Arquivo do mês: novembro 2014

Exploring Iyengar Yoga Principles-3 (Utkatasana) with Carrie Owerko


Utkatasana – Chair Pose
Continuing our exploration of Iyengar Yoga principles with Senior Iyengar Yoga teacher Carrie Owerko.

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The yoga hand

Yoga Spy

The “yoga foot” has been much studied, taught, debated, and photographed. But what about the “yoga hand”?

trikonasanaA few weeks ago, I was practicing yoga with my friend Sharmeen. She observed one of my standing poses and suddenly asked, “Why are your fingers spread apart like that?”

Surprised, I exited the pose. “You mean like this?” Imagine fingers spread as if for Downward Dog.

Since my formative years, yoga-wise, in late 1990s, I’ve typically spread my fingers in open-hand poses such as Urdhva Hastasana, Trikonasana, Ardha Chandrasana, and the Virabhadrasana family. The one pose for which I prefer closed fingers is Garudasana.

We all know that the “yoga hand” is straight, unlike the hands in ballet or flamenco. But what about the fingers? We first consulted Light on Yoga. BKS Iyengar’s hands are vigorously straight and firm, with fingers pressed together.

yoga-awakening-the-inner-bodyI wanted a contemporary example. “Let’s check Donald’s book,” I said, referring…

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Question of the Month: Your classes are too hard.

Essentialyogastudio's Blog

tittbhasana 1

I understand this is not a question, but I have been told this a number of times and feel it is important feedback and should be addressed.

My classes are ‘all levels’ classes ranging from beginner to advanced practitioners, including students with a wide range of physical challenges.  I work hard to make my classes accessible, providing a safe environment and modifications to accommodate all of my students.

I tell students to honor their bodies and come out of a pose if they need to, but this is hard for students to do.  The Ego creeps in and keeps some students from coming out of the pose when they should.  The Ego may also discourage some students from using the props they need.  But even with props, my classes are challenging.  I want each student to explore the depths of each pose; to break it down, to feel how each…

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Urdhva Hastasana Pointers

Yoga Sūtra 3.39


udāna-jayāt jala-paṅka-kaṇṭaka-ādiṣu asaṅgaḥ utkrāntiḥ ca

And from the control of the upward rising breath there is ascension and non-attachment in water, mud, thorn, etc.

In this sūtra, Patañjali discusses the yogic power of “ascension” (utkrānti), or levitation. The ability to levitate and fly is one found throughout Indian mythology, where we find yogis doing so on many occasions.

According to Patañjali, this is accomplished by controlling the “upward rising breath” (udāna), a phenomenon first described in the Chāndogya Upaniṣad. As we will recall, there are five vital breaths in the body, namely, apāna (downward moving energies), vyāna (circulatory energies), samāna (middle energies holding the lower and upper together), prāṇa (the breath), and udāna (the upward rising tendency of the body). By controlling the upward moving energies in the body, one is supposedly able to float off the ground.

We all have this upward rising tendency…

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The World’s Oldest Yoga Teacher: Her Secrets to a Long, Active, Happy Life

“I don’t want to know what I can’t do. I’m only interested in what I can do.” If there’s living proof that yoga is the fountain of youth, it’s Tao Porchon-Lynch. The 96-year-old Guinness World Records-certified oldest yoga teacher in the world still teaches regular classes in Westchester County, New York. That is, when she’s not…

Yoga Sūtra 3.21


kāya-rūpa-saṃyamāt tat-grāhya-śakti-stambhe cakṣuḥ prakāśa-asaṃprayoge antardhānam

From saṃyama on the outward appearance of the body, there is then the suspension of the grasping power, detachment of light and the eye, and invisibility arises.

This sūtra speaks to the power of invisibility (antardhāna). According to Patañjali, by paying close attention to the “outward appearance of the body” (kāya-rūpa-saṃyama) one is able to suspend the “grasping power” (grāhya-śakti).

Though the commentators don’t have a lot to say about this sūtra, we might call to mind a time when we somehow consciously “blended in” with our surroundings. Have we ever dressed a particular way so as to not draw undue attention to ourselves? Do we not pay close attention to the “outward appearance of the body” everyday when we dress ourselves for work, meetings, social lives, etc.? We often dress to blend in with the crowd, and though…

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