Introduction to Yoga: Session 2

beach-394503.jpg

Introduction to Yoga: Session 2 January 24, 2019

Presiding Quote: “Yoga doesn’t take time, it gives time” (Ganga White)

Topics Covered in Session 2:

Review the 6 movements of the spine (See Session 1)

Parts of the spine

The spinal column is sectioned into 4 major parts. The cervical spine delineates the neck. As mentioned in practice, the first disc, referred to as C1 is called the Atlas. It allows the neck to lift and lower, as when nodding the head in the Western body language for ‘yes’. C2 is called the Axis. It allows the neck to turn from side to side, as in the Western body language for ‘no’.  The upper thoracic spine is often a place of congestion and stiffness in our Western culture because of our dependence on chairs, which encourage slumping, and because we are often rounding forward in using computers, driving, texting, reading small screens, etc. It is also interesting to consider that this is where the heart is seated.  The lumbar spine is another common area of discomfort for may. The weight of the upper body, if not supported by strong muscles, will over time collapse into the lumbar spinal region, causing stiffness, lack of mobility and discomfort. A vicious cycle occurs where the less we use it, or protect discomfort, the more it congeals and hurts.  Training yourself to sit on the floor with a straight, yet supple spine is good medicine to help ward off future back issues.

The spinal column is sectioned into 4 major parts. The cervical spine delineates the neck. As mentioned in practice, the first disc, referred to as C1 is called the Atlas. It allows the neck to lift and lower, as when nodding the head in the Western body language for ‘yes’. C2 is called the Axis. It allows the neck to turn from side to side, as in the Western body language for ‘no’.

The upper thoracic spine is often a place of congestion and stiffness in our Western culture because of our dependence on chairs, which encourage slumping, and because we are often rounding forward in using computers, driving, texting, reading small screens, etc. It is also interesting to consider that this is where the heart is seated.

The lumbar spine is another common area of discomfort for may. The weight of the upper body, if not supported by strong muscles, will over time collapse into the lumbar spinal region, causing stiffness, lack of mobility and discomfort. A vicious cycle occurs where the less we use it, or protect discomfort, the more it congeals and hurts.

Training yourself to sit on the floor with a straight, yet supple spine is good medicine to help ward off future back issues.




#1 and #2 Causes of Injury in Yoga
#1 Ego

In Ego, we may be susceptible to the subtle (or not so subtle) lure of competition. We may notice that others are lifting their leg high, so we may do this even when our body is saying ‘no’. The antidote to allowing ego to lead us into injury is Embodiment. The more we are in our bodies fully, with intention and attention, the more readily we will notice the signs and signals from our body about our capacity in this moment.

#2 Mindlessness

Another common source of injury in yoga is mindlessness, especially during the releasing of poses. It is very common to see people allow themselves to ‘fall out of poses’, which increases opportunity for injury. It is useful to imagine reserving some energy from your poses for a mindful exit, to release the pose in mindful reverse of entering it. We can save or conserve energy in poses by only using as much energy is needed to hold the pose through breath. Finding an ability to relax, perhaps not trying so hard, is helpful. I call this the “Goldilocks Rule”. Use not too much, nor too little energy, just enough.

Durgha Breath (or three part breath)

The above is a recording that I made to ‘walk you through’ the Dirgha or 3 part breath. In-Joy!



Beginning Sun Salutations

I teach a form of Surya Namaskar, or Sun Salutations informed by one of my favourite yoga teachers and psychotherapist Bo Forbes. She refers to her style of Sun Salutations as Therapeutic Sun Salutations, because they are slow, easily modified for all levels of practice and focused on alignment, spacious breath as well as creating mind-space through the cultivation of relaxation during the pose.

Click to link to Bo Forbes Website, in case this resonates with you. And here is a brief video of her teaching Therapeutic Sun Salutations:

I modify these further for beginners, but you can get a good idea of the ideology that guides my practice from this video.




Peak Pose: Jackknife or Transition Pose

Click the above link for a full description of Half Standing Forward Fold. In this course, we work with the modified pose only.

Closing Quote: “Hint: The Cage is not locked”