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Mexican Yoga Intensive, Abhijata Iyengar

April 28, 2019, 8:00-11:00 am

– Adho Mukha Virasana

– Standings – The emphasis was in the back leg moving the buttock to the heel to open the groin

– Utthita Trikonasana

– Virabhadrasana 2

– Utthita Parsvakonadana

– Ardha Chsndrasana

– Virabhadrasana 1 – she expressed concern that the back leg buttock was moving towards the spine and encouraged us to move it out with our hands

– Chest opening at wall – stand close to the wall moving the pelvis into the wall; feet slightly wider than hip distance; begin with heels elevated, lift and open the chest and maintaining the lift of the chest, slowly bring the heels back to the floor. She emphasized that the legs have to remain firm – otherwise the lower back will hurt

– same upright back arch in the center of the room; several repetitions of the both variations of upright back arch

– Virabhadrasana 1

– Salabasana – lift one leg at a time and lengthen. The wrists were supported by a belt the first time and then took the hands back without the belt

– Danurasana – lifting and lengthening one leg at a time

– Parsva Danurasana

– Sirsasana

– Urdhva Danurasana – using strong work of the legs to lift the pelvis

– Eka Pada Urdhva Danurasana

– Walking in Urdhva Danurasana

– Dropping back from Sirsasana into Dwi Pada Viparita Dandasana and then pushing up into Urdhva Danurasana

– Dropping back from Full Arm Balance

– Mandalasana

– Salamba Sarvangasana, all variations – Eka Pada, Parsva Eka Pada, legs in Padmasana, Halasana, Parsva Halasana and Supta Konasana

– Savasana

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Mexican Yoga Intensive, Abhijata Iyengar

April 27, 2019, 3:30-5:30 pm

– Adho Mukha Virasana – with bolster under torso all the way to the groins

– Supta Swastikasana – with horizontal blanket under thoracic

– Supta Baddha Konasana – as above

– Adho Mukha Svanasana

– Tadasana – with Urdhva Hastasana arms

– Utkatasana – hands stretching towards the floor and then stretching the arms overhead to experience to lift of the trunk away from the legs

– Supta Tadasana – arms overhead; lying over blanket with legs tied together at shins

– lying as above with a block on the sternum; she instructed not to lift the block on inhalation but to make contact with it moving the breath into the chest cavity. She expressed the importance of width across the top chest area. This can be achieved by drawing the extreme corners of the shoulders to the floor. Paying attention to the breath in all poses helps to transition into a Pranayama practice;

– Savasana with chest opening prop – long smooth inhalations and then inhalation retention. The in-breath was divided into two parts – holding the breath at the halfway point and then completingthe inhalation followed by a long, slow, smooth exhalation

– Savasana

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Mexican Yoga Intensive, Abhijata Iyengar

April 27, 2019, 8:00-11:50 am

– Adho Mukha Virasana

Today’s Subject – Vinyasana in Iyengar Yoga; Abhijata talked about the importance of moving the legs and arms.

We did several jumpings:

– Uttanasana to Adho Mukha Svanasana to Uttanasana several times

– jumped from Uttanasana into Chaturanga Dandasana

– jumped from Adho Mukha Svanasana into the following standings:

– Utthita Trikonasana, Utthita Parsva Konasana, Ardha Chandrasana, Parsvottanasana and Prasarita  Padattonasana – 3 repetitions  for each.

– Utthita Parsvakonasana – place palm outside the foot from behind so that your bent  leg is resting on your shoulder and then lift the foot off the floor and stretch the leg.

For those not able to jump she gave the following options:

– moving quickly into Utthita Trikonasana and back up several times on one side and then the other

– facing the wall move back and forth into Ardha Chandrasana placing the hands on the wall for support

– Ardha Uttanasana, palms on wall lifting the right leg several times then the left; avoid bending opposite elbow. This is a modification of Virabhadrasana 3

– Standing in Tadasana throw the right arm vigorously behind you even if the torso turns, same with the left arm – we did Pashima Namaskar asana with ease after these movements

She talked about Virabhadrasana 3 being a preparation for going into Full Arm Balance. Virabhadrasana 3, Urdhva Prasarita Eka Padasana are both asanas that prepare for kicking the leg up into Full Arm Balance.

– Vasistasana – don’t let pelvis drop; variations – up leg in Baddha Konasana and then the classical pose lifting the up leg straight up

– Full Arm Balance – don’t allow the pelvis to collapse towards the ground

– Pincha Mayurasana – look at armpit opening; to encourage more opening put height under the elbows.

She talked at some length about not correcting new students. She compared it to the way Guruji taught children. The only time they should be corrected is if they are doing something dangerous.

– Sirsasana – she talked about the fear factor and how students should not get too many instructions

New students unconsciously put the weight on the forehead to protect the cervical spine. This is fine for beginners. Encourage them to maintain height of the shoulders and work their legs. They should hold it briefly.

She also talked about how westerners were very keen to do the pose in the center of the room and go up with 2 straight legs. She explained that they should learn Ardha Sirsasana in the center of the room; then stretch one leg up and then the other developing confidence in taking one leg off the floor at a time. As far as the relationship between the palms and the head goes we should not insist on this contact for several years. The hands and fingers  should not be rigid and the heels of the hands should not be responsible for the support of the head – if this is the case, how do you move into the variations where your arms are folded in front of you or stretched out in front of you?

– Sirsasana – integrating the movement of the legs first insisting that up leg should hold its place completely, then take the split leg position watching the balance back leg to front leg.

– Adho Mukha Virasana

– Bharadvajasana

– Ustrasana – a few times taking the head well back to free any tension in the upper back from Sirsasana

– Purvottanasana – with legs bent again taking the head well back to remove any stiffness in the thoracic from Sirsasana

– legs in Swastikasana – lean back on elbows, open chest and put crown of head on floor; this was done with the legs in Virasana and Padmasana as well

– Salamba Sarvangasana – from Halasana again working with leg movements; Halasana, Parsva Halasana and Supta Konasana.

Several movements from Halasana rolling into the following poses repeatedly:

-Pashimottanasana

– Janu Sirsasana

– Padmasana

– Marychiasana 1

The bent leg positions had to be performed in the air before coming on to the floor.

– Halasana moving quickly into many poses – Pashimottanasana, Uttanasana, Utkatasana, Ustrasana, Urdhva Dhanurasana, malasana into bakasana

Quite a lively end to the class.

– Setu Bandha – supported.

Savasana.

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Mexican Yoga Intensive, Abhijata Iyengar

April 26, 2019, 3:30-5:30 pm

– Supta Swastikasana

– Supta Baddha Konasana

– Adho Mukha Svanasana – hands on blocks

– Janu Sirsasana – first lifting the chest and then resting the head

– Pashimottanasana – head supported

– Setu Bandha – broad folded blankets under thoracic region

All the postures were enhanced by moving the breath in such a way that it deepened the experience of the pose; e.g, to increase height of chest, the front of the body use inhalation, exhale to release shoulder blades down the back.

In Setu Bandha as well as teaching about the vertical height in the chest, she taught us to move the breath into the inner side walls of the chest. She explained that Setu Bandha is an important pose in connecting the practice of asana and pranayama.

Mexican Yoga Intensive, Abhijata Iyengar

April 26, 2019, 8:00-11:50 am

– Adho Mukha Virasana

– she began the session by asking us to look at the illustrations in Light on Yoga for Utthita Trikonasana and P. Trikonasana; she pointed specifically to the position of his back foot which is not turned in. She explained that the way many of us turn the back foot well in is not correct, especially for practitioners of yoga. She said that it helps new students to get their hand outside the foot so that they don’t feel too defeated in the pose; also Guruji would teach this to someone with paralysis of the leg, for example. However, she emphasized that the movement in the hip which is created when the foot faces forward is a very positive thing.

– Utthita Trikonasana – Check the space between the feet; most of us had the feet too close together and the pelvis on the back leg side ‘looks like a mountain.’  She said that the line from the left armpit to the outer ankle should be continuous with no bump at the pelvis when you are doing the pose to the right. We experimented with the distance between the feet to get the optimal result. Then she asked us to take the toes and the ball of the foot of the back leg off the floor and transfer the weight firmly on to the outer heel. Keep the outer heel firm and put the ball of the foot and the toes back on the floor.

She talked about the importance of standings in Iyengar Yoga particularly for beginners. It is in these poses that students find it easier to make the connections between the different parts of the body.

She divided them into 3 categories:

1. The body faces forward like Trikonasana

2. You  have to make a turn to square the hips like Virabhadrasana 1

3. Poses that are in fact twists like P. Trikonasana

– P. Trikonasana – with the emphasis of getting the lower abdomen to turn

– Utthita Parsva Konasana

– P. Parsva Konasana – one of the main poses she covered

We had to keep the back heel  on the floor with the foot facing forward. She asked us to keep a block close by for the hand but not to automatically use it. She told us to use the force between the arm and the knee to deepen the twist and that a block may not be necessary; perhaps a blanket under the hand would be sufficient.

– Janu Sirsasana as a twist observing how the pose develops when the knee goes from a more neutral position as opposed to taking it further back. We did some repetitions of this pose and then;

– P. Parsva Konasana using what we learned in the previous pose;

– Marychiasana 3 – first working on the classical pose; then leaning back to make room for the abdomen to turn and then extending forward before putting the arm outside the knee and sitting upright. The heel of the bent leg has to be very close to the sitting bone so that the back leg flank can rest on the bent leg – there should be no gap.

To create more height in the trunk instead of keeping  the  arm bent outside the bent leg we had to put our hand under the foot and create a strong upward lift from there.

– P. Parsva Konasana

– Ardha Matsyendrasana

– P. Parsvakonasana

– Supta Padangusthasana 3 – relating this pose to P. Trikonasana

– P. Trikonasana – in the previous pose the muscles could soften more allowing for a deeper twist which allowed us to go deeper into P. Trikonasana

– Adho Mukha Svanasana

– Uttanasana

– Sirsasana with variations – Parsva Sirsasana and Parivrttaikapada;

– Adho Mukha Virasana

– P. Ardha Chandrasana lying face down

– Supta Swastikasana

– Savasana

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Mexican Yoga Intensive, Abhijata Iyengar

April 25, 2019, 4:15-6:15 p

– Adho Mukha Virasana supported by bolster all the way to the groins

– Malasana

– Adho Mukha Swastikasana – same as above

These three poses were intended to soften the groins from the morning session.

– Adho Mukha Svanasana

– Uttanasana

– Parsvottanasana – heel to heel to balance pelvis

– Sirsasana

Abhijata commented on how many students were complaining of neck problems. She said that often these are not problems of the neck but lack of freedom in the shoulders and proceeded to teach a sequence of shoulder openings:

– Tadasana – Urdhva Hastasana arms

– Supta Tadasana – arms overhead palms facing the ceiling and then palms on the floor; she offered a second variation of the palms on the floor with a blanket under the thoracic to help to get the palms closer to the floor

– Uttanasana – interlocked fingers taking the arms towards to floor; same pose but instead of palms together, we put a strap around the wrists slightly narrower than shoulder width- Tadasana – arms in Gomukasana

– Tadasana – keeping one arm straight and catching the upper arm with the other hand from the back – catching elbows with opposite hands

– Pashima Namaskar asana

– Anantasana for the armpit length

– Bharadvajasana  1 and 2

– Padmasana with twist

– Adho Mukha Svanasana – there was so much emphasis on chest opening in that sequence

– Sirsasana

Abhijata commented on how the shoulder openings improved the headstand

– Adho Mukha Virasana

– Salamba Sarvangasana from Halasana for half the group; the other half did a supported Setu  Banda on three bricks moving the shoulders on to the floor to open chest; we then switched

– Pashimottanasana

– Savasana.
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Mexican Yoga Intensive, Abhijata Iyengar

April 25, 2019, 9:00 am- 12:15 pm

Today’s topic – lateral poses of all kinds. Abhijata again brought up the topic of the downside of having an image of an asana. She referred to ‘total absorption’ as described by Guruji. She taught that doing the same asana shapes with various relationships to gravity help us to make the connections between different parts of the body. To create freedom in the hips, we moved quickly in and out of several of the poses.

She talked about lateral space in the back of the pelvis explaining that that had to happen before drawing down the buttock of the front leg of Utthita Trikonasana; Utthita Parsvakonasana and moving the buttock away from the waist in Ardha Chandrasana; she said that when the lateral space is lacking because of hip tightness, the muscles become tighter by tucking the buttock prematurely.

– Adho Mukha Svanasana

– Adho Mukha Svanasana

– Supta Padangusthasana 2 – Don’t bring lateral leg to the shoulder move it out to the side at a 90 degree angle to the trunk and bring the leg to the floor even if the opposite hip comes up

– Virabhadrasana 2 (lying face down) – The trunk tends to follow the lateral leg so the abdomen has to be turned away from that leg so the frontal hip bones are equidistant from the floor

– Supta Padangustasana 2 – (lying face down) with a blanket under the ankle of the lateral leg; push the blanket away with the ankle to lengthen from the inner groin

– Utthita Trikonasana

– Utthita Parsvakonasana

– moving from Trikonasana into Utthita Parsvakonasana quickly

– Utthita Parsvakonasana – moving buttock to outer knee, hand in front of ankle turn the abdomen away from the groin

– Ardha Chandrasana – making the strong turn away from the standing leg so that the abdomen doesn’t collapse towards the standing leg

She made good connections between the supine and standing poses

– Vrksasana – turning Badda Konasana leg back; X 2; Seated poses done with a rolled blanket to separate the sitting bones

– Baddha Konasana

– Upa Vista Konasana

– half the class – Supta Padangusthadana 2, the other half Baddha Konasana with block between feet

– Vrksasana 2 – lateral leg in a padmasana variation moving the thigh back with rapid movements

– one leg in Upa Vista Konasana the other in Baddha Konasana

– both legs in Baddha Konasana

– one leg in  Upa Vista Konasana and one in Kandasana

– both legs in Kandasana

– one leg in Virasana the other in Padmadana

– one leg in Upa Vista Konasana, the other in Padmasana

– one leg in Padmasana; first rest the other leg in a 90 Degree angle in front of the Padmasana leg and then taken the second leg into Padmasana

– lying on the floor, take one leg into Padmasana lean towards bent leg, lift second leg and lie centered on back

– Supta Padangusthadana 2 – take leg to the side all the way down and support with elbow on the floor

– Baddha Konasana

– Adho Mukha Svanasana

– Uttanasana

– Bujapidasana

– Astavakrasana

– Tittibasana

These three arm balances demonstrate  that freedom in the hips  is more important than strength.

– Prasarita Padattonasana

– Chatush Padadana – catching ankles

– Salamba Sarvangasana (variations) – Virabhadrasana 2 and Parsva  Eka Pada

– Halasana

– Karnapidasana

– Pashimottanasana – letting one leg come up as you bring the other leg to the floor; back and forth 6 times

– Savasana

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Mexican Yoga Intensive, Abhijata Iyengar

April 24, 2019: 1st Class 4:00-7:00 pm

Emphasis on drawing thigh back from below the buttock line, broadening the thigh from the inner thigh to the outer thigh.

Avoid being attached to an image you have of an asana.

– Tadasana

– Tadasana – arms in Urdhva Hastasana – emphasizing length on sides of body

Standings in quick succession:

– Utthita Trikonasana

– Virabhadrasana 2

– Utthita  Parsvakonasana

– Prasarita  Padattonasana – keeping the outer borders of feet on floor

– Urdhva Prasarita Padasana – pushing feet into resistance of belt

– Dandasana

– Paripurna Navasana

– Utthita Trikonasana – observing how the back of the front thigh narrows as you go further down comparing palms on floor to use of block

– take the weight on to the heel of the front leg and pivot on the heel; helps to access groin

– Trikonasana to Ardha Chandrasana – emphasizing the work of the back leg lifting the leg from the top of the thigh and resisting the foot

– Virabhadrasana 3 – hands on blocks, again emphasizing lift of leg from top of thigh and keeping the back thigh broad

Then moving into Virabhadrasana 3 from Tadasana a few times recognizing the effect of the broad thigh of the uplifted leg

– Parsvottanasana, with both feet on floor; then lifting the ball of the front foot on to a block to see how that changes the posture, moves weight on to back leg and improves postural alignment. First work for pelvic alignment in the pose; if it doesn’t come, move feet heel to heel

– Utthita Parsvakonasana  – did the pose several times; external rotation of front leg working to get inner and outer thigh aligned in the pose drawing down the buttock to assist in this effort

– Uttanasana – when doing the pose for relaxation, don’t bring arms to Urdhva Hastasana, bring arms directly down; went up and down several times. Extending the arms doesn’t allow as much relaxation in the torso

– Upa Vista Konasana – keeping  thighs down and lifting heels

– pashimottanasana – catching big toes and lifting chest

– Upa  Vista Konasana, catching toes and lifting chest

– Uttanasana

– Adho Mukha Svanasana using back leg of parsvottanasana for AMS

– Uttanasana

– Adho Mukha Svanasana

– Swastikasana – twisting to the right and then the left a few times

– Uttanasana

– Halasana – emphasis on leg work we did in standings. Taking the feet to the floor, then placing them at different heights

– Uttanasana – stretching over right leg, left leg and then directly forward

– Halasana, Karnapidasana,  creating movement in the lower back

– Pashimottanasana – over right leg, left leg and then center

– Halasana – to Salamba Sarvangasana moving into Eka Pada several times

– Pashimottasana

– Swastikasana with twist

– Savasana

The work of the legs was taught consistently in all categories of asana – moving front  of the leg to the back of the leg and broad back of thighs.

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