Introduction to Alignment Based Yoga: Class 3

This is syllabus from the third class in the six week "Introduction to Alignment Based Yoga" at Birmingham Yoga, Monday November 3rd, 5:30-6:45pm.  Please note that this is just an outline of the discussion topics and asanas covered and doesn't include an explanation of alignment cues. You have to attend class for the really good stuff!  The next Intro to Alignment series is in the process of being scheduled at Birmingham Yoga for the beginning of March through April.  More info to come soon! 


2nd sutra of Patanjali: “Yoga chitta vritta nirodha”-- Yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind. (Stillness, clarity.)

Swami Vivekananda uses the metaphor of a lake to illustrate this sutra: “[Chitta] is the mind-stuff, and Vrttis are the waves and ripples rising in it when external causes impinge on it. The bottom of the lake we cannot see, because its surface is covered with ripples. It is only possible when the ripples have subsided, and the water is calm, for us to catch a glimpse of the bottom. If the water is muddy, the bottom will not be seen; if the water is agitated all the time, the bottom will not be seen. If the water is clear, and there are no waves, we shall see the bottom. That bottom of the lake is our own true Self; the lake is the Chitta, and the waves are the Vrttis.”

Inspiration from my teacher, senior Iyengar teacher Matthew Sanford, who happens to be paraplegic,“Each day that I get on my mat, I open to the vastness of yoga rather than narrow myself to the goal of that day. I feel wonder and I realize that every pose is infinite and that ultimate mastery is not possible. I feel wonder as my practice teaches me to trust that time, dedication, and curiousity are what bring me to progress-- not the intensity of my will.  Most of all I feel wonder about the little things--how my breathing is such a sensual experience.” 

Asanas:  Introduction to twisting poses.  Some tips and the benefits of twists explained by YogaJournal here.

Sukhasana, Easy sitting pose

Supta Tadasana (see week 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (see week 1) 

Supta Padangusthasana 3

Jahara Parivartanasana Reps (bent knees) (see week 1)

Traction twist (see Week 1)

Sukhasana twist

Table top, cat/cow

Down dog, Adho Mukha Savasana (see week 2)

low lunges

Twisted lunge

We did this one with the bottom hand on a block, the top hand on the bent knee to use as leverage in the twist

We did this one with the bottom hand on a block, the top hand on the bent knee to use as leverage in the twist

Down dog, Adho Mukha Savasna (see Week 2)

Tadasana (see Week 2)

Tadasana with arms in a T

Tadasana twist with arms in a T

Prasarita Padottanasana, flat back (see Week 2)

Prasarita Padottanasana twist

Prasarita Padottanasana extended


Setu Bandha Sarvangasana, Bridge Pose

Apanasana, Hug knees (see Week 1)

Savasana, Corpse Pose (see Week 1)

Next week:  We'll be returning to some of the standing poses learned in Week 2 and have an introduction to chest openers/spinal extension. Try to get in just a few minutes of practice a day at least!