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Sequencing with Noah Maze- Toronto, June 2011

Three components of an Anusara class:

–       heart based theme

–       UPAs

–       Asana sequence

–       You can plan a class starting from any of those three points

–       “teaching Anusara is a creative process. Method always requires my creativity”

Three types of students (from Christina Sell)

–       mystics- get message and energy of room. Theme/heart/iccha

–       egineers- details of pose and alignment (bring their protractors to classJ) . UPAs/mind/jnana

–       athletes- how much did a sweat, did I get deeper/further than before. Asana sequence/action/ kriya

 

Important questions guide our teaching:

–       what am I trying to accomplish in this class/practice?

  • Trying changing your intention. Try peak pose in set amt of time- can I get there and it feels good?

–       What level class? What syllabus are we working with?

–       Who is my audience? What do they already know?

–       What are the knowns and unknowns?

–       In what pose does this (action/principle/quality/sequence) come easily? For free?

–       In what poses, when I get _____(the quality/action/principle)__ does a break through occur? Ie, the pose deepens, heart opens, pain alleviated, something new becomes possible that wasn’t possible before.

–       In what pose does the UPA/key action solve a common misalignment? Pay off…

 

Heart based theme:

–       philosophical teaching, mythic, life experience, stories, images, poems…

–       change tone in voice to emphasize heart qual

–       ex) patience- longer holds (use timer) of familiar poses. UPA- OTG, pausing, in pause, softening…

Planning a class using the there diff components of ME as starting point…

Three components are:

  1. hug- skin to musc, musc to bone
  2. midline
  3. periphery to core

in what pose does #1 HUG come easily?  Ex- hug- warrior 2 pose creates the action automatically, the front thigh has to hug when knees are bent. Or Utkatasana. Vs Tadasana you can do the pose w/out ME.

Ex) in bridge or Urdhva you have to work legs, but in cobra less so. So do action in bridge and then go back to cobra and tell students to remember how they worked legs in bridge, now do it in cobra.

 

In what pose does #2 MIDLINE come easily? Ex- block btwn thighs, Prasarita with blanket under one foot, tree, Garudasana, dog w/one hand off (unplug one part of the foundation). Pay off:: Bakasana, urdva one leg off…

In what poses does #3 P> C come easily? Ardha Chandrasana, vira 3, UHPadang, crescent warrior, Tadasana leg lifted pull foot into hip, partner arm press, lunge

Pay off: hand balancing, headed bends (for flexible people). Note: ME- floor postures- flexible students tend to flop. So teach ME in standing poses and then the pay off is floor poses.

*poses where it comes easily should be poses where you can visually measure if the students are getting the actions

sequence:

opening/centering

warm up: 1, 2, 3,

ME #1 Hug

3 poses

 

ME #2 midline; 3 poses

ME #3 p>c : 3 poses

Pay off poses: 3 poses

pinnacle(s)

cool down

symmetrical pose

Savasana

blessing

 

Sequencing to a peak pose: Parivrtta Parsvakonasana

 

Key difficulties: (physical and psychological)- balance, back heel to floor, deep twist, flexion of front hip, arms and shoulders, sq hips, breathing- anxious, agitated, can’t get deep breath, panic

Key actions: midline (for balance), kidney loop (rounded back), shoulder loop (expanding spiral of bottom arm)

What poses teach key actions: twists w/rounded back- concave spine

What parts of the body need to be prepared (anatomy of pose/component parts): spine (twists), low body strong, hip flexion

–       hip- vira 1, Parsvakonasana, Anjaney, Parsva Utkatasana, pigeon, lunge variations, agni stombasana w/twist, pashasana prep

–       psychological- teach in poses where they’re not in the fire- breath into back body- for example child’s pose. Theme with it- trust that even in breath is short, shallow, labored, invoke a sense of trust and faith…

centering

warm-ups

1 cat/cow

lunge

lunge twist

key action #1 midline

garudasna

dog twist

Trikonasana

Key action #2 kidney loop

Balasana

Malasana

Pigeon

Key action #3 twists

Malasana twist

Pigeon twist

Marichyasana 1

Pinnacle: Parivrtta Parsvakonasana in stages…

Knee down, hands in prayer

Knee up hangs in prayer

Full pose with arm outside foot (can refine the arm spirals depending on group…)

 

Cool down

Setubandha

Supta padang

Purvottanasana on elbows

 

Questions:

Shoulder stand and headstand

–       HS is rajasic

–       SS is sattvic

–       Is it agitating to the nervous system to do HS without SS? “what’s more agitating is rigid adherence to dogma” – john friend

–       Attitude is first

–       If finding it hard to have time for SS, you need to create a culture of it- so students know how to set up props quickly. If you don’t have enough props for everyone, then you can have half the room do Shoulderstand and half do supported setubandha at the wall.

Addressing fear- psychological challenges to poses

–       clear sequencing sets students up for success so they learn component parts gradually. Gives them psychological and physical tools to go deeper

–       “I’m a professional 🙂 … I’ve done this before, will you let me help you?”

backbends at night?

– ge to peak pose earlier and have a longer closing sequence. Give suggestions for people to do at home if they’re jazzed up (like legs up the wall).

expand theme: growing our hearts in the face of disaster

heart quality: willingness

action: inner/outer spiral

purpose: chit

pinnacle: bound parsvkonasana/EPK prep

Honoured and excited to teach a more advanced class. It’s always great to come into Leena’s classes and work with her students because she has cultivated strong studentship. Easy to teach you because you and she have created such a strong foundation.

Because you are a more advanced class, I want to share with you the founding verse of Anusara as our theme today: Shaktinipata anusarena shisyo nugraham arhati Translation: By entering the current of Divine Shakti’s descent into the heart, the true disciple becomes capable of receiving Grace.

Divine Shakti = power

Descent into the heart = already happening

True disciple = openness, willingness

Capable of receiving Grace = recognizing the flow of the universe as grace, in all its myriad dark and difficult forms

Our work: enter the current that is already flowing into our hearts, willingness and openness to recognizing and dancing with grace of universe. This week we are faced with a difficult to reconcile event – earthquake in Japan. Hard to see how this can be “grace”. I feel helpless to even look at the newspaper because I know I will get emotional. I don’t know how to reconcile this kind of suffering. I’m not there yet in my understanding, in my experience. So what I want to offer is the opportunity to try this out. To test, to stretch into this idea that if we align with the flow that is mainlining into our hearts, if we have the willingness to look, to explore, then we will receive the grace, we will recognize it.

The closest thing that I can see as grace is that, when I open myself to difficult information about the world, I have an opportunity to grow my heart. It trembles, it shakes, it hurts, it threatens to close. But if I am aware of it, if I stay close to my practice, to my purpose, then it grows.

Centreing: Open to flow, current of breath. Always already there, waiting to be noticed. The breath flows into us, a current of power, of Shakti. Enter the current of your breath. Everything changes when we do this. Enter the current of your breath and watch your mindbody respond.

Sequence

Downward dog

DD>fire hydrant>utt>tadasana

SN – SLL>parsvatonasana>half moon
SN – hip opener>triangle (top arm forward)>parsvakonasana
SN – full stretch > gentle twist > mod vasi (foot in front)

SN – silver surfer > parsvatonasana > half moon

Parsvakonasana>airplane

Parsvakonasana with bind    *strap if needed

Child’s pose with active arms

Bakasana

EPK prep

pigeon *with thigh stretch if wanted
janu sir * back leg in virasana, reach under grab ankle
marichyasana * with strap

SBK – SAVASANA

theme: honouring the shiva and ganesh in ourselves
heart qualities: creativity and determination
action: ME – muscle to bone, OE – focal point out
pinnacle: utthita hasta padangusthasana (standing leg = elephant leg, leg of determination. extended leg = dancer leg, leg of creativity)

Today I want to channel Shiva and Ganesh in our practice. You might have heard of them before. Shiva is one of “the big three”, he is the creator, the ground of everything, the all. He is often pictured dancing, in different poses. Ganesh is his son, he is an elephant headed god who is the remover of obstacles. Hindu deities are ways of personifying or imaging abstract qualities that exist in the world, in order to make them easier to relate to. It’s easier to relate to an image of a dancer than to the abstract quality of “creativity”. We see a dancer and experience that. It’s easier to relate to an image of an elephant than the abstract quality of “determination”. An elephant is such a strong image of that, moves forward, nothing gets in its way.

So when we invoke or honour Hindu deities in our practice what we are doing is invoking the qualities that they represent. The qualities in ourselves and others. So today we are going to call the qualities of creativity (Shiva) and determination (Ganesh) into our practice. And we can use the images of the dancer, of the elephant to make those qualities more concrete and real.

So as we practice we can think about what we might want to channel our determination and creativity towards. What would you like to happen for you in the coming months that you could use some help from Ganesh and Shiva? That you could channel your determination and creativity towards?

SEQUENCE

warmups – noodle arms/shakedown/shakti flings

SN – straight leg lunge, holy ham > starfish
-anjaney prep, full stretch > eel (arms and legs in line, lift up)
-three legged dog
-gentle twist into mod. vasi (foot on floor) > thigh stretch
-full stretch > half bow (thigh stretch lift up)

-parsvakonasana>trikonasana

turn front rows back to face back rows, be steady and determined together, help each other balance, see creativity reflected in each of us

-baby natarajasana
-tree – focus on standing leg “elephant leg”

-uttitha hasta padangusthasana (three times, in stages)

  • prep = knee bent, hold outside of foot (or use strap)
    (determination in standing leg – GANESH, creativity in top leg – SHIVA)
  • straighten leg to front
  • knee bent, widen knee to side, play with straightening

bridge
navasana crunches
happy baby
supta padang/jathara pari
SAVASANA

 

Courage to Feel and be Vulnerable

Talk about partner yoga workshop– some couples neither partner had done yoga, but most one was regular yogi, and other partner had never done yoga. And I was thinking of how courageous it was for the non-yogi partner to be willing to try something so new with their partner… Courageous, because it can be really vulnerable to do something that your partner is the “expert” at, and you are totally new at…. Saw that courageous vulnerability as an expression of love.

TED Talk, Brene Brown- Social worker focuses on importance of vulnerability in order for us to feel human and alive, and fulfilled. In her research, she found that she could basically divide people into 2 groups:

  • There were people who have a strong sense of love and belonging and the people who really struggle for it.
  • there was one variable that separated them- was the people who have a strong sense of love and belonging believe they’re worthy of love and belonging. That’s it. They believe they’re worthy. She calls these people- whole-hearted people, living from this deep sense of worthiness.

And these whole-hearted people had one other thing in common: They fully embraced vulnerability. “They believed that what made them vulnerable made them beautiful. They didn’t talk about vulnerability being comfortable, nor did they talk about it being excruciating — They just talked about it being necessary. They talked about the willingness to say “I love you” first, the willingness to do something where there are no guarantees, the willingness to breathe through waiting for the doctor to call after your mammogram. They’re willing to invest in a relationship that may or may not work out. They thought this was fundamental.”

Contextualize/universalize: I love this so much, this is one of the most important things we can gain from our yoga practice. Our tantric philosophy invites us to embrace the full spectrum of life- the courage to feel the full spectrum of physical sensations and emotion, the courage to love ourselves and others despite our imperfectness. To really experience life fully and express ourselves fully > courage&vulnerability.

Context Statements:

–       Courage- from the Latin word cor, meaning heart — and the original definition was to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart.

–       yoga invites us to express ourselves fully, it doesn’t mean that we don’t have to be discrete about how we express ourselves, like you don’t express yourself the same way at home and at work, but in all cases, can we at least be honest with ourselves and have the courage to be imperfect?

–       We must learn to be compassion to be kind to ourselves first, because we can’t practice compassion with other people if we can’t treat ourselves kindly

–       It takes courage to let go of who we should be in order to be who were are. But this is necessary for real connection.

–       What makes us vulnerable is also what makes us beautiful.

–       We live in a vulnerable world. And one of the ways we deal with it is we numb vulnerability> but you cannot selectively numb emotion. You can’t say, here’s the stuff I don’t’ want to feel: here’s grief, here’s shame, here’s fear, here’s disappointment, I don’t want to feel these.

–       When we numb those, we numb joy, we numb gratitude, we numb happiness. And then we are miserable, and we are looking for purpose and meaning, and then we feel vulnerable, so then we have a couple of beers and a banana nut muffin. And it becomes this dangerous cycle.

–       numb through addictions, through striving to be perfect, through trying to make our kids perfect, through believing in certainties, through blame.

-But there’s another way: to let ourselves be seen, deeply seen, vulnerably seen; to love with our whole hearts, even though there’s no guarantee, to practice gratitude and joy in those moments of difficulty, “I’m enough,” then we stop screaming and start listening, we’re kinder and gentler to the people around us, and we’re kinder and gentler to ourselves.

Courage to be vulnerable- Open Lvl Class

IS/OS- action of the thighs and tailbone + SL

Strong action in the legs and low back gives us the support to open our hearts with courage.

4 SN for Sarah – with twists and back bends

standing poses and quad stretches

child’s pose

Handstand- demo tailbone action

King author’s pose

Abs > bridge> abs> bridge/urdva

Camel pose

camel assist

camel

child’s pose

standing forward bends

seated twists and forward bends

Savasana

 

Personalize: talk about podcast On Being about Rumi (http://being.publicradio.org/programs/2010/rumi/)

Rumi- Sufi poet from the 13th century, discussing different themes in his poetry:

I think one idea or major concept that the Sufi tradition and Rumi in particular have to contribute to our current culture is value in perplexity, the fact that not knowing is a source of learning, something that propels us forward into finding out. Longing, perplexity, these are all very valuable things. We want to unravel things and get answers and be done, but as far as he’s concerned, it’s a continual process. We can’t be done, and that’s good.

Contextualize:

So much of our cultural focus is about completing and arriving at an end. Dieting until you attain the perfect weight, finishing the race, getting the degree, the job, the relationship and house…  Yoga, like the themes of Rumi’s poetry is a practice that is never complete. I’ve been practicing for over a decade and still feel that I’m in so many ways just a novice, just beginning.

Universalize: We can choose to see our incompleteness/unknowns/perplexity as lack OR we can use it as fuel for our longing to connect more and more with our deepest essence and live our best life. Our philosophy affirms the old cliché that life is about the journey, not the destination. In the heart-space can we live the truth of this cliché?

Even in our longing, we are already full. Purnatva in Sanskrit means fullness, it’s where we get the root for English perfect. Purnatva- One of the attributes of the divine- that the divine is full and lacking nothing. When hold the paradox of our inherent perfection and our longing to be even more full alongside one another, this creates magical momentum for our practice of awakening.

Context Statements:

–     the separation and the longing themselves are a kind of arrival.

–     destination is the journey itself. So there isn’t a point where you say, ‘OK, I’m here, I’ve reached, I’m done, I’m perfect.

–     New moon/Chinese new year- honor the incompleteness and even a sense of emptiness. It is inherent in that incompleteness, in the process of going forward, that you make yourself better and better. So the separation or incompleteness is the powerful force that keeps you going. If you ever felt that, ‘I have arrived, I’ve reached, this is it,’ then you wouldn’t go any further.

–     Not knowing is a necessary and even creative state

–     What is the deepest longing in your heart?

 

Open Lvl Class Plan

Focus: sbl/ shoulderblades on back (shoulder loop). Melt heart=longing

Demo: contrast “lack” posture (rounded/hard upper back) to “longing” > sbl, melt heart/SBOB

All fours- SBL/SBOB

Dog

Plank

cobra

Dolphin> plank

Lunges w/ jump switches

Inverted L

Standing poses with side planks btwn

Quad stretches

Abs

Puvottanasna

Bridge pose

Swaying bridge

Bridge> urdva danurasana> danurasana

Dog> Utt> Parsvottanasana> reclining> Savasana

 

The Song of the Reed – on Rumi’s birth anniversary

Listen to the song of the reed,

How it wails with the pain of separation:

“Ever since I was taken from my reed bed

My woeful song has caused men and women to weep.

I seek out those whose hearts are torn by separation

For only they understand the pain of this longing.

Whoever is taken away from his homeland

Yearns for the day he will return.

In every gathering, among those who are happy or sad,

I cry with the same lament.

Everyone hears according to his own understanding,

None has searched for the secrets within me.

My secret is found in my lament

But an eye or ear without light cannot know it..”

The sound of the reed comes from fire, not wind

What use is one’s life without this fire?

It is the fire of love that brings music to the reed.

It is the ferment of love that gives taste to the wine.

The song of the reed soothes the pain of lost love.

Its melody sweeps the veils from the heart.

Can there be a poison so bitter or a sugar so sweet

As the song of the reed?

To hear the song of the reed

everything you have ever known must be left behind.

— Version by Jonathan Star

“Rumi – In the Arms of the Beloved”

Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam, New York 1997

 

Theme: Igniting our tejas, melting into shanti

Heart Quality: Expressiveness, Freedom

Action: Melt the Heart

Pinnacle Pose: L at the Wall

Looking at the last 2 lines of the Anusara Invocation: Nishprapanchaya Shantaya, Niralambaya Tejase. The translations are descriptions of the inner light, the wisdom of the teacher within and without, what we call Shiva, the auspicious ground of being. I want to focus on Shantaya and Tejase, the last words of the last two lines. Shantaya comes from shanti, which means peace, or freedom. And Tejase comes from tejas which means brilliance, the tip of the flame, the heat of our awareness, the burning light of the soul. Tejas shines through the eyes and it is what makes our yoga yoga – when we add our own light to the poses, when we express that light through our movement and action. And what happens when we ignite this inner light, the light of our awareness? We melt. We become liquified by heat and we melt into an experience of shanti – of peace, of freedom. So today we are going to work on the action of melting the heart. We will build the heat of our awareness, our inner light, and that will melt us into peace.

The lesson that I’ve taken away most from my yoga practice is learning how to melt myself, learning how to soften when I want to harden. I notice sometimes when I’m in a difficult situation, in a tricky relationship I can feel myself tensing up. Do you ever notice yourself doing that? So my yoga practice helps me to remember to soften, to melt myself, to bring the light of my awareness to the situation and to breathe and soften. And when I can do that, the whole interaction transforms. So we are going to practice that on our mats so that we can practice that in our lives. So we can melt ourselves again and again, to soften when we want to harden. Tejas. Shanti. Let’s do it.

Context Statements: The action of melting the heart becomes more and more important as we move into trickier and trickier poses. If we can truly melt the heart we can come easily into the trickiest poses. Similarly  in relationship, the more we can melt ourselves, the more we can soften when we want to harden, the more flexibility we have to encounter those tricky times in relationship.

SEQUENCE

Warmups

– shakedown

-rolldowns (open to breath, brighten with tejas, melt towards the floor)

-crescent moon

SN – airplane arms (meet your eyes in the mirror – tejas shines through the eyes – sense into your brightness)

-gentle twist (express your brightness through the pose – this is where yoga becomes artful expression)

(HANDLESS COBRAS)

SN – runners stretch>full stretch

-hip opener

(LOCUST – hands behind head, or hands clasped)

Action

Melt the Heart –> Opens our back, prepares us for deep backbends. Brings flexion to the mid back, where many of us are tight. The components are: the fullness of inner body bright, shoulder blades drawing onto the back, heart softening down between the shoulderblades

Demonstrate in table, have everyone try it. Bring it back to downward dog, work the action there.

Cobra –> Contrast. Have everyone push straight up from their hands. Ask: Where do you feel the backbend? In your low back, huh? Not delicious. So let’s bring the backbend evenly through the whole spine. Try cobra on fingertips, hands a bit out to the sides. Inhale draw the shoulders up towards the ears, then draw the shoulderblades together on the back, heart melts forward.

L pose at the wall

Vinyasa –

heat (tejas) building vinyasa with downward dogs and cobras in between to melt the heart into shanti

warrior 2> high lunge

warrior 2>high lunge> twisted lunge

warrior 2> high lunge> twisted lunge>triangle

warrior 2> high lunge>twisted lunge>triangle> half moon

Cooldown

Child’s pose

Pigeon Prep

Upavista Konasana

Boddhakonasana

Supta Padang

Savasana

 

 

Theme: Remembering ourselves as pure awesomeness, celebrating ourselves and each other.

HQ: Remembrance and Celebration

Action: Root to Rise (and Muscle and Organic Pulsation)

Apex: Parsvakonasana “ultimate freedom assist”

Opening: This week we are going to continue our journey into Sanskrit, looking at the second line of the invocation “Sat-chit-ananda-murtaye”. Sat means truth, chit means consciousness or remembrance, recognition, ananda means bliss or celebration or expression and murtaye means form. (A murti is a Hindu statue of a god, and it is believed that the forms hold the qualities of consciousness that are associated with that god.) So the whole line together means “This essence inside takes the form of truth, consciousness and bliss”.

Let’s focus on chit and ananda. These are the two core purposes of doing yoga. We do yoga to remember our true selves. What are we trying to remember about our true selves? Well, what if we tried on the idea that we are PURE AWESOMENESS that just decided to become a body, just for the fun of it? But when we get here, we forget. So we go inside and feel self conscious and think people won’t like us. So we do yoga to remember, oh yeah, I’m pure awesomeness!!!! So that’s chit, the remembrance. And once we remember, what do we do? Then, we celebrate, we express our awesomeness. We can do this through yoga, through our whole lives. Our lives become this celebration. And once we remember ourselves as pure awesomeness, we start to recognize others as that pure awesomeness too. And then we can just walk around celebrating everyone, all the time. Life becomes a party!

So today we are going to focus on that remembrance, remembering ourselves, our true selves as deeply awesome. 🙂 And also remembering each other. So we are going to do some fun partnering exercises, to held remind each other, and celebrate each other.

SEQUENCE

Warmups

-partner stretch – TITANIC (I like to call it Michael Jackson)

-sun breaths and folding

-SN – straight leg lunge, gentle twist

-SN – anjaney prep, full stretch

Action

-action today is root to rise, coming off of last week where we did inner spiral and outer spiral (review IS and OS briefly) now we are going to link this action of rooting down the tailbone to going all the way down through our heels, so then we can rise up through the rest of the body. we root down in remembrance of ourselves, and then we can rise up in celebration.

try in: – standing gentle backbend (hands to low back, root down, lengthen hips to armpits, shoulder blades on back, lift heart and curl back. keep rooting down to rise up)

-crescent lunge, curling back, focusing on and playing with root to rise

-partner exercise – locust pose with calf root –> sometimes we need to help each other remember our pure awesomeness. So we are going to give each other a shot of remembrance down through the calves to help our friend rise up in celebration.

Poses

-warrior 2> exalted warrior>triangle

-utkatasana>prayer twist

-demonstrate two options from going from prayer twist to prayer twist lunge (either look down and step carefully back, or untwist, put hands on floor, step back and re-twist)

-utkatasana>prayer twist>prayer twist lunge (both sides)

-parsvakonasana ULTIMATE FREEDOM ASSIST (partner places foot behind parsvakonasaner’s back foot, then gives manual inner spiral and then places hand on hip and roots down through back leg. person in the pose lifts up up and away in celebration, curling chest open!!!)

-baby dancer, reaching toward a partner and holding top hands

Cool Down

-malasana>DD>pigeon prep

-cobbler’s pose>paschimottanasana

-jathara pari>hug yourself

SAVASANA

 

theme: I listen to alot of music from the TV show GLEE and I thought it would be fun to do a yoga class with some glee music in the background. So it got me thinking about creating a theme around Glee – what heart quality would I choose? Thinking about the show, about the high school kids in this glee club who everyone makes fun of, I thought of the quality of tenacity. Tenacity means “not easily dispelled or discouraged”. Which is exactly what the glee clubbers are embodying! They get slushies in the face, they get made fun of, but they keep doing one of the most vulnerable things you can do in high school, which is to get up in front of everybody and SING. They keep moving towards what they want, they are not discouraged by the high school bullies. So, we are going to tap into that quality of resilience and determination in our class today. And rock out to some Glee music.

HQ: tenacity

Action: ME/OE pulse – drawing from periphery to core, expanding out

Apex: Warrior 3

SEQUENCE

Warmups

-shakedown, noodle arms, sun breaths

SN – airplane, knee down

SN – gentle twist, side stretch

DD – knee to chest reps, three legged dog

uttanasana shoulder opener

Action

drawing from periphery to core – suctioning the legs into the pelvis, drawing arms into sockets. try lifting leg right up into leg socket. lift arms to parallel in front of body and draw head of arm bone back into the socket, shoulderblades come together on the back. try in a lunge.

Poses

-parsvakonasana> prasarita with shoulder opener

-warrior 2>triangle

-utka>prayer twist>twisted lunge

-office chair> malasana

Wall

-standing L

-warrior 3 (hands on wall)

-half moon (hand on wall)

-warrior 3, half moon on mat, no wall!

Cool Down

-pigeon

-ardha matsey

-upavista kon

-supta padang

SAVASANA

theme: Om Namah Shivaya Gurave – first line of the invocation. Translate Namah “to bow”, Shivaya – Shiva, name for the ground of being, the all, the auspicious everything, Gurave – Guru, darkness and light. In Anusara the teacher is not something outside of you, but the wisdom within you and the experiences around us that we learn from. It is whatever guides us to move from the darkness to the light. You are your own best teacher. Today we are going to explore self-honouring, paying reverence to the wisdom of our own hearts. So when we come to difficult choices or challenges in our lives, we move from a deeper sense of trust in our own wisdom, our own inner teacher.

HQ: self-honouring

Action: Inner Spiral/Outer Spiral

Categories of poses: hip openers and forward bends

apex pose: pigeon prep with thigh stretch

context statements: word “honour” has two meanings – to hold something in high esteem, with reverence. so that is the bowing to the self, to the teacher within – om namah shivaya gurave. “honour” also means to abide by -like to honour your word. so this is another way that we honour the self – once we are connected to our own wisdom, we abide by that truth, we live by our own truth.

SEQUENCE

Warmups

-spine rolls, front, two sides      (looking inwards, bowing to the teacher within)

-crescent moon

-cat/cow – one leg back, opposite hand/foot

SN – straight leg lunge, gentle twist

SN – anjaney prep> runners stretch, back knee down hip opener

Action

-Inner Spiral and Outer Spiral –> brings pelvis into balance, creates a container that can hold all of our self honouring

-practice in tadasana, uttanasana, downward dog

Meat and Potatoes

-parsvakonasana, prasarita pad

-warrior 2> triangle> half moon

SN – full stretch, pyramid pose

SN – anjaney prep with thigh stretch

-malasana> sit into navasana> navasana crunches

-setu bandha

-pigeon prep folding forward

-child’s pose

-pigeon prep on fingertips

Cool Down

-upavista kon

-viparita karani for 8 minutes

SAVASANA

HQ: Tenacity (persistence, forbearance) and patience (yielding)

 

Personalize: Start with story of something that made me slow down because it was touching/beautiful…

Last week I talked about samskara’s, Sanskrit for groove, rut, habit, or pattern. One of my samskara’s, and I think this is common of our culture, is to rush things, impatience.  Especially true if the present moment feels a bit uncomfortable or boring, or just less-than-perfect… samskara is to push ahead, to forge onwards, leave presence… without really pausing to feel.

 

Contextualize: The truth is, is that the only constant is change. We can absolutely participate in shaping how things change, but there are times and situations when theirs is something to be said for letting things come, open and unfold slowly. Yielding a bit. Today we’re going to do hip-openers and also some restoratives at that end- especially when it comes to opening hips, there is something to be said for patience. Is patience easy? No it often takes huge amount of tenacity, staying power to be with intensity of sensation. Thus tenacious patience.

 

Meditation/Universalize: Pause. Arrive. See if it’s possible to say yes unconditionally to what’s here.  If we’re always in a rush, we often miss the aliveness and joy that’s available to us in the moment. Feel aliveness of breath. Hands. Legs.  How seldom do we actually feel like we fully inhabit the body? This aliveness is cloaked and neglected by the pace of our culture. Our true nature is this pulsating consciousness, awake, alive and free.

 

Context statements:

  • This quality of patience and yielding enables us to more in the flow of life.
  • Tenacity = lower shins
  • Yielding= thighs back
  • Patience= breathe into pelvis, energy open up and muscles/fascia follow.
  • Rest patiently in a vastness of natural awareness- floating in ocean of awareness. When we’re resting in this big awareness there’s room for whatever waves come and go.
  • sense the breath as a current that’s occurring within a larger ocean of sensation. Sense this instant as a moment as a wave that’s rolling through a larger ocean of time.
  • When we take the time to slow down, feel and listen to our inner selves with patience, we have more power to then manifest what we want in our lives with integrity.
  • Enter the Dark. Close your eyes and become quiet in your unknowing. Rest patiently in the mystery of rich darkness. See clearly with your eyes closed, as you hear the truth in the silence.
  • “There is one form of hope which is never unwise and which certainly does not diminish with the increase of knowledge. In that form it changes it’s name, and we call it patience.”

 

Beannacht

(“Blessing”)

On the day when

the weight deadens

on your shoulders

and you stumble,

may the clay dance

to balance you.

 

And when your eyes

freeze behind

the grey window

and the ghost of loss

gets in to you,

may a flock of colours,

indigo, red, green,

and azure blue

come to awaken in you

a meadow of delight.

 

When the canvas frays

in the currach of thought

and a stain of ocean

blackens beneath you,

may there come across the waters

a path of yellow moonlight

to bring you safely home.

 

May the nourishment of the earth be yours,

may the clarity of light be yours,

may the fluency of the ocean be yours,

may the protection of the ancestors be yours.

And so may a slow

wind work these words

of love around you,

an invisible cloak

to mind your life.

~ John O’Donohue ~

 

Flow, Nov 14-17, 2010

warm-ups — cat/cow & hip circles

Dog > straight leg lunge, gentle twist lunge > cobra> dog

 

Tadasana – instruct SITO

Uttanasana – instruct SITO

SN – lunge with hand on outer shin> DD – instruct SITO

30 sec utkatasana – instruct SITO

SN – elbow lunge

 

Prasarita Padottanasana w/ arms interlaced

Parsvakonasana

Eagle

pigeon prep

Bound Parsvakonasana

Child’s pose

 

Upavistha konasana (with partner, feet to shins, hug shins in, thighs out, fold forward)

Ardha matseyendrasana

Pranayama

Supta Baddha Konasana (with blocks under knees)

Savasana

 

 

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