Spring Term with yogaemma
Today I wanted to take the opportunity to give those of you have been coming to my yoga class a chance to revist all that we have done in class this term. I hope that you will be impressed by how much we have learnt and how much your yoga has developed and that you will find this blog useful for concluding the term .
Since Christmas we have been looking at Balance. The aim of the term has been to consider balance both internally and externally through balance postures, some on one leg and some requiring balancing on other body parts. We have done some slightly tweaked versions of some postures to enable us to focus more on balance within that posture. I have also tried to encourage a sense of balance through all the types of posture we have been doing by, for example, encouraging the weight to be equal between both feet or by ensuring that the all sections of the body are balanced above each other when standing.
During the term we have covered all the primary balance postures and this has included Tree Pose (Vrkasana)(and briefly the extended version Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana) Fig Tree and Dancer Pose (Natarajasana) and Eagle Pose (Garudasana). We have looked at the 3 versions of Warrior Pose (Virabhadrasana) with particular emphasis on the basic version of Warrior 1. We have also attempted some hand balances with all three versions of plank (Front – Chaturangasana, Reverse – Purvottanasa and Side – Vasistasana). Culminating at the end of term in a focus on moving into Plough pose (Halasana) which is both an inversion and a balance.
Additionally, we have really worked through the basic version of the Sun Salutation and all participants have been able to develop the sequence at their own pace and have now found their own level and way through it. Everyone has added some additional challenges onto the sequence as we have gone through the term and all of you have been able to identify any weakness you have in the sequence and begun to combat that.
This work with the Sun Saluation and an additional emphasis on strengthening postures has enabled all of you to work on your core stability and the strength in your legs. This has enabled you to really progress with the balancing postures and it is notable how much more steady everyone is in the one legged poses now they we have laid these physical foundations.
As well as the physical work in class we have also spent time thinking about balancing the mind. Some of the relaxations and visualisations have done this with imagery but I have been particularly impressed and please with the positive responses to practicing Nadi Shodana Pranayama (Alternate Nostril Breathing). This practise is often taught as an early introduction to breathing and in this weeks class (20th March) we will particularly look at physiological benefits we can gain from this practise (I have a handout on this if you would like to know more, just ask) but it is a very valuable practise for calming both the mind and the body. In yoga Nadi Shodana is considered to be a balancing practise so developing this breath has hopefully enabled you to bring together your physical work with the breath work into a cohesive balancing class each week.
This has been my second term of classes and I have been so pleased to see that through my teaching you have all been able to gain in confidence in your yoga and gain in physicality. I would like to thank you for all your feedback during the term and encourage you to keep discussing with me and the others in the class your experiences to help me develop the classes for the future.
All of the balancing and strengthening work will stand us in good stead for a term on back bends after Easter. I hope you will all be able to join us after Easter as we work towards some new and invigorating postures for the warmer and lighter evenings.
Enjoy your yoga.