The Art of Vinyasa workshop notes

Bodywise, 21 May 2006

Vinyasa

In Sanskrit Vi means: to go, to move, to conceive, to start from. Nyasa means: placing, planting.

Setu Bandha rolling from and to shouldersVinyasa is known for its graceful sequences, where breath, bandha and dristis unite, resulting in meditive flowing movement. Graceful transition through asana sequences is such a beautiful feeling, of freedom, lightness and ease of movement. It is Prana energy that almost floats through us, avoiding any damage or strain on the body. By being aware and interested in discovering where and when the mind uses Ego to achieve a result, we begin a journey of learning. When we are able to clearly see and accept weaknesses in our practice with the same enjoyment as success, then we are getting somewhere! Yoga is ongoing learning, a lifetime of opening our minds to all that comes along. Our inspiration grows in all directions. Yoga "centres" us and gives us the confidence to expand. Asana strengthens and maintains the health and vitality of our body to support all this.

Practice with the challenge of understanding the physical, mental and energetic connection of breath and movement

Ujjahi

Translates from Sanskrit as 'Victorious Breath'.

Think of a wave creeping up onto a pebble beach and recreate that sound and 'feeling' from the back of the throat. The sound doesn't come from the nostrils. Think of breathing in and savouring your favourite smell.

The glottis needs to be relaxed for muscles to receive a constant flow of oxygen and Pranic energy. Tension in the glottis restricts this flow, starves our muscles, and results in lifeless asana. Grunting at the top of inhalation and bottom of exhalation is often a sign!

Try placing two fingers either side of your nose to release the nostrils and feel your breath being brought in though the back of the throat.

Dristi

Dristis are used to draw outward looking eyes inwards. They help us focus and take us "inside". Inner focus develops concentration (Dharana) and meditation (Dhyana)

Practice: Suryanamaska with Dristi

  1. Ekam: Inhaling Urdhva Hasthasana look at your thumbs
  2. Dve: Exhaling Uttenasana look at your nose
  3. Trini: Inhaling lift head look at third eye
  4. Chatvari: Exhaling Chaturanga Dandasana (or down dog) look at your nose
  5. Pranca: Inhaling Urdhvamukha Svanasana (up dog) look at your nose
  6. Shat: Exhaling Adhomukha Svanasana 5 breaths look at your navel
  7. Sapta: Inhaling jump back lift head look at your third eye
  8. Ashtau: Exhaling Uttenasana look at your nose
  9. Nava: Inhaling Urdhva Hasthasana look at your thumbs