Introduction to Alignment-Based Yoga: Class 4

Class 4 of the "Introduction to Alignment-based Yoga" six week series was focused on chest and shoulder openers.

 *recommended text for further study, source of quotes from class: click picture to find the book on Amazon.com

*recommended text for further study, source of quotes from class: click picture to find the book on Amazon.com

We started in Sukhasana, Easy Sitting Pose, and discussed "sankalpa" which means to set an intention.  I recommended one of my favorite yoga books for further study, The Spirit and Practice of Moving into Stillness by Erich Schiffman.  In this book, Erich talks about what it means to "play the edge" in asana, sensing where your edges are and learning to hold the body there with awareness, moving with its often subtle shifts  He goes on to say that skill in yoga has little to do with flexibility, that it is a function of how sensitively you play the edge, "There is no ideal or completed posture-- each one is an ever-evolving, constantly moving energy phenomenon that is different from day to day, moment to moment, person to person...The process of sensitively flirting with your edges and achieving perfect energy flow is not merely the means to achieve the pose--it is the pose."

Asana Practice:

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Twisting Pose) Reps (bent knees)*

Traction twist*

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) with brick between knees (focus on chest action)*

Uttana Padasana (Fish pose) 

 We did this pose with bent knees.  Remember, the goal isn't to get on the crown of the head, but to press the back of the head down to use muscles at the back of the neck and to squeeze/activate muscles between shoulderblades

We did this pose with bent knees.  Remember, the goal isn't to get on the crown of the head, but to press the back of the head down to use muscles at the back of the neck and to squeeze/activate muscles between shoulderblades

Adho Mukha Svanasana (Down dog) to lunges*

Tadasana (Mountain Pose)*

wide arm urdhva hastasana (arms over and back with belt)

 inner shoulder blades down the back, external rotation of the arms

inner shoulder blades down the back, external rotation of the arms

 Outer arm bones roll back to open the chest, inner shoulder blades down the back. 

Outer arm bones roll back to open the chest, inner shoulder blades down the back. 

Gomukhasana (arms only) (Cow face pose)

Purvottanasana--bent knee (reverse table top)

Apanasana (hug knees)*

Savasana (corpse pose)*

*= these poses are review from previous classes.