Peg Mulqueen

Peg Mulqueen

Peg Mulqueen

With a master’s degree in psychology and more hours of training than she’d care to add up, Peg Mulqueen has been leading yoga classes and workshops for over a decade.

Technique Pointers for Marichyasana D

Peg Mulqueen

So many people struggle with Marichyasana D even after many years of practice as it is such a challenging posture. Being one of the ‘gate keeper’ asanas of the primary series in Ashtanga I thought I would take the opportunity to ask Peg if she had any pointers.

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A Team Body Approach

Backbending

You see, around 75% of the adult population has experienced lower back pain – and I’m not talking about those who practice yoga. It’s a “thing” and not a yoga “thing.” It comes up in yoga a lot, though. Mostly around backbends though honestly, the way we forward bend can often be more to blame. But lets just stick with backbends for now. Because that’s usually where we get scared our body either completely seizes up or totally collapses.
Luckily, there doesn’t have to be an either/or. We have lots of gray to research and learn. But before we get started, lets get something clear: We are NOT going all the way. Now that THAT silly business is out of the way.

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A Pointer for Better Posture(s)

Neck posture quick fix

I spend anywhere between 4 to 5 hours sitting in front of a computer … an hour or two, behind the wheel of a car .. and admittedly, an hour or so watching a movie or TV. That adds up to about 8 hours of a seated posture, head forward and tilted up.

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Chaturanga

Chaturanga dandasana

About six months ago, the studio where I teach put out an all-call for teachers to submit their own chaturanga “selfies.”Yeah, not one of us responded.Seriously, who wants that posture picked apart on Facebook by a bunch of arm chair anatomy experts in a slew of unending cues as comments … which will inevitably snowball into a debate about shoulders, pain and injury… until next thing you know, some yoga-asana expat will write a scathing blog about it (and Ashtanga) with your picture as the star witness.

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Growing Up In Backbends

Backbending

I remember as a kid, helping my slightly OCD mom ready our bedsheets to be folded. We would each grab two corners and pull our ends taut, in our efforts to eliminate all the wrinkles and crinkles we could before we began. I kind of think of backbends a little like this lately … as I reach in opposite directions, smoothing out my own bumps and bends, creating the clean length and lines my OCD mom could be proud of. But sometimes it’s confusing. After all, most of us learned to drop back and stand up in a backbend by bending our knees forward to counter our weight as we go back.

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Head Up!

Head up

The arm balances of third series really take all I have in terms of upper body strength – and all I have is often, still not enough. Jen René asked her teacher, Tim Miller, for advice last week.”Use your head,” he told her. When she relayed his message, I giggled at the irony of a teacher finally telling me to use my head instead of get out of it!

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The Hips A-line-ment

If there’s a holy grail in the Ashtanga yoga practice, it must a long central axis (or spine, for reference) and rooted pelvis, for within the two lie the keys to heaven – or as we say, bandhas. And so it seems logical we do all we can to protect and keep these lines sacred. The primary series offers us the perfect place to practice this alignment with shapes that logically lead us towards that promised land.

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Resisting the Bend: Kapotasana

Backbend anatomy

This was my deal breaker. Everyone has one, and this was mine. I knew this one posture would demand from me more commitment, patience, tenacity and loving kindness than any other I’d ever encountered. It requires me to be fully present, super aware – and willing.

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Size Matters

Proportions

I don’t know if you know this about Ashtanga – but backbends are a pretty big damn deal. When I started, no one cared that I could stand on my hands. No one wanted to see me float or jump or balance on my arms. No, they wanted to see my backbend.
Only, I didn’t have a backbend. I had more of a coffee table.

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