The Yoga Path • Omaha, NE

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{ Practicing Physical, Mental & Spiritual Health }

Yoga for Times of Crisis

For the next few posts I will talk about how to practice on your own, offering various themes. Today it will be a sequence that BKS Iyengar offered right after the 9/11 tragedy: It was titled:

Yoga Sequence For Times Of Crisis*

The emphasis is to build up one’s emotional strength, not physical stamina or flexibility. With that in mind, here are some specific recommendations as to how to move through these asanas:
~No standing poses. No backbends.
~All poses should be done with eyes open (including savasana). Try to flatten your vision if you know how or at least notice where you gaze is going and try not to let it drift. Or imagine your eyes are located at the temples and to “open” these eyes.
~Do not worry about a perfect pose. However, while breathing in any asana, breathe in such a way that the breath touches the lateral side of the chest during inhalation.
~Be patient and hold each pose from 2-5 minutes

1. Savasana (corpse pose; can be done supported on a bolster or blankets. Be comfortable but not sleepy. Remember eyes stay open.)

2. Supta baddha konasana (reclining bound angle pose. This can be done supported on a bolster or blankets and with a strap if you have one.)

3. Supta virasana (reclining hero pose; can be done supported on a bolster or blankets. Prop yourself up on a chair or stairs if this difficult for you. If this not doable because knee pain, just do the prior pose longer.)

4. Prasarita padottanasana/wide legged forward bend (Make sure the head is supported.)

5. Uttanasana /standing forward bend (again with arm support on a block or chair.)

6. Adho mukha svanasana /downward facing dog pose (again get the head supported.)

7. Viparita dandasana inverted staff pose over a chair or firm cushion (strapping the legs around the mid-thigh is recommend)

8. Sirsasana / headstand (against the wall if you want or do the “preparation poses” for as long as you can. Try to do some version of this as as safely as you can, but don’t skip it.)

10. Setu bandha sarvangasana (supported bridge pose, try make it accessible but not too easy)

11. Sarvangasana / shoulderstand (this can be done supported on a chair or from the wall as we practiced in class. If you have difficulty holding, lapse into halasasa / plow pose; again from the wall.)

Pranayama: End with Antara kumbhaka a very short retention on the inhalation. (This is just holding the in-breath just a little longer than normal. Do this in a comfortable, stable seated pose. Just notice the desire to breath out, then exhale. Don’t strain the breath here. You may notice your inhale grows deeper.)

*Please refer to BKS Iyengar, Yoga: The Path to Holistic Health

a gift from guruji BKS Iyengar

Let us know how it works for you.

Filed under: Education, Virtual Yoga, , ,

How are Sun Salutations going?

“Asana, one of yoga’s most significant “tools,” help the sincere student develop physically and spiritually. The ancient sages believed that if you put your whole heart into your practice, you become master of circumstances and time.” BKS Iyengar

You knew I was going to ask. Now that classes are suspended, I can’t bug you in person before each class as to how’s it going with your 108 sun salutations? But now that we’re all distancing ourselves and settling into the new normal that is our life, the practice of yoga is now available in new ways. Surya Namaskara is the ideal entrance into a daily practice.

For those of you unfamiliar to the Yoga Path history, every March students and teachers at the Path commit to do 108 sun salutations for the month. The shared endeavor has been nicknamed “March Madness.” Some students talk about this event as early as the beginning of the year. Others avoid the subject with a quiet dread and contempt. Some rebel at the idea of keeping score, while the more analytic types, map out their plan to complete the goal on or before deadline.

I don’t remember how this tradition even got started, but was surprised and gratified to discover that, for some, they actually took their practice home. We created a card to track our progress with 108 squares. Some would even come to class earlier than usual to knock off a few before class started. One of my students reported that she would do a couple of them every evening, during the commercials while watching the news.

First completed card 2020

Some resist this regimenting of yoga with all their might. Some just don’t like the sequence. But whatever gets people practicing on their own, to me, is a good thing.

I usually encourage students to use surya namaskara as a starting point for practicing. Don’t worry about the amount you do, but how it feels while doing them. Sometimes the first couple don’t seem very worthwhile, like the beginning of run, but let yourself settle into the flow of the sequence. Or just start with a salutation, but leave it behind if the body needs to do other asanas.

Here is a sheet to see how we practice surya namaskara at the Yoga Path. However, as my teacher Margaret Hahn use to say, “the sun salutation is like potato salad. Everyone has their own recipe.: Just Google surya namaskara / sun salutations to get a couple of thousand variations on a theme. Below is pictured the Iyengar version from the Preliminary Course book.

Just practice it for yourself and for the others in your life. It can do nothing but good! You still have 10 days to go.

Filed under: Education, Uncategorized, Virtual Yoga, , , , ,

De-stressing pose

YOU CAN USE YOUR asana practice as a tool to de-stress physically, physiologically, and psychologically, body, mind, and spirit. Creating a position that allows for deep. deliberate diaphragmatic breathing will calm and relax the autonomic nervous system. The reclining twist shown in this picture will provide relief to agitated adrenal glands, the source of much of the stress hormones in the body.

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Jathara Parivartanasana

Lay on your back with you arms straight out from the shoulders. Palms up or down depending on what feels most grounded. Tuck you knees and drop you legs to the right. If it’s hard on the low back, tuck the knees more and/or leave you feet on the floor when going to the side. As you twist to the right, bring your attention to your left mid-band along the bottom of you rib cage. Find the spot above you left kidney where you feel the physical movement of you breath. Relax and hold this from 2 – 5 minute, working with your breath and body. Don’t twist the neck. Gaze up and yes maybe even close your eyes. When you come out, bring up one leg at a time. Do the other side.

Repeat as often as you want. But if you find yourself agitated before doing this, do some active standing poses to get you warmed up and your heart going. (Maybe even some sun saluttations). This gentle twist floods the adrenals–located on top of the kidney–with nourishment and opens them to the breath.

Filed under: Education, Virtual Yoga, , , , ,

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