Archive for April, 2013

Are Women Different?

April 30, 2013

Here’s an interesting question I was recently asked:

Q: I practice restorative poses only and don’t do inversions on my period, and this is what I teach my students as well. I understand the reasons behind this, even though I am not necessarily feeling unwell at that time of the month. My seed of doubt, though, is that until fairly recently all yoga practitioners were men (or so I understand). Do these prescriptions come just out of Ayurveda, or if not what is their original source? Even though I know it’s an entirely different system of thinking, there is this uncomfortable parallel with Victorian admonishments for women not to over exert themselves by, say, riding bicycles, lest they damage their reproductive systems.

A: That’s a good question that you ask. For the most part, the idea that women should modify their yoga practice during menstruation and indeed, throughout the month has been gratefully accepted by female yoga practitioners, athough some have responded with anger. Some women did not want to be told what to do and wanted to decide for themselves how to practice during menses. Personally, I would be lost without my wise teachers! In India, Geeta Iyengar sometimes admonishes the Western students for being unwilling to “come back to their nature as women” in their practice. She also berates her Indian women students for not being prepared to work as hard as – and for not being as courageous as – the western women students.

The fact is, to quote Geeta Iyengar, women’s physiology “has certain functions to perform”. We must understand that we are overtime going to deplete ourselves if we don’t acknowledge our cyclic nature. The truth is, the more we practice, the more subtle our alignments and adjustments of ourselves need to become. It’s not that we should not practice during menstruation but that our practice has to change. The more mature our practice becomes, the more sensitive we become to our ebbs and flows of energy.

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Charlottesville and Allied Yoga Revisited — March 2013

April 17, 2013

Inversions

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Working with a carrying angle.

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Preparation for Sirsasana.

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Lift-off (Ardha Sirsasana).

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Eka Pada Sirsasana; to keep the hips even, lift the outer hip of the leg you’ve dropped down.

Elements and Koshas

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Illustrations to show how the Vayus, Nadis, Chakras and Elements are interconnected.

Baby Backbends for Grownups

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Ustrasana

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Learning how to lift the chest in Ustrasana.

Acarna Dhanurasana (Archer Pose)

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One of the many preparation poses (Supta Padangustasana)

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Preparation for Acarna Dhanurasana.

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More preparation for Acarna Dhanurasana.

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Shaaron Honeycutt practicing Acarna Dhanurasana: Vignanomya Kosha — the wisdom body and the aha! moment where you become one with the pose.

Photos by Tay Strauss at Allied Yoga.