The theme for my yoga classes during the month of March is ‘The Quality of Balance’. Like last month’s theme–Befriending Backbends, I thought, gee, I wonder if we can make the sometimes pesky balancing poses more enjoyable, more user friendly. Cultivating balance is a key factor in ease of walking, standing, most any movement. And then there’s lifestyle balance, emotional, mental balance, spiritual balance.
Families of Poses
If you are situated high up on a windy hill as we are, or even in one of those urban wind tunnels created by high-rise buildings, be prepared. For winter, rug up, muffler up, and go head down, bum up, in your yoga practice.
Have you noticed that there seem to be an infinite variety of yoga poses? Truly! If you are doing home practice it can be confusing what poses you’ll do and what sequences.
Equally, you may get stuck in a rut if you just do the same old, same old postures for efficiency’s sake. I noticed this had happened to me and, in particular, regarding forward bends. I had fallen into a routine of doing the splits, head-to-knee poses and double leg forward bends, and that was about it. […]
In September this year, I will be presenting a workshop called ‘Befriending Backbends’ at the wonderful Ekam Festival. Backbends are the family of poses that people often feel passionate about in a kind of love-hate way. It makes sense to me to present a workshop that might reduce students’ fear, anxiety or dislike of backbends.
Okay, I’ll admit I’m biased in favour of these poses. […]
What’s not to praise?Legs up the wall is a favourite with many people because it’s a pose that’s guaranteed to sort you out. With a minimum investment of energy, the pose will return you maximum benefits. It is restorative, regenerative and reviving.Even non-yogis seem to find their way to this pose. I’ve seen bushwalkers take a break, lie down and put their legs up a tree. […]
Recently I taught an ‘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. The first day we followed a sequence of standing poses. The aim was to experience the beauty of being grounded.
The Eyes Have It!
A couple of years ago my optometrist discovered that cataracts were forming in both of my eyes. He predicted I would need cataract surgery someday. I was not looking forward to this ambiguous ‘someday’. […]
I’d like to invite you to two workshops with me on Sunday March 22nd from 10am to 3:30pm.
There are several places left in this full day devoted to a close look at what is needed to do inverted yoga poses with ease.
The first one is suitable for beginners, but yoga teachers might want to attend to learn a few new tricks. […]
My way or the highway
The way I learned yoga was according to strict rules. […]
Headstand: Weddings, Anniversaries, Birthdays… Anything
The above drawing was done by Soo Balbi on the occasion of our wedding in 1994. I like the message that the card proclaims: this is a non-conformist marriage. It also says that yoga is an important part of Daniel and Eve’s lives, and it can also be done anywhere.
A few years ago I created the YogaAnywhere practice cards. My mission was to encourage people to do yoga wherever and whenever they wanted. ‘The more personal practice the better’, I thought. […]
From the above title, you might think I’m going to be writing about a tennis match or a disagreement with my spouse.
But no, this is much more serious. I’m talking about losing memory, losing faculties, and losing muscle strength. I’m talking about The March of Time.
I came across an excellent blog post this week from Eve Johnson, another tribute to yoga guru, B.K.S. Iyengar. She got me thinking about the process of ageing. I know, I know, I’m getting obsessed with this topic.
I think I’m doing ageing reasonably well. […]
The civilized man has built a coach, but has lost the use of his feet.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Since being on an extended overseas holiday, I’ve been contradicting Emerson’s opinion of the civilized person. Rather, I’ve been experiencing what author and philosophy professor Frederic Gros calls ‘a life scrubbed bare’ and an affirmation of the simple life: walking.
Certain cities of the world are made for walking. I’ve just spent three days in one of them, Old Quebec. […]
Sirsasana is known to be a beneficial posture for dozens of reasons. One of them is that it’s a mood enhancer for many people: it can make you feel happy and uplifted. But not everyone can do it with ease.
A few years ago a student who attended one-to-one sessions learned to do the above version of headstand. Until he found a supported way of doing the pose, he couldn’t do it at all because of his excessive weight. […]
Stretches your shoulders and improves the flexibility of your upper back.
Calms the brain and nervous system
Improves digestion ans massages and stimulates the thyroid and parathyroid glands.
Flushes mucous from your lungs.
Helps relieve the symptoms of menopause.
Here’s a youtube video to help you find your way into the pose (easier than you think):
I’ve recently heard of a few people who have suffered falls related to various medical conditions: vision impairment, alzheimer’s, faints, and cancer.
While younger people might pick themselves up, dust themselves off and move on, falling can lead to more serious problems in the aged population. Some will suffer bone fractures and breaks but also the gradual diminution of confidence. This may lead to loss of independence and perhaps the eventual need to move into an aged care facility.
Yoga is often touted as beneficial for improving the sense of balance. […]
It would be hard to imagine teaching a beginners yoga class without including the seated pose Dandasana. Why? Because it’s one of those poses that’s simple but still challenging. You start out relatively comfortably sitting on the floor, but then, you find there’s much to pay attention to: hamstrings, the curves of the back, your overall posture, for instance.
Think of Dandasana as being home base when you do a sequence of seated poses. You take a couple of minutes in Dandasana, being mindful of basic alignment points. […]
The laughing yogini pictured above (me, c. 1989) is demonstrating the seated pose called Samakonasana. Most people would be crying rather than feeling light-hearted in this position, as they struggled with the combination of external hip rotation and hamstring stretch. The technique that B.K.S. Iyengar describes in Light On Yoga for getting into this pose doesn’t make the pose one bit more user-friendly. […]
In terms of our anatomy, the spinal column is an engineering work of art. Getting up on two legs – evolving from bipeds to quadrupeds – allowed us humans to see further and freed up our hands to carry tools and perform other tasks. It also conserved energy. Comparisons have shown that humans walking on two legs consume only a quarter of the energy that chimpanzees use while knuckle-walking on all fours.
The changes in the spine’s relationship to gravity did, however, come at a cost. […]
Daniel and I went on a bush walk in the Kattang Nature Reserve today, just north of the long sweep of Dunbogan Beach. It’s been a mild winter which probably accounts for the early season wildflower displays we discovered scattered among banksia shrubs, casaurinas, and paperbarks. […]
evolve wellness via pinterest
Stretching the sides of your body, particularly hips, waist, rib cage, shoulder blades and arms, has benefits for your inner and outer body. In almost any yoga workout, you’ll find simple poses like triangle pose (trikonasana) or side flank stretch (parsvakonasana) enjoyable just because they open up the sides of your body so well.
I’ve heard the notion that the sides of our bodies are lonely parts. I get that. […]