Friday, 18 December 2015

A Five minute Sequence

Sharing a five minute sequence, in real time, from our current sequence.  If you only have five minutes this one is lovely. 

Beautiful Yogis

Levitating Yoga Mascot
 Just wanted to share some beautiful post yoga moments over the past few weeks.  Some of you might not have seen these photos demonstrating your joy, radiance, humour, contentment, and general amazingness.

After 9 weeks everyone has nailed this one!

Some days it has been hot enough for a swim (for some at least)

A drizzly day taking shelter under the High Court.  Can't believe we still needed our icebreaker kit just a few weeks ago!

A bit of practice before class.
We had lots of fun with this posture.  In week one most of us were falling over like dominoes. But by week 9 we were beautiful side lying Buddhas.  

Oh, just me having a bit of fun after class in my batgirl pose. 

Lovely homemade Komboucha by Chris after classes.

Perfect evenings when we just wanted to stay and camp out under the stars....

...and a few stormy ones where we had to trek for shelter!

A very tricky tummy-spine awaking posture.  Great job guys!

Can't wait until the next sequence!  Next week I will have a stand alone sequence made up depending on who comes to class and we will start with a new sequence in the new year.

It has been a joy to teach you guys and see how much you have learned in the past 9 weeks.  Outstanding!

Much metta,

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Forward bend, handstand prep, and backbend

Here I show the transition between forward bend, handstand prep, and backbend that we are practicing in our current sequence.  

Watch the video first then I highlight some key points.  In the video I do a lot of wriggling around.  It took me several takes to complete this video.  I have several rotated vertebrae along my spine which makes arm balances difficult as I tend to lean into one shoulder and it is not comfortable.  A part of my wriggling is me squirming around trying to get length wherever I sense a sense of 'dis-ease'. 


Key points

Bend knees and push them forward.  Push hips down and forward.  Push shoulder blades forward and up.  

Continue to come down by bending knees and pressing hips down and forward.  Who cares about straight legs?  It is not important here. 
Hands to the ground, knees can be bent.  

If possible and comfortable then...
..straighten the legs. 

One hand forward, other hand pressing into back of calf.  Toe tip back (same side as the hand that is forward).  Press the armpits in the direction they are facing (firm them).  Lean forward so the forward leg toes start to grip.  Press the sitting bone of the forward leg down and forward towards the front toes. Knee can stay bent.  

Keeping previous actions, bring knee to chest.  

Keeping previous actions, take knee towards the sky.  Be mindful not to let the sitting bones go up.  I keep an effort in pressing them down and forward.  Even though my knee is going up to the sky I still feel as though I am making an effort to bring it towards my chest. 

Straighten the raised leg.  The raised leg thigh turns in.  The grounded leg thigh is rolling out. 

Bring both hands to ground in front.  Firm the armpits. Keep lower ribs lifted into middle back.

Lean forward so hands come flat on the ground.  Bring knee towards chest.  You can keep more weight on grounded foot if needed and stay here. 

Or, keep leaning forward so more weight comes to the finger tips and the back heel raises.  Keep drawing knee to chest.  Look forward.  Try to bring the grounded leg knee towards your chest.  It probably won't go anywhere but get the feeling.  Stay here.  It is pretty intense.  Or...

Maybe there is a handstand.  Maybe not.  It is all good. 

Back down.  Knees bent.  

Press hips forward to stand.  Armpits forward. 

Keep pressing knees and hips forward.  Armpits forward and up as you raise the body. 

Arms straighten as you continue to press armpits forward and up. 

Begin to lengthen the front of the body without squashing the back. 

Keep lifting and lengthening the spine, hips moving forward.  Find your position.  It may not be the same as mine.  

We have been practicing this for the past 8 weeks.  It is pretty intense.  Next week we will work on it as part of our silent practice.  Until then, happy and safe practicing.  Do not do anything that hurts.  Ask questions as needed!

Much metta,

Saturday, 12 December 2015

Three pronged backbend

This is one to try once you feel confident and stable in a backbend from the ground.  Basically you work with taking one limb off at a time (always having three on the ground) and trying to maintain the integrity of the posture without sinking or dropping or squashing.

Saturday, 5 December 2015

How To Use Shoulders In Postures To Support Spinal Movement

In this post I just wanted to share a single point.  That is, it will help unsquash the spine in a variety of postures if you can push the shoulder blades apart and lift the front body.  

I show three different actions in each position.  

First, the action of squeezing shoulder blades together.  This act in itself has the effect of lifting the front chest but tends to create squashing in the back body.

Second, the action of pushing the shoulder blades apart.  This act in itself has the effect of tending to enhance a rounding of the upper back.

Third, the action of pushing the shoulder blades apart and then lifting the front body.  This has the effect of supporting length in both the front body and the back body.  

I use this third type of combined shoulder/shoulder blade/spine movement in a variety of postures.  It is very important if you are trying to keep the spine long in postures, such as the ones shown here.  

Watch the video below to see me show the three iterations within each posture.  

In Standing: View From The Back

squeeze shoulder blades together

push shoulder blades apart

push shoulder blades apart and lift the front body

In Standing: View From The Front

squeeze shoulder blades together

push shoulder blades apart

push shoulder blades apart and lift the front body

In Virabhadrasana II
squeeze shoulder blades together

push shoulder blades apart

push shoulder blades apart and lift front body

Drop backs
squeeze shoulder blades together

push shoulder blades apart (forward and up)

push shoulder blades apart (forward and up) and lift front body

Spreading the shoulder blades while trying to lengthen and lift the front body (and not squash the back body) can help you feel lifted and lengthened in a variety of postures.  

A sample of which postures you can apply this to if provided here.  In class I give details on other postures where you can use these actions to support length and lift in even more postures.

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Wriggling Spine

Here I show a wriggling spine that lifts and lengthens as it comes into a backdrop.  It's fun.

But it is not important to do a backdrop.  Only if you feel it is there.

This wriggling spine can be applied to all poses where you need to lengthen.

Music optional!