Posts Tagged ‘Halasana’

Yoga, Kids and Play

January 25, 2017

For kids, yoga-time and play-time are sometimes indistinguishable.

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Adho Mukha Svanasana – Downward Facing Dog Pose. Hey, who put this floor down here? Sonalli Kurlekar sent this photo in of her daughter.

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This is Martine from Bogota, Colombia. How much fun it is push into Upward Facing Dog Pose (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana) on a soft, furry rug.

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Dandasana – Staff Pose. I see ten toes!

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This is one of the original pencil sketches from Watch Me Do Yoga.

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Now this is what I call a real Tree Pose (Adho Mukha Vriksasana)!

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Madeline Cook is only two-years-old, but she has yoga in her blood: both of her grandmothers are yoga teachers.

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Here is Madeline’s older sister, five-year-old Amelia. Amelia loves looking at books about yoga, and likes to learn (and pronounce) the Sanskrit names of the poses she copies from the illustrations. Recently, her grandmother Leah Bray Nichols (Evergreen Yoga, Memphis) found her “reading yoga books to Madeline. Looks like teaching yoga runs in the family!”

Neither of the girls has been to a kids class. Just reading, playing and doing. Leah says that when she cleans her studio,” I take them with me and they play on the ropes and make-up poses and make forts with the props.”

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Here is Francesca, daughter of Lara Warren who teaches at the Iyengar Yoga Institutes, of New York, and Brooklyn. The exuberance of this pose says it all! The rope wall was installed by Lee Christie-Irvine.

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Vicky Ewell’s five-year-old granddaughter Marley lifts her chest high and moves her dorsal spine in as she pushes up into a a backbend (Urdhva Dhanurasana) in front of her pink princess tent. Vicky’s studio, the Yoga Loft, is in Sheffield  Village, Ohio.

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Fern likes to create her own poses. This one was sent in by Suzie Dodd, “I call it Fernasana!”

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These knees are sure to please. Halasana – Plow Pose.

Thanks to everyone who has sent me photos of their kids who were inspired by my book, Watch Me Do Yoga; please keep sending them in. I try my best to correctly credit all the photos, but if I’ve forgotten your child’s name, or the parent or grandparent who sent in the photo, please send it to me, and I’ll update the post.

©2017 Bobby Clennell.

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Guadalajara, Mexico

January 17, 2016

Workshop at Practica Yoga.

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This student’s shoulder blade was completely “winged” out, causing her shoulder to roll forward.

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Understanding the movement of the shoulder blade is important. My adjustment is providing her an imprint so she can remember how to press the inner edge of her shoulder blade in, and move the top of her upper arm back.

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Another way of working: interlace your hands and hook them over the top of the trestler.

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Can you raise the front armpit chest higher than the back armpit chest — without pushing the lumbar spine forward?

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Here in Halasana, the elbows need to be grounded more than they are here. If this student propped her feet on a chair or on bricks, she would be able to ground the elbows and be more stable.

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Shoulder stand is one of the best poses to help maintain breast health. Here in Parsva Halasana I am asking this student to further lift up through the spine and walk her feet around even more. The combination of the inversion and the rotation stimulates the internal organs. At the same time, along with the change in blood flow, a healthy stretching occurs in the right breast — all important factors for breast health.

Guadalajara

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Wonder where this leads to?

© 2016 Bobby Clennell.

Mexico City

January 11, 2016

Workshop at Yoga Espacio COYOACÁN.

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Ardha Uttanasana with the outer wrist bones hooked over the back of a chair. Activate the knees by pulling up the quadricep muscles. Extend out through to the tips of the fingers.

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Halasana with The Feet Supported. Press the outer edges of the feet against the sides of the chair as if you were trying to break the chair. Press the outer, upper arms down. Lift up through the inner groins and sit bones until the spinal column is completely absorbed into the back.

Mexico City

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I loved the colors of Mexico City.

At La Casa de los Azulejos (The House of Tiles)

At La Casa de los Azulejos….

At La Casa de los Azulejos (The House of Tiles)

…..The House of Tiles.

At La Casa de los Azulejos (The House of Tiles)

More from La Casa de los Azulejos (The House of Tiles).

Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo

In Frida Kahlo's house.

From Frida Kahlo’s kitchen.

By Diego Rivera.

Drawing by Diego Rivera.

© 2016 Bobby Clennell.

Merida, Mexico

January 2, 2016

Workshop at Namasté Yoga.

This student came into class with a migraine.

While the rest of the class followed the workshop program…

….she practiced a series of seated forward bends: Adho Mukha Virasana, Adho Mukha Sukhasana, and Janu Sirsasana with long holdings. These three simple forward bends (start with the head supported on a level with the chest) are very effective when dealing with migraine headaches.

In the menopause workshop, we practiced Cross Ropes Adho Mukha Svanasana, placing the crown of the head on a support to keep the brain quiet and cool.

Uttitha Trickonasana facing the wall. Sciatic pain is very common during menopause as the groins can become hard and the abdominal muscles tense at this stage. To avoid sciatica, open the front leg pelvis toward the wall and roll the pubic bone up. Facing the wall provides support so that the pelvic organs can be brought into alignment — this is also helpful for those with fibroids, ovarian cysts or endometrial scar tissue.

Uttitha Trickonasana, with back to wall. This variation provides support from behind, so less energy is expended and less heat generated (such as hot flashes or the heat generated during menstruation). Brings life to the spine and hip joints. Facing out is helpful for women when menopause is over to avoid osteoporosis of the spine, shoulders and hip joints. Open the back leg hip and chest toward the wall.

Set up for Sarvangasana with three or (or four for a greater lift) blankets.

Sarvangasana. Come first to Halasana. To avoid collapsing at the base, clip the outer edges of the shoulder-blades in.

Press the outer, upper arms to the floor and lift the cervical spine away from the floor.

Sarvangasana: align the side body along the midline.

My host, Beatrize, with a student in Baddha Konasana in Hanging Sirsasana.

Merida

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Pretty doors.

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Weddings say so much about the culture of a place. The reception was held at the family ranch.

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Grand living in Merida.

© 2015 Bobby Clennell.

February 2014, Pune.

March 10, 2014

The Institute.

At the RIMYI we have three classes with Geeta Iyengar per week: two women’s classes (one of which if there is room, the men may attend) and a pranayama class. Prashant Iyengar teaches at 7am, four mornings a week. If you want to experience B.K.S. Iyengar in action you had better get yourself along to the medical classes in the afternoons. In addition, there are six open practice sessions per week where Guruji practices along with local and visiting students, most of them teachers. He invariably interrupts his own practice to instruct someone else and oftentimes this someone is his grand daughter, Abhijata. We gather round to watch, listen and absorb. Then when Guruji returns to his own practice, we drift back to our mats and our own practice.

Prashant Iyengar.

“Rivers of breath” pranayama class.
Just as rivers nourish the land, Prashant says, the breath also provides us with nourishment. These days people flock to the cities to live, but there was a time when people settled along rivers. He talked about how the Amazon flows fresh into the ocean for miles and miles, providing sustenance for all who live along its banks. Similarly, when we practice pranayama, we become energized, re-vitalized, invigorated.

Geeta Iyengar. Wednesday February 19: excerpts from Geeta’s second back bend class.

Adho Mukha Virasana
Adho Mukha Svanasana
Sirsasana:

  • Be independent. If you lean against the wall, you will never learn.
  • For those who practiced rope Sirsasana; it’s a horizontal pose as well as a vertical pose. Even in Rope Sirsasana, place your palms on the floor the width of the shoulders to create that space. Don’t just hang – lift your shoulders up away from the floor and widen the collar bones.
  • Always move the front of the leg toward the back of the leg.
  • Forehead quiet, but the body should be very much active. Raise the whole body up from the inside.

(Many, many) Urdhva Dhanurasana’s into Viparita Dandasana: Men usually sit at the back, but today Geeta asked them to move to the front of the class. Geeta talked about some of the differences between men and women. Women are more supple then men. In these back bends, they can easily open the front ribs and lift the chest, but they tend to drop the buttocks and pelvis, which strains the lumbar. In addition, they tend to get tired. Men are strong, so they can hold themselves up more easily; but they push hard into the chest and don’t get the natural lift that women get. Some of us, myself included, had a wall to hold the elbows against and a workable mat (from the donated mats in the prop room), which held my feet well, enabling me to access my back muscles and raise my spine.

8-5“Lie on your back, with your head toward the platform.  With feet apart, walk your feet in and hold ankles. Bend your arms. Place your hands on the floor, close to your shoulders. Distribute the weight evenly between the palms. Broaden the palms. Push up into Urdhva Dhanurasana. Walk in with your palms. Raise the chest to walk the palms toward the feet.”

  • Open the armpit chest. Walk in with the feet and be on the arm side. Lift the side trunk!
  • Raise the heels and tailbone up; walk the feet in.

MEN

  • Men always take the knees out – roll them!
  • Shinbones are short, they should be long – knee to shin, elongation.
  • Navel should be up.
  • Suck the elbows straight – die at the elbows! Tighten the elbows! We strapped the elbows – yes, it really has to break into pieces! Have the belt close to the elbow joint.
  • The lightness has to come – lock in the elbow joint. All the men have a belt on the elbow.
  • The flexibility can be seen in Guruji’s photo from Light On Yoga, but the stability is not seen.
  • Pump the body close to the platform.

Viparita Dandasana

  • Push the back ribs forward. At first, keep your head up. Open chest with the head up. Then place head to floor, but keep the chest tall.
  • Men: in back bends, you don’t open your chest.
  • Women; your buttocks drop.

Savasana – stretch your legs out.
Adho Mukha Svanasana, hands to wall.
Sarvangasana
Either Halasana or Karnapidasana (depending on space available)
Pachimottanasana
Savasana

Acknowledgments:
Thank you Julia Pederson who observed the class and took notes, and
Richard Jonas who contributed to these notes from his memory of the class.

Guruji, Wednesday February 20: morning practice.

Guruji spoke of citta chidra or ‘perforated mind’ meaning fissured consciousness. Abhijata, his granddaughter called it ‘leaky consciousness’ as in  “Something slips out; the awareness does not hold itself inside.”

For we students, says Guruji, the mind goes to pleasure; “I like this, I don’t enjoy that, I enjoy this!” In that state, we work from the brain, of which the mind is but a part. When you work from the brain, you sweat in the face, you remain locked in the head, your consciousness does not penetrate the body.

Guruji explains we have to ‘expand from the center to open the four lobes of the brain.’

Guruji showed us the sole of his foot. He expands the arch so that the skin across it is sharp, not dull and not sinking. When one works like that, one does not sweat, one is not stuck in the brain; awareness permeates the areas of the body to which it is directed.
Verse II. 47: ananta samapattibhyam. The balanced state of awareness (samapatti) is endless (ananta).

For us, sadly, it is antara (different, other, outside) samapattibhyam.

The mind goes out, looking for pleasure. It is ‘antara’, different, other. Then, of course, it fluctuates and moves around.

We have to learn ananta (endless) samapattih, a balanced state of consciousness.

Yoga is a spiritual practice. Ananta – or endlessness – is a spiritual state.

When instead, you practice Antara – other, different – you are jumping from one thing to the next. “I like it, I don’t like it. Where is the discipline? There is none.”

One has to go beyond that kind if mind, beyond, ‘leaky consciousness.’

Ananata – endlessness – comes from discipline.

Read about chitta cidra on page 57 of The Core of the Yoga Sutras, B.K.S Iyengar’s most recent book. Those who want to look will see what he says on that page in the light of his little talk during the open practice at RIMYI that morning.

Acknowledgments:
Thank you Zoe Stewart who relayed Guruji’s discourse from the morning open practice.
Many thanks also to Richard Jonas for his sensitive editing.