I am so grateful for all of the support and encouragement that I get from my family and friends as I continue to explore all the benefits that yoga has to offer. Every Sunday when I teach, I sit in meditation in the morning, and then play around with my home practice a little bit in order to develop a sequence of poses to teach at my 4:30 class. Each week I teach something a little bit different. My classes are always based on a different theme which is always pertinent to some aspect of yoga that I have been working with over the past week. I’ve decided that I want to post the sequence of poses that I do each week on my blog. As part of my teacher training program I had to create “flash cards” for every yoga pose. I created each of my cards as a new word document. On these cards I scanned in a picture of BKS Iyengar performing the full version of the pose and then I listed a description of the pose, it’s risks, benefits, and modifications. I found all of this information in the Book “Light on Yoga” by BKS Iyengar, yoga journal.com, or on other various internet blogs. I will create a hyperlink for each of the yoga poses in my sequences that will take you to a flashcard for each pose. I invite all of you that are not able to make it to my Sunday classes to visit my blog occasionally and try out a few of the sequences that I post. If you have any questions please feel free to message, call, or e-mail me. I still have a lot to learn, but I have been studying under some amazing teachers at Dragonfly yoga. If you ever have a question that I don’t have an answer for I will be happy to ask my teachers and help you research the answer. If any of my fellow teachers get a chance to visit my blog and see something that I could do differently that will be safer and/or more beneficial then please let me know. Thanks everyone! Namaste!
February 10, 2013
Ever since I started transcendental meditation (TM) with Prudence Bruns my friends have started to notice the positive changes in me. Every time someone asks me about it I tell them that my “secret” is meditation. All of my friends want to know how to meditate now. I must make a disclaimer that TM is a very special meditation technique, and you must learn it from a certified teacher. I am not a certified TM teacher, but would be happy to help you get in touch with Prudence if you’d like to learn more.
This past Sunday I opened my class by talking about the few aspects of meditation that I am starting to explore. The first time that I ever meditated it was after reading “meditation for dummies”. This book helped me to at least start to grasp the concept of what a meditation practice is like. Any time that you meditate you start by finding a comfortable, seated position, in a quiet place. The reason that meditation is so important in our culture is because we’re constantly on the move, and rarely find moments of silence because we always have the TV, radio, friends, family, or some other “background noise” in our lives. Merely taking time to slow down and turn down the volume in our lives has amazing benefits for our nervous systems and sense of well-being. After you feel like you have settled down a little bit close your eyes and gently bring your focus to whatever you choose.
At this point you will become more aware of the nature of the mind. There is the higher mind and the lower mind. The higher mind is connected to spirit; it is eternal, and all-knowing. The lower mind is connected to ego, and it knows that it will cease to exist when you die. The lower mind is anxious and short sighted. As you try to focus your lower mind will be wandering because your thoughts will never stop as long as you’re alive. Meditation turns down the volume in your life by turning down the volume of your thoughts and your wandering ego mind. Each time that you gently acknowledge these thoughts, with gratitude, and bring your focus back then you are more influenced by your higher mind. While you sit in meditation you will most likely feel more relaxed, and you may or may not get some answers to some of the questions weighing heaviest on your heart. After you come out of meditation you will begin to experience the influence of your higher mind. You will notice that your thoughts are kinder and more understanding, and that you can look at “problems” from a different angle which will offer you different solutions.
I designed my class around the concept of bringing a greater sense of focus and a more meditative state to everyone.
Here’s the sequence:
1. Opening Meditation (5 – 10 mins) (Seated Position)
2. Seated Side Stretch
3. We went back and forth between the following three poses, in the following order, 5 times:
b. Upavista Konasana
c. Baddha Konasana
5. Thread the Needle
6. We went back and forth between the following 2 poses 5 times:
a. Ardha Navasana
b. Donkey Kicks
8. Vrksasana with foot staying at shin height and playing with eagle arms while in the pose
The following sequence is linked together, and after pose 18, the sequence starts over again for at least 3 times. Pose 16 – Virabhadrasana 1 – can change into standing splits the second time that the sequence is repeated, and ardha chandrasana the 3rd time it is repeated, or you can repeat Virabhadrasana 1 all three times.
10. Step or walk feet back to Adho Mukha Svanasana
11. Chaturanga Dandasana
12. Low Bhujangasana
13. Push up through table and back into balasana
14. Curl the toes under and push the sit bones up into the air for Adho Mukha Svanasana
15. Step the right foot forward into a lunge. Drop the back knee down to the floor if you’d like to.
16. Raise the arms up above the head into Virabhadrasana 1
17. Come back into Adho Mukha Svanasana then walk the hands back to the feet and roll up to tadasana
18. Take a meditative walk to the front of the matt.
Remember to repeat this sequence 3 times
19. Take Vrksasana again, and raise the foot to a higher position on the leg if you’d like to. Pay attention to any difference in your balance.
20. The following 2 linked movements are what I learned to call “the energizer”: Move back and forth between a full body stretch on the inhale, and bringing the knees into the chest on the exhale, while laying on your back.
21. Windshield wipers: while laying on the back, bend the knees and bring the feet to the floor, about matt’s distance apart. Let both knees fall to the right side, take a breath, then bring the knees back up through center and let them fall to the left side. Move the knees back and forth like windshield wipers a few times.
22. Sacrum Setting: continue to lay on the floor with knees bent and feet on the floor, then take a yoga block at it’s lowest setting and place it under the pelvis/sacrum specifically, facing longwise from hipbone to hipbone.
23. after resting in this constructive, supported bridge pose position for a few minutes, bring both feet off of the floor and raise the legs straight into the air as if you are trying to put the soles of the feet on the ceiling.
24. Bring feet back to the floor, roll to your side, sit up. Roll up a blanket into a tube, place it on your matt and lay down over the tube with the tube placed under your shoulder blades, and sticking out from under both of your armpits. After a few minutes, roll the blanket down to just below the bottom ribs, in the middle of the back.
25. After a few minutes roll to your side, sit up, and fold two or three blankets until you have a bolster, place the bolster between your knees and fold yourself over the bolster in a supported child’s pose.
26. After a few minutes, set yourself up for savasana, and stay in savasana for as long as you need to.