10.08.09

A forward bending sequence with teaching notes

Posted in Personal Practice, Teaching Yoga at 11:24 am by tracichildress

Focus: forward bends, strong action of legs to give lift to spine, & length to front body

More philosophical focus: to integrate in seated foreword bends: creating a  a platform for the heart that you bring the heart to with ease rather than aggression. Yet you create a firm foundation or space to place the heart on.

 

 

  • Virasana

    • Press the shin bones and tops of the feet down into the floor

    • Press the fingertips down into the floor and roll the inner upper arms away from your body.

    • As you press down with the fingertips and shins, ascend the sides of your body and the center of your chest

  • Dandasana (with hands cupped at your sides)

    • Now the backs of your legs are your base—so fully extend out through the heels as you move the thighs into the floor.

    • Press the finger tips, roll the arms as you did in Virasana (away from center)

    • And using these downward actions to ground you, lift the sides up off the floor, ascend the spine and allow the center of your chest (sternum) to lift

    • Now, for those without low back issues, in order to feel the importance of the leg/base action in lifting and extending the spine, release your legs and compare the lift of the torso without the legs.

    • Now reactivate the legs, extend through the heels and move the thighs down towards the floor & LIFT the chest!

  • Supta Padangusthasana I and II (to bring life into the legs and hips for forward bends, as well as waking up the feet)

    • I: At 90 degrees: Holding the belt in two hands, extend through both heels strongly. Press the thigh on the ground down towards the ground, and again stretch through the heels.

    • II: from position above, take belt in one hand

    • Stretching through both heels and strongly stamping the floor leg thigh into the ground, slowly bring the leg out to the side

    • Keep the right leg pressing into the floor as you stretch out through the left heel. Do not allow the thigh to lift of the floor

  • Adho Mukha Svanasana

    • Press whole hand

    • Extend from hands up to hips

    • Fully activate legs as you did in dandasana: move inner thighs towards wall behind you as you reach the inner heels towards the floor

    • Allow center of chest to move towards floor

 

  • Step into Uttanasana (feet apart)

 

  • Tadasana

 

    • Press the four corners of the feet firmly into the ground, as you lift the knee caps up towards the hips

    • Maintaining this upward action, move the inner thighs towards the wall behind you.

    • Now lift the arms into Urdhva Hastasana—the arms extend fully and bring an extension to the sides of the body

 

  • Uttanasana (feet apart)

    • From Tadasana (as above), bend forward to bring the fingertips to the ground.

    • Now pressing the four corners of the feet firmly into the ground, pull up through the legs by lifting the kneecaps. Maintain this as you cut the inner thighs back.

    • The action of the legs allows the spine to release forward. The legs are so active that they become like a mountain that allows the spine to flow forward like a waterfall. (Starting to plant the seed for the idea that forward bends require both ease and effort)

 

  • Uttanasana (feet together)

    • Repeat as above with feet together

 

  • Paschim Namaskarasana (to plant the seed in the body for spine in and chest lifted)

    • In Tadasana (as above) bring hands into P.N

    • In pose: Press the palms evenly together as you bring the edge of the hands into the spine. Bring the spine into the body to ascent the sternum bone upward as you resist the rib cage back.

  • Parsvottanasana

    • Hands on hips, rotate legs so hips are correctly positioned and then look up (both sides)

      • (In position) Fully activate your back leg: extend through the back heel and move the inner thigh towards the wall behind you

      • At the same time, lift the knees strongly up

      • Now lift from the pelvis up to the chest, bringing your head back to look up

      • Imagine your hands in PN (previously)—as you bring your elbows back, recall the sensation of your hands at the back– bring your spine in as your chest ascends

    • Concave (both sides)

      • From above: now maintaining the strong hold of the back heel on the floor, extend forward, reaching the sternum away from the back heel

      • Pull up on the front knee as you reach the fingertips down to the floor.

      • Now move your inner back thigh towards the wall behind you and your sternum away from the back leg to create length in the front body

      • Look up

      • (2nd side I said to imagine an extra pair of hands – I showed p.n—to help to bring the spine in and chest lifted)

    • Final pose (hands on floor)

      • From above: again, reaching through the back heal continue to extend forward with the sternum, bringing the chin towards the shin and the abdomen towards the thigh.

      • Maintain the strong action of the legs as you release the head towards the leg.

  • Adho Mukha Svanasana

    • As above

  • Dandasana

    • As above

    • Here I shared the idea of forward bends being a mix of ease and of work–

  • Janu Sirsasana

    • All stages: Utthita: sit evenly on your left and right side, press the straight leg thigh into the ground as you lift the chest upward

    • Urdhva Hasta: lift the arms up beside the ears, maintaining the downward pressing of the thigh, lift the sides with the stretch of the arms

    • Urdhva Mukha: holding the sides of the feet: press the thigh down into the ground, stretch the arms fully and lift the chest away from the thigh.

    • Roll the inner arms up towards the ceiling and look up to extend the front of your body

    • Janu: Now maintaining the action of the leg and the length in the front body, reach the sternum towards the foot

      • Before the 2nd side: I shared the idea of the forward bend being an act of offering your heart to the alter of your legs—“you wouldn’t set a statue of a god or a precious item on an alter in a violent manner; in the same way, you bring your heart towards a resting place without violence”

 

  • Triang Mukha Padha Paschimottanasana

    • Basically the same directions along the way as above:

    • Utthita: bring both thighs parallel to one another, use a blanket to even the hips

    • Press the straight leg thigh, the shin of the bent leg, a nd the finger tips down into the floor, as you ascend the spine upwards

    • Urdhva Hasta : Now extend the arms upwards to bring more lift to the torso (remember you are preparing to bring an offering to your alter, so take care as you approach your destination)

    • Trianga Mukhaikapada Paschimottanasana: taking the feet, lift the chin and turn inner arms up towards the ceiling to create maximum length in the front body, then exhale and extend the trunk forward

  • Paschimottanasana

    • Same main points as above but now both legs extended and both thighs pressing down

    • Here I shared the idea of the forward bend being an act of offering your heart to the alter of your legs again

  • Upavista Konasana

    • Extend out through the heels as you activate your knees and press your thighs down into the ground. The action of the legs is circular—extend out through the heels, and then pull up through the knees, press down into the floor. As you work with these actions to ground you, lift your sides and spine.

 

  • Baddha Konasana (in the position)

    • Move your heels close into your body

    • Extend from the hips out and down towards the floor

    • As you do this, lift the chest and lengthen the sides.

 

  • Halasana (in pose)

    • Press your elbows and upper arms into the blankets

    • Lift the back with the hands as you

    • Move the thighs up towards the ceiling

  • Sarvangasana

    • Support your back with your hands as you press the upper arms into the floor

    • As you lift the back with your hands, bring your legs up one at a time.

    • Fully extend the legs towards the ceiling.

 

  • Savasana

  • Swastikasana

 

 

09.29.09

A Backbending sequence with teaching notes

Posted in Teaching Yoga at 5:39 pm by tracichildress

I have written a sequence below along with teaching notes that illustrate how I would link the work to prepare the students for the back bends. I have not written the primary actions for each pose, rather the actions of focus for the poses being taught.

Virasana (to prepare feet for back bends)

  • Press tops of feet and shin bones down into floor

  • With hands cup shaped beside you, press your fingertips down into the ground. Roll your inner upper arm away from your body and

  • Lift the center of your chest up

  • Release trapezeis down the back

Parvatasana in Virasana

  • Maintain press of shins and feet, and lift arms upward. Allow the upward stretch of the arms to bring a lift to the front body and the chest

Dandasana

  • To teach the inward rotation of the thighs while they can see their legs.

  • Roll thighs in towards one another and press them into the floor.

  • As you do this have hands beside your hips and us the action of the legs and hands to bring a lift to the chest. Notice that when you don’t use the legs, you cannot get the chest to lift as much)

Parvatasana in Dandasana

  • Maintain the action of legs—thighs pressing into the floor– as you lift the arms up, lift the chest more and more. Notice the connection between the legs working and the chest’s ability to lift. If you do not have back problems, release your legs and try to lift—then again, activate and lift.

Adho Mukha Svasana

  • press whole hand

  • extend from hands up to hips

  • fully activate legs as you did in dandasana: move inner thighs towards wall behind you.

  • Allow center of chest to move towards floor

Step into Tadasana

Urdhva Hastasana

Baddanguliasana

Virabhadrasana II (to further connect leg action to extension in front body and lift in chest & to show connection of tailbone in/down and chest up)

  • Press back foot strongly into ground and fully extend the back leg as you bend the front leg to 90 degrees.

  • Release buttocks down and lift chest up.

Virabhadrasana I (teaching the back leg inner thigh back, tailbone in/buttocks down and chest up)

  • Hands on hips

    • (from start position facing forward): press back heel into floor and move the inner thigh of the back leg toward the wall behind you.

    • Release buttocks down and lift chest towards the ceiling

    • Maintain these three points as you bend front leg.

    • When you reach 90 degrees with front leg, check these points: inner thigh of back leg back—buttocks down and chest lifted.

    • Move inner back thigh back as you lift the chest up further

  • Hands up (full pose)

    • Here, encourage students to allow upward motion of hands to lift chest and front body more—maintaining the action of back leg: inner thigh back & buttocks down. This also teaches the head back position needed for back bends

Tadasana

  • translate the action from above in Tadasana: dig the feet into the ground and then lift the chest without pushing thighs forward—inner thighs back

Step into Adho Mukha Svasana

Come to abdomen:

Chaturanga dandasana

  • Be on your abdomen

  • Place your hands on the ground beside your chest

  • Spread and press both hands into the floor, squeeze your elbows close into your torso

  • Tuck your toes under and move your inner legs up towards the ceiling strongly— bring dandasana and Tadasana action to legs here– this should lift the thighs slightly off the ground

  • Maintain these actions; hands pressing, toes tucked, thighs lifted, and on an exhale, lift the body an inch off the ground

  • Lower back to the ground

Urdhva Mukha Svanasana

  • Be on your abdomen

  • Place your hands on the ground beside your chest

  • Press the tops of your feet into the ground (as in Virasana)

  • Extend back through legs and lift your inner thighs towards the ceiling/ away from the ground

  • Pressing into the floor with the tops of your feet and the palms, straighten the arms and lift body off the floor, look up

  • Now again, press tops of feet and hands into the ground and lift the inner thighs and chest up towards the ceiling. Look up.

  • Come down

Dhanurasana

Recall lift of chest against back leg in Virabhadrasana I, and lift and extend similarly here.

  • Be on your abdomen

  • Bring the center of your buttocks (the tailbone) down towards the floor as you

  • Bend your legs and reach back to take your ankles

  • Exhale and lift the thighs and the chest off of the floor

  • Lift your head to look up

  • Move the chest and ankles away from one another to lift up more

  • Come down

Adho Mukha Svasana

Salabhasana

  • Be on your abdomen

  • Bring your arms alongside your body

  • Move the center of your buttocks (tailbone) toward the ground to stabilize the pose.

  • Stretch the arms back towards the toes and the toes out beyond the body

  • Maintain this as you lift your head, and then

  • At the same time, lift your arms and legs off of the floor

  • Stretch back through your finger tips and toe tips as you reach the center of your chest (sternum) forward in opposite direction.

  • Come down

Ustrasana

  • Come to a kneeling position. Knees hip width apart and the tops of the feet on the floor. Thighs perpendicular to the floor

  • Press the chins and tops of feet strongly into the ground.

  • Lift your chest in the opposite direction.

  • Maintain position of the thighs and bring the hands to your hips

  • Bring shoulder blades into your back, bend the upper body back without releasing thighs forward and bring your hands to your heels.

  • Again, press the feet and shins down, fully extend your arms, and lift the chest strongly up.

  • Release head back,

  • Lift head and come up.

Adho Mukha Svasana

Bharadvajasana in chair

Ardha halasana

(short) Salambha Sarvangasana

Svasana

09.26.09

Sequence for Shoulder Mobility

Posted in Personal Practice, Teaching Yoga, Yoga Sequences at 7:16 am by tracichildress

 

Focus of class: circular action of chest: trapezius down the back, shoulder blades into the back, sternum lifted (rotation of arms to help this action)

 

  • Supta Baddha Konasana

    • To create an organic opening in the chest, open arm pits, and prepare for the class

    • I would probably have students come into this pose as they arrive to class then begin in Swastikasana for sitting

  • Swastikasana

 

  • Virasana

    • Press tops of feet and shin bones down into floor

    • With hands cup shaped beside you, press your fingertips down into the ground. Roll your inner upper arm away from your body and

    • Lift the center of your chest up

    • Release trapezeis down the back

 

  • Virasana demo—I would show the action from the side and the back – show what it looks like when my inner shoulder blades come into my back from behind & then from the side show how this allows me to lift the sternum bone. Then I would have them repeat.

 

  • Urdhva Hastasana in Virasana (teach rolling arms towards ears, traps down back and shoulder blades into back to open arm pit chest)

    • From above, lift the arms up in line with the ears

    • Roll the inner edge of the arms towards your head and ascend the fingertips towards the ceiling

    • Bring the trapezius muscles away from the ceiling, move the shoulder blades into the back and lift the center of your chest towards the ceiling

 

  • Parvatasana in Virasana

    • Maintain press of shins and feet; interlock the fingers, turn the hands away from you and lift the palms up to face the ceiling. As the upward stretch of the arms brings a lift to the front body and the chest, secure the shoulder blades in the back

 

  • Stretch legs out in front in dandasana (to release the knees)

 

  • Adho Mukha Virasana (connect to action in Parvatasana above)

  • Adho Mukha Svanasana (from hands and knees)

    • Press whole hand – look at your arms, now roll the arm (the fold of the arm) away from you. Maintain that action of the arms and lift the hips as you straighten your legs

    • Extend from hands up to hips

    • Fully activate legs

    • Allow center of chest to move towards floor

 

  • Tadasana

    • Now in Tadasana, bring the same awareness to your chest and shoulder blades as we did in Parvatasana and Virasana —create the circular action we’ve been working on.

    • Press into the ground with the feet, lift the sternum bone,

    • Bring your shoulder blades into the back and again, lift the sternum bone up towards the ceiling

    • Extend the arms fully towards the floor and lift the sternum up in opposite direction

 

  • Urdhva Hastasana in Tadasana

    • Same points as above in Urdhva Hastasana in Virasana

  • Trikonasana

    • Hand on hip

      • With hand on hip, press the back heel into the ground and move the sternum in the opposite direction to fully extend your sides

      • Now maintain that as you bring your trapezius towards the waist, the shoulder blades into the back, and then move the sternum towards your chin.

    • Arm extended

      • From above, extend the upper arm

  • Ardha Chandrasana (hand on hip)

    • Bring the principles from Trikonasana into your Ardha Chandrasana.

    • Along the way—hand on hip in Trikonasana—repeat as above—then come into pose.

    • Extend back through back foot as you reach your chest in the opposite direction

  • Virabhadrasana I with hands on hips—elbows back—

 

    • (From start position facing forward): press back heel into floor and move the inner thigh of the back leg toward the wall behind you.

    • Maintain that and bend to 90 degrees

    • With hands on hips & elbow back, bring shoulder blades into back and lift the sternum up

 

  • Adho Mukha Svanasana

  • Sirsasana

  • Adho Mukha Svanasana

  • Adho Mukha Virasana

 

  • Bharadvajasana (in final position)

    • Press the shin bone and top of foot down into the floor

    • Roll the inner arm away from your center,

    • Lift the chest & bring the shoulder blades into your back

  • Setu Banda Sarvangasana

    • Chatoosh Padasana on blankets holding the edges of the mat to get the action of shoulder blades in—roll arms away from you and bring shoulder blades into back—as you press strongly in to the ground with the feet, ascend the sternum to the ceiling

  • Sarvangasana

    • Translate this action from Chatoosh Padasana into your shoulder stand—arms roll out from your center, hands lift the back and help to bring shoulder blades into your back.

  • Savasana