Seemingly appropriate for almost any situation the interpretation, intended or perceived, may vary from ‘well it’s almost identical, it’s just a fake’ to ‘really it’s nothing like what you are asking for at all, but perhaps it will do’. It is one of my favorite sayings, sitting perfectly alongside the lovely Thai people. As I travel around the world teaching workshops in yoga anatomy, it is not the volumes of anatomical texts that bubble across my consciousness but this simple phrase and how we might explore our human potential with the concepts that percolate through it.
Bandha naturally emerges within a person when the two polarities of the spectrum of any given aspect of our existence are in relative balance and communication with one another. If we stand in the middle of a high mountain ridge, we can clearly see what lies on either side of the ridge. Similarly, in the balanced state of bandha we can easily feel the qualities of either end of the spectrum of our potential experience. From this vantage point, we…
Using Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga and Meditation as Embodiment Practices for the Cultivation of Organic Intelligence A practitioner in my Mysore program recently asked me: “If one side of a posture is more open than the other, and I feel like I can keep going deeper in the more open side, should I hold back to try to even it out with the less open side?” My response drew from what I feel is one of the most beautiful aspects of…
Starting with Advanced A I first began to practice the third series (Advanced A) of the Ashtanga Vinyasa system in early 2005, shortly after relocating to Whitehorse in the Yukon Territory of Northern Canada. I had learned the primary and intermediate series from Mark Darby in Montreal the year before, and following a period of travel and then settling in a very remote and isolated corner of the world, I was far away from anyone who could offer me guidance…
I recently completed my second three month trip practicing with Sharath Jois at the KPJAYI in Mysore. Last year I wrote two blog posts about my first trip, “A New Chapter” and “You Stop There”. These articles expressed my perspective of the experience of starting over as a beginner with Sharath, after having had a daily Ashtanga practice for 12 years
When I was young and naïve I used to say “the good thing about practicing yoga is that as you get older you only get stronger and more flexible!” This is true up to a point and that point is different for every body. The fact is that as we age our body slows down. All of our bodily functions are affected as our cells multiply more slowly.
A common question asked by yoga students is ‘where should I feel this’. This is often harder to answer than it might seem.
Firstly bodies are complicated things! The old model of individual muscles moving or restricting a single joint is now largely thought to be too simplistic. The body has come to be seen as a system of inter-connecting or even continuous lines of muscles.
Arm balancing postures and positions such as the Cataranga Dandasana (the push-up) can be very exhilarating. They can energise you by increasing your circulation and they are also good at developing chest, arm and core strength. When done correctly they can really help relieve and prevent back and neck pain and can give direct stimulation to the heart and lungs.
Most modern adults tend to have very stiff middle backs (usually from about the tenth thoracic vertebra (T10) to the fourth lumbar vertebra (L4). This region (T10-L4) is stuck in a slight forward bend (spinal flexion) in many modern adults. These people usually do most of their bending backwards (spinal extension) from the very lowest part of the mobile spine at junction between the fifth lumbar vertebra and the first sacral vertebra (L5-S1). L5-S1 is usually located about 2 centimetres below the top of your hips (iliac crests).