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One Pose—Three Ways

Allison Richard is a writer and a yogi who describes her teaching style as slow flow with an alignment base. Rather than a yoga practice, she provides a self-care model for her clients using asana, breath work, meditation, and other embodied movement modalities. Here, she shows child's pose:

YogaCity NYC: What pose did you chose and why do you like it?

Allison Richard: I chose child's pose because I love its versatility. With different variations, it's a pose you can relax and restore in, stretch and lengthen in, or as a tool to gently work and learn the fundamental component parts of other poses.

YCNYC: Describe the anatomy of the first pose and body parts engaged.

AR: The hips are releasing back towards the heels. (If the hips don't reach the heels, place a block or blanket beneath the hips to support them.) As the hips lengthen back, the side waist and ribs lengthen forward creating space in the spine and entire torso. The shoulder blades draw down the back to create space for the neck. The arms are engaged with the palms pressing into the mat. The forearms, elbows and upper arms are firming away from the floor with the head hanging between the upper arms, similar to downdog.

YCNYC: What body parts are engaged in the second pose?

AR: In the twisted variation, the extended arm is still engaged as it was in the previous pose as the other arm threads underneath. The core is engaged to help protect the lower back and the obliques are working to help rotate the torso so that the top ribs roll up towards the ceiling and the bottom ribs roll down towards the mat. The palm of the extended arm is gently pressing into the floor to help encourage rotation in the upper thoracic spine between the shoulder blades.

YCNYC: What is the overall effect of the third pose on the body, and what does this one add to the understanding of the pose [and mind].

AR: This restorative variation resting the head on the block (specifically the point on the forehead slightly above the third eye closer to the hairline) has a calming effect on the nervous system and the mind. On a physical level, it allows for a release of tension in the shoulders, neck and base of the skull. For both of those reasons it can be great at easing headaches!

To learn more about Allison Richard, visit her site at

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