Tag Archives: Urdvha Dhanurasana

Sunday backbends

Today was a nice day to reclaim part of my practice as I have been subbing heavily for my mentoring teachers who are teaching in China. During my own teacher training years ago, my mentoring teacher Ray said that a teacher gives up part of his practice for his students. I understand how true that is as time studying to prepare for weekly classes cuts into one’s one personal sadhana. But that is the sadhana of a teacher.

This is “backbend week” (save Tuesday’s forward bend sequence for International Yoga Day), and I am working on a sequence and modifications for one of my students who has a wrist injury and another student who gets severe headaches after backends. I am grateful for Guruji’s innovations to accommodate injuries and medical conditions of all kinds.

Because of the body I have been given, backbends come fairly easily for me. It has been a blessing as I see how other struggle with this clan of poses. Because of that, I don’t practice backbends as often as other clans which I truly struggle with–namely twisting poses.

But today I cut loose and did a few cycles of Urdvha Dhanurasana at the wall. I am nursing a shoulder injury which I attribute to my sedentary desk job and hours of driving. Today, my shoulder cooperated and and gave me the freedom to push up into the classic  pose.

I have heard that injuries are a blessing for a teacher as they make one think of how to practice around it and then utilize actions that benefit and heal it. That gives much potency to one’s teaching to another student who has a similar injury. My left shoulder struggles in Gomukhasana due to a pinched nerve. But the more I work on other actions, the Gomukhasna eventually comes.

When one delves into the deeper yogic philosophy, we see that we have many sheaths of our being and that the physical body is only part of it. I find it a bit humorous that it is referred to as the “food” layer (annamayakosa) and is the most transient layer of who we really are. It is always changing.

Home practice is a charming endeavor. In between poses, my wife calls and asks me to find some cabinet clips. Being a husband is my first duty, so I help. Then back to practice. I read a few pages of Light On Yoga here, google a few photos there, then try something new. I fail, then re-check the picture, then redo. It is like doing homework with your own  body.

Home practice feels comfortable and satisfying. I am now grounded and recharged for the hectic week ahead…

 

 

Yoga blog trends I would like to see in 2015 – part 1

this-is-a-no-selfie-zone

In less than a week, 2014 will be a memory. It was a very interesting year watching yoga blog trends come and go. Here is what I am putting out to the universe (and other bloggers) of what I would and would not like to see more of in 2015:

1) Fewer Selfies

What do selfies really do? Some say they inspire others to practice Yoga, but I think that is a bunch of bull pucky. Just because you can do Pincha Mayurasana doesn’t mean your shoulders are not collapsing. Having lift in the shoulders is something that is learned in as basic of a pose as Tadasana. I have plenty of pictures of myself doing asana in this blog, but to make a distinction, I am using myself as a guide to teach, not to show off my ego. Believe me, I’m not much to look at! Next time you post an asana selfie, ask yourself why you are doing it. Are you doing it to teach, or show off your new yoga pants?

2) And on that note… less “wild thing,” Bakasana, and Pincha Mayurasana in those selfies

If you really want to show off, don’t be like everyone else. Wild Thing isn’t even a yoga pose, but some John Friend distortion of Urdvha Danurasana. Who would want to follow in that guy’s footsteps? Not to mention it is dangerous. And every other person who has half a practice is doing Bakasana. If you want to really wow someone, do Paripurna Matsyendrasana, Kandasana, or even a well-executed Krounchasana . Just don’t do it unless you are ready because you’ll injure yourself.

paripurna matsyendrasana

3) Less profanity

Lululemon has a recent promotion of being “present” and then shows a yoga teacher saying “f-you.” Every other blog I read has someone dropping the F-bomb or namaste-every-damn-day. Are we yoga practitioners, or truck drivers? I actually know truck drivers who swear less. If you are going to use profanity in your blog, at least make it mean something for emphasis. I don’t mean to be prudish, but Yoga is a sacred subject for those who take it seriously. Can we clean up our language around when writing about this sacred practice?

4) Speaking of Lululemon…less fashion industry influence on our Yoga practice

At what point did Lululemon become the neighborhood Yoga expert? That company doesn’t give a rip about tradition, it just wants to line its pockets. Whenever profit is the first priority, Yoga is not practiced. I am pleased that CEO Chip Wilson was ousted this year, but this company still projects an unhealthy body image with it’s petite line of clothing. As long as you keep shopping there, this will not change. At $100USD for a pair of pants, the real joke is on you. That money is much better spent on a workshop or even a month of classes.

5) Fewer playlists

I hate to break it to you, but people could care less about your latest playlist. Music and yoga may sound like they go together, but music actually gets in the way of the stopping your mind chatter. There are plenty of music fora out there for you to show off your musical taste. Go there instead instead of subjecting us to your latest taste of mixing Math Rock with Krishna Das.

6) More from the other limbs of Yoga

Asana is only 1/8 of the practice from Patanjali’s thread. When I first started doing yoga, everyone was in it for the mind benefits. Now everyone is in it for the physical benefits. It seems like we have regressed. There are a handful of blogs that focus on Yoga Sutras and other classical texts. It would be nice to see more blogs going in that direction. Yoga is a very internal practice when done correctly.

…to be continued