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I often think about the beauty of yoga practice, the many ways that doing it enhances my life.

So, for the recent yoga ‘intensive’ week at the Yoga Shed, I based my teaching on the abstract concept of Beauty. I wove in poses that I considered appropriate to the theme and developed a sequence for each day.

Five beautiful practices

  • Monday – The beauty of being grounded (standing pose emphasis)
  • Tuesday – The beauty of a balanced life (balancing poses)
  • Wednesday – Feeling into your inner beauty (working from the body’s organs)
  • Thursday – Potent beauty (strength for holding inversions)
  • Friday – Peaceful beauty (connecting with oneself)

As usual, I practised the sequences several times in the lead-up to the course. I wanted to feel the influence of the poses and how they came together. I loved working in this way, guided by an intention rather than by text book how-to instructions. Not, ‘This is where I should be placing feet in tadasana.’ But rather, ‘What sensations do I feel while I stand on my feet?’ ‘What connections are there with my spine and what is happening in my breath?’

In exploring the theme of being beautifully grounded, I kept in mind three things. I felt for my taproots being connected to the earth. I looked for the strength of my hips, legs and feet. And, I yielded to the support of gravity. With that sort of anchoring, my core, spine and upper limbs felt light and free.

In practising the standing poses, I reminded myself to keep connecting with the beauty of being grounded. As a result, I enjoyed new sensations. I experienced lightness, freedom and a kind of playing with the poses. Having a new approach opened me up to more than just the physical. You might say the experience was psychophysical–harmony and integration of body, mind and spirit.

The sequence 

Here are the simple poses of ‘The Beauty of Being Grounded’. It’s a great practice for the beginning of the year as you come back from holidays and pick up your yoga practice again.

  • Tadasana (mountain pose)
  • Urdhva Hastasana (arms extended overhead)
  • Half Uttanasana at the wall (half forward fold)
  • Trikonasana x 2 (triangle)
  • Virabhrasana 1 x 2 (warrior 1)
  • Adho Mukha Svanasana (downward facing dog pose)
  • Virabharasana 2 x 2 (warrior 2)
  • Prasarita Padottanasana (wide-leg forward fold)
  • Uttanasana (forward fold)
  • Supported setubhandasana with block (supported bridge pose)
  • Bharadavajasana at the wall x2 (seated twist)
  • Ardha Jatara Parivartanasana (half belly twister)
  • Supta Padangusthasana 1 & 2 (lying leg stretches)
  • Viparita Karani (legs up the wall)
  • Legs on a chair Savasana (relaxation)

Click here to discover just why standing pose are so great.