Friday, February 23, 2007

Yoga weekend with Aadil

Aadil Palkhivala is in East Lansing this weekend for a 3-day yoga workshop. It started at noon today with a three hour asana practice and concluded with a 2.5 hour talk and discussion about yoga philosophy.

Aadil began the afternoon session with a short introduction. He talked about the necessity of finding joy in the practice. The best way to do that is to stop focusing on achieving perfection in the pose. Forget about thinking it all through and just feel the actions in the pose. Aadil said too many people take asana way too seriously. Asana is a necessity to learn yoga but it's not important. Asana is best used to train the body for yoga. At one point in the middle of the practice, Aadil commented that there are three requirements for growth to happen: joy, health, and wealth. Without them, it's impossible to progress in yoga or life.

The practice we did started out with Aadil's morning sequence then moved into Surya Namaskar, which we did 3 times. Here are the rest of the postures:

Trikonasana
Parsvakonasana
Adho Mukha Svanasana
Sirsasana
Sarvangasana
Bhujangasana - this one we did several times, with focus on raising our chests by pulling up through the pit of the abdomen.
Raja Kapotasana - this is not a pose I can do. I can get part way there but with lots of props and help from a partner. Aadil had us work in pairs on this and at the wall. I could sure feel that I am much more flexible on one side than the other. And my mind was much more resistant to this pose than my body was. I had the idea in my head that I couldn't even begin to do this posture and that made it even harder. That's something to keep in mind for the next time.
Urdhva Dhanurasana - We did this one several times and did some partner work, too, with foam blocks. The object was to press one block between our knees and one between our elbows. Then without letting them fall, raise our head off the floor. Pretty close to impossible but it does help teach the correct alignment in the pose.
Supta Padangusthasana - The variation we used here was to grab both sides of the upward facing foot with our hands, bend the down leg, and lift the hip enough to keep the upward leg straight. It really helped release the back and stretch the hamstring.
Savasana

About 30 minutes after the practice, my body really let go and I was ready to just sit for awhile.

More about the philosophy talk later.

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