Fancy Footwork

Śiva Naṭarājāsana, BHUJANGĀSANA, Ūrdhva mukha śvānāsana, SUPTA VĪRĀSANA

When we change the language we use around or for a given thing, we change the way we think, rewriting an existing relationship. Sometimes a simple linguistic change can revolutionize habitual dialogue between ourselves and the thing in question. In my classes this week we'll find familiar alignment using terms that are perhaps unfamiliar or confusing to most students in the yoga classroom: pronation (winging or beveling) and supination (sickling). As a teacher and perpetual student, it's taken me a while to understand what pronation and supination look like in my hands and feet, to cultivate increased dexterity and responsiveness in my own body through this understanding, and to find a simple and clear way to use these very technical terms with my students. Remember that when we practice a supine backbend, supta vīrāsana (supine hero pose) or supta baddhakoṇāsana (supine bound angle pose), a cognate mnemonic is built into our terminology. If supination is belly-up, pronation is belly-down. In fetal development, the same embryological tissue that forms our front bodies – our bellies – also becomes our palms and soles – the bellies of our hands and feet. 

This week we'll play with foot and hip movement culled from PNF Patterns (proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation), searching for more articulate pathways of weight and movement from all the little bones of our feet on up to our pelvic halves. We'll look for a little movement in a lot of places, mobilizing structures that are stuck, and soothing the parts we overwork. We'll apply these newfound-yet-already-existing pathways to familiar standing poses, including utthita trikoṇāsana (triangle pose). We'll use them in service of a more accessible range of motion in prone backbending (cobra pose, locust pose, upward facing dog pose, pigeon pose), supine backbending (reclining hero pose and reclining bound angle pose), standing backbending (lord of the dance pose), and arm balancing (chin stand).  Supta vīrāsana (supine hero pose) is often cautioned against for those with tight hips and tender knees.  Can the bony pathways we explore from foot to pelvic half offer ease and clarity? As a practitioner with chronically troublesome knees, I'm astounded at the difference in the range of motion I can access in supine hero's pose after PNF practice. My knees are like, why haven't you been doing this for us all along? Sometimes the biggest challenge is presented in the subtlety of uncovering what's already there.

Please ignore my cat Wolfy in the middle photo, btw-- that little showoff is doing a variation on parivṛtta sūrya yantrāsana (compass pose) with mula śodhana (rectal cleansing). I'll leave it up to you to guess which one we'll be working on in my classes as the weather warms.

Restorative focus:

Each week in my Sunday night restorative class we focus on one of the chakras. This week we'll visualize maṇipūra chakra – the experiential and metaphorical seat of transformation, action, and will within us. Please see my schedule below for details. 

PLAYLIST:

Awakening -- White Rainbow -- Prism Of Eternal Now
Gaia Nector -- Masood Ali Khan -- The Yoga Sessions: Masood Ali Khan
Wanita -- Rokia Traore -- Wanita
Ghost Dancer -- Gabrielle Roth and the Mirrors -- Trance
El Medahey -- Master Musicians of Jajouka -- Apocalypse Across the Skies
Waking The Cobra 1 -- Baird Hersey -- Waking The Cobra
Lotus Flower -- Radiohead -- The King Of Limbs
Panda Jawn -- Phaseone -- White Collar Crime
Waking The Cobra 9 -- Baird Hersey -- Waking The Cobra
Coconut -- Fever Ray -- Fever Ray
Waking The Cobra 2 -- Baird Hersey -- Waking The Cobra
Om Nama Shivaya -- Singers Of The Art Of Living Foundation -- Sacred chants of Shiva

 

TEACHING SCHEDULE FOR 3/24 - 3/30:

Tuesday 7pm, 75 min: open level vinyasa at Usha Veda Yoga, Greenpoint, Brooklyn

Wednesday 10am, 75 min:  open level vinyasa at goodyoga Bushwick, Brooklyn

Wednesday 7:30pm, 75 min:  open level vinyasa at goodyoga Bushwick, Brooklyn

Thursday 7pm, 75 min: open level vinyasa at Usha Veda Yoga, Greenpoint, Brooklyn

Friday 10am, 75 min: intermediate vinyasa with an arm balancing focus at goodyoga Bushwick, Brooklyn

Saturday 10:30am, 90 min: intermediate vinyasa at Greenhouse Holistic, Roebling location, Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Saturday 1pm, 75 min: open level vinyasa at Usha Veda Yoga, Greenpoint, Brooklyn

Sunday 10am, 75 min: open level vinyasa at goodyoga Greenpoint, Brooklyn

Sunday 12pm, 75 min: intermediate vinyasa with an arm balancing focus at goodyoga Greenpoint, Brooklyn

Sunday 4pm, 75 min: open level vinyasa at goodyoga Bushwick, Brooklyn

Sunday 5:30pm, 75 min: restorative yoga at goodyoga Bushwick, Brooklyn

Monday 7:30pm, 75 min: open level vinyasa at goodyoga Greenpoint, Brooklyn