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Finding Your Yoga: The Yogi’s Way

Affirmation: That which I seek finds me, embraces me and knows me. It lives inside me.

People enter yoga through many doors; asana, pranayama, meditation, weight-loss, stress management. The list goes on. It doesn’t really matter which door you walk through or where the path leads, but hopefully, it continues to inspire and transform the yoga that lives inside you — “your” yoga. Your yoga is the one that meets you where you are at any given time. Its wisdom supports you while you play the edges, comforts you when you need soothing, and focuses you when clarity is called for. Your practice isn’t something you achieve, it is something you draw from deep within. It lives inside you.

Recently, I had the privilege of working with a yoga teacher from Chicago. “Bun” has an intelligent yoga practice. He knows his strengths and weaknesses especially since he works with a Femoroacetabular Impingement of his right hip. He has to be careful of internal rotation as it aggressively forces the boney spur on the head of his femur against the cartilage (labrum), wearing it thin. The tissue around the hip itself is moderately weak, and the left hip is considerably tighter due to the extra load it carries.

I prescribed a series of yoga poses to focus on strengthening the tissue around the hip and to create space around the joint. With injuries and physical conditions it’s important to find the right balance of strength, stability, mobility and release. Could Bun simply practice a vinyasa class that would increase his strength and flexibility? Absolutely. Given the understanding he has of his body, he knows what he can do and what to avoid; however, it’s not the the kind of physical practice that directly corrects the imbalance nor brings penetrable consciousness for a lasting change.  The yogi’s way is to tap into the yoga that lives inside. Here’s just a small peak into the yoga that lives inside Bun as of right now. I’ve shown three strength/stability poses and one for mobility/release. Thank you, Bun, for allowing me to share your story.

Single Bent Leg Press at Wall (Strength/Stability)

Stand near a wall and bend one leg at a 90 degree angle. Press the entire outer leg into the wall. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat opposite side. Practice a second set with weakest side closest to the wall.

Utkatasnaa (“Chair” or “Fierce” Pose) with belt (Strength/Stability)

Place a yoga belt around the top thighs and abduct (pull apart) them, trying to break the belt. If the work puts pressure on the knees, place the short edges of a yoga block between the inner ankles for more of a hip distance stance. Hold 30 seconds x 3 sets.

Follow with a “Half Dog” or Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend Pose) at the wall to release.

Supta Padanghustasana with wall, belts and sandbag (Mobility/Release)

Place one belt around one foot and mid-back, with the leg at a 90 degree angle.

Place a second belt round the opposite foot and the upper thigh of the leg stretched upward. Roll the inner thigh of the stretched out leg toward the floor. Roll the top outer thigh of the leg stretched upward. To give your student a wonderful adjustment to encourage release and space around the joint, standing near your student, straddle your feet around the leg stretched out. Work your outer ankle inside the belt of the leg stretched upward, using the belt and the position of your body to help make space around the tissue and hip line.

Want to learn more about finding your yoga and helping your students find theirs? Join Leeann Carey Yoga in a Yaapana Yoga teacher training to learn more about the power and application of yoga therapy.





Yoga found Leeann in the late 1970′s, and hasn’t left her since. Leeann shares the knowledge she has gained from all of her teachers today, both personally and through the Leeann Carey Yoga (LCY) workshops, retreats and teacher training programs which she developed, and are also taught by LCY mentors across the United States. Her style of teaching is direct, with a focus on the therapeutic elements of personalizing the practice to meet individual needs. She is affectionately referred to by many as “the teacher’s teacher."

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