Yoga Sequence of the Week

May 30

natarajdancer

Nataraja and the concept of the never-ending cycle of time. Shiva understands that change is the only constant in the Universe and that destruction clears the path for rebirth.

Shiva’s dance represents his five divine activities: creation, preservation, destruction, illusion and grace or salvation.

Shiva’s dance is set within a flaming halo representing the manifest universe.  In his upper right hand he holds a hand drum, this drum is said to have made the first sounds of creation and is the pulse of the universe. His left upper hand holds agni, fire symbolizing destruction. These two symbols represent the balance of the forces of creation and destruction. The palm of the lower right hand faces forward and means fear nothing. The lower left hand faces down towards the raised left leg and signifies that his activities bring salvation.  The left leg is lifted slightly off the ground, representing liberation and the right leg is standing on demon symbolizing triumph over ignorance and illusion.

Shiva’s face is calm. He is unaffected by chaos. He just focuses on the rhythm of the dance. which allows him to rise above daily drama. Which is one of the teachings of yoga, to remain calm under pressure.

Nataraja reminds us that creation isn’t possible without destruction. He encourages us to embrace change and overcome complacency. When we open up to greater possibilities in the dance anything is possible.

Nataraj

May 16

Peak pose: Bird of ParadiseBirdofParadise

 

May 2

This weeks class is a Kapha pacifying practice. You can learn more about Kapha dosha here.

Kapha

April 25

This week’s practice is inspired by this Yoga Journal article. Using yoga blocks as props can help find more space and help with alignment.

April 18

Movement and meditation: the meditation is tree meditation a free variation can be downloaded here.

April 11

New series of classes are starting so it’s time to get back to basics with this sequence.

April 4

2 classes this week:

#1. Hanumanasana (the splits) peak pose as requested.
Hanuman’s story is one of faith, fearlessness and devotion. Hanuman, the Monkey God, leaped across the sea from India to Lanka to rescue Ram’s wife Sita who had been kidnapped. When Hanuman reached the ocean he knelt and prayed. His unwavering faith never faltered and gave him the energy to take a giant leap in the air and soar toward Lanka over the open sea. To quote the book Myths of the Asanas “It is with faith and hope that we can go forth with confidence and leap across oceans, change the world or simply fall back in love.”

#2. Heart centered class

This class was inspired by the following quote from the ancient text the Upanishad.

“Within the city of Brahman, which is the body, there is the heart, and within the heart there is a little house. This house has the shape of a lotus, and within it dwells that which is to be sought after, inquired about, and realized. What then is that which, dwelling within this little house, this lotus of the heart, is to be sought after, inquired about, and realized?” (Chandogya Upanishad 8:1:1,2)

Hrid, the Spiritual Heart sometimes called the cave of this Heart or lotus of the heart is 1 finger width to the left away from the spine.

I = Inhale  E = Exhale
H = Hold
D = Dynamic

heartsequence

 

 

March 21

Kundalini Yoga – Kriya for the liver, colon and stomach

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, the liver is more active in the spring. Here are some tips to help cleanse your liver.

Hatha – Building Agni

Digestion plays a critical role in the natural healing process. The constant renewal of our physiology is dependent on proper digestion. The ancient yogis used the image of fire (agni) to understand the power of digestion. If the fire is too strong or too weak, food is not properly digested and nutrients aren’t well absorbed. Undigested food can become a source of toxicity, which weakens the system and can eventually cause disease. Our lifestyle and yoga practice can help us keep things warm and moving inside.

3 Yoga tips for optimal digestion:

  1. Include more twists in your yoga practice. Twists help us to digest and assimilate food and life experiences.
  2. Try a few minutes of diaphragmatic breathing before you eat. Breathing long and deep activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which helps us to rest and digest.
  3. Stay longer in Savasana (final relaxation). A rested body can digest and rejuvenate quicker.

I = Inhale  E = Exhale
H = Hold
UB = Uddiyana Bandha

YogaAgni

You can also download a short yoga sequence here.

March 8 – Ardha Chandra Chapasanacropped-slider11.jpg

This week we will be building up to Ardha Chandra Chapasana. Chapasana means sugarcane. According to some  mythology references it is linked to Shiva’s bow which was said to be made of sugarcane. In this standing pose half of the body is bow pose.

This sequence will open up the front line of the body and the hamstrings to make the pose easier to get into.

Sun salutation “L” can be found here.

chapasana_1

February 29 – Yin/Yang yoga for vitality

According to Ayurveda and Chinese medicine, water is the primary element of winter. A yoga practice that focuses on the water element, we can stimulate the flow of chi (energy) and restore an overall sense of vibrancy and vitality.

The Yang, portion of the class we will include twists and laterals, to gently compress the kidneys, to get rid of stagnation in that area.

The Yin poses will activate the kidney meridian. You can view its location here. The kidney chi is in charge of our spinal health, our immunity and overall cellular vitality.

yinyang_1

February 22 – Virabhadra (Warrior)

The following is an adaptation from the book Myths of the Asanas.

Shiva and Shakti have been together in many lifetimes. In one of her incarnations Shakti was known as Sati and was secretly in love with Shiva. Her father Daksha, wasn’t a fan of Shiva because of his lifestyle, meditating for thousands of years, dreadlocks and covered in ashed.

One day Daksha had a grand party to find a suitable husband for Sati. When Sati threw her garland to choose her partner she invoked Shiva’s name and appeared with the garland by her side. According to the tradition whoever wore the garland was to wed the daughter so Daksha had to give his blessings to his lovely princess and the god he didn’t like.

After the wedding Daksha had another party and did not to invite Shiva. Sati showed up at the party upset and crying. Daksha loved his daughter and it hurt him to see her crying but he continued to reject Shiva. Sati’s great sadness ignited a fire inside of her and she went up in flames and was reduced to ashes.

Virabhadra_Daksha

Virabhadra and Daksha

Shiva knew that something had happened to Sita. In his fury he stood on the mountain top and ripped a dreadlock from his head and it became a snake. The snake made it’s way to Sati’s ashes. The dreadlock snake was then transformed into Virabhadra, the great warrior, who rose out of the ground (warrior 1), drew his sword (warrior 2) and sliced off Daksha’s head. (warrior 3).

At the moment Sati reincarnated and was upset with the great warrior for killing her father. She demanded that he make things right. Shiva then appeared at the party and saw that Dakshi’s head was not suitable for reattachment so he took the head of a goat and attached it to the father’s body. Dakshi was greatful that Shiva realized his error and had another party with Shiva and Sati as his guests of honour.

The lesson we can learn from Shiva and Virabhadra is that when we make a mistake, we have the chance do our best to make things right. Warrior poses are a reminded that violence exists not only to destroy but also to allow us enough strength to achieve integrity and compassion.
H = Hold
D= Dynamic

TaniaWarrior

February 15th – Lord of the fishes

The following is an adaptation from the book Myths of the Asanas.

After thousand years of meditation, Shiva descended a mountain to find his beloved Parvati. Shiva announced to her that during his meditation he had discovered yoga. Shiva didn’t know that Parvati had been practicing yoga in her own way for as long as she could remember. She assumed that Shiva knew about yoga too but had not mentioned it. As he continues the teachings of yoga a fish in nearby overheard Shiva. As he listened, he magically felt the techniques and theory of yoga begin to take hold of his body and live inside of him and by the end of the lecture Matsya, the fish, became enlightened. At that moment, Shiva became the first guru (teacher) and Matsya the first chela (student). Matsya, know enlightened decided to reincarnate and come back as Matsyendranath, the lord of the fishes and began a long lineage of teachers and students who passed the teachings of yoga down through an oral tradition over thousands of years.

There are two yoga poses that honour the fish. Matsyasana (supine backbend) and matsyendrasana (seated twist).

The following sequence will includes both with an emphasis on backbends.

I = Inhale
E = Exhale
H = Hold
D= Dynamic

LordOfFishes

February 8, 2016 – This week we repeat this sequence for breath and movement.

February 1, 2016 – Hips (lots of gecko poses)

I = Inhale
E = Exhale
H = Hold
You can find the salutations here.

Not sure what flying gecko is? You can see it in the 3rd photo here.
GeckoYoga

January 25, 2016 – Strength

Muscles such as the abdominals and glutes get weak from sitting for long periods of time. This sequence will help to strengthen those areas as well as the upper body.

I = Inhale
E = Exhale
D = Dynamic
H = Hold
You can find the full Sun Salute S here.

yogaforstrength

Past sequences

Yoga sequence of the week – Back care

Yoga class of the week – Whole body tune-up

Yoga sequence of the week: twists

Yoga Sequence of the week: Hips and shoulders

Yoga sequence of the week: Moon energy

Yoga Sequence of the week – King Arthur pose

Yoga sequence of the week – Breath and movement

Sequence of the week: pigeon class

Yoga sequence of the week – yoga for office workers