Steph will teach a three hour workshop on this subject as part of the holiday programme. Flyers with information and the enrolment sheet are at The Yoga Room. To help you understand what Ayurveda is all about, Steph has put together the following information:
Ayurveda is an ancient medical tradition from India. The term is derived from the Sanskrit ayur, meaning "life" or "longevity," and veda, meaning "knowledge" or "science."
Ayurvedic medicine and yoga are closely associated. They both find their roots in the Vedas. Renowned Vedic scholar, David Frawley, teaches that yoga is the practical side of Vedic teachings and Ayurveda is the healing side. Ayurveda aims to keep the body and mind balanced so that the individual remains healthy, and Yoga is an art of body-mind coordination that ensures physical and mental fitness as well as enhances one's spirituality.
According to Ayurvedic science, the body is a combination of three doshas, or "energies." These doshas are Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Every individual has one dosha that is more dominant than the others, depending on the prakriti, or "natural constitution," of the person. Factors that influence the doshas include age, diet and climate.
Yoga practice can influence the balance of the three dosas. Choosing the right poses based on personal constitution can help practitioners maximize the health benefits of Yoga.
If you would like to join Steph, please pay your deposit and enrol before we close for Christmas.
At present in India, Centenary Celebrations are being held in honour of BKS Iyengar. In Australia we held our own Centenary Celebrations for BKS Iyengar in each capital city to mark 100 years since his birth. I attended the Sydney celebration at Opera Australia in Surry Hills on Sunday 11 November. The Sydney celebration started with a 2hr Led Practice led by a representative from Sydney and each regional area in NSW. I attended as the representative for the Central West and led the adjusted sequence for anyone who was pregnant, menstruating or had injuries. The atmosphere was friendly and the energy in the room was beautiful as we all practised together for the 2 hours, each individual adjusting their practice as needed.
After the Led Practice we had morning tea and talked to old friends, met new people and drank seriously good chai!
We then sat for an hour or so to listen to stories and perspectives from four Senior Iyengar Teachers who started travelling to Pune to learn from Mr Iyengar in the 1970s. They were among Iyengar's first students and most of them have travelled at least once a year to learn from Iyengar and his family every year since then. Their stories were full of funny anecdotes and reflections on their time in India. They all have enormous gratitude and respect for Iyengar's generosity to share his knowledge with a sense of humour, and his passion to bring yoga to the West so it was accessible to everyone.
Pooja was held in honour of Guruji where 100 candles were lit by almost 100 attendees to give thanks to Guruji and his life of teaching. It was a moving and joyous celebration and a reminder that yoga is a gift. If we treasure, nurture and put the time and effort into our practice, we will receive all it has to offer us.
Some poses come easily for some of us and other asanas are difficult. We all have poses that we think we will never be able to do in a million years!! However, I disagree with this thinking. The beauty of having a regular home practice means that you can 'study' the asana that is your most difficult, instead of avoiding it. Below is my example of breaking down and studying a difficult pose. This method can be applied to any pose.
Lolasana - the mother of all poses! - and I don't mean that in a nice way!!
Lolasana is a pose that has always eluded me. My issue was that I couldn't seem to get my brain around what was actually required. Because I couldn't understand Lolasana academically I didn't have a way of translating the 'thinking' of the pose to the 'doing' of the pose. I came across an excellent article by Richard Rosen which has allowed me to find a path to understand and practice the pose. At Teacher's Practice last Friday we followed his reasoning and we all commented on how useful this was. I hope the following will help you to understand Lolasana too, when you are ready to take it on.
Breaking down or deconstructing Lolasana, or any asana, is a great way to practice.
Benefits of the Pose
Strengthens wrists, tones arms, develops abdominal muscles and strengthens back muscles.
Wrist injuries, shoulder pain or serious neck issues.
Round the Torso
Start on the hands and knees with your knees below the hips. Place your hands a few centimetres in front of your shoulders, spread your palms and press the mounds of your index fingers to the floor. On an exhalation press your tailbone down toward the floor and forward toward your pubic bone and round your back up toward the ceiling to create an arch. Let your head hang to release the back of your neck and lengthen as much as possible between the tip of your coccyx and the base of your skull.
Spread your shoulder blades as far away from your spine as possible, as if you're wrapping them around the sides of your torso. Counter this outward movement by hugging the outer arms inward, as if you were squeezing the arms together. Combining these two actions helps to round your back and strengthen your arms. Your back torso will form a lovely arch (in a perfect world)! In a perfect world the space between the shoulder blades should lift, instead of sinking to the floor.
As per the energy channels that yogis mapped out thousands of years ago, the outer arm channel runs from the shoulder to the little finger (down the outer arm), while the inner channel runs from the base of the index finger up to the shoulder (up the inner arm). On your hands and knees again, round your back by spreading the scapulas into the resistance of the outer arms from shoulder to floor. Then, the counter action is from the mound of the index finger to the shoulder. Feel how the outer arm channel anchors you to the floor (creating an earth element in the pose) and the inner arm channel lifts you toward the ceiling. Hold this circuit for a few breaths then release back to a neutral position. Repeat a few times.
The belly is the final part of the jigsaw. On your hands and knees again in a table top position, round your back again but now lift the navel towards your spine and reduce the space between your pubis and sternum. Counter the lift of your navel by pressing your index finger mounds into the floor. Hold for 15-30 seconds, then release and take a few breaths.
Putting it Together
Use blocks under the hands (as per the image from our Friday Teachers' Practice). Kneel with your thighs and torso perpendicular to the floor and hands on blocks beside the hips. Cross your right ankle under your left, sit your buttocks back on your left heel - warming: this is not pleasant.
Press your hands to the blocks and on an inhalation, lengthen your front torso. On an exhalation, round up your torso, lift your knees away from the floor but keep your feet on the ground. Work on all of the points for the belly, arms, scapulas and hands. This is the first step. Hold for 15-30 seconds. Repeat on the other side.
The next stage is to do what you just did but this time lift the shins away from the floor as your lift your knees on an exhalation. Lastly, with the right ankle below the left, lift your left knee off the floor, then when you exhale into your round ball, push that knee downward, using the right ankle as a fulcrum, and squeeze your right shin firmly up. The left leg will act like a lever to lift the ball of your body away from the floor. Hold for as long as you can then reverse and do on the other side. When finished, sit back on the heels with a straight spine for a few breaths.
As Richard Rosen quotes in his article on Lolasana, 'Remember what Krishna tells Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita: On this path no effort is wasted, no gain is ever reversed'. Level 2 students will particularly appreciate that quote as they have been studying the Gita.
A yoga practice is not a ‘one size fits all’ approach. As practitioners we need to adjust our yoga practice to support ourselves during times when the body, mind and emotions are moving through transitions. This workshop provides knowledge around menstruation when the body is energetically different. Taking time to learn and accommodate the body’s responses throughout the cycle is an essential part of every woman’s practice.
Practising asanas that stabilise before menstruation, poses to restore during menstruation and poses to rebalance your system post menstruation, will support a healthy cycle before. This workshop provides essential knowledge for all female yoga practitioners to honour their cycle. It is especially relevant for those preparing for pregnancy or with issues around menstruation. The workshop will look at the asanas to set up a healthy regular cycle, asanas for symptoms like PMS, dizziness and lower back pain.
Cost for workshops: $40
Place your name on the list at The Yoga Room or contact me.
I am so grateful that I stumbled upon a yoga class many years ago when I was in my early 20s. I cannot imagine what my life would be like without a yoga practice to ground, to energise and to balance my crazy world. I am so grateful that I have been able to walk the path of yoga. It has taught me so much about expectation, judgement, resilience, acceptance and surrender.
Being a teacher is a challenging path filled with responsibility, but it is also very rewarding. It makes my heart happy when I see students coming to class each week, attending workshops, asking questions and making progress as they tread their own path. In our own way, we are all seekers, and yoga provides an opportunity to question, to look below the surface and makes sense of our lives.
I am very proud of our yoga community and the efforts of all our students to develop their yoga practice and their own Svadhaya (self study). I am also very grateful to my teachers who are dedicated and devoted to the practice of yoga and to the art of teaching. I am very fortunate to have Steph, Fiona and Sharon in the school and you are all so lucky to have the benefit of their knowledge.
In this spirit, please join us to celebrate another year of yoga at our Christmas gathering. It's an informal get together to relax, mingle, celebrate and chat. Call in for 30mins or stay for a few hours.
Date: Friday 14 December
Time: From 5.30pm-8.00pm
Venue: The Building, 86 Piesley Street.
RSVP: 11 December to Tricia or on list at The Yoga Room.
Nibbles and music provided.