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Musings from the Mat: 7 min Yoga Practice

October 2, 2017

Discover the infinite potential of your Body,

the power of your Brain,

and the beauty of your Breath.

 

5 Principles of Yoga Practice (Can be used in ANY style of yoga you practice.)

  1. The body movement IS the breath movement. Notice you r natural breath and how the body moves with it.

  2. Inhale from Above, Exhale from Below (Inhale and sternum lifts up, Exhale and belly scoops up and under ribs; Inhale spine lengthens, Exhale pose deepens)

  3. The breath starts and ends the movement; it envelopes it.

  4. Asana (poses) creates Bandha (body locks), the intelligent cooperation of muscles. Bandha serves Breath. Therefore, Asana serves Breath.

  5. Asana then Pranayama (breath). “Meditation” is a gift for doing the work. Body, Breath then Brain…in that order!

Breathing Ratio
Ratio (seconds) = Length of Inhale: Pause after Inhale: Length of Exhale: Pause after Exhale
   Beginning & End of Practice = 8:0:8:0 (inhale 8 sec, no pause, exhale 8 sec, no pause)
   Middle of Practice = 8:4:8:4 (inhale 8 sec, 4 sec pause, exhale 8 sec, 4 sec pause)

Repetition of Movement
Inhale & exhale flowing in and out of posture 4x (moving vinyasa); Inhale into lengthening phase of pose and hold 4 breath cycles (br); Exhale into deepening phase of pose and hold 4 breath cycles (Takes approx 1 min)

Order of Practice (Body & Bandha – Breath – Brain)
Yoga is the union of opposites; the merging of mother-father, Shiva-Shakti, yang-yin, masculine-feminine, strength-receiving, head-heart, above-below, front-back, up-down, left-right, inhale-exhale, Sun-Moon, Ha-Tha…Hatha Yoga!

The yogis recognized the play of opposites in the body. In asana practice, we can tangibly explore energy shifts in the body and we can use opposing isometric actions to enliven a pose. Standing poses anchor the body to the earth through our feet while elongating through our center and up through the head. Balancing highlights our efforts to keep upright in opposition to gravity. We can work against gravity to expand the space of the body; turning your world upside down in Inversions teach us to create an inner space in which to invite the mind to rest, unaffected by the constantly changing of the world around us. We can asymmetrically work one side of the body at a time, left & right. By inviting the play of opposites into practice, we consciously experience how embracing opposing actions stabilizes and activates the power of yoga.

Each repetition of pose using the breath takes approx. 1 min. Therefore 7 poses = 7 min practice! You have hundreds of poses to choose from within each of the 7 sequences. Pick what is appropriate for you and what you CAN do.

• Joyful Breath = Inhale arms sweep overhead; exhale sweep down deep forward bend. Repeat 4x. Chant OM if like.
• Sun Salutation to warm up (optional)

 

The 7 Directions

In our Shamanic Yoga practice, we move through the medicine wheel in 7 directions.  Through each direction we gain the direct knowing as to how to heal and transform our transient beings in the form of yoga poses and sequences. Using asana to increase fire (agni) and push our traumatic imprints (samskaras) out into our energetic field, we can then use Shamanic tools to reach in and extract them. 

 

With the support of Pachamama (Mother Earth, Below), and Inti Taitai (Father Sky, Above), we can explore the 4 cardinal directions. The Wind of the South (Serpent), leads us to shed our shadows and the past.  The Wind of the West (Jaguar), shows us to transform the darkness and death into light. The Wind of the North (Hummingbird), guides us on an epic journey of sweetness and joy. The Wind of the East (Eagle), flies us above the mountains and clouds to teach us dual perspective to see the world as it is. Through this practice, we can explore the healing power of yoga and the ancient medicine of the Andes.  The final direction is within.

 

1. Standing / Balancing
     i.e. Revolved Standing Forward Bend (Windmill), Warrior, Triangle
2. Kneeling / All 4’s
     i.e. Cow-Cat-Dog, Crouch-Cobra, Egyptian (Bowing)
3. Supine / Reclining (lying on back)
    i.e. Hip Lifts, Small Bridges
4. Inversions (headstand optional)
    i.e. Headstand (optional) & Shoulderstand
   (King & Queen – Crown Jewels of Yoga Practice; good for the brain)
5. Prone – Backbends (lying on front)
    i.e. Cobra, Locust, Swimmer, Bow
6. Seated Twists (more demanding structurally)
    i.e. Simple Twist, “Hail the Taxi”
7. Forward Bends
    i.e. Head to Knee, Maha Mudra

Sit and chant (with the natural exhale) “OM” / Om Shreem / Om Shreeem Shri Yai Namaha

Rest or Relax in Savasana.

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