Backbend workshop 22 April 2007 notes

Sitting: Peripheral vision

Breathing over bolster (bean bag?)

Shoulders open in pairs

Arm variations in Tadasana & Uttenasana

Focus:

Rooting - creating space in the joints, working through the Bandhas and Hara.

Upwards elongation by connecting through the breath

Sacroiliac joints

Tadasana - rising onto toes

Centering down, Hara, Peripheral vision (ropes)

Ekapada Rajakapotasana

using wall and ropes if appropriate for the group and time.

Vinyasa

Arm balance in steps away from wall. Focus:

Creating space in the joints through the band has and Hara. Quiet Mind.

Uttenasana back to wall, lightening legs and quietening the mind.

Drop-back into Urdhva Dharurasana

Adhomukkha Vrksasana into Urdhva Dhanurasana (in 3s)

Bharadvajasana

After backbends practice mild bent leg twists. Backbends tighten the hamstrings and therefore straight legged twists are more challenging on the back. Twist only to 75% of your capacity and for a shorter time than your usual.

Squatting back release or Supta Padangusthasana sequence.

Creating freedom in the spine and elongation throughout the joints becomes possible once we have cultivated and established a quiet place where the mind and body can unite and relax as one. Beware of one dominating the other because this will naturally create imbalance and therefore resistance. The Hara is where this union takes place. The Hara is where energy is stored, released out of and returned to. It is the centre of the body's physical energy, balance and many say of the soul. We must be humble in this knowledge and trust this awareness itself will soften and release the appropriate (perfect) Asana posture, which is already there and just dying to come out!

Asana practice helps our bodies stay supple and healthy which helps cultivate awareness of the deeper aspects of Yoga. But remember that it is only the third limb of Yoga, perhaps about toddler age in the process of life. Being able to attain strong postures won’t deliver us to the higher aspects of Yoga. It’s rather the other way around: the real essence of Yoga will give us the freedom of expression in Asana postures. Getting 'hooked' on the physical postures is a hindrance, it involves the Ego and force which causes contraction, and then we are being aggressive to ourselves. The perfect pose is comfortable, reveals something personal every time, and is beautiful, however small or extreme the outer shell looks

Be attentive to the principles required in attaining understanding and control of the energy body, and allow the breath to connect them through the Hara.

The 8 Limbs (or 8-fod path) of Yoga are:

When Ignorance vanishes, it’s absence brings serenity

(Yoga Sutra 11.25 Patanjali)