Friday, 3 October 2014

Actions of Yoga: Technical Classes

Good posture is more than positioning yourself correctly.  To get better movement you need to understand the actions you are trying to create in and between postures.  

This series of outdoor classes will delve into technical aspects of what movement or action you can create throughout your practice for greater stability, mobility, and ease.  

You will get stronger with less effort.  You will move deeper without strain.  

Come to one or come to all.  

Each week will begin with discussion and practice of techniques and actions around the focus joints, followed by a yoga sequence where the actions are applied. 

Taught in a friendly, relaxed environment where enjoyment of movement is always the most important thing.  Suitable for anyone who wants to explore moving.   

Week 1 & 2: Movements around ankles, knees, and hips
In these classes we will learn how to activate the feet so that you get generate activity in the hips.  We will learn how to use the feet in a variety of postures, both standing and seated.  We will learn how to keep our knees safe by creating activity around the knee joint.  We will learn basic actions at the hip joints for poses where a leg is in froth of the body and when the the leg is behind the body.  You will feel how these movements can help turn on tummy muscles.  You will learn how some commonly instructed movements can cause squashing around the spine whereas a minor adjustment in action can bring freedom.  

This class is especially good for those with ankle and knee problems as it will help you create stability around those joints.  Learning how to create specific actions around the hips will help you find greater movement in a way that is safe.

If you have trouble balancing either on one leg or in tricky poses like parvritta trikonasana or parsvottanasana this is a great class for you.  If you have trouble standing from a lunge you will find better stability through key activations.  This class will help you to create a solid foundation in the lower body so your spine can move freely 

Week 3 & 4: Movements around wrists, elbows, and shoulders
If you do not use your hands well, you will experience sinking into the wrists.  Meanwhile, the armpits are generally neglected in many yoga practitioners.   This can inadvertently cause back pain, neck pain, and instability.  

These classes are great for those who want to free up their shoulders, neck, and upper back.  They will cue you into some of the 'hidden' work that goes on in arm balancing postures like downward dog, bakasana, and plank.  

Week 5: Creating a tummy that is firm but calm
This is such a big one.  Learning how to activate tummy muscles in a way that you still feel at ease and able to breathe without tension is tricky.  But it is the key to a practice that is firm but calm.  Many people are not aware that you can firm your belly in different ways and that 'pulling your navel to your spine' is a confusing instruction that can be performed in a way that can inhibit your breathing and cause tension or in a way that can enhance your internal power and help you feel relaxed.  If this is you then come and explore.  This is a key instruction that leads to a stronger practice with greater ease.

Week 6 & 7: Active spinal movements
Actually, the spine is the most important thing to get moving.  It's position here is not to suggest it is least important!  Quite the opposite.  Here, we will learn about to create active movements of the spine for greater freedom.  Importantly, we will differentiate between hip flexion and spinal forward flexion.  Over-reliance on hip flexion can make your practice weak and your lower back tense.  We will look at side bending, forward bending, backward bending, twisting in detail.  

Week 8: Putting it all together
As it says, we will put all our activations together in a flowing sequence that relies on visual instruction rather than talking.  

Classes are on the grass beside the National Library in a patch of shade.  $15 per class or $100 for all if paid upfront.  I recommend a towel rather than a mat if you want to use anything at all.  


  1. I would love to see the video of these classes!

  2. Hi Ann, Not sure if I can video the all but might see what I can do! Good idea. Also, try the yoga anatomy online course (link at the top right of my page). Much metta,

  3. Thanks. All of you videos and articles have made me think very differently about movement and yoga. I am reminded of internal martial arts like Ba gua and Tai chi