Please meet Sarah Lojacono. She is Mind Body Flow Yoga’s featured student for this month’s newsletter. Sarah has a beautiful yoga practice and was generous in sharing it with us, as she demonstrates Peaceful Warrior Pose (Shanti Virabhadrasana).
Mind Body Flow Yoga’s Very Own Sarah Lojacono
Anytime I receive an E-mail from Marina, I’m anxious to see what good news she has to share! Typically it’s a message of encouraging words or exciting information about the goings on at the studio. Maybe a new workshop that is being offered, or a live music class? This time I was wrong – but surprised and (admittedly flattered) that Marina was asking me to be the featured student of the month for May. Me? The girl (yes, believe it or not – I still refer to myself as a “girl” who’s approaching 50) who was very willing, and cautiously optimistic upon my arrival to my first class? That was almost three years ago. Truly, since that first class, I have loved Mind Body Flow Yoga, and all that it has to offer. Though there have been a few bumps in the road along the way, I’ve always been encouraged to come back to my mat. I’ve been reminded that the time spent at the studio is truly mine, and I’ve always known that there is no judgment, ever.
I lost my dad and my brother both a little over three years ago, five months apart. There was no time to plan or prepare, only to handle, recover and move on. It was chaotic and really hard. I wish I had been a part of MBFY during that time. There was so much to do and others to think and worry about. Looking back, if I had the knowledge and the tools that I’ve learned from my practice, I might have reacted differently to the shock. In your practice, you have to allow yourself to land first and feel what you feel. Only then can you build a foundation, a new one – every time, every pose, and see where you can go. I’ve come a long way in three years, and allow myself these freedoms and choices in everything that I do. My MBFY experience has had such a powerful impact on my physical and emotional well-being because as you learn and grow, you realize that there is more possibility to achieve.
I’m proud that I have gained the ability to feel comfortable in poses that I never imagined that I could achieve! I have seen the shift in my life off of the mat as well. I feel more comfortable in my own skin than I’ve ever been, and I’m more likely to approach a difficult situation with an open mind rather than a closed one. I’m much more likely to give something new a try or look at a situation from a different point of view. Since I joined MBFY, I’ve slowly morphed into a YES! I’ve loved sharing my experiences with friends, and it has been really great that a few of them have decided to practice at the studio. My daughters, ages 15 & 14, have also practiced at Mind Body Flow Yoga, and truly, that has been the best part of my experience thus far.
To the person who isn’t sure yoga will be a good fit, I would ask that you only give it a try – I’d be willing to bet that you will be pleasantly surprised and will leave MBFY wanting more! I’m looking forward to a long fulfilling relationship with Marina and her studio. I can’t imagine my life going forward any other way.
What is this Pose About?
This is a pose that stretches the side body. The resulting shape is a deep opening through the legs, hips, back, and abdomen muscles. Watch Sarah enter into this asana from Mountain Pose (Tadasana). She will exit the pose and land back in Mountain Pose (Tadasana) as well.
Here are a few things to keep in mind, if you decide to try this pose, or if you have already started to experiment and play around with it.
- Peaceful warrior is transitioned into from Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II)
- Come into Warrior II to begin
- While in Warrior II, you want to make a few adjustments to transition into Peaceful Warrior. Make sure your arms are in a straight line, then turn your front hand so that your palm is facing up. Keep your shoulders back and down. Keep your back knee loose but straight – in other words, you don’t want your knee joint to be locked or hyperextended. Keep your front knee bent as it is in Warrior II
- Inhale as you bring your front arm up and back. You are extending your torso and arm as you lean back. Don’t bend too far, this pose is more about extending up and over than about bending. At the same time you are extending up, you are sliding the backhand down your back leg. Don’t push down on the leg, but let your fingertips gently rest on the leg. Use your abdomen muscles to hold your body in this pose. Engage your core. Keep your weight spread evenly across both of your feet. Hold this pose for 3-5 deep breaths
- Slowly bring yourself back up to a neutral spine while exhaling. From here, you can go back into Warrior While in Warrior II, or cartwheel the arms to the ground and go into a vinyasa flow from there (high plank, to low plank, upward facing dog, to downward facing dog)
- Don’t forget about the other side. Step into Warrior II on the other side with the opposite leg in front and transition into Peaceful Warrior following the same instructions above
- Improves back flexibility and back pain
- Strengthens your legs, feet and abdomen muscles
- Opens the hips
- Stretches the arms
- Lengthens and stretches the torso and spine
Avoid this posture if you have neck or spinal injuries, shoulder injuries, or high or low blood pressure. Enlist the help of an experienced instructor with Peaceful Warrior Pose if this is your first time trying it.
Have you tried this pose before? What has been your experience?