Loading...
Instagram Public Photos with #yogawithriva

Flipping the grip... bow pose, dancers pose, or pigeon pose (like here) - it all seems so simple, but when you decide to try it, it ends up looking more the like first part of this video... #beenthere ๐Ÿ™ˆ
but that’s ok, because looks can be deceiving. it actually takes a lot of warming up before your body may be ready to slide into this pose. so what steps can you take to flip your grip without all the struggle?
well, first we need to warm up the shoulders & chest because that’s where a lot of this stretch is happening. in this video i’m showing a few of my favorite ways to do that (sped up):
- puppy pose (either variation, 1 min)
- sphinx pose (1-2 min)
- cobra pose or upward facing dog pose (8- 10 breaths)
- shoulder stretch using 2 blocks (or something similar that’s about 9-10” high, hold 2 min)
- shoulder flossing: use a strap or rope. hands are wider than your shoulders, arms stay straight, if elbows bend, widen your grip. (8-10 reps)
once you’re warmed up, here’s a great way to work on flipping your grip. grab a strap (cuz props are awesome! ๐ŸŽ‰). loop it around the ankle of the foot you are lifting. slowly walk your hands down the strap as you begin to raise your leg & pull the foot closer to your head. ๐Ÿ”นdon’t force anything.๐Ÿ”น listen to your body, and take your time. it may not happen right away, that’s totally fine, because the most important thing is how it feels (& it should feel good!) ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป
remember to use your breath while moving deeper into any pose. and repeat on the other side. ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿผ
did you guys find this helpful? tag a friend who is working on flipping their grip, & let me know if you want me to keep sharing more of these tutorials! โค๏ธ
happy practicing! ๐Ÿ˜
ps. if you want to see my previous tutorials just scroll through the hashtag: #yogawithriva

March 2018 comment 365 star 14,688

Forward folds.. they tend to get a lot less attention here than their more elegant cousin, the backbend. but the truth is these poses are just as important, & here’s why. aside from giving your hips, hamstrings, & calves a nice stretch (areas of the body that are usually tight), they also create length & counteract compression in the spine. best of all, folding forward has been known to relieve stress - & who doesn’t need a little more of that in their lives? ๐Ÿ˜
so first let’s talk about some of the common misalignments in uttanasana:
1. too much rounding in the back to get ‘deeper’ into the pose
2. shifting the weight too far back into the heels
3. the exaggerated swan dive: over-arching the lumbar & neck - which i’m pretty sure i was guilty of at one point in my practice ๐Ÿ˜น
so how do we make sure to keep our forward fold deep but healthy? first we warm up the hips, hamstrings, & calves. here are a few ways to do that (hold each for 10-12 breaths):
- down-dog (pedaling one foot at a time, then both heels down). it’s ok to keep a bend in the knees here.
- pyramid pose - use blocks if your hands don’t reach the ground.
- wide-legged forward fold. (use blocks as needed).
- seated forward fold (use a strap if you can’t reach your feet).
then try any of these variations:
- use two blocks (set to whatever height you need). keep your spine straight as you lower.
- reach your hands to your shins or ankles. feel free to bend the knees, it’s totally ok!
- if you’re feeling more open, padanastasana is a fun variation - slide your hands (palm side-up) under your feet. you can massage your hands with your toes ๐Ÿ˜œ๐Ÿ‘ฃ
- for an even deeper stretch, reach your hands around to your calves & lower. lengthen the spine & relax the shoulders.
also, remember that it’s totally ok to bend the knees - it can make this pose more accessible! and lastly, never force anything - listen to your body. there’s no rush to get anywhere. ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿผ
did you guys find this helpful? tag a friend who is working on their uttanasana, & let me know if you want me to keep sharing more of these tutorials! โค๏ธ
happy practicing! ๐Ÿ˜
ps. for more of my tutorials scroll through this hashtag: #yogawithriva

March 2018 comment 179 star 7,758

Flipping the grip in dancers pose - ๐Ÿ’ƒ๐Ÿป
if your attempt at getting into this elegant looking posture resembles the first part of this video (aka bending, reaching & hoping to catch a limb ๐Ÿ™ˆ), have no fear, you're not alone. many of us have been there before.. (i know i have!)
๐Ÿ˜น
and that’s ok, because this deep pose actually takes a lot more warm up & prep than you might expect. it requires flexibility in the shoulders, chest, spine, hips, & hamstrings... not to mention it’s also a challenging balance! ๐Ÿ˜…
below are 6 ways you can use a yoga strap to help make this posture more accessible. the strap i’m using here is from @gaiam & is available at @target (posting the link in my bio for the next 24 hours):
๐Ÿ”ธ warm up the shoulders, chest, & triceps:
- shoulder flossing: hands are wider than the shoulders, arms stay straight. widen your grip if your elbows bend (8-10 reps).
- gomukhasana arms (5-6 breaths).
๐Ÿ”ธ stretch the hip flexors & hamstrings:
- low lunge: (10-12 breaths) keep the hips square as you sink down. also a great place to practice flipping your grip with a strap.
๐Ÿ”ธ backbend prep:
- wheel pose with a strap looped just above the elbows will ensure your arms don’t splay out (hello safe shoulders ๐Ÿ˜‰) (5 breaths, 3 reps).
๐Ÿ”ธ fallen dancer:
- a great opportunity to practice dancers pose without worrying about the balance in the standing variation. also helps keep the hips square. ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿผ
๐Ÿ”ธ standing dancer:
- start with the strap looped around the foot you are lifting. slowly walk your hands down the strap (closer to your foot), as you lift your foot up. square your hips & press your standing foot firmly into the ground.
remember: ๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿผ
๐Ÿ”นdon’t force anything.๐Ÿ”น listen to your body, & take your time. it may not happen right away, & that’s ok, because the most important thing is how it feels (& it should feel good!)
๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป
many thanks to gaiam for sponsoring this tutorial. #everybodybends #gaiamanywhere ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿผ
did you guys find this helpful? tag a friend who is working on flipping their grip, & let me know if you want me to keep sharing more tutorials! โค๏ธ
happy practicing! ๐Ÿ˜
ps. to see my previous tutorials scroll through the hashtag: #yogawithriva

September 2018 comment 233 star 12,515

Crow pose, crane pose, bakasana ๐Ÿฅ
there were alot of requests for this one!
bakasana is very often the first arm balance we learn as yogis - but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. it can be an intimidating pose, especially if you have a fear of face-planting. ๐Ÿ™ˆ
but don’t let that stop you, because not only do we have an easy fix for that, but we’re also going to break this posture down & make it a lot more accessible. ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿผ
the first thing we need to do is wake up those core muscles.๐Ÿ”ฅ even though bakasana is an arm balance, it requires more core engagement than upper body strength.
we also want to encourage flexion (rounding) of the upper back, and we need to open our hips for the squat. ๐Ÿง˜๐Ÿป‍โ™€๏ธ
in this video i’m showing a few ways you can do all of those things:
- navasana (1 min)
- bicycle crunches (20-30 reps)
- happy baby pose (1 min)
- inverted crow pose - (lying on your back, bring your knees to your armpits & round your back, 1 min)
- lolasana using 2 blocks. alternate lifting one foot up at a time, or if you’re able, lift both feet. ๐Ÿ‘ฃ
then try either, or both, of these options:
1. the key to crow pose begins with the setup & having a stable foundation. you want to get your knees as high up onto your arms (& as close to your armpits) as you can. ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿผ
stepping on the blocks helps by giving you some added height. from here slowly start to lean forward & notice what it feels like to shift your weight into your hands. keep the upper back rounded. start by lifting one foot up at a time. and if you feel ready, try lifting the second foot up too.
๐Ÿ‘‰๐Ÿผ tip: if you have a fear of falling forward, place a pillow in front of you.
2. a second option: have a block in front of you and place your forehead on it. this helps with balance (& takes away the fear of face planting too ;)
again, practice lifting one foot up at a time until you feel ready to lift both ๐Ÿ‘ฃ
did you guys find this helpful? tag a friend who is working on their crow pose, & let me know if you want me to keep sharing more of these tutorials! โค๏ธ
happy practicing! ๐Ÿ˜
ps. scroll through this hashtag to see more of my tutorials: #yogawithriva pps. these adorable yoga blocks are by @yogahustle ๐Ÿ˜

April 2018 comment 323 star 8,845

If you're working on your handstand & the first part of this video looks all too familiar, (ie. 'kicking your feet up & hoping they just stay there'), i have news for you: many of us have been there before... ๐Ÿ™‹๐Ÿป‍โ™€๏ธ
and you shouldn’t sweat it because balancing on your hands is hard! it’s a skill that takes time, patience, practice, & dedication. ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿผ
but if you’re looking to get a little more hang time in this pose, allow me to give you a hand(stand)... ๐Ÿคฆ๐Ÿป‍โ™€๏ธ ( #sorrynotsorry ๐Ÿ˜‚)
below are 4 exercises to help you with the strength & alignment needed in handstand. for most of these moves you’ll want to wear a pair of non-slips socks (to protect the tops of your feet & to prevent you from slipping) ๐Ÿ‘ฃ. the socks i’m wearing here are from @gaiam (available at @target - i’ll post the link in my bio for the next 24 hours):
๐Ÿ”ธ floor tucks:
press your hands firmly down into the ground as you lift your hips all the way up. keep your core engaged & arms strong. (3 sets of 8)
๐Ÿ”ธ pike slides:
from high plank (with tops of feet on floor), press the ground away from you & use your core to lift your hips up. bring your legs in toward your arms, then slide back to plank. (3 sets of 8)
๐Ÿ”ธ handstand shrugs:
facing the wall, get your body as close to the wall as you can. completely straighten your arms, then imagine trying to make yourself taller just by shrugging your shoulders. then relax the shoulders, but keep the arms straight the whole time. (3 sets of 8)
๐Ÿ”ธ l handstand:
walk the feet up the wall, until the legs are parallel to the ground & shoulders are over the hips. lift one leg at a time, keeping the core engaged & shoulders over the hips. (10 reps)
when you’re ready, slowly bring the second leg up.
remember: ๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿผ
๐Ÿ”นdon’t force anything. listen to your body, & take your time, the most important thing is how it feels (& it should feel good!)
๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป
many thanks to gaiam for sponsoring this tutorial. #everybodybends #gaiamanywhere ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿผ
did you guys find this helpful? tag a friend who is working on their handstand, & let me know if you want me to keep sharing more tutorials! โค๏ธ
happy practicing! ๐Ÿ˜
ps. to see my previous tutorials scroll through the hashtag: #yogawithriva

November 2018 comment 499 star 25,815

If you’re working on getting deeper into your splits, and the struggle is real (ie. the first part of this video is all too relatable ๐Ÿ˜น) don’t feel bad. we’ve all been there before (well, most of us have anyway๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿผ).
the thing is, you’re unlikely to make much progress with this approach, and even if you do manage to get a little lower down, it probably won’t feel great once you’re there.
so let's look at a couple options that will allow you to lower down with ease, & maybe even help you find some comfort in hanumanasana. ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿผ
first we need to warm up the hamstrings & hip flexors. you can start with some of the moves i’m doing in my warm up (which was sped up to fit in this video):
- forward fold (2 min)
- downward dog (2 min)
- three-legged down dog leg pulses (at least 20 reps on each side)
- low lunge (2 min)
- lizard (1 min)
- runners stretch (2 min)
then you can try one of the following (or both) approaches:
option 1: grab some blocks & a blanket (or towel). place the blocks directly under the hip of your front leg. put the heel of that foot on top of the blanket (this helps you lower down smoothly). now activate the hamstrings in your front leg (& keep them active the whole time!) tuck the toes of your back foot under, and make sure both hips stay square to the front of the mat. slowly lower down by sliding your front foot forward until you feel a nice deep stretch (but not a painful one - you may need to adjust the blocks to the best height).
option 2: place the heel of your front foot on the blanket, and think of the blocks as ‘extensions’ of your arms. this will help you keep the spine long & the hips square as you lower down. activate your hamstrings and slowly lower by sliding your front foot forward until you feel a nice deep stretch. you can keep the toes tucked or untuck them at the end. ๐Ÿ‘ฃ
๐Ÿ‘‰๐Ÿผ don’t forget to breathe, and then repeat on the other side.
did you guys find this helpful? tag a friend who is working on their splits, & let me know if you want me to keep sharing more of these tutorials! โค๏ธ
happy practicing! ๐Ÿ˜
ps. if you want to see some of my other video tutorials just scroll through the hashtag: #yogawithriva

February 2018 comment 320 star 10,966

I’ll never forget the first time i watched my yoga teacher demonstrate visvamitrasana in class & then asked us all to give it a try... ๐Ÿ™ˆ while i wasn’t able to capture it on camera back then, i’d bet $$ it looked a lot like the first part of this video. ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿป‍โ™€๏ธ
and if you find yourself relating to those first few seconds as well, you definitely shouldn’t fret - this pose is not only a challenging arm balance - but also a deep side bend, a hip-opener, a hamstring stretch, & a twist all at once. ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿผ
while a consistent practice is always the key to mastering any posture, below are 5 additional ways to help make this pose even more accessible. i’m using a couple of favorite props to help me out here - the @gaiam foam roller & yoga wheel in this video are both available at @target (posting the link in my bio for the next 24 hours):
๐Ÿ”ธ release inner thigh tension with foam roller:
- place the foam roller under your inner thigh and roll outward & back (12-20 reps on each side).
๐Ÿ”ธ side body stretch with yoga wheel:
- drape yourself sideways over the wheel and gently rock to help lengthen & create space.
๐Ÿ”ธ lizard pose with yoga wheel:
- lizard helps open the quads & hip flexors and this wheel variation gives a deeper stretch to the back leg while adding a more challenging balance (perfect prep for our final arm balance). ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿผ
๐Ÿ”ธ extended side angle pose:
- this foundational pose is similar to visvamitrasana but requires less upper body & core strength.
๐Ÿ”ธ ardha visvamitrasana with yoga wheel::
- having one shin grounded provides more stability to the supporting leg, while the wheel helps the extended leg stay elevated.
remember: ๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿผ
๐Ÿ”นdon’t force anything. listen to your body, & take your time, the most important thing is how it feels (& it should feel good!)
๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป
many thanks to gaiam for sponsoring this tutorial. #everybodybends #gaiamanywhere ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿผ
did you guys find this helpful? tag a friend who is working on this arm balance, & let me know if you want me to keep sharing more tutorials! โค๏ธ
happy practicing! ๐Ÿ˜
ps. check my highlights to see my previous tutorials! #yogawithriva

December 2018 comment 143 star 4,680

Hello handstand ๐Ÿ‘‹๐Ÿผ.
this pose is hands-down (sorry, cheesy pun ๐Ÿ˜œ) the one i get asked about the most - comments, e-mails, & messages all wanting to know how to find hang time here. i also frequently get asked how long it took me to learn to handstand.
first let me say that the learning curve will vary for each individual. there's no magic number of weeks or months it takes to learn this pose. there are so many factors involved for each person.
second, by no means do i consider myself a handstand expert, i'm still working on improving my own, but i'm happy to share some pointers that have helped me find balance in my practice. ๐Ÿ’™
if you've recently started to hold your handstand there is a good chance it looks something like the image on the left - i know mine did. most of us are so happy to actually be holding it for more than 1-2 second to notice anything else, like alignment or form ๐Ÿ˜‚
so congrats on finding some balance here, now let's take a look at how to improve the body positioning, because that's what will help you hold this pose longer & keep your spine happy while you're there. ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ
we want our handstand to be straight - wrists, shoulders, hips, and ankles should all be stacked, like the middle photo. the 'banana-back handstand' (left photo), shows what happens when the body is not aligned or engaged - the back is sinking, straining the body, & there is no control in the pose. ๐ŸŒ๐Ÿ˜•
the spine should be in a neutral/hollow position, the shoulders fully extended, & the hands actively pushing the ground away. the quads, core, arms & shoulders are all actively engaged. toes are pointed and inner thighs & glutes are squeezing together. ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿผ
a great way to work on alignment without having to worry about balance is to use the wall (see image on the right). with your front body facing the wall, fully extend your arms and shoulders (no bending), & keep your shoulder blades broad and lifted. now get the hips over the shoulders & wrists without allowing the back arch. ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿผ
did you guys find this helpful? tag a friend who is learning to handstand, & let me know if you want me to keep sharing more of these tutorials! โค๏ธ
happy friday & happy practicing! ๐Ÿ˜

July 2017 comment 114 star 9,181

Let's talk about splits for a minute. ๐Ÿ™Š
hanumanasana is a pose that took me a long time to 'get' - i don't mean just getting into the splits, i mean 'getting it' - understanding it.
on the surface it looks like it's all about flexibility... and yes, it does require opening of the hip-flexors and hamstrings, but there's also a lot of muscle action going on here (as well as some gentle heart-opening too). โค๏ธ
download my free app - 'riva g yoga' - to learn more about the splits and to access my latest video 'stretching for the splits.'
link to download is at @riva_g_yoga or search for 'riva g yoga' at the app store or google play. โค๏ธ
#yogawithriva

September 2016 comment 127 star 8,941