “clawing” the floor). Press the mounds below your thumbs and index fingers firmly into the ground. Tuck your toes under and press your hips up and back into downward dog.

Bend your knees to start, and keep your finger pads and the mounds below your fingers rooted and maintain the clawing action in your hands (resist rocking back onto your wrists and lifting your fingertips!). Externally rotate your upper arms to broaden your upper shoulder blades and release tension in your neck. Align the back of your skull with the back of your pelvis so you’re not looking up, but not dropping your chin either. To straighten your legs, press the tops of your thighs back, but if your low back rounds, keep your knees bent.

September 10: Combine all six poses and flow!

web_Warrior II

September 11: Warrior II Pose (Virabhadrasana II)

Stand in Tadasana at the center of your mat facing the side edge. Step or jump the feet 3’ to 5’ apart, feet parallel. Turn the right foot out 90 degrees (now the “front” foot). Leave the back foot as it is if your hips are open. Spread your arms out parallel to your front leg. Bend the right knee so that it is directly over the right ankle. Turn your head to look over the right hand. Soft gaze with the eyes, maintain awareness of your breath and body

web_Reverse Warrior

September 12: Reverse Warrior Pose (Viparita Virabhadrasana)

(From Warrior 2) Turn your right palm to the sky. Side bend over your left leg, keeping your right knee stacked over your right angle, opening the chest to the sky, releasing your left hand to your left leg and reaching your right arm back with your right bicep by your right ear. Actively press your right knee to the right, grounding both feet evenly. Soft gaze with the eyes, maintain awareness of your breath and body

web_Side Angle   web_Extended Side Angle   web_Bound Angle

September 13 & 14: Side / Extended / Bound Angle Pose (Utthita Parsvakonasana)

(From Warrior 2) Reach your right hand over your bent right leg and extend your body to the side over that leg as you tip your pelvis towards it, stacking the left hip somewhat above the right. (In order of increasing difficulty) either place your:

       -Right elbow on your bent thigh near the knee, or;

       -Your hand on a block or other support immediately to the outside of your right shin or ankle, or;

       -Your fingertips on the floor immediately to the outside of your right ankle, or;

       – Bring your top arm behind your back and your front arm under your right thigh – interlace fingers

Extend your head straight out of your spine, and look in the direction your chest is facing. Reach your arm (more or less) over your top ear, palm facing toward the ground. Twist your chest upwards, and if appropriate look up towards the palm of your top hand. Soft gaze with the eyes, maintain awareness of your breath and body.

web_Triangle

September 15: Triangle Pose (Trikonasana)

Stand in Tadasana. Step or jump the feet 3’ to 5’ apart, feet parallel. Turn the right foot out 90 degrees (now the “front” foot). Leave the back foot as it is if your hips are open, or if more comfortable turn it in 10–30°. Spread your arms out parallel to your front leg, and reach your right arm to the right as you drop your right hip under your left and move laterally into the pose. Rest your bottom hand on your thigh, shin, a block, or the floor to the outside of your front foot. Top arm reaches to the sky. Look up, forward, or down with a soft gaze and maintain awareness of breath and body.

web_Half Moon

September 16: Half Moon Pose (Ardha Chandrasana)

From triangle angle pose with your right foot forward, bend your right knee and shift your weight forward and start to lift your left leg to hip height while keeping your chest open to the side edge of your mat. Bring your top (left) hand to your waist and gaze down toward your right big toe. Hover your right fingertips six to ten inches in front of the pinky-toe side of your right foot. Ground down into the ball of your right foot and aim your front knee toward the pinky-toe side of your foot. Keeping that alignment as you straighten your front leg, grounding down into your outer front heel as you do. Bring the foot of your lifted leg in line with (but not behind) its matching hip as you stack your left hip on top of your right. Extend your top arm up as you stack your shoulders. Soft gaze with the eyes is looking up or down, maintain awareness of your breath and body.

September 17: Combine all six poses and flow!

web_Goddess

September 18: Goddess Pose (Utkata Konasana)

Bend your knees deeply out the sides and sink your hips down to the height of your knees. Bring your arms out at shoulder height and bend your elbows so that your fingertips point skyward.

web_Horse

September 19: Horse Pose (Vatayanasana)

Bend your knees and place feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart. Place your hands next to your ears, and inhale to press up.

web_Starfish

September 20: Five Pointed Star or Starfish Pose (Matsyasana)

Begin in mountain pose. Step out so your feet are hip-width apart. Open the hips and shoulders and bring the feet to point forward. Lift the arms wide at shoulder height and draw the core muscles in tight. Breathe.

web_Wide Legged Forward Fold

September 21: Wide Angle Seated Forward Bend (Pashimottanasana)

Sit in the middle of your mat. Place your hands on the floor behind your body and lean your torso back slightly. Then open your legs as wide as it is comfortable. Press your hands firmly into the floor and gently bring your buttocks forward along the floor, helping to widen the legs even further. Work toward opening your legs to a 90-degree angle, or as wide as you can. Keep the tops of your kneecaps and your toes pointing straight up toward the ceiling. Flex your feet and strongly engage your thigh muscles, pressing your legs down toward the floor. Reach out through your heels. With your spine long and straight, begin to walk your hands forward between your legs. Maintain the length of your front torso; do not let your back round. Continue to increase your forward bend until you feel a stretch in your hamstrings, but do not push it too far. You may rest your hands on yoga blocks to aid the position.

web_Assisted Lizard

September 22: Lizard Pose (Utthan Pristhasana)

Begin in Downward Dog. Step your right foot between your hands to a lunge position. Bring both forearms to the floor inside the right leg. You may rest your forearms on yoga blocks to aid the position. Keep your inner left thigh lifting and resisting. As your left heel reaches back, your heart opens forward to create length in your upper back. Breathe. Switch sides.

 web_Upright Pigeon   web_Pigeon

September 23: Upright Pigeon / Pigeon Pose (Kapotasana)

Begin on all fours. Bring your right knee forward and place it behind your right wrist. Place your ankle somewhere in front of your left hip. Slide your left leg back, straighten the knee and point the toes. Draw your legs in towards each other to help keep your hips square. Gently lower yourself down and use some support under your right buttock if needed, to keep your hips level. Inhale and lift your upper body, come on your fingertips, hands shoulder width apart, draw your navel in, tailbone down and open your chest. Exhale and walk your hands forward on the fingertips and lower your upper body to the floor. You can rest your forearms and forehead on the mat.

September 24: Combine all six poses and flow!

web_AC Mountain Pose

September 25: Mountain Pose (Tadasana)

At the top of your mat, stand with your feet together, but heels slightly separated, or with feet hip-width apart (about four to six inches or “two-fists’ distance”) and parallel. Center your weight over the arches of your feet. Ground down through the mounds below your big toes and your outer heels. Line up the back of your skull with the back of your tailbone. Draw your lower ribs back if they tend to jut forward. Rest your arms alongside you with palms facing in or forward. Broaden through your chest and collarbones. Root down through your feet and lengthen up through your crown. Relax your face and jaw.

web_AC Dolphin Pose

September 26: Dolphin Pose (Ardha Pincha Mayurasana)

Set your forearms on the ground. Lift your hips into the air. Straighten your legs; lengthen your spine. Root your forearms and lift your shoulders away from the mat. Integrate the upper arm to the shoulder. Breathe.

web_AC Forearm Plank 1    web_AC Forearm Plank 2

September 27: Forearm Plank

Set your forearms on the ground. Step your feet back until the hips and shoulders are level. Place your knees on the ground. Soften the upper body; feel the strength in your belly. Breathe. To regress this position, set your forearms and knees on the ground to begin.

web_AC Handstand Prep 2    web_AC Handstand Prep

September 28: Headstand Prep

Begin on all fours. Set your forearms on the ground. Round your spine from the tailbone up through the neck, keeping the back of the neck soft. Take your gaze back to your thighs. Breathe.

web_AC Rabbit 1    web_AC Rabbit 2

September 29: Rabbit Pose (Sasangasana)

Option 1: begin on all fours. Drop the chin down towards the collarbone. Place the crown of your head 8 – 12 inches in front of your knees. Round your spine from the tailbone up to the neck, keeping the neck, shoulders and upper back relaxed. Take your gaze to your thighs and breathe. Stay here and breathe or lift your arms up towards the ceiling.

Option 2: begin on all fours. Reach back and cup the heels or grasp the ankles — thumbs facing out. Drop the chin in towards the collarbone. Place the crown of your head in front of your knees. Allow the spine to naturally round from the tailbone to the neck. Lift your thighs vertically; keep the neck, shoulders and upper back relaxed. Broaden the shoulder blades. Breathe.

web_AC Handstand

September 30: Headstand

(From Dolphin Pose) Set your forearms on the ground. Interlace your fingers. Stack your wrists. Root the little finger side of the hands and forearms to Earth. Gently rest the crown of the head inside of the interlaced fingers and stacked wrists; breathe. Begin to lift your heels off of the ground from the strength of your center, the length of your spine and the root of the hands and forearms to Earth. Stay here and breathe, or begin to lift your knees into your torso one at a time. Stay here and breathe, or keep the legs bent and lift the knees over the pelvis. When the knees are stacked directly over the hips and pelvis, straighten your legs and find mountain pose in your headstand. Breathe.

October 1: Combine all six poses and flow!

Stay connected with the acac mind body community by visiting our online class schedule!