Sunday, March 12, 2006

Twentieth and Twenty-first Classes

Saturday Afternoon: Posture Clinic with Jane

Abdominal series:


Start students on backs. Give them the option of putting their hands beneath their pelvises to supplement the lower back muscles. Cue them to bring their legs to 90 degrees, feet to the sky. Cue them to keep their pelvises neutral -- tipping neither backward nor forward. It's ok for them to soften their knees to remedy tight hamstrings. Then cue them to lower their legs to a 60 degree angle. 3x breathe. Lower to 30 degrees. 3x breathe. Then to two inches off the floor. 3x breathe.

Abdominal twists/bicycle sit ups: 30 seconds. Cue them to keep their knees bent and to do a couple of situps each way, then extend their legs. Cue lifting both shoulder blades off the mat, and bring right elbow to left knee, reverse legs, and bring left elbow to right knee. Then turn them loose for 30 seconds. Cue them to maintain a neutral pelvis and spine; to keep the throat soft, a long neck and open chest. Cue them to keep their elbows out (rather than clutched in around the neck).

Boat pose: If really new beginners, it can sometimes be easier to demo the pose than to coach them into it. Start them with knees bent so they can see the modifications as the norm. Let them advance into fuller expressions of the posture later. Do 3 sets for 5 counts (not breaths) each.

Transition from boat to half pigeon by bringing them to table-top (hands and knees), then to Downward facing dog. From there, lift R foot to the sky, sweep it through, bringing your Right knee to your Right wrist. Square your hips. Curl left toes under to draw hip open. Lengthen the spine. Palms to the floor on either side of your hips. Lift the breast bone. Notice -- is all the weight on one side of the pelvis? Equalize the weight. Flex your R foot to protect the knee. Doing so works the paraformus muscle -- the muscle that connects the ilium to the sacrum and runs past the sciatic nerve bundle. To bring students out of pose, cue them to walk their hands back to their hips and bring them to table-top, then to Downward facing dog. Then run them through Half Pigeon again, this time on the left side.

Also, keep in mind that you can and should use static postures like Half Pigeon as a time when you can make it less about physical movement and more about yoga. Turn them inside in similar poses, such as Runner's Lunge. Help them recover the breath, relax their faces, close their eyes. Remind them and let them be quiet.

Then transition to paschimottanasana by bring them to table-top or downward facing dog, then walk/jump through to sit down.

Paschimottanasana: hold for 5 breaths. Cue: Sit on mat with legs extended in front of you. Draw the flesh back and away from sit bones. Straighten legs. Chest broad and open. Grasp underside of thighs. Draw forward with a flat back. If no back problems, bend forward, reaching your calves, ankles or feet.

Then cue them to lie back. Draw knees up and give yourself a hug. Release onto your backs.

Dead Bug Pose: Cue to reach forward to get hands to the insides of your knees or arches. Lift feet to the sky; knees bent. Keep spine flat on the floor, tailbone moving toward the earth. Keep your shoulders on the floor. Use arm strength to lower hips.

Spinal twist: Cue: from lying flat, draw R knee up to chest. Hold knee with opposite (left) hand. Keeping shoulders flat on mat, draw knee across the body, extend your right arm out. Turn head and look right. Draw knee back up to chest; extend leg. Draw L knee up (repeat).


Sunday class: Teaching practice.