This past week has been one of deep involvement with the self through yoga. We are lucky to have a group of 80 Indonesians practicing with us for 2 weeks. This means Geetaji and Parshantji are holding 3+hr classes. They are teaching them as beginner classes, so those of us who are here for the month get to go back to the beginners mind, and see how the best teachers in the world teach to those "new" to yoga. Yes, the classes have been more 'basic' - but that does not mean there is not intense depth to the teachings. Sometimes the simplicity of the teaching actually brings me to a deeper understanding.
Prashant's first class with the group was so great - it was the class with him I never had when I first started out here. He really broke down his concepts and enabled us to start looking in deeper water. He told us to see asana (postures) as a means and not as a means to an end. If you do this then you will be lost, and you are only going after actions and nothing deeper in the posture/Yog. He says, we are all trying to perfect the poses -working for perfection in yoga and in life. If that is the case then there is no growth, no learning beyond perfection. That concept brought tears to my eyes!
Geetaji has a way with beginners that is so incredible. Her heart and kindness shines more than ever. She makes us laugh and moves us to cry, and then toughens us up so we don't cry. Today she explained she has been teaching since she was 16, and she is 74 now. That she should retire - but instead she has spent her entire life here - teaching. She gives so much of herself and I am so grateful.
She has been teaching a lot to the cervical neck this month, which is so great for me because I have bulging discs and a reverse curve which has left me pretty much unable to do classical Sirsasana (headstand) and Sarvangasana (shoulder stand). On Wednesday she pulled those of us with neck issues apart from the rest of the class to show how to work with them. How special it is to have Geetaji's eyes on you! Although it can be nerve racking, she always leaves you (even if she yells:)) better off then she found you. Since I was doing mostly a different sequence in Wednesday's class I am not sharing the sequence from that class.
Below I have posted today's (Saturday's) full sequence.
Now I am fully IN. With about 5+hours of yoga a day, and completely used to the air and food, I am home. Yes externally, but internally as well. That is why I love coming here. I reside with in myself - my home. I am forced to look inward, and experience that internal space. Through asana with Geetaji and the other amazing teachers - pushing me past my fear, pain, and limitations into freedom. And with Prashantji - pushing me to look INSIDE - at my breath, at my internal world. Again, I am left with such gratitude to study with these teachers in my lifetime, and to be here for Guruji's 100th birthday.
Geetaji Nov 17 3.5hrs Focus on Standing and Twists
-AMS -----> jump
-UTT - feet together
-Urdvha Hastasana - Arms up and back. If neck or shoulder stiffness separate arms create space in neck and bring upper arms back
-Baddanguliasana - arms up and back! Shoulder blades/dorsal in
-Urdvha Paschimanamaskarasana - arms to the side, rotate upper arms to turn hands - extend arms to the side and draw back , then reach up, palms together. DO NOT bring head forward, bring arms BACK.
-Utkatasana x2 - arms apart. Thighs, buttocks down, keep descending
- Garudasana - 1- Arms - bring R arm OVER L arms so elbows don't drop. 2- Legs at wall - use hand to bring toes and metatarsals around calf 3- Leg away from wall comes in first, start to bring hand away from wall, balance - opposite arms over.
- Trikonasana - x2 - Tadasana feet 1ft apart to get buttocks to move in, jump and see how the buttocks stays in. Use hand and turn upper inner thigh to outer thigh to bring buttocks still deeper in. You have to be with your whole spine! Start with buttocks and sacrum in, lumber up, dorsal in, cervical extension. Maintain this as you go in AND come out of pose. When in pose, head comes back in line with tailbone.
-Parvaskonasna - Same actions as above. Inner knee to outer knee, buttocks in. Arm up, over, and back.
-Virabhadrasana 1 - Tailbone in, pubis up, upper arms back. Bend leg and descend thigh. Look up.
-Virabhadrasana 2 - Look at last blog post for similar instructions.
- P. Trikonasana - Legs as wide as Trikonasana, turn and bring arm down. x2 - demo, as you turn bring bottom its and shoulder blade IN, outer right thigh back and in and you move torso over R leg.
- Ardha Chandrasana - Back leg UP. Keep cervical extension.
- AM Virasana
- Janu Sirsasana twist - R leg straight, L leg bent. Turn to R. Keep walking right hand BACK in line with L buttocks. Pull on outer R leg, bend elbow and like P. Trikonasana get those back ribs, shoulder blade IN, TURN! (She has been adamant on actually turning when you twist. She says how we all think we are turning but really we are not - we were working so hard in these twists there was sweat and grunts). x2
- TMP - Same actions - and see how much easier it is to turn here.
- Ardha Padmasana - Same actions. She showed on someone with groin issues and someone with knee issues how to get into Padmasana.
- Sirsasana - Eka Pada back and forth tapping toe to floor and coming up.
Cervical issues - forehead headstand with helpers coming around and drawing dorsal/shoulder blades in towards chest.
She showed on a woman with bad neck issues forehead headstand with 2 helpers pulling with ropes on each shoulder up. A 3rd person bringing her middle back in.
This brought us to 3.5hrs and that was that! She took LOTS of time showing, and if someone had an injury or health problem she taught us how to work with that, This was very similar to Wednesday's class where we focused on cervical issues mainly.
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