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

Let’s focus on Sushumna

The Sushumna originates from the root chakra and terminates at the crown of the head. It carries vital energy which nourishes the whole nervous system and stimulates the pineal gland.
We’ll begin this week with our three gentle movements to raise our awareness of the inner energies. We’ll then move on to the shoulderstand, plough and fish poses. Now let’s try moving from plough to seated forward bend.
Coming onto all fours, we’ll work with cat stretch and breath, then progress into the sequence swan – cat – dog. Using the dog pose to stand, we’ll greet again our challenge pose of this half-term, the deep forward bend. Is your crown resting on the mat yet?!
Then, still standing, we’ll invite the balance of the solar and lunar energies by an arm-opening breathing exercise. Let’s add ujjayi.
Coming back to the mat through the squat we’ll do cool-downs then sit to meditate. We’re going to use a gentle hand movement, representing the opening of the lotus flower. Then relaxation will feature the eternal mantra of OM.
Next week is class as usual, then the following week is half-term. (June 1st and June 2nd.)
OM Shanti Shanti Shanti

All about Ida

Ida, pronounced EEda,is the left nerve channel residing in the spine, which carries the cooling, lunar, receptive energy.
We’ll begin our practice with the Tree of Life breath, but we’ll alternate our focus – first on the left nostril and then on the right. We’ll move into Mountain Sequence, being very aware of the half-moon stretch. Let’s move on to ardha-chandrasana, the half-moon balance. This one’s tricky!
From one challenge to another as we bend from the hips and meet the deep forward bend. This time, we’ll use the out-breath through the left nostril to take us lower.
Now to a standing twist. we’ll pause, dwell, on the left side.
Squatting we’ll return to the mat and work with Bhramari, the bee-breath. Let’s chant for meditation – ‘the river it is flowing’ has a second verse which is all about the moon.
Relaxation is Anu Loma Viloma Kriya, where we work with the in-breath on the right side, and the out-breath on the left.
This practice is all about Ida, the channel which carries the lunar energy.
OM Shanti Shanti Shanti

Pingala – positive, solar energy

Pingala is the nerve channel or nadi which carries positive, solar energy. This week we’ll be exploring Pingala and the effect it has on us.
We’ll begin by paying attention to the breath at the point of the nostrils. After a while, we’ll focus on just the right nostril.
After the stretches, we’ll use some gentle movements to get in touch with our energies. Coming to sitting through the boat, we’ll proceed into the sitting twists. This week, we’ll repeat the twists to the right side.
Standing, we’ll move into a deep forward bend, and then continue on to the wide-legged forward bend. Here we meet the challenge pose for this half-term.
Now let’s explore a standing twist movement, but we’ll pause as we twist to the right. We’ll finish with one slow Salute to the Sun.
Squatting will bring us back down for cool-downs and meditation. We’ll begin with alternate nostril breathing and then move into a deeper awareness of the right nostril.
Relaxation focuses on the breath, too. We’ll breathe in strength and breathe out weakness.
If you have any big decisions to make this week, or if you have some practical tasks which needs strength, attack them this weekend! This class will serve you!
OM Shanti Shanti Shanti