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. […]
Rules for creating yoga sequences
There’s an fine art to creating yoga sequences. But there are certain rules that, if adhered to, will help you to be successful.
In the beginning, you have to do a period of study. You’ll need to learn some set, structured sequences. These might be from class sessions you’ve attended, dvds or yoga books, for instance. On repetition, these sequences will help you build a solid foundation of experience. You’ll learn the basics of sequencing from repetitive practice. […]
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.
Over the years, I’ve played with ways of creating practices. The ones I present here are cyclic, i.e., they are based on a week, a month, or the season of the year. They cover every possibility I could come up with. If you happen to think of others, I’d love to hear about them.
These cycles function well for teachers and students. As a teacher, you might use these as sort of ‘coat hangers’ to structure your group classes or one-to-one sessions.
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. […]
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. […]
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. […]
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. […]
Standing poses give fairly immediate feedback about how a student is travelling at any given time. Is the sense of balance shaky? Are the legs dull? Is the mind overactive? Because the poses make one feel more open and free in the body straightaway, the student is more likely to want to persevere in practising yoga.
Upside down is such an interesting way of looking at the world. Beginners in yoga can get quite excited by turning upside down, and that can be good or bad. Too much excitement can take you out of your body; but just the right amount can make you feel elated. However, too much excitement might just give you the practice you need in calming yourself down.
Amazing things happen to your body’s systems and organs when you are inverted. It’s like the tide of a mighty river or ocean suddenly reversing. […]
This week, I have set as a loose theme for my classes, forward bend poses. I say ‘loose’ because I wouldn’t want to leave out important elements like: standing poses, inversions, backbends, twists, pranayama and meditation. […]
This week I came up with a sequence I enjoy doing and teaching. The theme is all about stretching the sides of your body, particularly hips, waist, rib cage, shoulder blades and arms.
Somewhere along my yoga travels, I heard an expression that I like: ” the sides of our bodies are the lonely parts”. I get that. If you think of all the ways a body can move – bending forward, backward, rotating – then, sideways bends are most unfamiliar movements. […]
A yoga teacher who is a reader of “Yoga Suits Her” asked a very good question regarding progressing beginner-ish student through their postures when they are challenged by injuries or other restrictions.
Say, for instance, the pose you ultimately wanted to teach to students or learn yourself is the backbend Urdhva Dhanurasana (pictured above), you would start by understanding what sort of flexibility or strength is required of you. […]
The asanas can be grouped into families: standing poses, seated poses, abdominals, forward & backward bends, inversions, restorative poses. And, finer tuning might include: lateral forward bends, standing forward bends, passive backbends, prepatory poses, and so on. It’s certainly handy to have a coat hanger to help organise the huge miscellany of yoga postures. The style of yoga called Iyengar, is often taught in a monthly schedule where week one emphases standing poses, week two, forward bends, week three backbends, week four inversions/pranayama/restorative. Standing poses are a stand-out group among the clans of asanas because of their all-round utility. […]
I remember hearing a well-known yoga teacher say, “If you can do forward bends easily, you probably can’t do backbends; if you can do backbends easily, you probably can’t do forward bends; and, if you can do both easily, you probably will have difficulty with pranayama.”
Well, usually we do have our strong suit. Forward bends were never mine, but over the years I guess I’ve surrendered myself to them more. […]