Posts Tagged ‘China’

Guangzhou: November 16, 17 and 19–22

July 9, 2017

Workshops in Guangzhou, China.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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….and her sister, Yucca Lee.

© 2017 Bobby Clennell.

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Hangzhou: November 10 – 13

March 16, 2017

Workshop in Hangzhou, China.

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At the tailors with Lily, Ming and Cerise.

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During menopause, face the wall.

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After menopause – “I’m back!”

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

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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.

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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.

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Lift your side ribs.

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Lift your side ribs!

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Side ribs long!!

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

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Supported Halasana – side ribs up!

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

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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.

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Around 90 women showed up for this class.

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

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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

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

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

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

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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.

 

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

 

© 2015 Bobby Clennell.

Hangzhou

January 19, 2015

Out and about in Hangzhou.

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Watching a mahjong game.

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

Workshop

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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.

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

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Elongating the abdomen before twisting in Parsva Swastikasana.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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Workshop at FineYoga.

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

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A variation of Parighasana (Gate Pose).

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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.

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

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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.

 

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Unwinding with Parsva Uttanasana. First to the left,

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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

Guangzhou

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

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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.

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

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Supta Sukhasana (Reclining Cross Legs Pose).

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

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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

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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.

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

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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.

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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

Huangzhou

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

China, part 1

December 18, 2013

Beijing

Inside the Forbidden City

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It was wonderful to share the experience of the Forbidden City with Chinese tourists, who were as excited as I was to learn about the history and the life within the walls of this imperial palace.

Entrance.

Entrance.

There were many gates and bridges that we passed through.

There were many gates and bridges that we passed through.

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I was fascinated by the patterns, textures and colors.

A guardian to yet another chamber within the walls.

A guardian to yet another chamber within the walls.

Ceiling.

Ceiling.

Another painted ceiling.

Another painted ceiling.

Doors are a symbol of hope; opportunity; a passage from one state or world to another; an entrance to a new life. In India, divinities are carved on door jams, indicating the deity through which man enters the Supreme Presence. This Chinese door in the Forbidden City is particularly beautiful.

Doors are a symbol of hope; opportunity; a passage from one state or world to another; an entrance to a new life. In India, divinities are carved on door jams, indicating the deity through which man enters the Supreme Presence. This Chinese door in the Forbidden City is particularly beautiful.

Here is one of several thrones in the Forbidden City.

Here is one of several thrones in the Forbidden City.

Eight dragons symbolized the power of the emperor.

Eight dragons symbolized the power of the emperor.

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Parent & Kid Yoga in a Shopping Mall

There were 20 sets of parent/child. The event was organized by Le Yoga.

I stand firm,
Steady and brave.

With long legs,
And broad chest,

I stand on my feet
And spread my arms up.
To reach the sky;
I stand tall and firm.

— Yogagshastra, Tome 1. Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute, Pune. YOG, Mumbai.

Urdhva Hastasana in Tadasana (Arms Raised in Mountain Pose).

Urdhva Hastasana in Tadasana (Arms Raised in Mountain Pose).

Utthita Hasta Padasana (Arms Raised, Legs Wide Pose).

Utthita Hasta Padasana (Arms Raised, Legs Wide Pose).

Vriksasana (Tree Pose).

Vriksasana (Tree Pose).

Adhomuka Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose).

Adhomuka Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose).

You have to be quick to jump through the jaws of the crocodile before they snap down on top of you!

You have to be quick to jump through the jaws of the crocodile before they snap down on top of you!

© 2013 Bobby Clennell.

Fall Travels 2012

October 17, 2012

Yoga At Zea — Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

This was my second visit to www.yogaatzea.com.my which is situated on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur, or “KL” as it is commonly known.

Steamy, tropical, and surrounded by vast palm tree plantations, KL is a multicultural community, the majority of the people being Chinese, closely followed by the Muslim and Indian populations. Similar to Singapore, these three cultures live, work and observe their own religions and traditions, happily and peacefully, alongside of each other.

KL is a lively, bustling, and happy  place. I shopped for a Hello Kitty iPhone case and was taught by my hosts and their families to eat local delicacies at the Petaling Street night-market. It is also an affluent and  firmly established modern city.

Hello Kitty!

Dhanurasana

Ustrasana

Supta Padangustasana II

Setubandasana

The children’s class:

Being joyful!

Cat pose

Resources on teaching yoga to children:

  • Yogashastra Tome 1 by teachers of Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute and Light on Yoga Research Trust
  • Yogashastra Tome 2 by teachers of Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute and Light on Yoga Research Trust

Goodbye to Yoga at Zea — Zoe Kok, Anita Frisk, Bobby Clennell and Edison Tan Choon Tian

Next stop — Shelly Yoga, Taipei

In Taipei I was mesmerized by the swarming motorbikes in the city, but then calmed when I took a break in New Beitou a little town in the mountains, which was complete with hiking trails, hot springs and a Starbucks.

Inside “101”, the world’s second tallest building, a mall offers acres of high-end shopping: Burberry, Prada and Gucci, to name but a few, were all buzzing with activity. But the night markets are where Taipei comes alive. As the sun goes down, the streets come alive as thousands of people descend on the markets and alleyways for some of the best food and cheapest thrills that can be found in Asia. The same, quick stepping, fashionably dressed young people who flood these markets, are also taking to yoga in a big way.

My host Shelly teaches Iyengar Yoga at her studio Shelly Yoga, which is situated in the heart of Taipei. The students here were excitedly preparing for their first trip to study at the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute (RIMYI), Pune.

The Priciples of Alignment

Urdhva Mukha Svanasana

Prepping for Pincha Myorasana

Parigasana (variation)

Dwi Pada Viparita Dandasana with Crossed Bolsters

Kapotasana with a chair

Last stop — The Iyengar Yoga Institute of China

The city of Guangzhou has a population of 6.7 million and has a history of more than 2,800 years. It ranks first in China in the number of restaurants and tea–houses, and is famous for it’s food including a wide range of delicate pastries. I still miss the food, especially the delicious moon cakes, which are eaten at the beginning of the fall season (and which the students showered me with to bring back to New York).

Lion dance

The elegant and spacious Iyengar Yoga Institute of China has been built and equiped since B.K.S. Iyengar visited China with the Yoga Summit, just three months previous. The main studio has 25 sets of wall ropes (enough for 25 students) and the two other good-sized yoga studios are also similarly well equipped with ropes. This Institute also has a large office, a large reception area, and a hard working staff. The moment that you step into this place, you feel the dedication to and the respect for the Iyengar method.

Uttitha Padangustasana

Sirsasana on the ropes

Urdha Dhanurasana with a rope and blocks

Urdha Dhanurasana at the trestler

Parsva Hasta Padasana at the trestler

Uttanasana to the side

China was so much fun! The energy of the place is palpable and there is a feeling that anything can be achieved. A public lecture, where I spoke and demonstrated on why women should practice ‘women’s yoga’ was organized quickly and efficiently and was complete with background music, cameras, lights, raffles, an Iyengar yoga backdrop, a podium and a rapt audience of around 300.

Adho Mukha Svanasana with head on block

Urdhva Hastasana (head up)

Padangustasana (head down)

Uttitha Padangustasana II

Kapotasana with chair

Badha Konasana

Chatoosh Padasana — the Principles of Alignment

These are early days for Iyengar Yoga in China, and my hosts at the Institute — Chen Zhiyong and Niki Su are keen to show the Chinese yoga community at large something of this method. I agreed to model for a set of photos showing some of the uses of props. Here is a small selection from that photo shoot:

Pincha Myorasana

Ardha Chandrasana

Pincha Myorasana with the Dwi Pada Viparita Dandasana bench

Badha Konasana in Rope Sirsasana

© 2012 Bobby Clennell.