Our online classes are focusing on the diagonal relationship of hips and shoulders. I have been guiding you to observe what is happening in your body during asana practice, particularly the relationship between right shoulder/left hip and left shoulder/right hip.
There is not a right way to work with this practice but some patience is required as well as an awareness of breath.
I had ideas about what you might discover through the breathwork and in the pauses but there have been some surprises along the way. I’m enjoying the discussions at the end of classes and your openness to see what is revealed. I want to share some feedback, reflections and questions for three of the postures:
No.4 Parivrtti Trikonasana/standing twist (i) allowing the hips to follow the twist (ii) fixing the hips: a very different experience for most; with fixed hips the twist has to happen through the back.
As the term progresses, can you find a way to fix the hips and still experience a twist with both sthira and sukha, stability and comfort?
No. 5(i) Urdhva Prasrta Padasana variation/single leg raises: noticing how the movement can snake along the diagonal and once the coordination of arms and legs is in place(!) trying to stabilise the pelvis: most have found a difference between the diagonals.
I wanted you to observe where there was freedom and where there was restriction and take this into the next part (ii) lying with the breath to explore the diagonal, one way and then the other: this has had a varied response. For some, the opposite shoulder to hip plays between tension and release.
If the diagonal feels balanced, how about the rest of the body, particularly the lower back, the jaw, the neck?
No 6: Jathara Parivrtti/lying twist (i) loose shoulders (ii) fixing the shoulders to the floor – ‘pinning them to the floor’ is probably more accurate: most of you enjoy this twist and restricting the shoulders can be a challenge but this yielded the biggest surprise for me when I met a student for an individual lesson to work with the practice. This student has restriction in the shoulders and the neck but fixing the shoulders improved the twist, it was a remarkable difference. How about you?
A few years ago, I decided that a term’s practice would be more or less consistent to allow you to get to know the practice and have time to explore the subtleties with space to notice changes on and off the mat. The Morning Yoga is similar to the Term Practice but as some people are able to come to the mornings two or three times a week, I tend to change the emphasis slightly each week.
We have been chanting at the end of the asana practice. It’s a slightly odd practice to chant as a group but not hear each other. When we come together at Church House and Ammerdown there will be no mute button and we can chant together.
We have another three weeks with this practice. I am looking forward to seeing what is revealed – I hope you are too!