On Chaturanga Modifications

Just yesterday, I watched online an Ashtanga Primary Series class with full vinyasas between poses and half vinyasas between right and left sides of a pose. A full vinyasa in the context of Ashtanga yoga is Sun Salutation A. A half vinyasa, a.k.a THE vinyasa in popular yoga jargon, is the transition as such: (plank)-chaturanga-urdva mukha savanasana-adho mukha savanasana. 809px-Chaturanga-Dandasana_low_Yoga-Asana_Nina-Mel

This class lasted for two hours and everybody was really really tired at the end. In the normal practice, when we are not as ambitious, we do half vinyasas between poses and between sides of each pose.  Continue reading

The Yoga Hand vs The Natural Hand

After I posted the article on adho mukha svanasana, I came across a Facebook status update by Diane Bruni that she called The Hand Rant. In the rant Diane Bruni challenges the generally accepted alignment principles of the yoga hand. She first explains how she was taught to align her hands in Iyengar yoga, which is how we normally teach: press down all four corners of the hands and later argues that this may not really be the best alignment to protect the wrists. Bruni suggests, instead that one should release the knuckles and let them form the natural dome of the hand. Here is what she means:

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Downward Facing Dog Explained

The yoga courses have begun and this week was their 2nd week. In the course, downward facing dog i.e. adho mukha svanasana is usually the first pose that I teach, as I have infinite admiration for the pose.

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As a general principle, adho mukha svanasana is (Yes, it is!) the backbone of vinyasa and ashtanga vinyasa yoga practice. Here is a few reasons why I love the pose some much: Continue reading

How far should one push?

Yoga has never been more popular in the West and one type of yoga prevails above others, namely Hatha yoga in the form of Vinyasa flow, Ashtanga Vinyasa etc. Hatha yoga is distinguished from other types of yoga by its emphasis on asana more than the other practices in the yoga tradition. It is, naturally and inevitably, being transformed and assimilated into a Western style. Yoga in the West has been transformed since the 60s-70s but as practicing yoga became more and more popular and accessible to wider group of practitioners, it is difficult to talk about a unified understanding of its practice. Continue reading