It seems as though I have seen hundreds of variations on how students raise their arms over their head to begin a sun salutation. Although it’s a seemingly simple act, it’s not really. I don’t want to get really nerdy and say how amazing the coordination is at the neuromuscular level, but that is the case. We take for granted that if we are not consciously choosing to create the neuromuscular patterns, the body just does whatever it needs to, to reach the intended goal. As many of you who are teachers have seen, the body isn’t always so good at choosing the best neuromuscular pattern for the long-term.
There is nothing that seems to cross all boundaries of yoga styles as clearly as sun salutations. Of course there are variations on the theme, but it seems that all styles do them. Sun Salutations put movement through all of the joints of the body and moves it in many directions. Perhaps we have a little difficulty in finding say, a twist, but many movements are represented.
I really enjoyed doing this interview with Tim. He is easy to talk to and had lots to share. His experience and understanding of the body leads to some useful insights when discussing asana. We had time to talk about many topics including how his background in dance influences his teaching, as well as specific asanas.
Back bending with ease and grace requires that the Hip flexors (front of the hips), shoulders, and the whole of the front of the body are flexible and strong. Yin yoga is a way of opening the body with passive stretches held for a prolonged period of time. If practiced correctly it is a very sure and safe way to work on increased flexibility.
If there’s a holy grail in the Ashtanga yoga practice, it must a long central axis (or spine, for reference) and rooted pelvis, for within the two lie the keys to heaven – or as we say, bandhas. And so it seems logical we do all we can to protect and keep these lines sacred. The primary series offers us the perfect place to practice this alignment with shapes that logically lead us towards that promised land.