A busy day and the letter W

Thank you to Cindy for identifying the mystery tree!

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Do you want to know what it is? Watch this short 20 second clip to find out!

Now there is a little family-of-origin joke in the clip you just watched. Oh my, how we kids would roll around laughing!

Today has been one of those very productive days that has felt very relaxed at the same time. A batch of sourdough bread has been baked. A venison stew is simmering. Laundry is drying on the line.  A lovely walk has been taken with my neighbour.

More straight and wavy lines have been sewn on my nephew’s quilt:

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And I sewed a skirt! Well…I didn’t really sew it from scratch.

I had this pair of palazzo pants. They’ve never been that comfortable, so I hardly ever wear them. I’ve kept them all these years because they were expensive! Silly!

pants

I finally said enough is enough. I need something black for community band, so I cut up the pants and refashioned them into a skirt!

skirt

With the yoga pant waistband, it will be a very comfy! 🙂

Speaking of yoga…

W

 

 

 

 

250_hp_lift_02_4502Wild thing (I just had to include this…for the name!)

No? Me, neither.

 

 

How about this W pose, instead?

Wide Legged Seated Pose:

A walk in the park and the letter V

Sam and I have been going for morning walks to Harold Provincial Park with my friend Shelley, who lives next door. The park is only a 5 minute drive away. It’s such a beautiful time of the year…I thought I would share a bit with you today.  🙂

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Does anyone know what kind of tree this is? We think maybe a Tamarack?

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And for the A-Z in April Blogging Challenge:

VVirabhadrasana -better know as Warrior pose – comes in handy-dandy pack of three varieties. The warrior poses are what a lot of people think of when they hear the word “yoga.” At least one virabhadrasana is included in just about every yoga class. 🙂

 

 

warrior I

 

 

 

 

 

 

warrior II

 

 

warrior III

 

 

 

 

I don’t know why they are numbered I, II and III instead of each being given it’s own name.  I guess it’s one of the great mysteries of the universe.

Either that or I’m too lazy to go find out.

A Collette Crepe wearable muslin…and the letters T & U

Presenting….the Crepe dress by Collette!

muslin

A summery wrap dress that wraps at the back! And no worries at all…there’s a lot of wrapping back there. I’m not worried about any stray gusts of wind at all, thank goodness!

collette crepe 023

I’d read a lot of pattern reviews before choosing this dress. They all said there were issues with fitting the back, so I expected that. And wow! Were they ever right! It was huge on me!

I took excess fabric away from the back bodice pieces by drawing a wedge that tapered from the inside seam to 4-inches on the outer edge like so:

muslin back

The back still has issues, but I’ve no idea what to do about it. I wonder if I should have take a rectangle of fabric out instead of the wedge…if that would have made a difference. But then, the front and back sides wouldn’t match anymore. Has anyone out there made this pattern before? If you have, and you know how to fix this…let me know!

collette crepe 015

There is a lot of stress on the seam joining the tie to the left bodice piece. When I snugged it up, I heard it tear a little. Oops. I’ll have to reinforce that! collette crepe 022

There’s a little pulling at the underarm, but I think that’s because the underarm is a little tight. Next time, I’ll cut the arm holes out a little lower. They’re snugged right up there. Not uncomfortable…but not comfortable either. Does that make sense? I’m aware of them.

I graded from a smaller size at the shoulders up to a bigger size at the waist. I’m so glad I learned how to do that! The bust darts sit right where they’re supposed to, I think (accomplished seamstresses & seamsters, feel free to chime in here! I want to learn!)

collette crepe 010

I took everyone’s excellent sewing advice and made a muslin (test garment) first, using a duvet cover that I got at the thrift store for $2.00.  When I have all the bugs worked out of the pattern, I’ll buy some nice fabric and make a “real” one. But for now, I think this wearable muslin will be fine for hot summer days kicking around the house.

collette crepe 019

And Mr C likes it. What else can I say?

Once again I’m behind on the A-Z blogging in April challenge. That means you get two letters today: T and U!

T

Tree Pose

Balance poses are great, especially as we age.  Having good balance means less chance of falling.

www.

www.yogaforkids.com

Start by simply lifting one heel off the ground. Sort of like using your foot as a bicycle kickstand.

 

 

 

 

estudiobabo.com.au

When you feel stable, move your free foot to your ankle or shin. That’s all the higher you have to go, really. It’s about working your core and balancing…not about how high you can lift your leg.

 

 

U

Upward Salute

This pose is related to the Tree Pose. It’s a nice stretch for your tummy and the area under your arms.

 

http://www.yogajournal.com/pose/upward-salute/

http://www.yogajournal.com/pose/upward-salute/

 

It’s also good for shoulder mobility…something else you want to have in good shape as you age. 🙂

 

 

 

S is for the Splendid Sampler and Side Plank

Every once in awhile I enjoy participating in a block-of-the-month quilt-along. That’s when a block is posted on a regular basis, and at the end of the year, you have enough blocks to make a quilt.

ss7

Pam’s wedding quilt was made this way. So was the Trifle Dish quilt that I made for Dee.

ss5

These little blocks I’m showing here all belong to The Splendid Sampler quilt-along. The instructions for these tiny 6″ blocks come out twice per week. Yes…twice!

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How big is six inches? Not very big, let me tell ya!

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Every Sunday and Thursday you can find me in my sewing room, tossing around scraps and assembling the little block du jour.

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Except for the backgrounds, I’m mostly using Kaffe Fassett prints. Mostly. If you’re a Kaffe fan, you’ll notice a few non-Kaffe prints in there, like Sis-Boom. Can you spot the block with the Sis-Boom prints?

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At first I wasn’t going to participate. My first reaction to the idea of making over one hundred 6-inch blocks was that I wouldn’t be able to do it. Not a good enough sewer. Blah blah blah. Screw that attitude! If I don’t try, how will I ever get better?

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Already – after only 22 blocks – I am better. It’s a wonderful world. 🙂

And last but certainly not least: the A-Z in April challenge:

S

http://www.yogajournal.com/pose/side-plank-pose/

Side Plank Pose is one I’ve recently mastered. It’s one of those poses I was talking about yesterday, when I said I can tell I’m getting stronger because I can get into poses I couldn’t do before.

 

IMG_0467

Getting into and holding Side Plank was HUGE for me, because I have very little upper body strength.

I have the ab strength to hold the pose, it’s my lack of shoulder strength that has been the problem. Even here, you can see that my supporting arm is still a bit too far forward. But I’m up! I’m up and sticking it!

 

sideplankThe next progression of Side Plank is to lift that top leg.

 

 

 

FullSizeRender-7I keep trying to lift that top leg…

I gave it a try for the sake of this post. Here I am, falling out of it. At least I’m giving it a try! Eventually I will do it.

 

Do you want to work up to doing a full side plank, too? Because you can, you know.

Here are some short videos to get you started:


You can do it!!!! You can be strong!!!!!

Catching up with the letters Q and R

I got a little behind there for a couple of days. Sorry about that! Today I’m going to catch up with the April A-Z blogging challenge with the letters Q and R. 🙂

QQuotes

Honestly…I could not find a single pose that starts with the letter Q! But there are some lovely quotes floating around out there in cyber space, so I thought I’d apply a couple of them to my own thoughts around my home practice.

th2I admit it…yoga doesn’t meet the usual definition of working out. We aren’t racing our bicycles down the highway or dancing in a zumba class or running on a treadmill in a gym. We’re in our bare feet, doing what looks, to the uninitiated, like a lot of stretching. We’re sweating lightly instead of moping it off our faces with a towel. We’re slightly out of breath instead of gasping for air. When our practice is over, we lay down on the floor like we’re all taking naps together in kindergarten. We’re smiling and looking peaceful and trusting. We’re breathing with the effort, softening, looking inward, setting intention and releasing what doesn’t serve us.

 

th7I practice yoga for a lot of reasons. One of the main reasons is that I want to be strong. And happily, what I’ve have found since I’ve been practicing  two to three times each week is that it’s working. I’ve been getting stronger. Physically stronger. Poses are easier to get into. I can stay in them longer. I can bend into them deeper.

Let me say it right out: Yoga builds physical strength.

Because we move through the poses using our own body weight, the muscles develop in a natural way … following the natural movements of the body.

This feels so much more natural to me than going to the gym and lifting weights, listening to the clank and clatter of the metal disks and the loud pumping music.

th1What I enjoy about building strength through yoga is that my brain feels just as refreshed as my body does when I’m finished.

I always feel as though the day has slowed down and I’ve slipped those 30 or 60 minutes into it, like a love letter into the envelope of my day. ♥

*  *  *

RAnd for the letter R… the Rag Doll pose

 

 

 

rag-doll-300x240

th5If the small of your back doesn’t care to have the entire weight of your upper body hanging off those few vertebra, go ahead and do a forward bend.

 

If you can’t touch your fingers to the floor, bend your knees, or use a block or a book or even a couple of soup cans to raise the floor closer to your hands. Whatever it takes.

 

 

th6Or do it sitting on a chair.

Perfection! …and some poses that start with the letter P

This morning I decided to finally sew the borders onto a quilt top that I made a few years ago. (Yes, yes, I’m a very s.l.o.w. sewer. You knew that, right?)

quilt6

the sun was so bright, the picture is a bit washed out!

Anyway, as I was ironing the top, I got to thinking that maybe it was a bit clownish looking with all the bright colours. I mean…I like bright colours. I like them a lot! But maybe the person who I want to give this quilt to won’t like them so much.

quilt2

the tulips opened this morning!

But then I remembered how much she loves spring.

quilt3

And then I remembered the pictures I  included in yesterday`s blog post.
And hey!
The colours are exactly the same!
Exactly!

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Dilemma solved, I spent the afternoon on my hands and knees basting top, backing and batting together.

quilt5

This one will be hand quilted as it is for a Very Important Person who is long overdue for some quilty love from me. ♥ It’s a nice lap size…perfect for snuggling up with a cup of cocoa and a good book.

quilt1

 

PAnd now for your yoga pose of the day.

Oh my gosh, there are a lot of poses that begin with the letter P. Which one to choose???

 

 

PeacockThere’s the Peacock pose…there’s no way I can do this, but what a fabulous name it has! I love peacocks. Except they sure don’t sound as pretty as they look.

I would give my eye teeth to be able to do this. Doing arm balances some day is my goal. Maybe not this particular one, though…

plowposeAnd then there’s the Plow…I used to do this but I never liked it. Now that I’m older, I’m too afraid of taking risks with my neck.

So here’s a yoga tip from me:There are NO YOGA POLICE telling you that you have to do something that you don’t feel secure trying. Like standing on your head. Or doing the plow. Listen to your gut and work with your own personal abilities.

plankHow about Plank? This is one I can do. In fact, I do it in every single yoga practice! I love plank! I can’t hold it for very long, but I love how it makes me feel strong. It’s great for getting strong all over. Arms, back, legs, and especially the middle. I don’t know about you, but I can use all the help I can get in the middle…

 

A few thoughts on blogging… and OM for the letter O

As I said to a friend in an email conversation today, reading blogs is like eating vegetables. You either love ’em or you hate ’em.

tulips in the front rock garden

tulips in the front rock garden

We were talking about blogging as a means of communication. For the people who love me, reading my blog isn’t necessarily a good method of connecting because unless you leave a comment and start a conversation, it’s one-way communication. There’s no intimacy. It’s me communicating something to the entire rest of the world about what’s going on in my life. It’s hard to be lumped in with the rest of the world. I get it.

rock cress

rock cress

With a couple of exceptions, people who comment on my blog and have a short little off-line conversation with me (because I do answer comments!) are people I’ve never met in person.

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the strawberries are starting to bloom already!

I thought the blog might be a nice bonus…a way for family and friends to have an extra little window on my life outside of regular correspondence…which isn’t always as regular as it should be.

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Maybe for me, blogging is sort of like being that annoying person who sends those sappy emails around, just to let everyone know they’re still alive.

OOm

Om is the sound that you often hear made at the beginning and end of a yoga session. In the classroom, it says “let everything outside go and be in the moment. this is your time and space for being on the mat.”

omOm represents mind, body and spirit.

It is said that Om was the first sound at the beginning of time, that the sound Om contains the entire universe.

Om written in Sanskrit has become the symbol of yoga practice. It is pronounced in three syllables: a, u and m.

Om is a powerful meditation tool. Spending a few moments of quiet contemplation with the sound of om is very restful. Listening almost immediately puts me at peace.

Accounting for my time…and Navasana (boat pose)

Today is a bit of a bust, I’m afraid. I can’t think of anything witty to say, and nothing exciting happened in the neighbourhood to tell you about. It was a pretty ordinary day, to tell the truth. So if you’re sitting around wondering what I do with all my retired time, here’s an example:

Today I baked bread. I’d fed the sourdough starter a couple of days ago, and this morning it was the perfect amount of frothiness to turn into 4 loaves.

So then I made venison stew to go with the fresh bread for supper. Yum!

And I sewed a bodice muslin for the Collette Crepe dress. I discovered that the bodice front fits fine, but the back is waaaay to baggy. So I will have to figure out what adjustments to make. I’ll save that for tomorrow because getting this far took me most of the entire day! (For you non-sewers, a muslin is for just that purpose…getting the fit right so that you can transfer your adjustments back onto the paper pattern before cutting into your good fabric. For my muslin, I’m using an old duvet cover. It’s brilliant, actually – whoever thought that up?)

I read a bit. Oh! and I finished draft #2 of chapter two of the novel. Well, it’s probably more like draft 14, but who’s counting. I’m calling it draft #2 and sticking by it.

Other than that, I sat around some with my foot on a bag of ice. I couldn’t take Samson for a walk because of my tendonitis. And I couldn’t go for a bike ride because of my tendonitis. Yesterday I mowed the lawn…which is why today I can’t do anything to my foot except glare at it.

I’ve been doing a lot of that these last few weeks. Every time I start to feel a bit better, I go and do something stupid like walk to the mailbox, and cripes…there it goes again. I’ve self-diagnosed myself with tendonitis of the Achilles tendon. I’ve dealt with foot issues for years. Ice it, take ibuprofen and rest it up. But it’s been going on a bit long this time, so maybe it’s time to see a professional. sigh.

For the Blogging from A-Z in April challenge, I bring you a yoga pose that doesn’t require me to stand up.

NNavasana

More commonly known as Boat Pose.

 

 

Great work for the core muscles. Wonder Woman does this pose regularly.

And if you want to use supports, here is a quick video showing you how you can use a chair, a wall, or a strap. Navasana (boat pose) for all!

 

Mount Lorne, a Hockey Hero…and Marichi’s Posse for the Letter M

For several years we lived in the Yukon bush, in an area between Carcross and Whitehorse, near what is now the Hamlet of Mount Lorne.

That’s where M played hockey on the outdoor rink. Yes, outdoor hockey in the Yukon. Of course!

But it was cold, I’m not going to kid you. Someone always had to get their early to light a fire in the big old wood stove beside the benches at the hockey rink on game days. The kids used to take their skates off between shifts on the ice and hold their frozen feet up in front of the fire. Parents were recruited to lace & unlace, whipping those skates on and off to speed things up. Sometimes we’d hold up spare socks in front of the fire so when the kids got off the ice we could warm those toes, bright red from the cold up even faster for a quick turn-around. When it was really cold (-25 or so) they could only stay on the ice for about 10 minutes at a time before their feet would start to sting.

The year we moved in, the community association built a proper community hall, complete with kitchen and bathrooms. The year after that, an enclosed warming shack beside the rink, with a second wood stove inside. What luxury! The warm-up shack had two rooms: one for our team and one for visitors. The wood stove was on the home team’s side, but we’d leave the connecting door open for heat during particularly cold weather.  During my hockey-mom years, I volunteered many hours in the concession stand, selling hot dogs and hot chocolate, bags of chips and hundreds of cups of coffee. I drove many miles taking my turn in the carpool, cracking the windows against the overwhelming odour of boys and unwashed hockey gear. Eau de Hockey Bag. Those were the days.

Hockey has its downside, though. Your parents must be moderately wealthy in order to hold your head up amongst your peers. Pity the 12-year old boy who has to shop for his gear at the second-hand sports store and depend on hand-me-downs from wealthy friends.

Thank goodness, most of the families on our team shopped at Canadian Tire – as we did, for the most part. However, there was always one boy who was being fitted for the top-of-the-line brand at Hougen’s Sport Store while another was making do with duct tape and extra socks.

We were not wealthy. We made do. M wore more than his share of second hand gear.

One time, the boys went on a road trip to play a tournament in BC. M was wearing an old pair of oft-mended skates. Wouldn’t you know it; they had to break on the road trip. Rather than poor M having to sit out the tournament, the team’s two coaches took him to town and bought him a new pair. These were not the Canadian Tire, mid-priced ones we would have been able to afford. Oh no – these were Top of the Line skates. Best-skates-money-could-buy skates. Every boy’s dream skates. M was over the moon with pride and joy.  When he innocently presented me with the receipt for reimbursement, I burst into tears. There was no way I could pay it. I was angry, hurt and mortified beyond belief. Did the coaches think that we sent our son out in cheap skates because we were… cheapskates?

They were kind men. Good fathers. Great coaches. They just didn’t think –they probably had a limited selection to choose from and very little time to shop. Really, they probably just bought the first pair that fit, in a rush with a bus-load of boys waiting in the parking lot. They were heroes, really. M’s heroes.

They were kind to buy M skates and not make him sit out the game. They were kind to create a scholarship fund (which hadn’t existed before this trip) to help us out. Because what can you say when the mom is standing in the parking lot crying over a bill she can’t pay?

The very next year, the new scholarship fund bought skates for another little boy whose family couldn’t afford them. We haven’t lived in the Mount Lorne area in decades, but I know that that hastily created scholarship fund has probably helped a lot of families out when they needed it.

And now for the A-Z challenge:

MMarichi’s Pose (marichiasana)

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Marichi,  literally meaning a ray of moon- or sunlight is a wonderful stretch. I always feel good after doing this one. Hockey players like it, too. ♥

Knitting and Novel Writing… and Lord of the Dance for the letter L

Hi!

So, you remember a couple of days ago when I told you about the green sweater I wanted to knit? I’m so glad I decided to switch patterns. Somehow the way this sweater pattern is written reminds me of how I’m writing my novel.

What?

On sweaters I’ve knit in the past, you start at one end and you knit until you’re finished, hopefully at the other end. A lot of writers write this way, as well. They cast on with the first chapter, knit up the body of the work, throw in a few interesting twists and turns (maybe a cable stitch or two,) then cast off with a nice, tidy ending. Hopefully, everybody lives happily ever after and there are no loose ends.

Well, in the Grace Cardigan that I’m knitting, the first thing you do is knit up a small piece, add some shaping, and then set it aside for a bit while you work on something else. While it’s resting in the knitting basket, you cast on another little bit, only this time using a  technique called the “provisional cast on.” This leaves the cast-on edge “live” so that you can go back later, pick up those stitches and knit in the other direction.

That’s exactly the way I’ve been writing my first novel, Holding Space. I wrote a bit on the beginning, then set it aside and spent some time in the middle. Then I went back and worked on the beginning again. At some point, I picked up those stitches that I left “live” and knit/wrote them going in the other direction, until eventually the two halves met up. Then I worked on the ending.

Now I’m working on the polishing. That would be the knitting equivalent of burying the loose threads, sewing up the seams and doing the final blocking.

Gee, I feel very writerly for noticing that! (is writerly a word? Oh, who cares!)

LLord of the Dance

I chose this pose for the letter L today simply because I love the name!

Also because it’s a balance pose and I love balance poses. Maybe because I’m pretty good at them.

…although some days I feel like the little sister in this video… (It’s only 27 seconds long and honestly…ya gotta watch it! I dare you not to laugh!)

If you need to, use a chair or the wall to help you with your balance.

…or a horse, if you’ve got one handy…

God, this is fun! Balance poses are all great for working the core!

http://www.yogajournal.com/pose/lord-of-the-dance-pose/

http://www.yogajournal.com/pose/lord-of-the-dance-pose/

 

x

Indy sewing patterns…and King Cobra for the letter K

I’ve been spending my allowance on sewing patterns this last month, and they’ve been arriving like hotcakes! Is there anything better than getting presents in the mail? Not much, let me tell ya!

Carolyn Pajamas by Closet Case Files

Carolyn Pajamas by Closet Case Files

 

These pajamas are going to be so awesome  –  I can’t wait to make a set or three. This is an intermediate level pattern, so will stretch my skills with collars, cuffs, button bands and piping.

Closet Case Files is located in Montreal. The Carolyn pajama pattern has gotten great reviews.

 

 

I really do want to learn to make my own clothes. To that end, I’ve purchased a couple of Craftsy sewing classes. Bonus: they come with patterns!

vogue 8793

vogue 8793

Vogue 8793 is by designer Katherine Tilton.

…and Vogue 9057 is by her sister, designer Marcy Tilton.

The Tilton sisters co-teach the class. I’ll do a review of the class once I’ve done it.

Both will be great additions to my winter wardrobe.

Funky!

vogue 9057

vogue 9057

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s mail brought a parcel from Collette Patterns, in Portland, Oregon.

The Rooibos Dress – fabulous design details:

cp1006-rooibos-06-large-9547fae8f1b92c230f476549b6121597ff771a00ae600016224aa3427498dbd8cp1006-rooibos-03-large-5644b68bfd33110eec439a72ff66940befe79af772cae7e5b2b9d672b2d586e8

The Lily Dress – more fabulous design details:

cp1020-lily-06-large-05520e8c7871c5f568f0b2b99524dc07a1f855f058fc66657da6892313ecb342cp1020-lily-03-large-3fc4efb27f4fa8b86dd996672d984ae2d231c56bc1c6af81b3929736cbfd2f3e

The Laurel Dress – classic shift with lots of options:

cp1025-laurel-12-large-818764633d8862d1b4da235e826b82d41eb9dd463e3a1806080ef1627cb793cbcp1025-laurel-01-large-7d8eb2c14b5758fe0e40d7e6a149286ca32dd7c10e92c37e6cd199e58d264988

The Crepe Dress – a wrap dress that ties in the back:

cp1013-crepe-08-thumb-86754aafe3be4c73f403ee95e4a13e83135f6f29756f2fbf8f535032206f756acp1013-crepe-06-large-b74c45a22b8d8d004196276e54b496808d9e70c6f87a9631cba90e50189667b0

That should keep me going for a good long while, eh? 🙂

…and now for the letter K in the April A-Z Blogger’s challenge:

KKing Cobra

This is the advanced version of the Cobra pose: King Cobra.

A lovely pose that I am content to admire from afar. 🙂

 

tribesports.com

tribesports.com

 

Mending…and Janusirasana for the Letter J

Hello!

Today’s letter is a very short one. Also kind of boring, actually. Sorry.

Here goes: the other day Mr. C asked me to mend his jeans.

sew1

I knew that my little Janome 2030 wouldn’t have enough jam to sew over the heavy denim seams that the repair required, so I pulled out my antique Singer hand crank machine.

sew2

This baby will sew through anything! And in half the time that fussing with the electric variety would have taken! Who would have thought doing the mending could be so much fun?

sew3

 

See me turning the handle? 🙂

And finally, in keeping with the A-Z Blogging Challenge, I present to you the only yoga pose I was able to find that begins with the letter J:

J

Janu Sirsana (Head-to-Knee Forward Bend)

This is a pose that you see in all types of athletic activities, from runners to dancers. And yogis, of course. 🙂

Support the bent knee with a pillow if needed. Lean forward over the straight leg, any amount.

 

http://www.yogajournal.com/pose/head-to-knee-forward-bend/

http://www.yogajournal.com/pose/head-to-knee-forward-bend/

http://www.theyogaposes.com/yoga_poses.php?input_page=yoga-head-to-knee-pose

http://www.theyogaposes.com/yoga_poses.php?input_page=yoga-head-to-knee-pose