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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

 

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

Theme: The Wild Within – bringing some wildness into our lives can open us to unexpected possibilities, recharge our creative batteries, give us new perspective!

Heart Quality: Wildness (unconventional? perhaps.)

Action: Organic Energy – extend from the focal point out, root to rise

Pinnacle: Wild Thing! (of course)

Last week at my teacher training I was really inspired by one woman who got up to teach, and after she had received some feedback from the teacher and opened some things up in her teaching, shared that she had realized that she had gotten so serious about yoga and teaching that she forgot that it could be joyful and fun. I really identified with her because I have a tendency to get really serious and focused on things. And it’s great to be disciplined and committed, but sometimes that focus can stifle our work, suffocate it. So I started thinking about the idea of wildness, particularly in relation to Halloween coming up, and thinking about what kind of experience a little looseness, a little wildness could bring us.

If you think about a cultivated garden, you can spend so much time pruning it and making it beautiful. And that’s great! But sometimes you really just need to go out into the jungle and have a look around – and find some outrageous plant to bring back with you!

Wildness opens us to unexpected possibilities. You go into the jungle, who knows what you will find? And this can be a great boost to creativity, to anything that might feel too serious or even a little bit boring in your life. What can wildness bring us? Where can it take us?

Centring: Open to the breath. As you deepen into your seat and your breathing, focus your attention on the low belly. I think this is where our wildness lives. See if you can touch in to a small feeling of that wildness. As you hold onto that feeling, bring to mind a project or a relatoinship, something in your life that feels very serious or stagnant. See if you can breathe a little space around it. What could a little wildness bring to this area of your life?

Sequence

WARMUPS

-shakti flings

-partner stretch

-sun breaths

-SN (lunge, gentle twist)

-SN (utka, full stretch, switchbacks –> parsvakonasana to exalted warrior)

ACTION

organic energy is one of my favourite things about anusara yoga. it’s where we get to express ourselves. we’ve been working the past few weeks on muscular engagement – hugging to the midline, firming the muscles. today we are going to look at the balance to that. organic energy expands out in every direction. it roots us down into the ground so we can rise up and expand!

-instruct in Vira 1 (thumbs hooked)

-instruct in DD (demonstrate first –> foundation, claw hands, walk knees back, lift up, firm arms, squeeze midline, then from back of heart press down into hands, from back of heart stretch up to hips and down to heels)

THRILLER VINYASA (in honour of halloween! and wildness)

utka> prayer twist> lunge> prayer twist lunge>DD>cobra (both sides)

parsvakonasana

-standing L at the wall

-warrior 3 at the wall

-half moon at the wall

-cobra x 3

-thigh stretch

-side plank

-wild thing (demonstrate)

-child’s pose

COOLING

-ardha matsey

-pigeon

-jathara parivartanasana

-happy baby

SAVASANA

theme development:

-lift and spread the toes wildly!

-root your wildness down through your feet and then lift the torso up out of the waist, opening to unexpected possibilities! like thriller in a yoga class!

-tap into that wildness in your belly and bring that into your pose

-think of a person in your life who inspires you to be a little wild, a little outrageous. do this pose for them! imagine they are pulling your hands back towards the back wall as you lift up and curl back

-bring your fingers to your head, mess up your hair!

-now with complete disregard for looking cool, walk your hips up jauntily to the top of your mat. this is a rehearsal for later. (got them to walk from DD to uttanasana to the beat of thriller. priceless)

Action: shins-in(steadfastness), thighs-out/widening (humility/surrender/yield)

Personalize: walking in the woods this morning, in the natural environment the trees don’t just throw the leaves in the trash when they are no longer necessary… rather they release them gracefully when it is time, and they fall to the earth to compost and fertilize the tree and the forest. It’s a slow humble process of letting go of what’s no longer serving them and that returns to the earth to be used anew. Nothing in nature is waste.

 

Contextualize: when people notice something that’s no longer serving us- old thoughts, old patterns of speaking or acting- we tend to judge ourselves for it, use it to put ourselves down and diminish ourselves. But the invitation of awareness is to retire these old patterns and defenses humbly and honorably, without judgment for the past- in fact maybe that pattern was useful at one point in time.

 

Humility comes from the Latin root “humus”, which means earth or soil. In the Jewish faith, one way to “rekosher” a utensil is to thrust it into the earth. The earth cleanses and sanctifies. Our focus today will be on opening and rooting the pelvis in order to connect with this energy of the earth and to release what’s no longer serving us so that we have more space to truly connect to the highest in us.

 

Set thighs and lengthen tailbone. Close eyes.

 

Universalize: Cultivating humility means acknowledging our earthiness. We acknowledge that we are matter as well as spirit. We honor our tender mortality. We acknowledge our limitations, material and spiritual. Take a deep breath and exhale with a sigh releasing anything that blocks you from being here right now. We cherish the moment. We cherish the seemingly-small gifts of the universe, of embodiment: the touch of the earth. The warmth of the sun. A smile. The smell of the fall leaves composing and returning to the earth.

 

  • Root chakra governs the energy lower pelvis and the legs. Connection to our earth, to steadiness and security in our lives. Symbolized by square- stable structure- four corners of the feet.
  • letting go of what’s no longer serving us takes discipline, awareness and steady effort. Lift your toes and root through the four corners of your feet. Firm our outer shins into the midline. But this letting go also takes grace- allowing things to move in their course.
  • Shins-in- imagine that you’ve build heavy heart mounds around legs that are keeping them stable and rooted, now widen thighs back yielding the thigh bones back into their root in the pelvis.
  • Deepen the breath into the pelvis- widening and creating a flow through the energetic channels that allow you to release what is no longer serving you.
  • “Be aware of the contact between your feet and the Earth. Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet. We have caused a lot of damage to the Earth. Now it is time for us to take good care of her. We bring our peace and calm to the surface of the Earth and share the lesson of love. We walk in that spirit.” – thich nhat han

Flow – Oct 24, 25, 27

Child’s pose- In this first pose, think of your life like a tree, with trunk and branches and leaves. Some leaves green, others turning brilliant red or orange, others brown. There are certain aspects, patterns, thoughts that are maybe turning a bit brown- Leaves that are ready to drop gracefully to the ground. Just pick one specific leaf, something that your ready to surrender with grace and humility. Hips surrender to heels. In this way we create meaning throughout our practice. Each pose is an opportunity to take part in our own growth and transformation.

Table pose- shins steady, thighs back, tail lengths down without eliminating low back curve

Dog pose

Tadasana – explain root chakra. Four corners of feet

Utkatasana

Lunges

Tadasana with block- pez dispenser

  • dog with block
  • plank with block
  • Chaturanga

low lunges- hug shin to front arm, widen thighs back

(planks in between)

hip opener dog

low lunges with hand on inner thigh

warrior 2

warrior 2> parsvo

parsvo with friend- shins-in and thigh out, then you scoop tail bone

parsvo other side on your own

Trikonasana

Pigeon (demo strong shins to keep low back clear)

Holy hamstring

Dandasana – Breathing- long exhales

Janu Sirsasana

Parivrtta Upavistha

Child’s pose

Jakarta Parivartansana

Savasana

 

Expand Oct 26

Child’s pose- In this first pose, think of your life like a tree, with trunk and branches and leaves. Some leaves green, others turning brilliant red or orange, others brown. There are certain aspects, patterns, thoughts that are maybe turning a bit brown- Leaves that are ready to drop gracefully to the ground. Just pick one specific leaf, something that your ready to surrender with grace and humility. Hips surrender to heels. In this way we create meaning throughout our practice. Doing yoga poses isn’t inherently transformation, without meaning they’re just forms, just like any other exercise regime. But in Anusara see the physical the material as inherently spiritual- each pose is an opportunity to take part in our own growth and transformation on all levels.

 

Table pose- shins steady, thighs back, tail lengths down without eliminating low back curve> Dog pose

Tadasana – explain root chakra. Four corners of feet

Utkatasana > Lunges> Plank> chat> cobra

low lunges- hug shin to front arm, widen thighs back> twist

(planks in between)

twisted dog> hip opener dog

low lunges with hand on inner thigh

 

warrior 2

warrior 2> parsvo

parsvo with friend- shins-in and thigh out, then you scoop tail bone

parsvo other side on your own

 

Pigeon (demo strong shins to keep low back clear)> quad stretch

Trikonasana > Ardha Chandrasana > chapasana

 

Supta Virasana (modification with block and elbows down)

Dog

Holy hamstring/ hanuman

 

Dandasana – Breathing- long exhales

Janu Sirsasana > Parivrtta Janu

Eka Pada Virasana> Krounchasana > Surya Yantrasana

Parsva Upavistha Konasana

Child’s pose

Jakarta Parivartansana

Savasana

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Class 7 (or alt class 6)

Theme: started session by talking about how yoga brings us into balance- body and mind… Worked on standing balancing poses. Now work on more subtle balance of pelvis to bring back into balance

Heart Qual: stability/freedom, steadfastness/yielding

Action: IS*/OS

Define/explain: grounding femur, pubic bone, hamstrings, psoas

Poses: parsvott, supta padang, viprita Karani,

 

Warm ups:

–       Sun breath, side stretches (review root down to rise!)

–       Knee to chest and out to side

–       Dolphin push ups

–       Dog leg lifts and step through- review cheats

–       SN- normal x 2

Poses:

–       IS/OS with block, explain psoas and lumbar curves

–       Prasarita Padottanasana w/blocks

–       Vira 2> Parsvakonasana

–       Trikonasana

–       Parsvott at wall

–       shoulder opener at wall

–       Supta padang at wall

 

Quieting:

  • Viparita karani
  • Breathing (alt nostril)
  • Savasana

 

 

Yoga For Performers Class 2

Heart Quality: Fullness and Expressiveness

Action: IBB (side body long, head of the arm bone back)

Pinnacle: Ardha Chandrasana

Theme: Adding brightness to our creative work – Being aware of the importance of our attitude and intention

focus:  – review Setting the Foundation, Moving with the Breath

vocab: -head of AB, review IFM, SB, BTM, COH, kidneys

Attitude changes everything – not just a trite slogan but a testable truth! Today we are going to be focusing on attitude, looking at the way our energetic attitude can transform our practice of yoga and our creative work. In Anusara Yoga, attitude or intention is the most important aspect of the practice – it’s what gives the movement meaning. It gives us a reason to keep doing it, aside from just fitness. We learn the poses and then through our attitude and intention we learn about ourselves.

The action we are going to work on today is called Inner Body Bright, which I love, and it it is an attitudinal shift as well as having physical characteristics. It’s the first thing we do in a pose, we brighten from the inside and we remember our intention. And we carry that through the whole pose. And as we learn what that feels like in our yoga poses, we can begin to bring that brightness, that sensitivity and awareness into our everyday lives, into our creative work.

So today I want you to connect to a specific area of your life that you want to add an attitudinal brightness to. Maybe it’s a specific creative project you’re working on. Maybe it’s a relationship. Maybe it’s an area of your life, like your relationship to your body, your job, maybe it’s a challenge – you could be feeling a lack of creativity or inspiration. Whatever it is, choose something specific, and really connect to it. And through the class, we are going to focus on adding brightness to your poses and to that specific area of your life. We’re not trying to figure anything out with our intention, or fix anything, we’re just trying to be more aware and approach those areas with a softer, lighter attitude.

Centreing: Soften your skin and feel yourself release down into your seat. Take a few moments to connect with your breath – the gateway to the present moment. Remember your intention from last week – what are you hoping for from the session? Softening into that, connect to a specific area of your life that you want to add some brightness, some luminosity to. It could be part of your creative work or another part of your life. When you have the area clear in your mind, rest around it. Return your focus to the breath and start to breath into it. We are not trying to fix anything, we are just changing our approach.

Sequence:

Warmups            7:10

  • sun breaths and folding (tadasana to uttanasana)
  • utt shoulder stretch>DD>dolphin
  • DD – fire hydrant
  • SN – straight leg lunge, full stretch
  • SN – crescent lunge>runners stretch, gentle twist

Teaching Action            7:25

  • IBB demo

Gather around. Today the action is IBB, physical components of that are lengthening from waist to armpits, the heart lifts and the head of the armbones pin back. It’s also an attitudinal shift – we energetically soften and open, we make more space in our body to approach the pose.

Biomechanical as well as attitudinal – keeps us safe in every pose.

Try in tadasana – contrast.

  • See the contrast in plank (Demonstrate – sagging, crunching in back vs. inner body lifting, integrity)  Now everyone try that standing, pretend you are in plank, let body sag, now, (instruct actions of IBB) feel the difference.

Standing Poses            7:30

  • Vira 1 with thumbs hooked, really get experience of IBB
  • Utkatasana > prayer twist
  • SN – prayer twist lunge>DD>side plank>prayer twist lunge
  • Parsvakonasana>Trikonasana
  • Trikonasana with partner (one hand on hip rooting, one hand on top of head, extending out – really focus on action of lengthening out of waist, fullness of torso, extending through head)
  • Tree
  • Pigeon Prep
  • Trikonasana > Ardha Chandrasana

Cooling            7:50

  • Upavista Konasana
  • Ardha Matseyendrasana
  • Setu Bandha
  • Thread the Needle
  • Upavista Konasana

Savasana            8:05

Yoga For Performers Class 1

Heart Quality: Receptivity

Action: STF, OTG

Theme: Returning to the breath, opening to inspiration

I want to begin by comparing the practice of yoga to the process of rehearsing for a performance, either as a dancer, actor or musician. At the beginning we learn the outer form, and through the rehearsal period we add layers of precision and articulation as our skills and awareness builds. Today we will learn the outer forms of the poses, like learning the initial form of a song, lines or blocking. Throughout the session we will add pieces each week that will allow us to become more precise and articulate. We will layer these on top of the outer form. So today is about learning our lines, learning the song.

But in order to connect this to creativity and the artistic process, to move away from just stretching or just working out, we are going to be very clear on our attitude, or intention. Wherever we are in the stage of learning something, we can always be clear in our intention. So I want to take a moment here for you to contemplate your intention for coming to this class. What are you hoping for?

So we’ll take a moment here to centre, to close our eyes and drop into your intention for coming here. Maybe you don’t know what that is yet. Maybe it’s really clear for you. What are you hoping for? Why are you taking this class? And even wider for that, What is your intention as an artist?

As you hold your individual intention for coming, I want to set a group intention for today, of the quality of receptivity. How can we cultivate this quality in our practice today, in order to move towards fulfilling our own intentions?

Warmups

7:10 -cat/cow>knee to chest>opp arm and leg>hip circles

-sun breaths (connect to breath/intention)

-forward folding (tad>utt)

-dolphin>dolphin pushups

-DD

-utt>straight leg lunge>DD>step forward (both sides)

-utt>gentle twist>DD>step forward (both sides)

Teach action

7:25 -moving with breath, let breath initiate movement (sun breaths)

-filling front back and sides of torso with breath (breathing in tadasana)

-in yoga we learn to pay attention to the breath, important because it is the gateway to creativity. The breath brings us into the present, opens us up. As you watch your breathing, notice your skin softening, your awareness clearing.

-Inspire: to breathe in God or spirit (IN-SPIRE). We are looking for inspiration – the first place we can turn to is the breath.

Standing poses

7:30 -Crescent moon, dancing moon

-crescent lunge (both sides)

-wide legged forward fold>extended side angle>triangle

-runners stretch>quad stretch>DD>side plank>DD>step up

-pigeon prep

-lying down thigh stretch (ardha bhek)

-X pose three ways

Cooling

7:50 -seated twist (ardha matsey)

-bridge (setu bandha)

-windshield wipers (jathara pari)

-thread the needle

-supta padang

8:03            -SAVASANA

Theme: Expanding the present moment

HQ: Steadfastness and Expansiveness

Action: OTG, SITO

Pinnacle: Bound Parsvakonasana

Today the theme is “expanding the present moment”. This is something that I have been thinking about alot, something that is hard for me. To be present, not stuck worrying about the future or re-living or running from the past. I think this is a challenging thing for everyone. There can be a real agony about being in the present moment. But I’ve come across some definitions of the present moment that have helped me think about it differently.

The first definition is called “the fleeting present” and that’s the one I think we’re most familiar with. If time is a line, the fleeting present is a dot moving along that line, so everything before and after that is separate from it. That is the kind of present moment that I often think about when I try to be in the present moment. But that feels so isolated and cramped and tiny! So the second definition has really changed my thinking about the present. The second definition is called “the eternal present” and it is an expansion that includes all time. So the dot on the line expands to include both past and future. The power of the past and the potential on the future are all included in this moment, they are all acting on us all the time. So that feels really exciting and different to me, it doesn’t feel so isolated and tiny. Suddenly being in the present moment has this fullness to it.
And the expansiveness, the moving from being a dot on the line to becoming the whole line (or even more than that) is part of this process of awakening, of awareness. That is one of the highest purposes for our practice, to awaken, to expand our understanding of ourselves to a wider view.

Meditation/Centreing: Visualization – Imagine your past and future are contained in two separate bubbles floating over your head. As you sit here, lift your awareness up and prick holes in the bubbles. Feel the past and present begin to leak into and fill this present moment. What does that feel like?

  • warmups — cat/cow & hip circles
  • SN > straight leg lunge, gentle twist lunge > open dog
  • SN > crescent lunge > full stretch
  • ACTION- since we’re already tackling DEEP THOUGHTS about time, i thought i would tackle another age old question you’ve probably been wondering about, which is “what is the governing principle for the legs in any yoga pose?” I know this has been keeping you up at night, so I will answer that for you now: Shins In, Thighs Out
  • Tadasana – instruct SITO
  • Uttanasana – instruct SITO
  • DD – instruct SITO
  • 30 sec utkatasana – instruct SITO
  • SN – lunge with hand on outer shin
  • SN – elbow lunge > parsvotanasana
  • prasarita padottanasana (jump out)
  • parsvakonasana
  • eagle
  • pigeon prep
  • silver surfer > bound parsvakonasana
  • child’s pose
  • ardha matseyendrasana
  • upavista konasana (with partner, feet to shins, hug shins in, thighs out, fold forward)
  • janu sirsasana
  • savasana

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