Posts Tagged ‘Urdhva Dhanurasana’

London: May 7 – 8, 2019

August 8, 2019

Workshop at Oakside Yoga Studios

Adho Mukha Svanasana. The blocks under the elbows support and correct a carrying angle. The belt holds stubborn elbows in.

Here is Dave Dayes (who runs this studio from his home) with a belt below his elbows and just his head supported which quiets the brain. It also gives him another point of contact with the solid ground from which he can better sweep the sides of his hips up and back.

Adho Mukha Svanasana. The belts are organized in such a way as to strengthen the lower back spinal muscles.

Urdhva Dhanurasana from a Chair gives tremendous upper body expansion, and space through the shoulder joints.

Urdhva Dhanurasana from a chair and a half-round block. Push up from a chair (and develop your pushing power) if pushing up from the floor seems like it’s a long way off.

If pushing up from the floor with stiff or weak wrists is painfull then try pushing up into Urdhva Dhanurasana with a slant board under the heels of the hands. Next time this student practices this pose, if she first observes this picture, she she will see that she needs to move her shoulders forward to eventually align them above her wrists. The foam block gives us a reference point: do not turn the toes out! Touch the block with the entire inner edge of the feet.

Similarly, Urdhva Dhanurasana with a (widthwise) block between the feet, and a rolled blanket under the hands. Move the arms toward the wall. Push the heels and hands down, roll the outer knees to the inner knees and lift the tailbone and shoulders.

Urdhva Dhanurasana. To open up the space behind the knees, move the backs of the thighs toward the buttock crease. You are looking to get the forearm bones and shinbones parallel to each other. Another instruction for this super flexible student: ” Maintain good resistance in your joints: roll your upper arms in toward your head; fix your deltoids back onto your shoulder girdle”.

Once you can push up from the floor in Urdhva Dhanurasana, you are ready to drop back to the wall and then walk down. Coil your front body around your back body as much as you can (not forgetting to raise you back ribs) before taking the arms over.

Here’s Dave, flipping up and over from the chair support to the floor.

Dropping back from Tadasana to Urdhva Dhanurasana. Just before your hands touch the floor, move them back toward your feet.

I’m not sure that the belt around his hands was such a good idea…

We helped this student lift her shoulders and chest so she could straighten her arms.

Recovery.

©2019 Bobby Clennell.

Lyme Regis, Dorset: May 11 – 12, 2019

July 23, 2019

Workshop with Hannah Lovegrove

In this standing twist, to avoid the pelvic organs from sinking, press the standing leg thigh back.

Uttitha Trikonasana. Move the entire pelvis back away from the head. Revolve from the right kidney to the left.

Cut the inner right thigh back. Move the breast bone away from the pelvis so that the entire torso extends toward the head.

As you curve around the block, create some resistance by extending your inner legs, ankles and heels away.

Stamp your heels down and raise your tailbone and with it, your entire pelvis. Move your back ribs up away from the floor and forward toward your breast bone.

Press your heels to the floor (toes turned in) move your upper body and chest toward the wall.

Urdhva Dhanurasana. It take several yearts of practice in this and other poses to build the strength needed to practice this with the arms straight.

No wall ropes? Not a problem!

Forward extension with chair, bolster and wall. Here we are looking to get the front body the same length as the back body.

More recovery: Uttanasana with a blanket roll.

We are in rural England. This working sheep dog waited patiently outside the asana room for his human (a sheep farmer) to finish her yoga.

© 2019 Bobby Clennell.

Taipei: November 2 – 5, 2018

February 25, 2019

Workshop at Shelly Yoga

Pincha Mayurasana makes me look thin.

Raise the left leg hip maintaining it level with the right as you move into Eka Pada Sirsasana.

Photo bombed by my interpretor.

In this version of the head-up stage of urdva prasarita ekapadasana, the belt provides a fulcrum from which the spine can be curved and extended forward and upward. Sometimes, it’s hard to find the strength to do this without the belt.

Parivritta Svastikasana at the wall. These students are maintaining the fixed inteligence at the base of the pose by pressing their right knee to the wall as they rotate to the right.

Parivritta/Ghomukasana, legs only, combined with a spinal rotation.

In this Celestial Beings class, we practiced Ghomukasana again, this time the complete pose. Cows are held in high esteem in India.The reason has to do with cows’ agricultural uses and gentle nature. Hindus rely heavily on cows for dairy products, for tilling fields, and for dung as a source of fuel and fertilizer. So, cows are seen as a ‘caretakers’ or maternal figures.

More Celestial Beings – Eagle Pose,  Garuda was the mythic “king of the birds,” the vehicle of Vishnu.

Supported Backbends. Knees and shins against the wall. Upper arms turned in.

Supported Backbends. This pose, Baddha Konasana in Viparita Dandasana over Crossed Bolsters helps deal with abdominal scar- tissue, associated with endometriosis.

More supported Backbends.

Pushing up from Viparita Dandasana with Chair into Urdhva Dhanurasana.

At the end of the Active Restorative Class: from Halasana,

…roll…

….up ….

….and over….

….into Paschimottanasa X 6!

 

© 2019 Bobby Clennell

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.

Budapest: May 14 – 15, 2016.

August 17, 2016

Workshop at Amrita Jógaközpont

 

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The invocation with Kevin Gardiner.

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Forrai Reka translated my English instructions into Hungarian for the workshop. She also translated Yoga for Breast Care into Hungarian.

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Vasithasana. Move the tailbone in. Keep the inner edges of the feet and big toes together.

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To maintain the length of your biceps: rotate your arms out, and pull the arm-pit chest up.

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My hosts, Erika Repassy and Kevin Gardiner in strong Salabhasanas.

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With Kevin: roll the shoulders back and down. Turn the inner elbow up.

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Parsva Dhanurasana. Turn the chest away from the shoulder that is wedged against the floor.

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Urdhva Dhanurasana with hands on blocks. Press the heels of the hands into the blocks, turn the upper arms in toward each other, and move the chest toward the wall. Stamp your feet down open the backs of the knees: press calves down and raise the thighs up.

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This combination, Baddha Konasana/Upavistha Konasana helps keep the hip sockets healthy and mobile.

Photographs: Jaya Chakravarty.

© 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.

Kids Love Yoga

March 26, 2015

These kids are serious yoga students!

Ivan Zabrodina, visiting us in Swanage, Dorset, UK, is carefully studying the poses in my book Watch Me Do Yoga. Soon he’ll be able to assist his mother Julia Zabrodina who teaches Iyengar yoga in St. Petersburg, Russia.

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Utthita Hasta Padasana (Upright Hands and Feet Pose).

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Adho Mukha Vriksasana (Tree Pose).

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Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Upward Facing Dog Pose).

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Simhasana (Lion Pose).

 

You are never too young to start practicing. Nuala, daughter of jewelry designer Maeve Gillies, is almost two and already into yoga.

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Urdhva Hastasana (Arms Above the Head Pose) from Tadasana (Mountain pose). Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend Pose) with hands in Paschima Baddangullyasana (Hands Interlaced Behind the Back Pose).

 

Nicole de Jesus sent these photos of her five-year-old niece Malaya (“Freedom”), along with this note:

“I gave my amazing niece Malaya, a copy of Watch Me Do Yoga. She is already quite the student…and her toys seem to be benefiting from the method already!

Malaya is going through your book again and again. She’s going to bring it to her yoga class at school!

She and the animals practiced Bobby’s entire yoga book in my living room. Now she wants to make a yoga movie…!”

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Kurmasana (Tortoise Pose).

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Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose).

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We are looking at a row of Malaya’s toys practicing some inversions.

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Urdhva Dhanurasana (Bow Pose).

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Maybe I’ll have her on my publicity team!

 

Meanwhile, Kaira, in Hangzhou, China has also been hard at work. Her mother Carmen, a yoga teacher in Hangzhou, writes:

“I just received Watch Me Do Yoga yesterday from Amazon, and my daughter Kaira just loved it. She was reading the book the whole morning, and insisted me teaching her all the asanas from the book”.

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Vriksasana (Tree Pose).

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Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Upward Facing Dog Pose).

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Simhasana (Lion Pose).

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Kaira is holding the book perfectly straight!

Text © 2015 Bobby Clennell. Photos used with permission.

Taipei. December 12 – 15. 2014.

February 11, 2015

Workshop at Shelly Yoga.

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Students taking pictures of my Elements and Koshas posters.

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Preparing for  Eka Hasta Bhujasana

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….with Eka Pada Sirsasana

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Eka Hasta Bhujasana

Bakasana: rocking and rolling - shifting the weight back and forth from the blocks to the hands.

Bakasana: rocking and rolling – shifting the weight back and forth from the blocks to the arms and hands.

Tuck the arms high up under the inner thighs before you lift off.

Tuck the arms high up under the inner thighs before you lift off.

Suck the abdomen back to the spine.

Suck the abdomen back to the spine.

This student's hips are too high.

This student’s hips are too high.

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Another day, another session: we pushed up from a chair into Urdhva Dhanurasana, elbows and forearm bone on the wall, middle fingers face straight ahead.

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Due to the wieght of the pelvis, women tend to drop the hips in this pose.

Raise your heels, raise your tail bone and pelvis,

Without dropping your pelvis, stamp your heels down. Open the backs of the knees: lift the back thighs away from the backs of the knees toward the buttock crease.

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On the last night in Taipei my host, Shelly took us to an outdoor restaurant high up in the hills. It was cold, so we were all  bundled up just like these two waiters. There was a heater under the table, which made my knees hot.

© 2015 Bobby Clennell.

Kids Love Yoga

August 2, 2014

Learning…

Hmm… where to start? I think I’ll look for a new pose.

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Stella at the 1st Yoga Open Health Fair sponsered by the local news stations in Denver, reading Watch Me Do Yoga. Photo sent in by Iyengar Yoga Denver.

…and Doing

1507167_10202579817592051_1930028398_nOK. Now that we’ve hit the books, let’s get started!

Barbara Harris says of her 7-month-old great-granddaughter Ava, “She doesn’t know that this is Triang Mukhaikapada. She just knows her body does it.” Barbara teaches at the Boise Yoga Center in Idaho with Vickie Aldridge.

 

Jo did this all by herself this afternoon. Unrolled the mat and went straight to downward-facing dog.

“Jo did this all by herself this afternoon. Unrolled the mat and went straight to downward-facing dog,” says Alexis Lombard Niceley of this photo taken by her mom, Janice Irwin.

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And what do kids always do next? They raise their leg in the air! This is 劉庭安 (Amber Liu), from Taiwan. Photo by her father 劉威志 (Akko Liu) from Mix & Match Your Day.

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Here’s Bonnie Yonker’s daughter Maya proving my point: Downward Facing Dog Pose with the Leg Raised. Bonnie runs the Yoga Sanctuary in Punta Gorda, Florida.

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Ardha Chandrasana (Half-Moon Pose). She’s good!

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Fern in one-handed Urdhva Dhanurasana. Photo by Suzy Dodd

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6-year-old Acelin in Roxbury, upstate New York has found a novel way of working with props…

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…and his sister, 2-year-old Elsa raises a block.

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The Queen of Hearts.

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Pamy Lieu sent this photo of 2-year-old Aiden from Kuala Lumpur. “Spidey boy loves the ropes!”

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.

© 2014 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.