2-20-11 Walking Sticks
Harriet, my lovely assistant and student of Starseed's Yoga Teacher Training Program 2011, prepared the students for a restorative version of Savasana for opening relaxation and reading. Harriet will be with this class for a couple of months observing, learning and teaching.
"Savasana, in spite of its' passive appearance is one of the most difficult poses to master. To put the mind and the body in a state of deep relaxation takes practice. It is important to allow this time for relaxation and nothing else. In this pose, it is important to try to become the observer of the breath, mind, and body and not identify with it. This posture is a conscious sleep, not to be confused with real sleep. One should not allow oneself to fall asleep in this posture."
Harriet shared part of an essay by Faith Fennessey on "Shavasana - Corpse Pose."
"Build the mind with beautiful ideas. Build the nerves with Pranayama and build love with chants, psalms or mantras. You can use Yoga practices to smooth any hectic day. Yoga should be a joyful celebration. Remember that. All your practices can be a joyful celebration. But even in the intensity, enjoy yourself. Be playful and relax. It will help if you keep this in mind: It is for peace that I am doing everything. Just do your part and let the rest take care of itself. You must learn to stand on your own two feet. Yoga never asks you to run away from your troubles, but teaches you how to face life. Your practices are not to achieve happiness and peace, but to stop anything from distrubing it."
-Sri Swami Satchidanada, To Know Your Self, Chapter 26. Walking Sticks
Opening Chant: 3 OM's
OMkaraam Bindu Samyuktam OM, united with the source
Nityam Dhyaayanti Yoginaha On which the yogis ever dwell
Kaamadam Mokshadam Chaiva Grants desires and liberation
OMkaaraaya Namo Namaha Salutations to the OMKaram.
Harriet lead a wonderful standing warm-up bending the spine in the six natural movements available. First, twisting right to left, letting the arms be heavy like empty coat sleeves. Second, lateral stretching the arm up and over the head feeling a stretch on one side of the body. And, lastly forward and backward movements as we inhaled our arms up overhead (slight backbend) and exhale sweeping the arms down with a sigh. The students were receptive, engaged and ready for more movements.
Class sequence following warm-up:
Surya Namasakara (Sun Salutations) with lunge and Astangasana (eight pointed pose) 2x, Anjaneyasana (lunge variation), lunge, table, cat/cow, Adho Mukha Svanasana (downward facing dog), lunge, side prayer twist lunge, Balasana (child's pose), Adho Mukha Svanasana, Virabhadrasana II (warrior II) > Trikonasana (triangle pose) 2x, Virabhadrasana I (warrior I) > Parsvottanasana (intense side stretch) 2x. Balasana.
Pelvic tilts lying on back - exhale and curl tailbone, inhale and arch tailbone up. Vinyasa for bringing the knee into the chest: inhale lying on your back, exhale one knee into chest, inhale expand, exhale lift head and chest, inhale release knee, exhale opposite knee into chest and repeat sequence two rounds on each side. Then hug both knees into chest - Apanasana (apana -"vital air" that helps eliminate waste- pose). Begin leg lifts intersperced between all spinal twists. Three variations with Jathara Parivrtti (supine belly twist). a) boths knees to the ground, b) knees 2" off ground, and c) straight legs - extend through both heels - 2" from floor, bend knees to come back in to center. Navasana (boat pose) variations a) with hands behind thighs, straighten one leg at eye level, b) extend both legs out, still holding behind the thighs, and c) yogi choice to let go of your grip and straighten arms - reach through the fingertips and extend through both heels. Ankle to knee pose extending opposite leg out, cross ankle rock and roll on the spine 6x coming up to Sukhasana (simple cross legged pose), Dandasana (staff pose), Paschimottanasana (west back stretch), Savasana (corpse pose) with guided relaxation. Played the solar plexus chakra crystal singing bowl to come out of Savasana.
Final reading from Sri Swami Satchidananda's To Know Your Self, p. 159
"Its not [always] an easy journey, but if you understand it well and know the benefits, you will enjoy it. Yogic life is always joyous. If you don't enjoy the practices and the journey, then you are not doing anything in the name of Yoga. But just because you are enjoying something that doesn't mean you may take it lightly. If you are serious when you drive, you enjoy the road. If you are careless, you won't enjoy the trip at all. Seriousness is important, but don't become tense. When you are tense, you are not practicing with the right attitude - you haven't yet understood what you are doing. According to the Yogic approach, if you understand why you are doing something, you will do it well, and really enjoy it."
Ending Peace Chants:
Asato Maa Sad Gamaya Tamaso Maa Jyotir Gamaya Mrityor Maa Amritam Gamaya
Lead us from unreal to Real, lead us from darkness to the Light. Lead us from the fear of death to the knowledge of immortality.
OM Shanti, Shanti, Shanti.
Lokaah Samastaah Sukhino Bhavantu
May the entire universe be filled with Peace and Joy, Love and Light.