(Source: pellizcodenalga, via robertoalejandro)
Hattie’s flow class at Avalon Yoga studio emphasized diagonal breathing stretches, which surfaced repeatedly along the sequence of poses. Variations on the breathing stretch, and modifications to deepen the poses built up the sequence to a point of challenge, before we lay down to Savasana.
We started the class by laying on our mats, sweeping our arms with the wave of the breath.
Laying down, we stretched the body diagonally with the breath. Right arm and left leg stretching the body, then left arm and right leg stretching away in opposite directions.
We also did this stretch laying face down - this time, lifting the limbs off from the ground.
Going into tabletop position, with knees and hands on the mat, we repeated this stretch. Holding the lift of the leg and arm provided a balancing exercise.
We wove this diagonal stretch in to a flow. Standing with feet slightly wider apart than the hips, we stretched up to one side with an inhale. Then, bending the knees into goddess legs, we came into a light bouncing gesture, as the arms swept out and back into a self hug. Finally, we inhaled and stretched up to the other side.
From here, we lifted the back leg forward, bending at the knee. We also sent the leg back, and lifted the calf up towards the buttocks, bending at the knee.
We had a four-hour course on pre-natal yoga. Since it would require much, much more than four hours to cover this subject in depth, our experienced instructor Ro Mamone treated the workshop theme as, “how to design poses for pregnant women if they walk into your yoga class.” In addition to going over poses, we learned effective tips on managing the classroom when there is a mix of non-pregnant and pregnant students.
Beneficial poses for pregnant women differ depending on how far along they are in their pregnancy. We divided the pregnancy into three trimesters, and dealt with each stage differently.
Underlying principles were - opening of the hips and pelvic floor are healthy (generally expressed through widening the knees in poses). Compression of the belly is not. In the second and third trimesters, laying on the back is not good since it compresses a major vein in the lower back.
We practiced modifying poses to avoid compressing the belly or the back - by bringing an incline to reclined poses with bolsters and blocks, modifying the pose to use the support of the wall, or, modifying the pose to stretch sideways instead of forward if it would compress the belly.
if they do not belong to you!
(Source: wagnerrios, via mermaidyoga)
Classmate, Tiffany, listening.
James Fox taught a 4-hour class, introducing us to the Prison Yoga Project, and guiding us through a sequences he teaches prisoners at San Quentin.
He takes a trauma-informed teaching style, focusing on self care and creating a nurturing atmosphere.
Traumatic situations lack three characteristics: Predictability, Safety, and Control. The class is designed so that these elements are given back to individuals. Students stand along the walls so that there is nothing to be wary of behind their back. The movements are predictable - every transition is made slowly, with deliberateness. The teacher stays in place, and practices with the students in order to create a sense of camaraderie and to respect the personal space around individuals.
What is striking about the practice, is its simplicity in routine, as well as the simplicity of language used to describe the body and breath.
Girish was in the studio yesterday, introducing us to chanting and the harmonium.
Richard Rosen from Piedmont Yoga taught yesterday’s yoga teacher training session on beginning pranayama at Avalon Yoga studio.
The following posts present ways to approach a breathing practice.
One of the most important poses for Pranayama, or breathing, practice is Savasana, or corpse pose.
Lay down on a mat, and adjust the position of the body starting from the feet.
Do this yourself, or through an assistant.
1. Place the feet at hip distance apart or narrower. Roll them inward and outward to relax the muscles at the hip creases.
2. Widen the pelvis at the bottom where it contacts the floor, and narrow the pelvis at the front side.
3. Locate a shoulder blade, and gently glide it down and out to relax the shoulders, “pasting” it onto the ground. Do the same on the other side.
Sandbags can help root down the body, and can be placed in the following areas -
- along the hip creases
- draped over the forehead and eyes
- drapes over the outer sides of the forearm to externally rotate the arms and shoulders.