Category: Blog

Yoga Pose of the Week: The Humble Warrior Pose (Baddha Virabhadrasana)

Whether you rec­og­nize this Bad­dha Virab­hadrasana as Hum­ble War­rior, or by any of its oth­er pseu­do­nyms (Devo­tion­al War­rior, Bound War­rior, or Sil­ver Surfer), mod­ern yogis every­where bow down to this hip and heart open­ing pose!

Here’s how to do Hum­ble War­rior Pose:

 

Unlike the far-reach­ing dris­ti prac­ticed in Virab­hadrasana I, II, and III, Bad­dha Virab­hadrasana reminds us to humbly look inward and val­ue the moments of intro­spec­tion. Even the words “hum­ble” and “war­rior” can seem like a con­tra­dic­tion, but only through humil­i­ty and beyond can we tru­ly know our­selves. Not to men­tion that tremen­dous groin stretch. Talk about hum­bling!

Getting Into the Pose

  • Begin in War­rior I with the right leg in front.
  • Gen­tly step your front foot one to two steps over to the right with your toes slight­ly turn­ing right to keep the groin open and pro­tect your knee.
  • Inter­lace your fin­gers behind your back. Inhale to expand your chest and lungs.
  • As you exhale, con­tin­ue to keep your heart open and gen­tly bow for­ward. Your right shoul­der may lov­ing­ly nudge your right leg even fur­ther to the right as you release your pelvis and drop deep­er into the pose.

As you exit this pose, stay mind­ful that this deep stretch places poten­tial stress on the knee and low­er back if you stand up too quick­ly. Make sure you grad­u­al­ly straight­en the right leg and keep your­self ground­ed with your back leg as you rise.

Pause in War­rior I for a few breaths before switch­ing to your left side.

Modification Ideas

If you have low­er back, hip, or knee pain, you can mod­i­fy by start­ing in a Cres­cent Lunge. This will make bal­ance more chal­leng­ing, though.

Lizard Pose is also a nice alter­na­tive if you have neck issues. You can keep your back knee on the ground in a Low Lunge, plac­ing both hands inside the front foot.

The Power of Receptivity

When you trust this pose and let your­self sur­ren­der, you release any need to grasp and con­trol, and you may just expe­ri­ence a glo­ri­ous float­ing sen­sa­tion. Grav­i­ty can pull hard­er the more we resist, but Hum­ble War­rior teach­es us to hon­or this pow­er­ful force and learn from it.

BARBECUED GRESSINGHAM DUCK BREAST with WHITE COLESLAW

By Josh Eggle­ton

 

This quick and flavour­some bar­be­cued duck recipe is ide­al for the sum­mer months, but can equal­ly be enjoyed in the win­ter by adapt­ing the method slight­ly. Kohlra­bi is an earthy, crunchy and refresh­ing addi­tion to coleslaw. For a gluten free option, replace soy with tamari sauce.

Ingre­di­ents: Glazed duck

Gress­ing­ham duck breasts

100g of hon­ey

1 1/2 tsp of Chi­ne­se five-spice pow­der

2 tsp of rape­seed oil

1 tbsp of sher­ry vine­gar

 

Ingre­di­ents: Soy dip­ping sauce

100ml of soy sauce

100ml of sweet soy sauce

100ml of cider vine­gar

200ml of water

5g of agar agar

 

Ingre­di­ents: White coleslaw

150g of kohlra­bi

150g of white cab­bage

1 banana shal­lot

50g of chopped flat-leaf pars­ley

25ml of lemon juice, fresh

50ml of extra vir­gin olive oil

1 pinch of salt

1 pinch of fresh­ly ground black pep­per

 

Recipe and steps: 

  1. For the soy dip­ping sauce, com­bine the soy sauces, vine­gar and water in a small pan and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat, stir in the agar agar and return to the boil
  2. Remove from the heat, pour into a large bowl over ice to cool quick­ly. Trans­fer to a shal­low con­tain­er and allow to set in the fridge for 30 min­utes. Once set, blend and pass through a fine strain­er
  3. Heat the bar­be­que (or you can also use a grid­dle pan) until extreme­ly hot. Pre­pare the duck breast by remov­ing any sinew or excess fat and score the skin before set­ting aside
  4. For the glaze, whisk togeth­er the hon­ey, five-spice pow­der, oil and vine­gar. Use a pas­try brush to even­ly coat the breast
  5. Place the breasts on the bar­be­cue, skin side-down, and cook until the skin is a dark gold­en colour. Turn and cook on the oth­er side for anoth­er 3–4 min­utes, apply­ing the glaze 4–5 times as it cooks
  6. Turn the duck breast on to the skin side for a sec­ond time and move to a cool­er part of the grill, glaz­ing and fin­ish­ing the cook­ing process for an addi­tion­al 3 min­utes. Allow to rest before carv­ing
  7. For the coleslaw, chif­fon­ade the cab­bage, grate or juli­en­ne the kohlra­bi and fine­ly slice the shal­lot. Com­bine in a bowl togeth­er with the remain­ing ingre­di­ents and mix well
  8. Carve the duck breast and serve alongside the coleslaw and the dip­ping sauce

Intrepid Travel Foodies Festival Competition — Win a Foodie Holiday to Italy worth £1,500!

We’ve teamed up with Intre­pid Trav­el to offer an amaz­ing food­ie hol­i­day to Italy worth over £1,500 PLUS VIP tick­ets to a Food­ies Fes­ti­val of your choice this sum­mer, sim­ply enter here for the chance to win: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/uk/foodies-festival-competition

One lucky win­ner will be sent on Intre­pid Travel’s Real Food Adven­ture hol­i­day to South Italy includ­ing flights! You’ll dine on a tra­di­tion­al tra­boc­co fish­ing house on the Adri­at­ic Sea, sam­ple organ­ic moz­zarel­la di bufala direct from the source and sip limon­cel­lo while soak­ing up the charm­ing sur­rounds of Sor­ren­to. Taste buds tin­gling yet? There’s also 5 pairs of VIP tick­ets and 10 gen­er­al admis­sion tick­ets to the Food­ies Fes­ti­val at a loca­tion of your choice to be won.

Find out more about Intre­pid Trav­el at www.intrepid.com and dis­cov­er their amaz­ing food­ie hol­i­days!

 

Cocktail of the Week: The Clover Cup

Clover Cup

40 ml gin

15 ml lemon juice

15 ml rasp­ber­ry syrup

15 ml Mar­tini Extra Dry Ver­mouth

15 egg white

Method

Shake all the ingre­di­ents with ice then strain into a sep­a­rate mix­ing glass and shake again with no ice. Strain into a chilled coupe glass and drink it quick­ly. You can leave the egg white out if you prefer, but it adds a love­ly sher­bet effect to the palate. Enjoy!

Caramelised Lemon Tart by Stephen Crane of Ockenden Manor

Sweet Pas­try:

5oz But­ter

2oz Sug­ar

Cream togeth­er

 

8oz Plain Flour

¼ tsp Salt

1 Egg

Mix togeth­er, add to the creamed mix­ture and line flan dish.

 

Chill in Fridge for ½ Hour

 

Bake blind for 1 hour at 170c, egg wash twice. Should be gold­en brown.

 

Lemon Cream:

 

1st Pan — 250g Sug­ar, 200g of Lemon Prep (Zest of 3 Lemons, Juice of 4 Lemons)

2nd Pan – 700ml Dou­ble Cream

(Both pans to be boil­ing at the same time)

 

In Bowl – 9 Beat­en Eggs

 

Pour the lemon mix, then the cream mix on top of the beat­en egg – KEEP WHISKING

Pass, skim and fill up the tart case

Cook at 110c for 40 – 50 min­utes. Should be like Jel­ly

 

Cool out of the Fridge and enjoy!

Pancakes with Caramelised Bananas

Ingredients

  • 100g plain flour
  • 2 large egg
  • 300ml milk
  • teaspoon olive oil

  • 1 tbsp sunflower or vegetable oil, plus a little extra for frying
  • 50 grams caster sugar, 2 ripe bananas and a splash of Jamaican rum for the carmelised banana topping (optional)

Method

  1. Put the flour, eggs, milk, 1 tbsp oil and a pinch of salt into a bowl or large jug, then whisk to a smooth batter. Set aside for 30 mins to rest if you have time, or start cooking straight away. Add just a teaspoon of olive oil to prevent any sticking.
  2. Set a medium frying pan or crêpe pan over a medium heat and carefully wipe it with some oiled kitchen paper. When hot, cook your pancakes for 1 min on each side until golden, keeping them warm in the oven at a low heat as you go.
  3. Serve with lemon wedges and sugar, or your favourite filling.Once cold, you can layer the pancakes between baking parchment, then wrap in cling film and freeze for up to 2 months.
  4. For the carmelised bananas, sprinkle the sugar into a heavy based non-stick pan and melt the sugar (50 grams) over a moderate heat. Once the sugar has turn to a mid-golden brown, stir in the butter.
  5. Add the bananas and toss to coat in the caramel. Cook for 1-2 minutes until slightly golden and just tender. Add a splash of dark jamaican rum and enjoy the feast! For a real treat, add some vanilla ice cream.

Half Moon Pose (Ardha Chandrasana)

Half Moon Pose (Ard­ha Chan­drasana) invites you to tap into both the calm, bal­anc­ing ener­gy of the moon and the fiery force of the sun. The pose teach­es coor­di­na­tion and can help you under­stand the inter­de­pen­dence of the actions in your body. Half Moon Pose can also help you devel­op strong legs and open hips.

Method

Per­form Extend­ed Tri­an­gle Pose (Utthi­ta Trikonasana) to the right side, with your left hand rest­ing on the left hip. Inhale, bend your right knee, and slide your left foot about 6 to 12 inch­es for­ward along the floor. At the same time, reach your right hand for­ward, beyond the lit­tle-toe side of the right foot, at least 12 inch­es.

Exhale, press your right hand and right heel firm­ly into the floor, and straight­en your right leg, simul­ta­ne­ous­ly lift­ing the left leg par­al­lel (or a lit­tle above par­al­lel) to the floor. Extend active­ly through the left heel to keep the raised leg strong. Be care­ful not to lock (and so hyper­ex­tend) the stand­ing knee: make sure the kneecap is aligned straight for­ward and isn’t turned inward.

Rotate your upper tor­so to the left, but keep the left hip mov­ing slight­ly for­ward. Most begin­ners should keep the left hand on the left hip and the head in a neu­tral posi­tion, gaz­ing for­ward.

Bear the body’s weight most­ly on the stand­ing leg. Press the low­er hand light­ly to the floor, using it to intel­li­gent­ly reg­u­late your bal­ance. Lift the inner ankle of the stand­ing foot strong­ly upward, as if draw­ing ener­gy from the floor into the stand­ing groin. Press the sacrum and scapu­las firm­ly again­st the back tor­so, and length­en the coc­cyx toward the raised heel.

Stay in this posi­tion for 30 sec­onds to 1 min­ute. Then low­er the raised leg to the floor with an exha­la­tion, and return to Trikonasana. Then per­form the pose to the left for the same length of time.

Skinny Strawberry Basil Margarita by Dean Sheremet

Skin­ny Straw­ber­ry Basil Mar­gar­i­ta

Yield: 1 serv­ing

Ingre­di­ents:

1 table­spoon quar­tered fresh straw­ber­ries

1 fresh basil leaf, plus 1 sprig, for gar­nish

Ice

3 ounces tequi­la

2 ounces fresh­ly squeezed lime juice

2 ounces Straw­ber­ry Basil –Sim­ple Syrup

Method

  1. Place the straw­ber­ries and the basil leaf in the bot­tom of a rocks glass. Gen­tly mud­dle with a mud­dler or just use a spoon, mak­ing sure you bash the basil well to release the fra­grant oils.
  2. Top with ice and add the tequi­la, lime juice, and syrup.
  3. Stir well to com­bine, gar­nish with a sprig of basil.

 

Straw­ber­ry Basil Sim­ple Syrup

Yield: about 3 cups

Ingre­di­ents:

1 cup fresh basil leaves

2 cups straw­ber­ries, hulled and quar­tered

1 cup agave nec­tar

1 cup water

Method:

  1. Place the basil in the bot­tom of a large glass con­tain­er (I used my 4-cup mea­sur­ing cup).
  2. In a medi­um-size saucepan, com­bine the straw­ber­ries, agave, and water.
  3. Bring the mix­ture to a boil, low­er the heat to a gen­tle sim­mer, and sim­mer for about 30 min­utes.
  4. Pour the hot syrup over the basil leaves and cov­er tight­ly with plas­tic wrap.
  5. Allow the syrup to cool at room tem­per­a­ture and then place it in the fridge to mar­i­nate overnight.
  6. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve or cock­tail strain­er.

Will keep cov­ered in the fridge for a week, but I doubt you’ll need it to!

Don’t you dare throw away those used straw­ber­ries! They are amaz­ing to mud­dle into the Skin­ny Straw­ber­ry Mar­gar­i­ta (recipe above), driz­zle over angel food cake for an easy dessert, or for toss­ing over your bor­ing oat­meal. Now you’ve got a par­ty!

 

 

MasterChef Winner Jane Devonshire’s Cheesy Meetballs in Rich Tomato Sauce

Fam­i­ly Favourite Main Course

Cheesy Meat­balls in Rich Toma­to Sauce

Feeds 6 – 8

This recipe is a great fam­i­ly favourite. I par­tic­u­lar­ly loved it when the kids were small as they would help roll out the lit­tle meat balls and real­ly get engaged in the cook­ing of the dish.  Please feel free to use a cheese that you love. Goats cheese and blue cheese would also work very well as would the addi­tion of chilli if you like spice.

 

I would use a gluten free pas­ta but please use your favourite I do think Spaghet­ti and Meat­balls is a great fun com­bi­na­tion, although beware it can get messy.

 

And it’s worth remem­ber­ing this is a great dish to freeze.

 

900gm  Minced beef

1 large egg

1 litre Pas­sa­ta

2 Balls Moz­zarel­la

150 gm strong Ched­dar Cheese

200gm Flat Leaf Pars­ley fine­ly chopped includ­ing stalks

100gm Thyme leaves picked from stalks

4 large gar­lic cloves fine­ly chopped or grat­ed

1 x large Span­ish onion fine­ly chopped

Salt and Black Pep­per

Tea­spoon of sug­ar

Olive Oil

Veg­etable Oil for fry­ing

Spaghet­ti I work on rough­ly 90gm per adult.

 

Method

  1. Put the chopped onion and gar­lic into a small saucepan and gen­tly saute in a lit­tle olive oil until translu­cent but no colour­ing.

2. Chop the ched­dar and the moz­zarel­la into small chunks about .5cm to 1cm big. Its not an exact thing just want to give you an idea.

3. Put the Pas­sa­ta into a saucepan with half of the thyme and half the chopped pars­ley (leave a lit­tle pars­ley to one side if you want for sprin­kling on the fin­ished dish when serv­ing), salt pep­per and the tea­spoon of sug­ar sim­mer until the pas­sa­ta reduced and thick­ened and about 15 min­utes.

4. In a large mix­ing bowl com­bine the mince about half the chopped pars­ley and half the picked thyme, the egg and the cooked onion and gar­lic mix­ture, salt and black pep­per I like to be gen­er­ous with the pep­per in this dish.  Using your hands com­bine thor­ough­ly.

5. Once com­bined get a large plate or bak­ing tray and start to make the meat­balls. Take a small lump of the mince mix­ture about the size of a cher­ry toma­to flat­ten in your hand and make a small dim­ple in the mid­dle. Put a piece of the cheese I use alter­nate moz­zarel­la and  ched­dar and put into the cen­tre of the mince mix­ture shape your meat­ball around the cheese, try to make sure cheese is com­plete­ly encased, place the meat­ball on the bak­ing tray.  Repeat until all of the mince mix­ture is used up you should still have extra cheese we will use it all in the recipe.

6. Once the meat­balls are made get a fry­ing pan and an oven ready dish or casserole pot.  Put some oil into the fry­ing pan so it is about 1cm deep.  Heat the oil until you can put a lit­tle of the mince mix­ture in and it siz­zles gen­tly.  Fry off the meat­balls until gold­en in colour, turn­ing halfway through.  We are going to bake in the oven so don’t wor­ry if not cooked all the way through.  I do this in batch­es and put straight into the casserole dish as I have done them.

7. Once meat­balls all made pour over the toma­to sauce. Sprin­kle over all the remain­ing cheese and put in oven gas mark 6, 180. For about 30 — 45 min­utes until the cheese is bub­bling and gold­en.

8. Remove from oven I like to rest them whilst I cook the pas­ta mince like all meat is bet­ter for this. Also peo­ple don’t get burnt with red hot cheese.

9. Cook spaghet­ti as per instruc­tions. I put the spaghet­ti in big dish pile on the meat­balls and sprin­kle with some pars­ley and let every­one dig in.

Rosemary Shrager’s Smoked Duck Breast Salad With A Prune Dressing

This recipe by top TV chef Rose­mary Shrager is just as deli­cious as it sounds and very straight­for­ward to try at home:

Ingre­di­ents: Serves 4

  • 200g Smoked Duck breast
  • 1 bunch water­cress
  • 1 Frisee let­tuce yel­low leaves only
  • A small hand of tar­ragon leaves
  • Roast­ed Wal­nuts rough­ly chopped

 

For the dress­ing

  • 1 tea­spoon red wine vine­gar
  • ½ tea­spoon Dijon mus­tard
  • 100ml Sun­flow­er oil
  • 100ml extra vir­gin olive oil
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 4 Cal­i­for­nia Prunes soaked in water
  • Salt
  • Good pinch ground chili

 

First make the dress­ing, add the red wine and mus­tard into a liquiz­er and pulse to mix, now add the oils and lemon, pulse again, drain the Cal­i­for­nia Prunes reserv­ing the water, add to the oil mix with the salt and chili, and turn on until smooth. If a lit­tle thick add a drop of the prune water.

 

For the sal­ad, if the smoked duck is whole slice very fine­ly, wash the frisee let­tuce, I tend only to use the yel­low part only, if this is a large frizzes half is enough, if it’s a small let­tuce you will need the whole one.

 

You can use a plat­ter or place it on indi­vid­u­al plates. Mix the frizzes, water­cress and tar­ragon togeth­er in a bowl add a table­spoon of dress­ing mix care­ful­ly put onto the plat­ter scat­ter the smoked duck breast and wal­nuts, when ready to serve driz­zle a lit­tle dress­ing.

 

GBBO Candice Brown’s Chocolate Cardamom Orange Shortbread

Try this deli­cious choco­late car­do­mom orange short­bread recipe cour­tesy of Great British Bake Off Win­ner Can­dice Brown. Can­dice baked the­se at our Christ­mas Food­ies Fes­ti­val and we can assure that this recipe is heav­en­ly!

Ingredients

170g unsalt­ed soft­ened but­ter

245g plain flour

50g gold­en cast­er sug­ar

35g soft light brown sug­ar

pinch of salt

zest of 2 oranges

10 car­damom pods- seeds removed and crushed

50g toast­ed flaked almonds

200g Dark choco­late- Lindt orange almond intense

Icing sug­ar to sprin­kle

 

Directions

  1. Remove the seeds from the car­damom pods and grind down in a pestle and mor­tar. Add this to the sug­ars, and orange zest into a bowl and mash the zest into the sug­ar with the back of a spoon so the oils get into the sug­ar and you can smell the orange and car­damom.
  2. Add the soft­ened but­ter and the vanil­la to the orange sug­ar and mix until com­bined
  3. Add the flour and salt to and mix with your hands until only just com­bined- do not over work. Divide into 2
  4. Chop the dark choco­late and toast­ed almonds into small pieces and add 50g of choco­late to half the dough- mix with hands
  5. flat­ten the 2 doughs- wrap in cling film and put in the fridge for 20–30 min­utes
  6. Pre­heat oven to 180c non fan/160c fan
  7. Light­ly flour the sur­face and roll dough out to 1/2 inch thick- cut out using star and heart shaped or xmas cut­ters
  8. Place the bis­cuits onto a lined bak­ing tray with space in between each one and put in the freez­er for 10 min­utes
  9. Bake for 20-25mins- until gold­en brown- leave to cool on a cool­ing rack
  10. sprin­kle the choco­late and almond short­bread with icing sug­ar and put in a glass Kil­ner jar or in clear plas­tic wrapped up for gifts
  11. Melt the remain­ing choco­late in a Pyrex bowl over a saucepan of sim­mer­ing water- melt gen­tly
  12. Once melt­ed dip the cor­ners or sides of the plain orange short­bread into the melt­ed choco­late then sprin­kle with the remain­ing toast­ed almonds. Lay on the sil­i­cone sheet to set or place in the fridge to speed up. Once set, either wrap up the­se deli­cious treats as gifts or tuck into them your­self, we won’t tell!

Seared Cauliflower Steak served with Coconut Cream, Blistered Tomatoes and Coriander Salsa

This deli­cious meal, cour­tesy of Tess Ward, chef and author of the Naked Diet, in part­ner­ship with Panasonic’s Small Kitchen Appli­ance Range com­bi­nes the fresh­est of ingre­di­ents and spices to cre­ate a whole­some dish to tanatlise the taste­buds and give the body and mind a nutri­tion­al boost.
Prepa­ra­tion time: 5 min­utes
Cook­ing time: 30 min­utes

Serves 2

For Cau­li­flow­er Steaks:
— 4 large cau­li­flow­er steaks, 400g approx
— 1 tsp mild cur­ry pow­der
— 1/2 tea­spoon smoked paprika
— 1 tsp cumin seeds
— 1 tsp gar­lic pow­der
— 1/2 tsp salt
— 1/4 tsp black pep­per
— 3 tbs olive oil

For top­pings:
— 4 large toma­toes
— 1/2 tsp gar­lic pow­der
— 1 tbs olive oil, plus more to serve
— sea salt
— 3 tbs corian­der leaves
— 2 spring onions, fine­ly chopped
— 50g toast­ed cashews, chopped
— 2 heaped tbs yoghurt or coconut yoghurt

Wash the cau­li­flow­er and shake it dry. Remove the leaves and cut out the core
Cut the cau­li­flow­er in 2 inch slices

Whisk togeth­er oil, cur­ry pow­der, paprika, gar­lic pow­der, salt and pep­per in a large bowl.
Add cau­li­flow­er slices and toss to coat. Spread veg­eta­bles in a sin­gle lay­er in a large bak-ing tray

Toss the chopped toma­toes with 1 tbs oil and salt and sprin­kle over the gar­lic pow­der. Place in Pana­son­ic Steam Com­bi­na­tion Microwave NN-DS596 under the grill to cook for 15–20 min­utes. Once cooked toss with the spring onions, corian­der and toast­ed cash-ews and set aside

Grill the cau­li­flow­er steaks in the Pana­son­ic Steam Com­bi­na­tion Microwave NN-DS596 for 7 mins on each side using set­ting 1. Top with the roast­ed toma­to and nuts and herbs and serve hot with a final driz­zle of oil and heaped spoon of coconut yoghurt

About Pana­son­ic

Pana­son­ic Cor­po­ra­tion is a world­wide lead­er in the devel­op­ment of diverse elec­tron­ics tech­nolo­gies and solu­tions for cus­tomers in the con­sumer elec­tron­ics, hous­ing, auto­mo­tive, enter­prise solu­tions and device indus­tries. Since its found­ing in 1918, the com­pa­ny has expand­ed glob­al­ly and now oper­ates 474 sub­sidiar-ies and 94 asso­ci­at­ed com­pa­nies world­wide, record­ing con­sol­i­dat­ed net sales of 56.794 bil­lion Euro (7.553 tril­lion Yen) for the year end­ed March 31, 2016. Com­mit­ted to pur­su­ing new val­ue through inno­va­tion across divi­sion­al lines, the com­pa­ny uses its tech­nolo­gies to cre­ate a bet­ter life and a bet­ter world for its cus­tomers. To learn more about Pana­son­ic vis­it: http://www.panasonic.com/global.

Valentine’s Cocktail Recipe: Rosebud

 The Rose­bud

40mls Daffy’s

15mls Rose ver­mouth

25mls fresh lemon

15mls grenadine

25mls egg white

2 dash­es rose water

Top with franklin and sons straw­ber­ry

Shake, serve straight up in coupet­te. Gar­nish with 3 rose buds in cen­tre and cracked black pep­per, voilà!

Adho mukha svanasana (downward-facing dog)

Adho mukha svanasana. What a mouth­ful. Let’s go with the eng­lish trans­la­tion you’ve all no doubt heard of, down­ward-fac­ing dog. Down dog is one of the most wide­ly rec­og­nized yoga pos­tures, but it’s also a com­pli­cat­ed one. Down dog works the whole body, and can build strength, increase flex­i­bil­i­ty, relieve back pain, and bring all the ben­e­fits of an inver­sion. It also can be a huge source of frus­tra­tion to many begin­ners or yogis in larg­er bod­ies.

Start on hands and knees. The knees should be direct­ly under the hips, the low­er legs point­ing straight back from the knees, necks of feet on the floor. Let the hands be shoul­der width apart. The wrists should be slight­ly in front of the shoul­ders. Let the index fin­gers point straight ahead at 12 o’clock. Press firm­ly through the hands, espe­cial­ly through the thumb and index fin­ger.

Take a look at the eyes of your elbows (the insid­es or creas­es of the elbows). Let each elbow eye face the oppo­site cor­ner of the mat.  So your right elbow eye faces the left cor­ner of the mat, and the left elbow eye faces the right cor­ner. You prob­a­bly will have to rotate your upper arms to accom­plish this, but let your hands stay con­nect­ed to the mat.

To feel this exter­nal rota­tion in your upper arms, come out of the pose for a moment, and bring your arms out to your sides at shoul­der height, like an air­plane. Let your palms and the eyes of your elbows face the ceil­ing. Now flip your hands over so your palms face the floor, but the elbow eyes still face the ceil­ing. This is the rota­tion of the arms we’re look­ing for in down dog. Now come back to the mat, and re-setup your hands. Point your elbow eyes to the oppo­site cor­ners of the mat by exter­nal­ly rotat­ing your upper arms. This will broad­en the col­lar­bones and draws the shoul­der blades down the back.

Now we’ll pre­pare to lift up. Engage the low­er bel­ly by draw­ing in the trans­verse abs – the pit of the abdomen – engage the low­er bel­ly and draw it in and up as if you were scoop­ing your low­er bel­ly up along your spine. Take sev­er­al full breaths. Now tuck the toes and start to lift the hips up toward where the ceil­ing meets the wall.

Ped­al a few times through the feet, alter­nate­ly bend­ing and straight­en­ing the legs. Let the arms be long, let the neck be long with the rest of the spine. Keep a gen­tle bend in the knees and make the spine as long as pos­si­ble, from the neck all the way to the tail­bone. Think about scoop­ing the tail­bone toward the heels and bring­ing length through the sides of the waist.

Check in with all the upper body setup – are your hands pressed down, espe­cial­ly through the index and thumb? Are the eyes of your elbows fac­ing the oppo­site cor­ners of the mat? Are your shoul­ders away from your ears? Is your col­lar­bone broad?

Hold down­ward fac­ing dog for 2–3 breaths, then float the knees to the mat and rest in child’s pose or pup­py pose for a few breaths. Repeat this setup and take down dog sev­er­al more times to build strength and flex­i­bil­i­ty.