Deconstructing Lolasana

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.

Contraindications

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.

The Arms

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

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.

Other articles:

Pranayama Workshop 22 Sept 6.00-7.00pm and Sat 25 Sept 7.00-8.00am

Pranayama - the art of directing and channelling the breath

Pranayama is a very subtle and specific way of working in our yoga practice.  It requires that we are sensitive, observant and patient.  We may not yet have these qualities, and we may not yet fully understand the breathing exercises practised in Pranayama, but Pranayama is a great teacher.  

 

We grow when we learn.  During lockdown our living rooms can be transformed into areas of great learning and growth.  We don't even have to leave home to learn new things!  Things move and grow when we direct our focus and attention on them.  The Yoga Room is committed to providing opportunities for learning.  But learning also requires focus and action.  Action to step onto the mat and actually DO the practice.  It doesn't have to be perfect, it doesn't even have to be pleasant.  The effects of practising Pranayama will be there anyway.  If you wish to join Fiona's workshop, the link is below - click on the pranayama class in the schedule.  I encourage you to take that action and seep yourself in what Pranayama has to offer.

Namaste,

Tricia

https://orangeyogaroom.com.au/pages/timetable

Why do Yoga?

Hi there beautiful yogis!

The school holidays are upon us and hopefully some sunny weather.  Gardens are looking wonderful and Spring gives us the flavour of fresh, new life.

Like the freshness of Spring, our external environment can change our perspective.  The only problem is that our external environment, the world around us, is always changing.  Sometimes we don't like what we see in front of us.  It's too cold, too hot, too hard, not enough ...  the list goes on.  We don't have control over our external environment.  But we do have control over our internal environment:  our thoughts, what we choose to focus on, and our internal stories.  The practice of yoga and pranayama teaches us to sit quietly and observe.  To watch our tendencies and our habits and the way we interact with the world.  By practising yoga, pranayama and meditation (3 of the 8 limbs), we build the skills to be present.  We learn to sit quietly with what goes on around us and, over time,  we are less reactive.  Our external environment no longer pulls us in so many different directions.  We are less distracted, more steady, more able to 'see' with a calm and grounded perspective.  The world will always be changing and fluctuating, but the question is how will you move through the world?  How can you sit in your 'centre' or your 'Self' rather than being pulled away?  This is a big question.

We are wired to move towards pleasure, or away from pain.  If we go with this, it may work for a short time.  There is a syndrome called 'shiny new objects'.  Most of us love a bit of this.  A new dress bought online, new tools for the shed, a better table for the kitchen, or even a new kitchen!  All of this is fine, but it's never enough.  A new dress or tools don't actually make us happy in the long term.  A new car doesn't keep us fulfilled for years on end.

So what's the answer?  We can only answer this question for ourselves.  For me the answer lies in two areas.  The first is to work on the inside - to cultivate a steady 'Self' so coping with the outside stuff is less overwhelming.  LIfe will always throw stuff at us that we don't like, usually when you least expect it.  The second is to keep learning and growing.  

Both of these take a lot of effort and we live in a society where effort is not valued.  The quick fix, the easy way, the most pleasant etc etc etc.  I had a conversation last week with my teacher Alan Goode.  He made the comment that practising Iyengar Yoga has become more at odds with the world.  Iyengar Yoga asks that you get on the mat and practice.  It's a practice-based form of learning.  When you step onto the mat, you may not like what you see.  It may be difficult emotionally, physically, and in all sorts of ways.  There is no music, no bells and whistles.  It's just you and the practice - asana, pranayama, meditation.  But if you do your class and a little regular home practice, if you sit quietly for a few mins every day, you see things about yourself that you don't see reflected back to you in a new kitchen or a new dress.  You learn things about yourself by showing up and observing.  To show up is for most of us the hardest thing of all.  To be consistent, to go against what the world values, is to tread the path of yoga in a very personal way.  To be curious enough to learn; to do your class, whether you feel like it or not, to practise pranayama, when it makes you want to scream and run out of the room, to sit and watch yourself, without reacting, is often the hardest thing you will have to work on in life.  The hint of spring, the ray of light that comes out of this consistency, is the opportunity to learn and progress and to be steady and content in yourself.  To cultivate the internal landscape is such a challenge, but its rewards are immense.  For me, the practice I have done over the years has taught me a lot about myself.  I am still very much a beginner and I am still learning.  Learning how to accept what is, learning to be grateful with what I have, letting go of what I thought would happen.  This is why I practise Yoga.  

If you wish to join me, and many other yoga practitioners, in this endeavour, jump on the mat and keep practising.  The key is consistency - a little over a long period of time.  I've never heard anyone say they regretted the time they spent on the mat.

 

Namaste,

Tricia

Self Care Saturday 7 August

Class 4.00-5.30pm this Saturday

Taking time out and looking after our physical and mental health is so important at the moment.  This Saturday I will teach a steady, quiet class to calm the nervous system, allowing ourselves times to stop doing, thinking, working, reacting, and anything else that is taking up head space.  

The class is open to all levels and will support immune health as well as creating time to be still and experience a more silent internal landscape.

Book using your pass or come along as a casual and pay on the day.  Booking link below.  See you on the mat!!

 https://orangeyogaroom.punchpass.com/

Classes are back in Studio as well as Online

A quick post to confirm that all our classes are being taught in the studio, as well as online.  As students, you have great flexibility to choose how you wish to attend your classes.  Having online and studio options set up, allows us to keep classes running during lockdowns.  If you wish to attend online, please book via punchpass with the link below.  If attending in the studio, please use punchpass if possible, or email me to signal your attendance and I will reserve a place for you.

I know it's been a tough time for some of our yoga community and I know that it's tempting to let your yoga practice take a back seat.  Dust yourself off, move it to the front, and keep yourself calm and grounded as life continues to dip up and down.  

A regular class provides a stable point amongst the uncertainty we are experiencing.  Should you be experiencing hardship, please email me for assistance to attend your regular classes.

See you on the mat!

Tricia

 Link to Book:  

 https://orangeyogaroom.punchpass.com/ 

All Yoga Classes are now Online

Hi there everyone,

I hope you are all keeping warm and positive.  To adapt to lockdown restrictions and to keep you all on the mat, we have taken all our classes online.  This went into effect on Wednesday and will continue until the lockdown finishes (whenever that might be).  Fortunately, we have been conducting all our classes both in the studio and online for over 12 months now, so the transition has been seamless.  

Booking Online

If you haven't already cancelled your studio classes for the next week, please do so and rebook online.  If you haven't yet accessed classes on line, it's actually really simple.  

  • First, book your online class.  You can use your term pass or purchase a casual pass.  You can book from the timetable page of the website as usual or from the punchpass link:  https://orangeyogaroom.punchpass.com/classes?jw=undefined&as=client.
  • If you plan to do the classes from your phone, you will need to download the zoom app to your iPhone or smart phone.
  • If you're on a desktop or laptop, simply click on the link that is emailed to you 15-20 mins before the class starts, and it will automatically bring you into the class.
  • Please make sure you book your online class 1hr before the start time to receive the link.  The link is automatically generated and sent to your email. 

EASY AS!!!

When you come into the class, please mute yourself so that we can't hear what's going on in your lounge room.  It's the button showing a microphone.  After the class you may wish to have a chat to everyone else in the class.

Thank you for your support in this crazy time!  We really appreciate it.

Yoga Props

I have the following props for sale at the moment if it helps you get set up at home.  (You really only need a mat and a block and perhaps a belt).  Any blankets will suffice.

3 x How to Use Yoga books - $30 each

2 x blocks - $18 each

2 x half blocks - $15 each

1 x belt - $16 each

3 x mats - $23 each

4 x prs of shoulder stand supports with covers - $82 pr

10 x eye pillows with silk covers - $20 each

Contact me if you would like to purchase of of these.

Steph, Fiona, Sharon and myself look forward to seeing you in class online next week.  I will keep you informed via email of any changes to restrictions.

 

Term 3 Bookings

Hello there everyone!

A note to let you know that Term 3 bookings will open in the next few days.  I am proceeding as usual and will put in place any further COVID measures if advised by NSW Government.  We are all set up and have our systems in place should we need to go online at any time in the near future.  I am hoping that will not be the case but will keep you informed if anything changes.  

The holiday timetable for next week is as follows:

Wednesday 7 July 6-7.30pm - General Open Class with Tricia

Thursday 8 July 9.30-11.00am - General Open Class with Tricia.

I feel very strongly that the practice of Yoga is a comprehensive and simple way to stay calm and steady in the midst of the current uncertainty.  I encourage you all to keep up your yoga by attending studio classes (wearing a mask at present), attending online classes or doing your own practice at home.

I will soon send around an email with a sequence that is restorative, calming and supports the immune system.  I hope you will use this sequence to practice at home.

In the meantime, be positive, be kind to yourself and others and I will see you on the mat soon.

Tricia