Posts Tagged ‘China’

Beijing, China: November 21 – 24, 2018

March 8, 2019

Workshop at the Iyengar Yoga Institute of China, Beijing

Practicing Uttanasana with the legs separated allows for more mobility and a deeper forward extension than when the legs are together.

Practicing Uttanasana with the legs together compresses the abdominal area against the thighs (except where the student has tight hamstrings, and the trunk moves away from the thighs). This massages the abdominals, and helps keep the area healthy.

Tadasana. To ensure that the abdominal organs move up, roll the tops of the thighs back and take the tailbone in.

Uttitha Trikonasana. Revolve the tops of the femur bones out at the sockets. This ensures that the thigh bones will move into the sockets in a healthy way.

Rope Sirsasana. To ensure a deep internal alignment of the abdominal organs, make sure the belt is place exactly on the sacral bone.

Parsvakonasana. Similarly to Trikonasana, turn the tops of the thighs out.

Ardha Chandrasana. Turn the trunk and pelvis away from the standing leg. Can you touch the lifted leg shoulder blade and buttock to the wall?

Parsva Upavista Konasana. Turn from the navel toward the front leg. Everything below the navel is influenced by the activation of the left foot — press out through the left foot big toe mound.

Sirsasana. To avoid eye pressure, be exactly on the center of the crown of the head. Press the forearms down. Lift the shoulders.

Chatush Padasana over a chair. Raise the pelvic area off the chair, and placing the trapezius on the front edge of the chair, curve it around the edge of the chair. The upper back/shoulder skin will  get dragged away from the head and area just below the collar-bones will open.

Supta Konasana/Chair Halasana. This gives low back relief. It’s also a better way to go for those with long spines, where it’s not so easy to climb through the chair.

Coming out of Viparita Dandasana over Crossed Bolsters. Allow the lower back to spread.

Bolster Supported Setu Bandasana. Make sure the shoulders just touch the floor (and that you haven’t slid too far off the bolster).


© 2019 Bobby Clennell

Urmqi, China: November 14 – 18, 2018

March 3, 2019

Workshop at the Iyengar Yoga Institute of China, Urmqi

I arrived in a snow storm, which I was told was good luck.

Uttitha Padangustasana 2. In order to maintain the upward movement of the pelvic organs, move your lifted leg buttock forward, and your standing leg thigh back.

Urdhva Dhanurasana from a chair. Straighten the legs to standing.

Recovering from backbends:

Janu Sirsasana with Two Blocks, a Bolster and a Wall….

….and with a chair. To help maintain a quiet abdominal region, extend forward from the sides of the trunk, rather than the center.

Chair Sarvangasana with elbows hooked through the front legs. Here, the chair seat height has been increased to facilitate the extension of the spine.

Urumuqui is close to the Mongolian boarder.

This dancer kept the bowl on her head through her dance. Talk about balance!

Uger musicians.

This was such a happy evening!


© 2019 Bobby Clennell

Guangzhou: November 16, 17 and 19–22, 2016.

July 9, 2017

Workshops in Guangzhou, China.


A menstrual chart showing how estrogen and progesterone levels fluctuate throughout the month.

Supta Konasana with toes braced against a wall, holding the ankles. The spine arches away from the floor.


When you can’t lift the upper back any other way, practice Sirsasana with block support. Eventually, when the imprint of this support is remembered, you will dispense with the blocks.


Sarvangasana with Chair. Pull the shoulder-blades up away from the floor, press them forward toward the chest, and roll onto the top ridge of the shoulders. Align the breast bone so that it stands parallel to the chin and perpendicular to the floor.


I stay with Evelyn Lee, operations director of the Iyengar Yoga Institute of China…


….and her sister, Yucca Lee.

© 2017 Bobby Clennell.

Hangzhou: November 10 – 13, 2016.

March 16, 2017

Workshop in Hangzhou, China.


At the tailors with Lily, Ming and Cerise.


During menopause, face the wall.


After menopause – “I’m back!”


Virabhadrasana three. Extend from the navel forward to the little finger, and back through the lifted leg big-toe mound.


Post menopause, it maybe time for you to work with support (back leg could be supported too). As we age, balance becomes more difficult, so through a variety of poses, find a way to keep it a strong part of your practice.


Chair Sarvangasana. Align the breast plate: To bring it parallel with your chin and perpendicular to the floor, raise your back ribs away from the floor and press them forward toward your chest.

© 2017 Bobby Clennell.

Uramuqui: November 3 – 6

March 5, 2017

Workshop in bargaining, China.


Lift your side ribs.


Lift your side ribs!


Side ribs long!!


In Sirsasana, to avoid flopping forward, pull up through your outer hips and thighs and navel back.


Supported Halasana – side ribs up!


My host, my translator Ming, and my minder Cerise, bargaining in the market place. I came home with a large hand carved wooden spoon.


The miniature horses of Uramuqui, China.

© 2017 Bobby Clennell.

Guangzhou. November 20 – 23. 2014.

January 26, 2015

Free Breast Health class at The Iyengar Yoga Institute, Guangzhou, China.


Around 90 women showed up for this class.


They don’t use the term “breast cancer” here.


The closest I could get to a translation was “breast displaisure”. But whatever term you use, it’s in the increase in China. There seem to be less mammograms here. Many of the women who showed up to this class said they had recieved ultrasounds.

Women’s Workshop


Uttanasana. To minimise abdominal or armpit compression, keep your arms aligned with your torso as you fold forward into the pose.


We imprinted the extension of the abdominal area as a way of dealing with, or avoiding abdominal scar tissue and ovarian cysts.


For an excessive menstrual flow (more likely experienced by women going through menopause), take the support of the bench.


This student found relief for her heavy menstrual flow in this pose.

Baddha Konasana. Sitting with the rope around the mid back trains the back muscles and the spine to play a supporting roll.



This pose helps reduce menstrual pain caused by endometriosis (a well known condition in China).


© 2015 Bobby Clennell.


January 19, 2015

Out and about in Hangzhou.


Watching a mahjong game.


Hot fruit tea. There is no such thing as cold jiuce – or even cold water – in China.



Pincha Myorasana (Elbow Balance) is all about musclular alignment, as opposed to Vrksasana (Full Arm Balance), which has more to do with skeletal alignment. Pull the triceps onto the upper arm bone, and slide it up onto the deltoid. ‘Fix’ the deltoid muscle up onto the shoulder blade. Hold those muscles firm and you have your balance.


In order to keep the pelvic organs healthy, learn how to avoid compression and  maintain extension throughout the front of the pelvic area.


Elongating the abdomen before twisting in Parsva Swastikasana.


Practice the “L” shaped poses to create space thoughout the pelvic organs. This pose, in combination with other poses, helps reduce excessivly heavy menstryal bleeding.


Sarvangasana. Start in Halasana. Press the outer edges of the feet into the sides of the chair, as if you were trying to break the chair apart. Absorb your spine into your back. Open up the backs of the knees to the ceiling.


This prop, which is two covered foams, zippered together, are unique to China. Press the outer edges of the shoulder blades foreward into the chest.


Sarvangasana. Role the outer, upper arms down. Don’t let the weight of the back ribs drop onto the hands. The hands should press into the back ribs.

© 2015 Bobby Clennell.

Beijing. November 8, 9 and 10. 2014.

January 10, 2015

The Summer Palace, Beijing.

I could definitely spend my Julys and Augusts here!






Workshop at FineYoga.


My translator, Ming, supported me every inch of the way!


A variation of Parighasana (Gate Pose).


Maintain the bent leg hip directly above the knee. The upper arm shoulder blade should feel sharp: pull it away from the upper-arm itself, and down away from the neck. Press the front (straight) leg buttock forward. Revolve the torso and pelvis away from the front leg.


Everyone got up into Adho Mukha Vrksasana, one way or the other.


This was a Side Stretch class, so, more Parighasana….Pull the right thigh bone deep into the hip socket. Extend both sides of the torso toward the window.



Unwinding with Parsva Uttanasana. First to the left,


and then to the right. Keep that left hip pinned well back. Move the left ear toward the outer right shinbone. I like the way this student used the chair.

© 2015 Bobby Clennell.


China, part 3

January 9, 2014


Parent & Kid Yoga at the Iyengar Yoga Institute of China, Guangzhou


Drawing with kids while waiting for the class to start.

Adho Mukha Vriksasana (Tree Pose) with a friend.

Adho Mukha Vriksasana (Tree Pose) with Mom.


Adho Mukha Vriksasana (Tree Pose). Now we’re on our own!


Supta Sukhasana (Reclining Cross Legs Pose).


After the clas with the children. My translator Ming is next to me on the left.


3-day women’s class. Spreading the palms of the hands and extending through the tips of the fingers in rope Adho Mukha Svanasa (Supported Downward Dog Pose). Hands are an important part of our practice as women; they influence the chest. Spread the palms and the circulation is immediately improved around the breasts.

Yoga in a shopping mall


200 women came for a 2 hour class, 40 floors up, in the tallest shopping mall in Guangzhou. They were mostly office workers from the area.


Suptha Padangustasana II (Reclining Big Toe Pose to the Side).


There was a lot of media excitement. I think I was interviewed at least five times before the class began. Some of the interviewers wanted to know what I thought about Chinese women only practicing yoga to stay thin.


Supta Padangustasana II (Reclining Big Toe Pose to the Side). As you take the right leg to the side, keep the opposite hip from following it. Align the hip bones so they are level with each other; then focus on hip joint mobility, rather than how close to the floor you can get the right leg.

© 2013 Bobby Clennell.

China, part 2

January 4, 2014


Above is paradise below is Hangzhou
— Chinese saying dating from AD 618

Day one of my 3–day women's workshop. Photograph © Sophie Chou.

Day one of my 3–day women’s workshop. Photograph © Sophie Chou.

Virabhadrasana I has a lot to teach us about how to hold the lumbar spine in our backbend practice. Strapping a block to this region is a tactile reminder to not drop the lumbar spine forward into the abdomen. Photograph © Sophie Chou.

Virabhadrasana I (Warrior Pose I) has a lot to teach us about how to hold the lumbar spine in our backbend practice. A block strapped to this region provides a tactile reminder to not drop the lumbar spine forward into the abdomen. Photograph © Sophie Chou.

Metal lotus flower rain-chain created by Japanese artist especially for the Lingyin Temple.

Metal lotus flower rain-chain created by a Japanese artist especially for the Lingyin temple (Temple of the Soul’s Retreat).

Hidden away beyond the back of the temple, there were lots of these old images fixed to the side of the buildings where the monks live.

Hidden away beyond the back of the Lingyin Temple were lots of these old images fixed to the side of the buildings where the monks live.

Another of these beautiful images.

Another of these beautiful etchings.

Carved stone Buddha.

A stone Buddha carved high up into the rocks.

Lotus grass.

Lotus grass.

© 2013 Bobby Clennell