Do nothing with the body but relax.
"Balance is always a dynamic process in which a multitude of components are constantly adjusting their relationships to one another. It is never a static state. Its essence can never be captured in a still photograph. Its more of a verb than a noun, more of a dance than a posture. Just as every human body is unique in structure and appearance, so too will everyone's expression of balance be unique. Your body will never look like anyone else's; it will only look like you. And so your expression of balance too, will never quite look like anyone else's.
"The goal of Yoga of balance is not to strive to attain some kind of perfected condition of balance, but simply to play with balance as your close companion in your dance through life. There is no such thing as a perfected state of balance. If you make the mistake of striving to embody some kind of perfect state, you will lock the body into a holding condition from which it is impossible to relax, and this will only block the continued release and liberation of the evolutionary energies. Remember: balance is an exploratory verb, not some kind of perfect noun. Sensations are constantly changing, and so is balance. Only a fluid and flexible body can allow the sensations and energies to keep moving through it.
"The goal of the practice is simply to do the practice, to keep playing with balance, to keep relaxing and yielding to the new sensations and energies that present themselves in each ensuing present moment, to feel how you can keep surrendering to these energies and accepting the states of mind that such a fluid embodiment reveals.
"Our goal is to become human, fully human, and through this fulfillment, the light of God can shine through us and brighten up the earth."
-Will Johnson, Yoga of the Mahamudra The Mystical Way of Balance, pgs. 29, 39, 40
Visualize a really tall redwood tree in a forest in California. See how straight and sturdy it is. Now think of skyscraper in New York City. How are these structures able to withstand gravity? How do the tall trees and skyscrapers stand so straight and yet sway with the wind? Alignment, that's how. When the body is in perfect alignment, when the joints are stacked one on top of the other (feet/ankles, knees, hips, shoulders, head) gravity is able to flow naturally through the body, through the vertical axis, and allows the body to relax. When the posture is slouched, the muscles are tense as they try to automatically fix the imbalance, hence back pain. Today we will focus on alignment, paying close attention to the foundation and the way the feet touch the earth during our exploration with balance.
Sequence: Savasana (corpse pose), Sukhasana (simple seat) for 3 OM's, Urdhva Baddhanguliyasana (upward bound palms pose), arm cross - deltoid stretch, shoulder rolls, neck rolls, body rolls, Dandasana (staff pose), Pavanmuktasana (series of point/flex), ankle circles, Paschimottanasana (west back stretch), Janu Sirsasana (head to knee pose).
At this point, my fabulous assistant, Lucy, took over to teach:
Tadasana (mountain pose), Utthita Hasta Padasana (extended hands and feet pose), Utthita Trikonasana (extended triangle pose) 3x short hold ea side, Tadasana, Utthita Hasta Padasana, Virabhadrasana II (warrior II), Utthita Parsvakonasana (extended side angle pose), Tadasana.
[Lucy did a great job! I am so proud of her, the teachings came out so naturally. We had ten students of mixed level of beginners and it was quite a challenge, yet so beautiful and special. It is truly a blessing to have this experience with a new teacher and friend. Next week is our final week together, then she graduates!]
Vrksasana (tree pose), knee circles, Garudasana (eagle pose) with a shoulder lift and forward bend. Apanasana (yogahug), Anandabalasana (happy baby pose), Sucirandhasana (ankle to knee pose), Supta Baddha Konasana (supine bound angle pose) with bolsters and blankets. Savasana (corpse pose) with guided relaxation. Played the root chakra crystal singing bowl.
"Our goal is to become human, fully human, and through this fulfillment, the light of God can shine through us and brighten the earth." - Will Johnson
Closing Peace Chants
OM Asaato 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 Immorality.
OM Shanti, Shanti, Shanti
Lokaah Samastaah Sukhino Bhavantu
May the entire universe be filled with Peace and Joy, Love and Light.