Posts Tagged ‘Sarvangasana’

Hiawatha, Iowa: May 31 – June 2. 2020

October 25, 2019

Workshop and retreat with Friendship Yoga

If getting up into Urdhva Dhanurasana feels out of reach, here’s one way of developing your strength and getting off the ground. Propped blocks placed at an angle help provide some leverage. Plus It’s easier to get up when you are already half way there. Now push down into the hands and feet, and lift your hips and trunk off the chair!

Beginners sometimes begin by supporting their back at the waist. As strength develops, and experience is gained, the student becomes better able to move the hands further down the back, press those back ribs in and raise them completely up off the floor.

With a little help the student can now walk her hands toward her shoulder blades.

My host, Nancy Footner made these beautiful plates.

© 2019 Bobby Clennell.

Granada: April 8–10

July 13, 2016

Workshop at Yoga Estudio Granada in Spain.

01

Parivritta Sukasana at the wall. Before you rotate, first lift your front spine to the maximum.

02

This modification of Adho Mukha Svanasana with feet on blocks teaches us how to fold at the hips without rounding the back. Don’t be in a hurry to teach your body the language of Iyengar Yoga. It takes patience and persistent practice. Workshops give us an opportunity to work with partners.

04

Uttanasana with the head up, arms in Paschima Baddhanguliyasana, and chin supported. The helpers are not forcing the arms, just supporting.

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Supported Janu Sirsasana with wall and bolster support. Align the center, mid line of the torso with the mid line of the head.

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Sarvangasana with Chair Support. Pick up your shoulders and roll them back one-at-a-time and press your shoulder-blades into your back so that the breast bone comes to an upright position.

05

Granada is without a doubt, one of the prettiest places I have ever visited.

06

The local gypsies had traditionally lived in caves in the mountains surrounding Granada.

07

This spirited performance….

08

….was performed in a restaurant/theatre that was a renovated cave, dug deep into the rock.

© 2016 Bobby Clennell.

More kids

February 9, 2016

Kids approach yoga with great enthusiasm; it’s more like play than practice!

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Tadasana, Mountain Pose. Stand at attention! Cecillia Danson sent pictures of her nieces Daisy Blair, age 7, and her little sister Doris Blair, 5 years old. They were playing in Cecillia’s yoga room in Umeå, Sweden.

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Vrksasana. The trees are waving at you. Can you wave back?

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Adho Mukha Svanasana, Urdhva Mukha Svanasana. Down and up, and up and down!

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Chatturanga Dandasana — push, push, push!

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It’s more fun when we do it together! Aileen Kingerlee, from Kerry, Ireland, ran a week long yoga camps for kids during the summer at the Muckross Traditional Farms in Muckross National Park. They started each day with a yoga class, then spent the day out in nature, bread baking, butter making, milking cows, etc. Later, they did quieter poses, finishing with Sarvangasana. They each had their own yoga journal in which they wrote and drew about their day and their favorite poses.

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Adho Mukha Vrksasana, Upside-down Tree Pose Facing the Wall. Climb your feet up the wall.

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Kick up into this safety version of Adho Mukha Vrksasana, Upside-down Tree Pose.

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Upside-down Tree Pose with the feet together.

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… and spread the legs wide!

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Setu Banda on the Ropes. The world looks funny when you’re upside-down!

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Dwi Pada Viparita Dandasana on a chair. This is what chairs were made for!

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Dhanurasana, Bow Pose. Anaya, 9 years old, and her sister Isya, 4 years old, love yoga.  It’s fun to rock back and forth…

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….. to push up from the floor: Urdhva Dhanurasana, Upside-down Bow Pose….

Fern in Urdhva Dhanurasana with arms up. Photo by Suzy Dodd.

… and to feel your hair tickle your toes. Fern in Kapotasana with arms up. Photo by Suzy Dodd.

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Bekhasana. Balancing is fun, too. This boy is strong!

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Savasana. And now it’s time to relax.

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, please send it to me, and I’ll update the post.

© 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.