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Tag: benefits of yoga


WHAT IS IYENGAR YOGA + HOW IT CAN BENEFIT YOU

WHAT IS IYENGAR YOGA + HOW IT CAN BENEFIT YOU

Posted June 12, 2012

Although I now mostly practice Ashtanga, my love affair with yoga began a few years back with Iyengar. A class and experience that profoundly affected me. You can read all about my very first class here. I tried yoga in my early 20s, I believe it was a flowing hatha vinyasa style. And although now I love this style of yoga it really didn’t resonate with me at all. The combination of a weak, tight body, lack of self-awareness and a disconnection from my body meant that my attempts at yoga never really cut through. But, Iyengar is a unique style and experience. And that coupled with a little more ‘openess’ had me hooked from day one.Iyengar is a very popular style of yoga created by B.K.S Iyengar, who, after sustaining an injury decided to find a way to make yoga accessible and therapeutic. I love Iyengar because of the detail and the focus it requires. It forces me to fully connect with my body, creating such a deep level of self-awareness. Iyengar doesn’t focus on ‘flow’ or vinyasa, but it is what I would describe an intellectual practice. Some people find the detail in Iyengar yoga to be distracting, however for me it really helps to shut off everything else in my mind as I move into the present (body and breath). This allows me to focus on where i am in space, what I am doing in the posture and how to move deeper. The practice of Iyengar focuses on a few main aspects: 1) Correct body alignment – in an anatomical way 2) Props – using blocks, chairs, blankets and belts to help you adjust or support the body in different postures – to work within a range of motion that is safe and effective, but also to show you what the body needs to do within the asana 3) Therapy – using asana, the postures and pranayama, the breath to eliminate physical and energetic ailments (including stress!) 4) Sequencing – correct sequences that encourage the practice of postures in an order that creates a strong effects on the body and nervous system. E.g. a headstand always comes before shoulder stand 5) Timing – postures are held for a longer period of time to let the effects of the pose penetrate deeper within the body and mind – sense of awareness, strength, flexibility, stamina, understanding. Downward Facing Dog – Iyengar yoga wall A typical class will see the teacher focus on a particular set of asanas – Standing Poses, Twists and Forward Bends, Backbends, Restorative etc. However, in each class there will always feature a long-held headstand (sirsasana) and long-held shoulderstand (sarvangasana) at the end. The kind and queen of the asanas and two poses revered in Iyengar (all yoga in fact!) Unlike Ashtanga, where ladies not practice during their menstrual cycle, in Iyengar you can still attend but your teacher will set you up for a restorative sequence using blankets, bolsters and props to settle into soothing postures for 5-10 minutes each. This leaves you feeling so blissed out and calm. One of my favourite books is B.K.S Iyengar. It is a brilliant book. And as expected, incredibly detailed. Whether you are a teacher, new practitioner, or intrigued yogi from a different style this book is a must! If you are injured, recovering from pregnancy, find hot/flow styles of yoga make you feel anxious, need some grounding, like to experiment, or are totally new to yoga I strongly recommend trying Iyengar. I especially think starting out with Iyengar before transitioning is the most brilliant set-up for a fantastic yoga practice. After sustaining a hamstring injury and back injury I have started to incorporate Iyengar back into my yoga regime. Nothing else teaches you structure, alignment, understanding like Iyengar does. All yoga creates awareness, but Iyengar does so on a deep level, very quickly! If you are intrigued and want to give Iyengar a shot check out Iyengar Yoga Australia. Signing off with an exhale. Pause. Listen. Live. Cx Read more

LIGHT ON YOGA… PARSVA BAKASANA

LIGHT ON YOGA… PARSVA BAKASANA

Posted February 09, 2012

At the Phoenix Weekend, which I recently blogged about, I finally cracked Parsva Bakasana during Katy Appleton’s Hot Flow Class. Can I get a Whoop, Whoop!? It wasn’t hot as in heat, it was hot meaning we worked deep into our core, the fire centre or manipura chakra – where our sense of power and esteem resides. It was an unbelievable class that blended elements of kundalini, traditional hatha, vinyasa flow and even martial arts movements. It was dynamic but considered. Katy provided a few amazing pointers that made Parsva Bakasana make sense to me! I’ve been able to do Bakasana for a while and Parsva was happening, but often it wasn’t so crash hot, or I wouldn’t last in it for very long. Ms Apple made that happen. Here is the step-by-step I wrote down after the class: 1.    Bend your knees to a half-squat, thighs parallel to the floor. Glue the knees and things together Take your left elbow to the outside of your right thigh as you soften your belly 2.    Exhaling, drawing the lower belly in, twist your torso to the right, bringing your left lower ribs across toward your right thigh as far as you can. 3.    Make a fist with your left hand and push down with the right whilst you twist up to the ceiling – this specifically was an apple tip which really helped you to twist more. 4.    Slide the back of your left arm down the outside of the right thigh, bringing your armpit as close to the thigh as possible. 5.    Keep twist the body to press the left arm snugly alongside the thigh and the right elbow is pointing up to the ceiling. 6.    Squat down fully until the sit bones are just above the heels. Place the left palm to the floor, outside the right foot. Lean the body to the right if your hand doesn’t reach. 7.    Keep the left arm pressed into the right thighs. Then, place the right hand down in line with the left, shoulder width apart, 8.    Keep the weight on the feet, then press into the hands and lift the hips high. Here is the key – you won’t be about to elevate off the ground if your hips are low and you are just leaning into the hands. 9.    Maintain contact between left arm and right thigh. Keep lifting pelvis and inch the feet forward. Lean the body to the right. Move the left hip forward and around in a clockwise motion. 10.Increase the weight onto your hands until you can feel the weight ease from your feet. It’s here, whilst the hips are high, the body leaning into the hands via the left thigh, which you can start to raise the feet and elevate. 11.Once you are there, exhale fully, draw the belly in to lift and tuck the feet in. Straight the right arm. Left can stay slightly bent. Easier said than done. It takes practice and then some. But it’s fun and a great way to break through a few boundaries, showing you what your body is capable of. Have fun! Signing off with an exhale. Pause. Listen. Live Cx Read more


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