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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.


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 with bind    *strap if needed

Child’s pose with active arms


EPK prep

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



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.



-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 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.


-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



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.



-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


-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


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



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


Pigeon (demo strong shins to keep low back clear)

Holy hamstring

Dandasana – Breathing- long exhales

Janu Sirsasana

Parivrtta Upavistha

Child’s pose

Jakarta Parivartansana



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)


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









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


–       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



  • Viparita karani
  • Breathing (alt nostril)
  • Savasana



These are adjustments that can be given by a teacher. If the comfort level and sensitivity of the class is high the more therapeutic ones could also be taught as partner exercises.

Parsvokonasana Top Arm Integration Assist

-this adjustment can be given if the periphery of the top arm(i.e. the hand) is extending backward at a faster rate than the lower arm

-approach the person from behind with SSA (Sensitivity, Stability and Awareness

-have them reach their top arm out straight in front of them (or guide them there)

-hold their wrist, cup their bicep and plug the arm bone into the socket. holding that firmly, extend the arm up overhead, and instruct them to stretch long from the pelvis through the legs and up through the arms

-your thigh is right behind their torso so they feel stable but you are not pressing into them

-to come out, inhale and keeping hold of their wrist, assist them back up

Ardha Chandrasana Assist

-this is simple. from behind, stabilize the top hip with one hand and hold the top wrist with the other.

Headstand Assist

-with the palm of your hand, root the base of the skull down (active organic) as they lift everything else up from that point! an experience of the upper palate focal point.

-another one, to get an opening in the mid back: approach from behind and bring the outer shin across the upper back, making sure the tone of the shin is even – because they are balancing you have to be especially sensitive. place hands on their hips and pressing the shin evenly into the low back lift them up through the hips!

Ustrasana Assist

-Anchor the hips down (active organic energy) to give them more rooting to rise up from

Inner Spiral Therapeutics

-have person lie on their back with their knees bent, soles of the feet on the floor, arms in cactus position

-standing over them, cross hands and bring hands to inner thighs, and widen in back and apart, and root down (to bring femurs into sockets)

-release and use both hands to do each side individually, drawing the flesh of the buttocks and thigh out as you widen the thigh in an inner spiral

-watch the thighs, observe them, see if they are changing/releasing

-pick up the legs, bring the ankles into armpits, then hold the shins and hike the legs up, bringing their pelvis off the ground. sway lightly from side to side. oh sweet release.

-release them down, pulling gently on the feet to release the pelvis

-lengthen the legs, bringing them down, then have them bring soles of the feet to the floor again, and start from the beginning, holding the inner spiral and watching their breath return and deepen

-you can have them bring their arms into robot arms, press into their upper arms, and then keep pressing the inner thighs back, apart and down. AWESOME.

Pigeon Therapeutics

-have person come into pigeon. you want to make sure their sacrum is level, that is the optimum position for the sacrum. don’t worry about the buttock flesh, it will be uneven because of the position, but you want to make sure the sacrum is not on an angle. So to release it, you need to create stability and width. Stabilizing the outside of the back leg with your foot/ankle, widen the thigh of the back leg back, pressing into the outer hip, drawing it all the way around. On the bent leg side you can place the hand in the hip crease and create an outer spiral, bringing the other hand to draw the belly away from the thigh, creating space. If the person is pretty tight you can have them bring their torso diagonally over the front leg to help square the hip of the back leg. Have them keep the shin hugging in and then widen the thigh themselves. Once the sacrum has leveled you can root their hips down.

-a simple sequence for this would be to adjust the back leg (manual inner spiral, stabilizing the back leg with your ankle to their outer shin) then adjust the back leg AND the front leg (inner spiral on back, outer spiral on front), then root their hips down

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

Love this grounding class. Subtle awareness of organs bring us out of the thinking mind.

Tara’s cues I love:

– lean back into the support of the back lungs.

– jumping up to utt- soft heart before jumping so you center in heart focal pt

– tailbone anchors down like a rutter

– expansion of inner body out towards outer body

– dog- limbs move in opposite directions to make for great expansion of trunk.

-plank- back body magnetized to ceiling

– hip openers teach you process of taking on any intense experience and staying with your own inner peace. organs are peaceful.

– ME- intelligently organize muscles to shape the matrix of the skeleton

– being mind- when the thinking mind see’s a white wall, it is like 3 yr old saw a white who has a crayon- color all over it. the being mind can just see the white wall and let it be.

– pause, breath, harmonize

– in prasarita- pull feet in, feel inner thighs fire. pull feet out, feel outer thighs fire. pull feet back feel hams fire, pull feet forward, feel quad fire- this is ME on all four sides

– santosha= peace, natural state of being. yoga bringing us back to natural state.

– as you breath into the back of the lungs notice, how does that shift your experience?

– agnistombasana + twist= yum!

– not measuring against another but coaxing yourself into a deeper experience.

-how do we find being inside of ourself?

– really appreciate seeing people’s patience with their bodies. How we are with our bodies is an indicator for how we interface with everything else.

– set foundation cue- “organize feet’

– if our practice simply restores us to the ground of being… to that feeling of peace and wellness, it is a good practice. So to that grounding supportive energy please bow.


  • dog pose
  • lunges
  • SN x 5 (just utt, plank, chat, cobra, dog, utt)
  • parsvok stance with hands down to inside- big IS
  • Triko> prasarita> triko
  • dog leg lift
  • warrior 2
  • road kill pigeon > x-pose
  • anjaneyasana
  • parvritta parsvo – twist originates in organs)
  • pigeon
  • thread the needle in pigeon
  • agnistombasana
  • paschimott
  • janu shirsh twist
  • pasch
  • hug knees in
  • savasana
  • meditation