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:

10 Week Introductory Course commences 2 May 7.00-8.15pm

As yoga practitioners we know the benefits of coming to a yoga class each week.  No matter what age we are, how our body is working or what is going on in our busy lives, yoga allows us the time to come into the present and recalibrate.  We are overloaded with information and yoga is one way of taking time for ourselves.  

The ideal way to start Yoga is with the Intro Course.  If you know anyone who might benefit from this course, please direct them to our website.  I am happy to have a chat to anyone interested.

Steph, Fiona, Sharon and myself are looking forward to seeing you all next week.  I hope the Easter bunny had a few eggs for you!

Open Casual Class Wed 24 April 9.30am

All students are welcome to attend the casual class tomorrow at 9.30am.  Suitable for all levels, this is the last general class for the Easter break.

Term 2 commences Monday 29 April.  Enrolment is open on the website www.orangeyogaroom.com.au or pay in class in week 1.

We look forward to seeing all our students back on the mat next Monday after a relaxing Easter break.  

Holiday Classes and Term 2 Classes

This week is the last week of Term 1 followed by the Easter Holidays.  During the holidays we will have one casual class per week, which will be open to all students of all levels, as well as YOGART: Yoga and Art for Children and Young Adults.  Children and adults of all ages love this workshop and bookings can be made on line or by contacting me.

Tuesday 16 April 6.00pm - Restorative Class with Tricia

Wednesday 17 April - Yogart with Tricia, Fiona, Sharon, Abigail and Alice

Wednesday 24 April 9.30am - Casual Class with Sharon.

Monday 29 April - Term 2 commences.  Bookings can be made on line or in class.

Thursday 2 May - 10 Week Introductory Course starts.

We look forward to seeing you at a class in the holidays break or in Term 2.  Have a wonderful relaxing Easter.

Yogart - Yoga and Art for Children and Young Adults Wednesday 17 April 2019

Join us for some fun in the holidays with a Yoga session followed by morning tea and art.  The yoga sessions are designed around building coordination, stamina, having fun and learning to be still.  The art sessions encourage creativity and self expression in a friendly environment. 

Yogart 3-6yrs

Come on an exciting journey, use your imagination and explore a world of nature and animals through story.   Led by Fiona Hawke, who many will know from Story Time at the Library, this is a great introduction to Yoga through imagery and fun.  We will have a healthy snack and move on to an art session with Abigail Hawke, who is an experienced primary teacher.

Yoga 9.00am-9.45am followed by morning tea and Art 10.00am-11.15am.

Bookings:  www.orangeyogaroom.com.au and scroll down to payment options

Yogart 7-12yrs

Exploring Yoga poses through animals and imagery using balance, coordination and strength, this session is led by Sharon L'Estrange who is an experienced yoga teacher and a nature enthusiast.  Sharon will take the group on an adventure, trekking through the bush, observing the wonders above and below the sea, to arrive ......... in a place of tranquility and peace through guided relaxation.  Feeling rested, the group will have morning tea and move to the art room to get creative with Abigail Hawke, an experienced primary school teacher.

Yoga 10.15am-11.00am followed by morning tea and Art at 11.30am-12.45pm.

Bookings:  www.orangeyogaroom.com.au and scroll down to payment options

Yogart 13yrs+

A more sophisticated approach to Yoga including dynamic poses requiring focus and stamina as well as relaxation and learning to bring the mind to stillness.  Adults young and old welcome!

Yoga 1.00pm-2.00pm followed by a snack and Art at 2.15-3.30pm.

Book on wwww.orangeyogaroom.com.au and scroll down to payment options

Venue:  The Yoga Room, Upstairs Orange Arcade.

Please arrive 10 mins early to your session:

3-6yrs  9.00am-11.15am

7-12yrs  10.15am-12.45pm

13yrs+  1.00pm-3.30pm

Yoga sessions led by Tricia Shannon, Fiona Hawke and Sharon L’Estrange.

Art Sessions led by Abigail Hawke.

 Cost:  $50 one child/young adult, $85 two siblings or $110 three siblings.

 

Bookings essential.

Home Practice Workshop Sunday 7 April 10am-1.00pm

Coming to class each week puts life into perspective.  All our issues and concerns still exist when we walk out the door, but for the duration of the class, and for some time afterwards, life seems a little lighter.  The mind is a littler quieter.

 Initially, we have to learn the asanas, or poses.  Practising at home helps the progression of learning. As we progress we should be happy with small improvements, and keep on learning and practising.

Having a regular practice, as well as coming to class, gives us the opportunity to put aside external concerns and to be an observer.  Instead of always doing, thinking and being busy, when we step on the mat we learn to watch our thoughts, emotions and reactions as they rise up and present themselves.  We become more of an observer, or a watcher, as we are practising each asana. 

The real benefit of a home practice is the opportunity to watch ourselves. It teaches us to live in the present moment where fear, anxiety and stress don’t actually exist.  With persistence, the regular, steady, consistent practice of Yoga brings peace and poise into all parts of our lives.

Students of all levels are welcome to join this workshop.  We will look at:

Why Practice?

What to Practice;

When to use equipment;

Categories or types of asanas;

Sequencing poses to gain a certain effect;

Overcoming Procrastination;

The necessity and beauty of making Yoga part of your life.

Cost:  $45 which includes notes.

 

 

 

Led Practice - now is a great time to start!

How does it work?

Led Practice runs every Saturday from 7.00am-8.30am.  It is not a class as such, but students set up as usual and then a teacher or a Level 2 student will 'lead' the practice.  The leader will call the poses and do them.  Everyone else follows.  The leader will give alternatives to the inversions so there is no pressure to do headstand or shoulder stand if you don't yet practice these poses.

What you will do

Each student follows the leader but does his or her own individual practice.  This means each student will use equipment for support if appropriate, and shorten the timings if appropriate.  Effectively, we are all practising the same sequence but adjusting it to suit our individual needs.   

You can sign up for 5 or 10 sessions of Led Practice during the term or you can come along and pay the casual rate.  I know some students have signed which is great.  

Start Now!

It is the beginning of a new year and a fantastic time to start Led Practice.  To make the transition smooth, I will be at Led Practice this Saturday to assist any students who are new to Led Practice and need a little guidance.  Sharon will lead and call each asana and I will be available to help.   So make use of this offer and come along.  The casual rate is $15 and it's a great way to start the weekend!  Below is a piece written by one of our students where she shares her thoughts on Led Practice.

Clair's Thoughts on Led Practice

Attending weekly classes allows us to become students of yoga.  Being a student of yoga and a yoga practitioner, rather than just 'dropping into a class', is a commitment to sit with ourselves.  We take the time to come onto the mat, once, twice, three times a week, or even daily,  to observe our habits, to notice what's happening the body, breath and mind.  Alan Goode spoke about this in his weekend workshop two weeks ago.  Alan noted that a yoga practice becomes a study of consciousness, rather than just a physical activity.  A regular and consistent yoga practice gives us the opportunity to observe whats happening within ourselves without reacting.  To watch the rise and fall of emotions rather than becoming entangled within the drama of our circumstances.  

The first step on this path is to attend a class or classes.   Once you are familiar with the basic asanas, it's a great idea to join Led Practice on Saturdays 7.00am-8.30am.  Led Practice is not a class but provides the support of other students of yoga.  We come together to practice, working at our own individual capacity.  A student or teacher will lead a sequence and we all follow along.  A very simple concept.

It's also a fantastic way to start the weekend.  If you have 3 months experience of yoga, please feel free join the Led Practice group.  You can pay casually on the day, or pay on line as you enrol for your term class(es).  

One of our students gives her perspective on why we should attend Led Practice:

Why do Led practice?

Having taken some time to get my head around the idea of an early Saturday yoga practice I have become a convert. Now, like all good converts, I’m driven by a need to convince others.

But isn’t it early on a Saturday?

Yes, but you have to get up at some point and sleep is what Saturday afternoons are for. No-one ever felt worse after yoga.

I’m not good enough though…

Good enough for whom? Does it matter? Would letting going of the comparisons and competitiveness make a difference to your practice?

….and I don’t know all those hindi names!

Most of the poses you will have done before and it’s a great way to learn all the names.

If a yoga class is like going to training, then led practice is like playing the game. It’s fun, it focuses, it challenges, it reinforces, it extends, it’s non-judgemental and it gives you confidence to build on your yoga practice.