December 7, 2015
Today was our first class practicing asanas under the expert guidance of Geetaji. The focus was on standings and the following asanas were taught:
– Tadasana with Urdhva Hastasana arms
– Utthita Trikonasana
– Upa Vista Konasana
– Utthita Parsvakonasana
– Virabhadrasana 2
– Adho Mukha Svanasana
– Virabhadrasana 1
– Chatush Padasana
– Short Break
When you take a class with a member of the Iyengar family, it’s not about the asanas taught, it’s about the emphasis.
Geetaji talked about the difference of going through the poses mechanically and doing the poses to get more in touch with the inner body. Making connections.
In Tadasana she talked about opening the soles of the feet and keeping the outer edges of the feet firm.
For Urdhva Hastasana, we first did the pose stretching the arms overhead the traditional way; then we spread the arms to the side and then up. With these variations we explored the effects on the arms, the shoulders and upper back and also how the lumbar was affected differently by these two variations.
We held the poses for some time and linked all standings to Tadasana.
Upa Vista was taught to give us a rest. We studied the opening of the soles of the feet in that pose where we were not bearing weight on them.
In terms of the movement of the arms she said that it should be initiated in the upper arm, not below the elbow.
In the lateral standings she talked about the indentation at the hip socket which really stabilized the pelvis.
Uttanasana was taught as a relaxing pose – feet wide encouraging the side body to open.
Adho Mukha Svanasana was taught as a gateway in to Virabhadradana 1 After placing the feet we created a very strong lift of the arms attempting to maintain it as we went into the 90 degree angle on the front leg.
Chatush Padasana was taught as a recovery pose with emphasis on lifting the chest and lifting the heels and walking the feet in. Once we shaped the chest in this manner, we placed our hands on our back ribs Salamba Sarvangasana style.
Savasana – took quite a long time to get into it starting from Dandasana; after lying back we adjusted the pelvis in an attempt to keep the back of the waist long. The accurate placement was emphasized.
When I write up the class it seems pretty straight forward in a way but with the energy that Geetaji puts into her teaching and the fact that she understands the poses so well, I get into quite a deep experience and get a fresh sense of the power of yoga.
USE OF PROPS WITH ABIJATA
The afternoon sessions are more of a lecture format and Guruji’s granddaughter did a fine job. She began her talk with the history of props as developed by her grandfather.
She explained that his motivation for helping people in this way was because he had empathy for them. When someone had a problem and could not do an asana he would put himself in their shoes and then recognizing the problem from inside himself, he would figure where the support was required.
He began with simple supports and over time developed a grand variety of props. He realized over time that one and all could benefit from props in a variety of ways.
– to develop confidence;
– to receive support;
– to experience openings in areas of restriction – a few of the examples she mentioned.
She talked about not looking at the props as inanimate objects but getting clear on what we need so we have a relationship to the props which is fresh and new and appropriate to the moment.
There were quite a few practical ways on use of props presented, for example a variety of ways to use the tressler in Ardha Chandradana.
These are full and nourishing days.
Went back to the hotel and met a friend for a light dinner in the Lounge and then had a relatively early night.