Asana

Ashtanga’s Dynamic Dimension

Patthabi Jois Guruji

Dynamic is a word that aptly describes the personality and teaching of my late teacher Sri K Pattabhi Jois (Guruji). And what I learned about the connection between vinyasa and dynamism from him has been a major source of my love for the Ashtanga yoga method. In 94′ when I began studying with Guruji at his old shala in Mysore, I used to stay after class just to watch him teach.

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Summary notes on Pasasana (The Noose Posture)

Pasasana

There are the notes that accompanied the Asana Kitchen video on Pasasana.1)Establish a Grounded, Immoveable FoundationBalancing in a full squatting position is one of the most important and challenging aspects to this posture. The feet are your foundation, they are directly in contact with the earth. Organize your posture directly over this foundation noticing when/if you are either too far behind or in front of your foundation.

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Action in Practice

Asana

In this new post I speak about the concept action in asana, action as a catalyst to the revolution within you. There is a wide range from (superficial to deep) of what constitutes action in asana. At times cultivating action may mean that you activate specific muscle groups to move your bones and achieve dynamic alignment of the skeleton.

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Ashtanga Yoga and the Secret of Mula Bandha

Backbend adjustment

Ashtanga Yoga (as in the 8 limbs) begins with Ahimsa, non-harming. Yama is the first limb of the eight limbs and ahimsa is the first Yama. Thus ahimsa can be considered the base, the very foundation and support of the 8 eight limbs. Consider the use of the word ahimsa, the main root himsa, means violence, harm, aggression. When you add the “A” in front of it it becomes ahimsa, the opposite of himsa

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Balancing Freedom and Restraint in Yoga

The work of legendary furniture designers Charles and Ray Eames has been described as a balance of freedom and restraint. Mr. Eames was once asked: “Have you ever been forced to accept compromises?” He responded: “I don’t remember ever being forced to accept compromises, but I have willingly accepted constraints.”1  Practicing yoga also involves working within constraints–those of the general form of the human body and also our personal limitations. Yoga balances freedom and restraint. Knowledge of the body shows…

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Using the TFL to Refine Utthita Parsvakonasana

TFL

Many of the standing poses have a lunge component; that is, the forward hip and knee flex while the back hip and knee extend. It is not unusual in these types of asanas for the forward knee to drift inward, with the pelvis moving in the opposite direction. An example of this is Utthita Parsvakonasana (Extended Lateral Angle Pose).

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The So-Called Tradition of Ashtanga

I have noticed that as the Mysore-style Ashtanga method becomes more popular over the years, the individual connection between teacher and student is disintegrating. The practice, which was originally designed to be individualized, has become increasingly supplanted by a one-size-fits-all approach. This is a natural outgrowth as more and more people both learn and are touched by the method. The unfortunate thing is that it misses the point of the Mysore-style methodology, which by its nature honors each student’s constitution,…

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Shoulderstand

Help your students get the most out of Shoulderstand—even if that means achieving a pose that’s not textbook-perfect. Shoulderstand, or Sarvangasana, is a wonderful pose that stretches and strengthens different sections of the spine. But many people struggle with this pose—either to get vertical or to clasp their hands behind their back. Some simple tests can determine whether either of these goals is possible for a given student. These tests involve three different body segments. Counterbalance Our very first step…

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Lengthening the Torso in Forward Bends

Paschimottanasana TLC

In “Preventative Strategies for Lower Back Strains Part I,” we discussed femoral-pelvic and lumbar-pelvic rhythm, muscles that influence these rhythms, and the effects of these muscles on the lumbar spine. Here, our discussion progresses as we cover the trunk, the thoraco-lumbar fascia (TLF), Uddiyana Bandha and how accurate knowledge of this can be used to enhance the benefits of yoga and decrease the risk of lower back strains.

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