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

Twist, twist and twist again

We’re continuing our focus on Karma Yoga. To serve our nervous systems, digestive systems and our spines, we’ll be working with twists.

The reading is an old Hindu rhyme: “Sow a thought, reap an action. Sow an action, reap a habit. Sow a habit, reap a characteristic. Sow a characteristic, reap a destiny.”

Let’s begin with lying twists. We’ll explore all forms. Next, we’ll move into nose-to-knee poses. Apanasana will be our challenge pose for this half-term. We’ll repeat the twist postures before moving on to bridges. A third repetition of twists will follow the bridges.

Coming up through the boat, we’ll proceed with seated twists. We’ll explore all forms. Then we’ll move into a forward bend, before repeating the seated twists. A backward bend will allow the spine to stretch out thoroughly before we repeat the twists again. We’ll finish the practice with the mermaid pose.

At a convenient point in the practice, we’ll use Kapalabhati.

Meditation is ‘sitting in your heart’ – the place from whence unconditional love springs.

Relaxation is going to focus on the breath, breathe in peace, breathe out love.

Remember Thich Nhat Hanh tells us that the world needs your happiness, so BE HAPPY!

OM Shanti Shanti Shanti

Bringing ourselves into a meditative place

We’re continuing our focus on raja yoga. We’ll begin our practice in relaxation pose, thinking the sound ‘OM’ on the in-breath and ‘OM’ on the out-breath. Then, after the stretches and warm-ups, we’ll sit for kapalabhati.

Standing, we’ll review the mountain pose before doing three rounds of salute to the sun. Having returned to the mat through the squat, we’ll attempt the crow balance, followed by the gate sequence. (There’s a sitting version for anyone with knee issues.)

Moving on to the abdomen, let’s spend time with the cobra, locust and bow. Then it’s time for a lovely counter-stretch in the form of the swan, and its variation.

After the cool-downs, we’ll sit for meditation – silent repetition of ‘OM MANI PADME HUM’.

During the relaxation, I’ll sing the GAYATRI MANTRA to you.

This practice is designed to bring us to a meditative state of mind. How long will it last?!

OM Shanti Shanti Shanti

Pranamaya Kosha

There are five sheaths or koshas. Over the last two weeks we have been focusing on Annamaya Kosha, the physical body. and now we’re moving on to Pranamaya Kosha, the energy sheath. This one joins with Annamaya Kosha to form the Gross or Dense Body, and is supported by the practice of pranayama.

We’re going to begin with the Complete Yoga Breath, Mahat Pranayama. Then we’ll sit for the practice of Kapalabhati. (This is the skull-shining breath. It clears the head and does a wonderful job of toning the abdomen!)

We’ll work with butterfly knees, rocking buddha, Merudandasana and the beautiful tortoise, and then we’ll rest while working with Ujjayi Pranayama.

On to the mermaid now, and then to the variation on the swan, Hamsasana, which is our challenge pose of this half-term.

We’ll use downward dog as a transition pose to standing and there we will practise the Tree of Life Breath done with Ujjayi Pranayama.

Let’s move on to Warrior 2, allowing it to lead us into Triangle. And now for a balance!

Back down to the mat through the squat and we’ll practise the Bee Breath, Bhramari.

For the meditation we’ll try Sama Vritti Pranayama, the square breath, remembering that it is Pranayama that supports the Pranamaya Kosha.

Relaxation will be Anu Loma Viloma Kriya, which works with the energy sheath.

The reading this week is an old Hindu Rhyme.

OM Shanti Shanti Shanti

Sunny day yoga

This week we’re going to begin with Kapalabhati, the skull-cleansing breath.

With nice clear heads we’ll go into Salutation to the Sun. Then on to Warrior 2, Triangle and Reverse Triangle – that will be fun, we haven’t done it for a while!

Let’s try the Half-Moon Balance. It’s known as Ardha Chandrasana. And continuing the moon focus, we’ll practise Salutation to the moon.

Through the squat and back down to the mat for preparation for our challenge pose – Tortoise. Everyone’s improving!

Meditation is all about ‘Shanti’, which means peace. (We’re still busy uncovering our Inner Peace this half-term.)

Relaxation is where we will explore waves of peace lapping over our bodies. I’m looking forward to it!

OM Shanti Shanti Shanti