Friday, February 21, 2014

Sutra II.46 and a sequence to practice

II.46 sthira sukham asanam

*Asana is perfect firmness of the body, steadiness of intelligence and benevolence of spirit.

This week I taught backbending asanas for all different levels of practitioners and all types of bodies.  From a young and flexible 23 year old to a 77 year old who is eager and wants to gain flexibility. I find that teaching these type of asanas not only requires effort and patience of the student, but also compassion and observation of the teacher.  It is so important as a teacher that I notice the small things like the color of skin, pattern of breath, and even the eyes, are they tense or soft.  It is also on the student to make sure they are listening to instructions I give, but also to their own bodies.

In Light on the Yoga Sutras,  Guruji explains that sutra II.46 does not just mean you feel comfy in a pose, but to develop discipline to move the student to a more refined pose. An asana that penetrates to the core of ones being. I have not yet seen this state in completion but I feel in certain poses I am moving towards this steadiness, this sattvic or illumined state.  It does not come without hard work, dedication and the "twin disciplines", abyasa and vairagya. (see sutra I.16-LOYS)

Here is the sequence from last Tuesday nights level 2 class at IYCD.  Make sure to listen to your breath, your body, do not sell your self short either. There is that fine line of pushing to your physical limit and pushing past it.  Guruji explains it like this, "Asanas should be performed without creating aggressiveness in the muscle spindles or the skin cells. Space must be created between muscle and skin so that the skin receives the actions of the muscles, joints and ligaments."

Adho Mukha Svanasana-emphasis on moving thoracic spine in, not just thoracic, but bottom tips of the shoulder blades in in in
Tadasana with shoulder openers-baddhanguliasana, gomukhasana, paschima namaskarasana
Ardha Chandrasana
Uttanasana xs 3 moving towards final pose
Urdhva Prasarita Ekapadasana-from hands on the floor, lifting each leg 3 times to get the leg higher
-full pose 2nd time, then a 3rd time making sure to keep hips level
Vimanasana to Virabhadrasana III with the chair first, moving to final pose in the middle of the room
Adho Mukha Svanasana
Adho Mukha Vrksasana-hands turned out
Pincha Mayurasana-against the wall with brick and belt
Quad opener at the wall-xs 2
Dwi Pada Viparita Dandasana with the chair-use rolled sticky mat down the length of spine
Urdhva Dhanurasana-from the chair, hands on the floor or baseboard
Urdhva Dhanurasana-from the floor, hands on rolled sticky mat, roll those triceps in!
Adha Mukha Svanasana-with chair at the wall
Savasana with calves in the seat of the chair-10 minutes