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Showing posts from November, 2005

Nov. 28 Yoga Practice

Last night we finished a four week series on arm balances. It was definitely the most challenging night for me. I had a hard time getting into any of the postures we did. Another one of those humbling experiences. These postures require a great deal of core strength, confidence, and concentration to do them. Somehow I was lacking in that combination.

We started out by doing a number of intense hip openers and padmasana then moved into the arm balances. Adho Mukha Svasana should be done as needed throughout the practice. Page numbers refer to illustrations and instructions for the pose from Light on Yoga.

Hip Openers:
Lie on back. Bring right knee up and place on floor next to ear, left hip as much as necessary to get knee on floor. Straighten left leg and push thigh toward the floor. Switch legs.Lie on back. Bring up right leg, place cross-wise across abdomen and cradle foot in left elbow. Bring shin to chest and lay head on floor. Switch legs.Sit on floor. Bring knees over the shoulders…

Nov. 21 Yoga Practice

I missed class on the 14th because of a work commitment. This class was the third in Ruth's series on arm balances. Usually I have trouble with these but tonight's class went pretty well. We did some poses that we've never done before or haven't done in a very long time. Arm balances require a good deal of concentration in addition to the coordination necessary for good balance.

For easy reference to Light on Yoga, I put page numbers in parentheses after the pose names. Because we practice these so infrequently, I don't know these as well as standing poses or backbends.

Adho Mukha Svanasana into Urdhva Mukha Svanasana - go back & forth several times. Inhale into Urdhva Mukha and exhale into Adho Mukha
Rope work: forward bend into back arch, with chest fully expanded
Vasisthasana (p. 310, no leg in air) to Purvottanasana (p. 176) to Vasisthasana on other side - Reverse. Do a couple of times.
Vasisthasana - use wall, put strap around heel if necessary to hold leg out …

Mental strength in asana practice

One of the things I've learned in the last couple of weeks is that mental strength and focus is at least as important as physical prowess in asana practice. When Aadil was here a couple weeks ago, he talked about using the mind to find the granthi in our bodies as we do asana practice. He placed a great deal of emphasis on breathing into the granthi so that energy would flow more easily through our bodies. Then asana practice becomea not so much about accomplishing a correct posture as it does about becoming more attuned to our higher selves. By bringing that mental focus to the practice, the hard edges and the striving and the huffing and puffing are taken away. It's paradoxical but by striving less we achieve more.

I got that last night in class, too, as we worked on Adho Mukha Svasana. After starting out by doing this pose, which happens to be one that I have always struggled with, alone, Ruth had us work with a partner. By simply gently pointing our fingers into the trapezi…
Tonight was the first Monday in 3 weeks that I got to go to class with Ruth. There was a five-day intensive with Aadil in between so I haven't been completely yoga-less. But it was good to get to class tonight.

Ruth has us working on arm balances for the next few weeks. Ruth said the reason why we do arm balances is because they work out the back in ways that no other poses do. We almost never feel our backs, and the arm balances help us correct the imbalance.

Tonight we spent a lot of time learning foundational poses. In addition, Ruth emphasized that we need to work on hip openers and hamstring stretches. Supta Padangusthasana and Eka Pada Supta Virasana are good poses to do that.

Tonight's postures included

Adho Mukha Svasana - remember to engage the serratus anterior, relax the trapezius, and keep the triceps turned up.Plank Pose - keep the hips down, shoulder blades should be drawn into the body, push the arms down and left the chest.Chaturanga Dandasana - fold the arms to th…