Crossing the rainbow bridge

We’re going to continue our focus on the energies and we’ll begin with our three gentle movements – nose to knee, bridges, and gentle twist.
Coming to seated through the boat, we’ll proceed with swan-cat-dog. Now let’s focus solely on downward-facing dog, waling into it and out of it. We’ll use the dog to stand.
Let’s find our centre in mountain pose and tune into our energies. We’ll practise the tree balance and then continue into Salute to the Moon. This sequence is a wonderful way of balancing the energies and finding inner balance.
Let’s use the dog pose again to take us back to the mat where we’ll work with cool-downs.
Meditation is all about counting mantra. This is a new one to many: OM NAMO, GURU DEV NAMO. It calls upon the divine teacher within and without.
For the relaxation we’ll use the head movement from Kaya Kriya.
OM Shanti Shanti Shanti

Understanding energy

We’ve been studying the three main energy channels and the flow of kundalini. The mantra used by those who practise kundalinin yoga is, ‘OM Namo, Guru Dev Namo’. It can be translated as, ‘I call on the infinite creative consciousness.I call on the divine teacher within and without.’
We’ll begin this week with kapalabhati. This is a kriya and a pranayama technique. It’s known as the ‘skull-shining breath’.
From seated we’ll go into a deep forward bend, and then we’ll work with all the seated twists. Let’s return to the deep forward bend. And now we meet a balance in the form of the cosmic egg.
Our challenge pose at the minute is downward-facing dog. Let’s start in cat and then use the energy to move up into dog. While there we’ll play a little. We’ll bend one knee while stretching the back of the other leg, we’ll shake each leg in turn, we’ll stretch one leg out as long as possible. Resting in the counterpose gives us time for pause, and then we’ll resume a solid dog pose. From there we’ll stand.
Let’s try a deep forward bend in standing position, and follow that with a backward bend and twists.
Coming back to the mat through squat, we’ll move into cool-downs. Our meditation this week is a visualisation. Relaxation will feature the sound of ‘So’ on the in-breath and ‘Ham’ on the out-breath.
OM Shanti Shanti Shanti

Hidden energy

We’ve been exploring the three main energy channels and discussing kundalini. Yoga teaches us that there is more to the human being than meets the eye!Let’s harness our inner store of energy…
We’ll begin on all fours in the cat pose. First of all, we’ll focus on the movement of the spine with the breath. Then we’ll focus on the complete yoga breath, Mahat Pranayama, counting into all three areas of the body that are concerned with the breath.
Let’s add a leg movement. This will tone the abdomen, increase the suppleness of the spine, and get the hidden energies moving.
After resting, we’ll ‘wag the tail’! This neat little movement frees up blocked energy and stiffness from the base of the spine and the lower back.
On to a balance – we’ll lift alternate limbs from the mat.
Now we’ll take an in-depth look at the downward-facing dog pose which will be our challenge posture for this half-term. There is more to this asana than meets the eye, too!
Working with swan – cat – dog will give us an opportunity to use the breath and energy flow to improve the dog posture.
We need a twist about now. We’ll meet an old favourite, the mermaid.
If there’s time left in our hatha yoga section, we’ll try the half-camel and full camel, and complete with the counterpose.
Meditation is using the mantra ‘I AM’. On the in-breath, I AM means I EXIST. On the out-breath, I AM means I AM MORE THAN I REALISE.
The weather’s unsettled. I feel that it’s reflecting the general feeling of being unsettled in the country and indeed the world. Let’s create our own sunshine, our own summer, with surya kriya.
OM Shanti Shanti Shanti

Kundalini

Yoga is the science of the self, and kundalini is the awakening of the self.
We’ve been focusing on sushumna, ida and pingala. Now we take a look at kundalini. ‘Kundal’ means ‘the lock of hair from the beloved’ and the word is sanskrit. The lock of hair is said to reside at the base of the spine, the root chakra. Yoga practice enables us to raise that energy up through the other wheels of energy and to the crown.
We begin this week’s class seated. We’ll work with forward bends in the form of paschimottonasana and janu-sirsasana. Then we’ll meet a wide-legged forward bend.
Let’s progress to butterfly knees, rocking buddha, and the balance known as merudandasana. Now on to the tortoise – kurmasana.
Seated twists will keep us focused on the spine, and awakening the kundalini energy. Now for the mermaid. I love this one!
Let’s stand for our last attempt on this half-term’s challenge pose – the deep forward bend. And then down through the squat, which we’ll use as a balance.
We’ll work with the seed sounds in meditation – lam, vam, ram, yam, ham, om, soham.
For relaxation we’re going to use part of the relaxation technique known as Alu Loma Viloma Kriya. Taking the awareness to the base of the spine, as we breathe in we draw the energy up to a point in the centre of the skull. As we breathe out, we take the energy from that point in the centre of the skull back down to the base of the spine.
Half-term next week.
OM Shanti Shanti Shanti

Annamayakosha

Let’s begin with the left hand on the heart and the right hand on the lower abdomen. The short relaxation is a time to let go of our busy lives and to step into the present moment.

After the stretches we’ll stand for Malla Kriya, the whooshing breath. And then we’ll meet some wide-legged forward bends. Let’s balance that with assisted backward bends and then standing twists. After resting in the mountain pose we’ll move into the mountain sequence. We’ll do this first of all with the arms shoulder width apart and then with the hands in ‘namaste’, Anjali Mudra. On to a balance with the leg extended.

Having returned to the mat through the squat, we’ll come on to all fours for the cat pose. Then back into swan, and the variation of swan. Now this is going to be our challenge pose for this half-term! It’s a good one, opening the hips and the shoulders very effectively. Returning to kneeling, thunderbolt pose, we’ll finish with a neat little twist.

After our cool downs we’ll meditate on the breath and a mantra. ‘I am well’ on the in-breath, and ‘I am safe’ on the out-breath. Then resting in our physical body, physical sheath, annamayakosha, we’ll run through ‘I’m relaxing my toes, my toes are relaxed…I’m relaxing my feet, my feet are relaxed’ etc.

The reading this week gives us a good explanation of the food sheath, annamayakosha.

OM Shanti Shanti Shanti

Inner peace

This week we are continuing to find ways to uncover our Inner peace.

We’ll begin with mindful breathing in relaxation posture. After stretches and warm-ups, we will stand for the Tree of Life breath. Moving then into the asana work, we will meet Warrior 2 and the Triangle. Let’s follow this with a deep forward bend, supported back-bend and then standing twist.

The mountain Sequence is excellent for developing stamina and endurance. We will practice three times. Then we’ll see how we’re doing on balance. The Tree balance helps us find outer and inner balance. Salute to the Moon will follow, also practised three times.

Going down through the Squat, we will sit for butterfly knees, rocking buddha, then work with the challenge pose – Tortoise, Kurmasana.

For meditation, we imagine that we have a large crystal within. As you breathe in the crystal grows larger, and as you breathe out you release into sapphire blue.

Relaxation will be the beautiful Surya kriya. Imagine that you have your own personal sun, hovering three foot above you. As you breathe in, draw down the warmth and the energy of the sun into your body. As you breathe out, radiate that warmth and energy through every part of your being.

OM Shanti Shanti Shanti

The Aura 7/3/2016

With my weekly students, I have been reviewing the Chakras. This week, we will look at the Aura, which is sometimes described as the Eighth Chakra.

Beginning with the Complete Yoga Breath, Mahat Pranayama, we will move into lying postures. We’ll work with ‘nose to knee pose’ (all forms), Apanasana. Then we’ll work with the ‘bridge’ (all forms) Sethu Bandhasana. On to lying twists (all forms).

We’ll use the ‘boat pose’ as a transition to seated, Navasana. Then continue our work with the ‘downward facing dog’, Svenasana. We’ll use the ‘dog’ as a transition to standing.

Working with a partner, we’ll learn how to ‘brush the aura’.

Cool-downs and meditation will be followed with a long relaxation where we breathe in and fill the energy centres, breathe out and fill the aura.

OM Shanti Shanti Shanti .