Ashtanga yoga teacher training manual 85 pages illustrated

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    Ashtanga yoga teacher training manual 85 pages illustrated - Presentation Transcript

    1. CONTENTS How To Use This Manual ............................................................ 9 Introduction ................................................................................ 10 The History of Ashtanga Yoga .................................................... 11 Awakening The Fire Within........................................................ 12 The Breath Of Life ..................................................................... 13 Prana .......................................................................................... 14 A Chakra Contemplation............................................................ 15 Ashtanga Yoga: The Eight Limbs ............................................... 16 Capturing Prana ......................................................................... 18 • Mula Bandha ............................................................................ 18 • Uddiyana Bandha..................................................................... 19 • Jalandhara Bandha .................................................................. 20 Drishti ......................................................................................... 21 Cleansing And Purification • Meltdown ..................................... 22 Creating A Sacred Place ............................................................. 26 The Invocation ............................................................................ 27 Asanas ......................................................................................... 28 Pranayama • The Serpent Power................................................ 30 Your Practice • Helpful Hints ..................................................... 33 Integration • The Challenge ........................................................ 33 Sun Salutations • The Dawning of a Ritual ................................ 34 Primary Series ............................................................................ 38 Bibliography ............................................................................... 84 About It’s Yoga ........................................................................... 85 Notes ........................................................................................... 86 7
    2. FORWARD Twenty years ago Ashtanga yoga was very much a fringe activity. A problem that Larry and I have encountered over the years is how Our small, dedicated group of students in Encinitas, California to keep beginning students going with the practice when they are were mostly young, hippie types with little money and few material unable to attend class due to work, travel, family, etc. For the past possessions. We did have one precious thing – Ashtanga practice, 5,000 years Ashtanga yoga has existed as an oral tradition, so when which we all knew was very powerful and deeply transformative. beginning students asked for a practice guide we would hand them Practicing together created a unique and magical bond, a real sense a piece of paper with stick figures of the first series postures. Larry of family. gave Bob Weir such a sheet of paper a couple of years ago, to which Bob responded, “You’ve got to be kidding. I need a manual.” Over the years the Ashtanga family has grown considerably throughout the world and I’ve had the opportunity to share the Thus began Larry’s process of creating this manual, which has practice with many wonderful people as both a student and teacher. now been completed with the help of several friends. Now, happily In Austin, Texas I met Larry Schultz 15 years ago when he was when beginning students ask for a practice guide we can offer them just beginning his Ashtanga practice with my teacher, Pattabhi Jois. this excellent, practical, and informative manual. Even though the practice was very challenging for him, Larry approached it with great enthusiasm, optimism, and gratitude. He, Tim Miller like so many others, recognized immediately that this was exactly Senior Teacher Ashtanga Yoga what he had been looking for and was very excited by both the practice and the people involved in it. Larry and I have become close friends over the years and together we have witnessed the profound positive impact the Ashtanga practice has had on hundreds of people’s lives, particularly our own. We have developed many wonderful friendships within the Ashtanga family and feel truly blessed to be able to share the practice with others. Motivated by this desire to share the practice, Larry opened It’s Yoga in 1991, which has become one of the largest and most successful yoga schools in San Francisco. 5
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    4. HOW TO USE THIS MANUAL T he basics of ashtanga yoga cannot be learned enough. Because yoga practice is progressive it is important to go through this manual in the order it is presented. However, if you f are having difficulty with any of the postures go back to the One cannot understand the rhythms beginning. Keep in mind that the true source of understanding and meanings of the outer world until one has mastered the dialects is in the basic principals underlying the asanas. Take your time of the body. and learn the fundamentals of the practice. Go slowly. Never Timothy Leary force or push yourself into a posture, be patient, and all will come in time. What’s the rush? If you are experiencing any health problems, consult your yoga teacher or a health advisor before beginning the exercises in the manual. This manual is a guide to be used in conjunction with classes and is not a substitute for the personal attention and assistance of a teacher. Most of all, have fun! Enjoy the process of building your yoga practice and bringing peace into your life and those around you. 9
    5. INTRODUCTION Getting It Together Separateness causes suffering and union creates freedom. Yoga We can actually gain back the connection to Self and others as we is union. are released from the restricted thinking, dull mind, and negativity resulting from a strained, tired nervous system. The healthier our It is the separation from our Self, each other, nature, and from nervous system, the healthier our body, mind, thoughts and actions. something greater or higher (be it God, universal consciousness, or whatever term you want to use) that causes the anxiety and chaos The purpose of this manual is to make these techniques available to symptomatic of our times. It is difficult for us to experience our all who are interested in enhancing the quality of their lives from natural connection with each other when we don't have that con- the most fundamental foundation, the inner source. The idea is to nection with our own Self. Yoga connects us with an inner wisdom, promote self-practice and self-responsibility, to offer a tool for re- in which there is no doubt as to the connection of all things. connecting. This is the place where yoga truly begins in each of our own individual lives. Yoga helps you rise to the challenge of living. Now is the time for yoga. Yoga is a practical method of bringing peace and connectedness back into our lives. Because we are a reflection of our nervous system, the state of our nervous system dictates how we experience the world. If the nervous system is fresh and rested, the body will be healthy and the mind alert and f comprehensive. As a result, our thought will be powerful and clear You can’t diligently practice yoga, honing the clarity of your and our actions, which are manifested thought, will be successful mind, and fail to be struck by the very humorous-albeit and rewarding. pathetic predicament we’re all in. We find ourselves chained to the wheel of karma, going round and round in our own private illusory worlds, struggling to glimpse reality and Yoga strengthens and purifies the nervous system so it can reflect attain eternal peace. It’s funny and maddeningly difficult, a greater degree of consciousness and our lives can become an and sad, too, sometimes. It’s also the only game in town and increasingly positive force in the world. If the methods presented nobody gets out alive. in this manual are practiced correctly the whole nervous system is From The Five Tibetans revitalized, the body enjoys better health and more energy, the mind is rested and freed from the endless burdensome thought of future and past, and perception is restored to its primal freshness. 10
    6. THE HISTORY OF ASHTANGA YOGA As the story goes, the ashtanga yoga system was reconstructed from a mysterious manuscript written on a bundle of palm leaves, the Yoga Korunta. This collection of verses on hatha yoga was discovered in the 1930’s by yoga master and Sanskrit scholar Sri Tirumalai Krishnamacharya and his disciple K. Pattabhi Jois while researching Sanskrit texts at a Calcutta university library. The manuscript is dated to be between 500 and 1,500 year old. Krishnamacharya and Jois translated and reconstructed the ashtanga yoga series (originally there were six sequences of postures) and Pattabhi Jois, with the encouragement of Krishnamacharya, took the instructions as the basis of his practice and teaching. He is still teaching this method today in Mysore, India at the age of 80. Ashtanga taught by Pattabhi Jois is a form of hatha yoga which focuses on asana (posture) and pranayama (breath control). Some people call this ashtanga vinyasa yoga in order to distinguish between Patanjali’s eightfold system and the ashtanga yoga described in this manual. 11
    7. AWAKENING THE FIRE WITHIN Vinyasa: Movement Breathing System Ashtanga yoga wakes up the internal fire. It ignites the dormant As concentration increases, the breath, mind, body, and soul come flame of vital life energy within all of us. The vinyasa system into union, to entrainment. Ashtanga yoga is a focusing technique works with the synchronization of deep, rhythmic breathing and that joins the main life forces, beating in unison to an internal movement. By linking the postures it creates a continuous flow of rhythm, your internal rhythm. With control of the breath, the mind energy that heats up the body, bringing oxygen to the blood, nour- becomes calm, allowing one to tap into a flow state where there is ishing the glands and internal organs, cleansing and purifying the no sense of time, where externally imposed barriers dissolve and nervous system, releasing unwanted toxins through perspiration. there is a sense of oneness with the universe. As focus increases, As the heat goes up toxins are burned up and out of the system, there is an effortlessness, a lightness in the harmony of movement creating a lighter and stronger body, and a clear mind. The heat is and breathing. not only a physical experience, it is an internal spiritual fire that burns through the fog of illusion and ignorance. f Access All Areas It is in the very cavern of our heart that we can realize As the internal heat goes up, not only do the toxins begin to exit the immensity of spaces, and by controlling our own the system, but another amazing thing happens; the body begins to vital rhythms that we can escape the power of time. It is by reaching the source of life that we can escape the bend and move. As Pattabhi Jois says “even iron will bend with power of death. It is by exploring the unknown spheres heat.” With this freedom of movement we are able to open up areas within ourselves that we can visit the celestial and of the body that had been previously restricted or blocked. There is infernal worlds. a release, a feeling of lightness. It is in these places that we can Alain Danielou discover what yoga truly is. Yoga is not just a physical exercise or some new way to pass the time or fill the emptiness, but a method of bringing life and vitality back into those areas, awareness of the deeper, inner parts of ourselves. It is a re-union with that innate wisdom that we all posess, but seem to have lost touch with. Yoga was developed as a means of acknowledging or returning to the source of life. 12
    8. THE BREATH OF LIFE Feeding The Fire In many languages the words for spirit and breath are the same. PRACTICE In Sanskrit it's prana, in Latin, spiritus, and in Hebrew, ruach. In Ujjayi Breathing Portuguese the word for taking in breath is inspiration, or spirit-in. They believe that an infant literally breathes its spirit into its body 1. Sit in a comfortable meditative pose or lie in savasana. Become aware with its first breath. We breathe in life. Breath is the source of life of the natural breathing process and feel the air passing down through the windpipe. Slightly contract the region at the back of the throat as and vitality. It is the spirit moving in rhythm in the body. you do when you swallow. Inhale and exhale through the nose with the mouth closed. Make the inhalation and exhalation long, deep and controlled. Practice full yogic breathing and concentrate on the sound. Begin practicing for 3 minutes and progressively work your way up to 10 minutes. f When the breath wanders, the mind is unsteady, but when the 2. Practice as above, but fold the tongue back so that the tip of the tongue breath is still, so is the mind still. presses the back of the soft palate on the roof of the mouth. Hatha Yoga Pradipika 3. As you inhale say “sa” to yourself and as you exhale say “ha.” Repeat ten times. Inhalation and exhalation should be of equal duration, smooth and relaxed. 4. Notice your mind wandering as you practice breathing and keep The Victorious Breath • Ujjayi Breathing bringing your mind back to the breath. Breath is the fuel that feeds the internal fire, gives it life, keeps 5. Focus on the exhalation. Notice where your breath normally stops. Increase the fullness of the exhalation. the flame going. The vital life energy, prana, is controlled by the breath. In ashtanga yoga, ujjayi breathing (victorious breath) is used to enrich prana. By breathing through the nose, with the mouth closed, the breath is felt from the throat, producing a hissing sound. This sound of the breath keeps the mind focused. As the mind begins to wander, the sound of the breath keeps bringing you back home and away from the mumbling, bumbling mind. The mind becomes focused and calm as each pose flows into the next in concert with the breath. The breath is the link between body and mind. 13
    9. PRANA Prana is a subtle form of energy. Prana literally means “breathing forth” the universal life force. Through practicing asana and pranayama, prana is brought into and stored in the body, increas- ing vitality. Prana mainly flows through the body in the nadis, or nerve channels of the astral body. Prana exists as a negative energy as well as a positive energy. Prana moves upward and apana moves downward. When the two unite at the muladara chakra (base of spine) kundalini (dormant cosmic energy) is awakened. The most important nadi, or energy channel, (there are 72,000!) is the shushumna nadi which correlates to the spinal cord in the physical body. When kundalini is awakened it starts to move up the shushumna nadi, through the seven chakras toward higher states of consciousness. In ashtanga yoga there are three locks (bandhas) that are engaged throughout the practice to prevent the dissipation of, and direct the flow of prana in the body, and convert it into spiritual energy. The Chakras • Jalandhara bandha prevents prana from escaping the From bottom to top the 7 chakras: upper body. 1. Muladhara chakra - at the anus 2. Svadhishthana chakra - at the genitals 3. Manipura chakra - at the navel • Uddiyana bandha forces prana up the shushumna nadi. 4. Anahata chakra - at the heart 5. Vishuddha chakra - at the throat • Mula bandha, when engaged, prevents apana escaping from 6. Ajna chakra- between and behind the eyebrows the lower body and draws it up to unite with prana. 7. Sahasrara chakra - at the crown of the head 14
    10. A CHAKRA CONTEMPLATION 1. Muladhara (foundation or root): mula bandha/perineum for men, entrance to the womb/cervix for women • red • grounding and personal security, connection to the earth, Yamas 2. Svadhisthana (dwelling place of the self): uddiyana bandha, genitals, tail bone to lower abdomen • orange • generative, procreation, emotions, Niyamas 3. Manipura (city of gems): navel to solar plexus (sternum) • yellow • power, physical strength, belongingness, Asanas 4. Anahata (unstricken or liberated): heart, center of chest • green • agape (unconditional love), compassion, healing, breathing, Pranayama 5. Vishuddha (pure): jalandhara bandha, throat • blue • verbal communication, logical, linear thought, left hemisphere active mode of consciousness, Pratyahara 6. Ajna (unlimited authority): the third eye, forehead • indigo • illusion of separateness and duality ceases, intuition and creativity, right hemisphere receptive mode of consciousness, Dharana 7. Sahasrara (thousand petal white lotus): the crown of the head • violet • connection to the cosmos, individual dissolves into universal consciousness, enlightenment, Dhyana and Samadhi – Prepared by johannes Van Vugt 15
    11. ASHTANGA YOGA: THE EIGHT LIMBS TO UNION WITH THE UNIVERSAL 1. Yamas: Ethical Observations 3. Asanas: Physical Postures • Ahimsa: non-violence, loving yourself and others, gentleness, Through the practice of the physical stretches, opening the body, justice, no pride nor fear one breaks through granthis (blocks) as a means of breaking • Satya: truthfulness, being true to your nature through psychological blocks, conditioned thoughts or behavior • Asteya: not stealing, not keeping for yourself when others lack, (samsara). The 3 major granthis are attachment to possessions, it is a gift to be simple people and thinking that one has special psychic abilities. • Bramacharya: moderation, in all things, of body, mind Constitutive of the asanas are the drishti (eye focus), ujjayi and speech (victorious) breath, and engaging 3 bandhas (energy locks), thus • Aprarigraha: non-possessiveness, not hoarding, I have all that raising one’s prana (breath/energy), by raising universal energy I need, feeling no loss (kundalini) from the mula bandha/muladhara chakra to the sahasrara chakra. Asanas develop a strong and elastic body, 2. Niyamas: Self Observations soothes the nerves, and develops control over the mind. • Saucha: inner and outward cleanliness, positive thoughts and 4. Pranayama: Observing One’s Breath actions, benevolence • Santosa: contentment, with your self and gratitude, feeling no Through the practice of breath observation, control and extension, lack, tranquility one frees the conditioned mind from its restless scanning and • Tapas: fiery cleansing, every painful experience is an analysis, its conditioned thinking, by focusing one’s attention on opportunity to let go, equanimity the breath. Thus pranayama is the connection between the body • Svadhyaya: study of your self, in relation to the body of and the mind. Ujjayi breath is a form of pranayama. One also knowledge that exists raises one’s prana from the base level concerns of the lower • Isvara Pranidhana: devotion to the universal, seeing it in all chakras to the higher levels of Self actualization of the higher things, Thy will be done chakras. Ashtanga vinyasa (breathing movement), being dynamically aerobic and meditative, emphasizes the 3rd and 4th limbs. Pranayama practice strengthens the respiratory system, soothes the nerves, and reduces cravings. 5. 16
    12. 5. Pratyahara: Controlling One’s Senses 7. Dhyana: Meditation In practicing sense withdrawal in the Buddhist sense of Rather than contemplating a particular thing one focuses on detachment or self-annihilation of the individual ego, one realizes nothing, the mind is still in the Zen sense of no mind, or neti neti one’s true Self (Atman) is the universal (Brahman). One turns (not this, not that). This is not nihilistic but rather is beyond inward and notices one’s conditioning, by not merely reacting to words. One just is, and the rational, logical, linear mind and its things, but observing one’s conditioned reaction and selective conditioned thoughts are at rest. Atman is Brahman. The universal, attention, i.e., what is it that I am conditioned to notice? One frees like breath, moves in and out of you. As with dharana, there is no one’s Self from conditioned existence (samsara) and comes to see analysis, no measurement, no judgment, no comparison. the universal in all things. In the Taoist sense, wu wei is the Tao (letting go is the Way); every painful experience is an opportunity 8. Samadhi: Absorption into the Universal to identify an ego addiction and transcend it, returning to the Having freed one’s Self from samsara (ego conditioned selective universal perspective rather than getting caught up in a particular consciousness or particular perspectives), realizing universal ego conditioned perspective. Mastering pratyahara one transcends dualities, such as pleasure and pain, and is equanimous, fearless, consciousness, understanding all perspectives, one is free to dive generous, self-controlled, nonviolent, truthful, free from anger, into the ocean of peace (shanti) and experience the fruits of tranquil, charitable, gentle, modest, steady, illumined, and free enlightenment, an experience beyond the limits of words or logical grasp. For how can one describe bliss? It cannot be grasped. An from pride. opened hand to give, receives the universal kiss. – Prepared by johannes Van Vugt 6. Dharana: Contemplation The goal of all 8 limbs (ashtanga) is yoga (union with the universal). Through dharana (contemplation) one achieves that goal by focusing one’s attention on the thing contemplated by the senses or the mind to the extent that one transcends the dualistic relationship of the subject (me) observing the object (other), and becomes one with, is absorbed into, what is contemplated (without analysis) as in Yahweh (I AM). This is the basis of Tantra. Often in yoga it is the breath contemplated, but it can be anything or anyone, such as contemplating the universal vibration, Aum (All), the scent or color of a flower, the feel of a breeze (All). There is no measurement, no judgment, no comparison. 17
    13. CAPTURING PRANA The Serpent Power PRACTICE Mula Bandha 1. Sit in a comfortable meditative pose, preferably siddhasana (with one f foot into root chakra, see diagram). Close the eyes, make sure the body is completely relaxed and the spine is erect. For men, the area just When kundalini shakti is awakened and arises from inside the perineum has to be contracted, so it is best to concentrate on her sleep, she is the vehicle for the expansion of this area for a few minutes. Women should concentrate on the cervix, as consciousness, enabling the individual to fully develop it is the cervix and vaginal muscles which have to be contracted. After a his innate potential and rise beyond the mundane few minutes of concentration, start to gradually contract and release the realm of birth and death to the level of divinity. muscles of the perineum/cervix . Contraction should last for a few Chela Buddhananda seconds. Keep the breath normal. Contract, release twenty-five times. 2. Prepare as above. Contract the muscles of the perineum/cervix and hold. Hold the contraction for sixty seconds, then release. Raising Mula Bandha Practice five times. Mula bandha is the force or energy created by lifting the pelvic 3. Start off with a gentle or partial contraction. Contract just a little and floor and controlling the breath. It is the root lock and calls the fire hold without releasing. Then contract a little more. Continue like this, gradually increasing the tension and contraction ten times until full within that causes everything to come alive, to move. Mula bandha contraction is reached. Hold the full contraction for sixty seconds increases flexibility and stimulates heat. By contracting the and try to breathe normally. perineum and drawing the energy up from the base of the spine, one can intensify and direct the life energy, cultivating a sense of 4. Notice what happens when you activate mula bandha . Is it possible to heightened awareness and increasing vitality. contract and lift the pelvic floor and breath at the same time? Try it. 5. Take about a 30 minute period during your day and try to maintain mula Mula bandha ignites the flame of kundalini (cosmic energy), the bandha for the full half hour. How many times did you come out serpent power. By bringing awareness to the core of the body, mula of mula bandha ? bandha helps prevent injury. It guides you to move from your center, grounding you so you can become light and fluid in your yoga practice. 18
    14. Uddiyana Bandha • The Flying Bandha PRACTICE Movement of shakti in the body is described as a bird. Shakti is the Uddiyana Bandha personification of the feminine form of the Divine. Through the 1. Stand with feet about two feet apart. Bend the knees slightly and rest the practice of the flying bandha, the great bird (Shakti) flies upward hands above the knees, with the thumbs facing inwards and the fingers with ease, further directing the flow of prana toward higher states outwards. The spine must remain straight, not curved; the head should of consciousness. By contracting the lower abdomen and pulling it be kept up and eyes open. Inhale deeply through the nose, then exhale quickly through slightly pursed lips, but don't be forceful. Having fully inward and upward, toward the spine, a powerful toning effect and exhaled, bring the chin to the chest (jalandhara bandha), raising the internal strengthening occurs. This lifting helps push up the shoulders. Pull the abdomen and stomach inward toward the spine and diaphragm and expel the breath. Uddiyana bandha, the abdominal up. Hold for a few seconds. Before inhaling, relax the stomach and lock, also eliminates strain by helping to control the breath. Control abdomen, raise the head and stand straight. Then inhale through the of the breath controls consciousness. Bandhas are a means of nose slowly and with control. Before repeating another round, breathe normally for a minute or two. Start with three rounds and over a period extending control over the breath and thus are a means to extend of a few months increase to ten rounds. our access to consciousness. 2. Sit in a comfortable cross-legged position (padmasana, siddhasana or sukhasana, depending on your flexibility). Sit on a cushion so that the buttocks are raised. Keep the palms of the hands on the knees and the spinal cord upright and straight. Eyes may be open or closed. Begin as above, practicing three to ten rounds, concentrating on the natural breath for a minute or two between rounds. CONTEMPLATING YOUR NAVEL The solar plexus is located just back of 3. Stand up and experiment moving from the middle of your body, try the pit of the stomach on either side of the walking as if there is a string attached to your navel pulling you forward. spinal column. The name “solar” is well bestowed upon this major nerve plexus, as 4. Practice the bandhas at different times during the day. Notice the effect it radiates energy to all parts of the body. on your energy level. According to the yogic texts it is the great storehouse of prana, the manipura chakra. 5. Notice any fears that arise when you're practicing the bandhas . Other Eastern cultures link it to the hara, dan tien, center of chi or ki. It’s the center of our being from the umbilical cord to adulthood. 6. Connect the breath, mula bandha, and uddiyana bandha, and try to It‘s the place where you get that gut feeling, relax while maintaining the locks. the intuitive sense. We’ve got to keep it healthy, tuned in and alive. 19
    15. CAPTURING PRANA Jalandhara Bandha Jalandhara bandha is the water pipe lock. It binds the network of PRACTICE subtle energy channels. Jalandhara Bandha Engaging Jalandhara bandha is useful for alleviating diseases of 1. Sit comfortably in siddhasana or padmasana (illustration p.13). Place the palms of the hands on the knees and allow the whole body to relax. the throat. It also improves the quantum of prana in the thoracic Inhale slowly and deeply through the nose and retain the breath. Lower region. By pressing the chin to the chest, prana is captured, pre- the chin so that it touches the collarbone. At the same time, straighten venting it from escaping the upper body. Many major nerve fibers the elbows and raise the shoulders. Hold the breath and the position pass through the neck; when jalandhara bandha is performed it for as long as comfortable. Then release jalandhara bandha by slowly exerts pressure on them and the flow of nervous impulses to the raising the head and relaxing the shoulders. Exhale in a very slow, controlled manner. Practice five rounds, breathing normally for a few brain is restricted. These impulses collect in the cervical plexus, minutes between each round. Then practice five rounds with external and when the bandha is released they flood into the brain. The retention (exhale and hold). force of these impulses helps to activate higher centers in the brain, those that function with creativity and intellect. 2. Visualize the throat as a net that captures the breath as it comes up. 3. Notice when the chin is tucked how easy it is to see your navel. 4. Pay attention to the opening of your throat while simultaneously locking the chin. f 5. Link all the bandhas and follow the flow of breath unobstructed while The combination of the breath and bandhas are all to maintaining the locks in the body. Notice any change in energy level or be practiced continually throughout the yoga practice. effects on your thoughts. 20
    16. DRISHTI Eye Play The gaze is a focusing technique. By directing the gaze at specific points (the space just beyond the tip of the nose, between the THE NINE LOOKING PLACES eyebrows) the focus is directed inward. This brings more concen- ARE CALLED NAVA DRISHTIS tration and awareness into the movement. Keep the gaze soft. 1. Nasagrai - the space just beyond the tip of the nose. This is used most often and is the primary drishti in the sitting postures. 2. Ajna Chakra - the space between the eyebrows (ex. Purvottanasana/intense east stretch) 3. Nabi Chakra - navel center (ex. Adho Mukha Svanasana/downward dog) 4. Hastagrai - hand (ex.Trikonasana/ triangle) PRACTICE 5. Padhayoragrai - toes (ex. Savangasana/ Drishti shoulderstand) 1. Pay attention to your wandering eyes. What distracts you? 6. Parsva Drishti - far to the right (ex. Supta Padangusthasana/reclining big toe 2. Try to control the urge to look toward something moving in the distance. posture) 3. Gaze at the space just beyond the tip of your nose for one minute. 7. Parsva Drishti - far to the left (ex. Marichyasana C/Marchi’s posture) 4. Does sound distract your eye gaze? Smell? Notice how your senses 8. Angusta Ma Dyai - thumbs (beginning of direct your focus. Suryanamaskara/sun salutation) 5. At different times during the day focus your gaze at specific points 9. Urdhva Drishti or Antara Drishti - up to (the space just beyond the tip of your nose, navel, a spot on the wall) the sky (Virabhadrasana A/warrior) and see what it takes to make you look away. 21
    17. CLEANSING AND PURIFICATION • MELTDOWN Nauli Kriyas If you look around you, you'll notice what happens as we get older. The middle of the body begins to lose shape and collapse. Gravity is pulling us downward. Unless we are practicing some type of opposing technique, the whole solar plexus area, a major nerve center of the body, will become squashed. Not to mention the toxins that get trapped, the poor digestion that results, and the lack of oxygen to the abdominal region. Naulis, in conjunction with the bandhas, bring everything upward, inviting vitality back into the middle of the body. These techniques keep the gastro-intestinal or alimentary system balanced and functioning smoothly. Naulis massage the internal organs, acting as an internal cleansing technique. Keeping you pure and clean, naulis remove sluggishness of the stomach, intestines, and liver, bringing back upward the evercaving-in abdominal region which is crushing and suffocating internal organs as gravity pulls us down. Don't let the fire go out. Keep the channels of the body pure and Nauli open the pathway for the oxygen to keep feeding the fire. It's best to practice on an empty stomach in the morning. 22
    18. PRACTICE Nauli 1. Stand with feet one and a half to two feet apart. Bend the knees and rest 4. Notice any weak or tender areas. Breathe into them and pull upward. the palms of the hands just above the knees, thumbs on the inside of the thighs, fingers touching the outsides. Keep the head up and eyes open. 5. What happens the more air you exhale? Do you feel a tighter inward Breathe deeply through the nose and exhale quickly through the mouth, contraction? slightly pursing the lips. Perform jalandhara bandha while maintaining 6. Do you feel dizzy? Imagine what happens as the toxins move out of full exhalation retention . Suck the abdomen and stomach in by per- your system. forming uddiyana bandha. Hold. Then release uddiyana bandha, raise the head, stand up and inhale slowly. Repeat three times 7. Try practicing uddiyana bandha during naulis. Notice how much more 2. Practice as in #1, but this time after pulling the abdomen in with the control you have with the air fully exhaled. exhale retention bounce the belly gently in and out, thereby massaging the internal organs. Repeat three times. 8. Now try mula bandha. 3. Rolling – stand with legs apart, knees slightly bent with hands on thighs. 9. Practice naulis everyday for at least ten minutes. Exhale and perform uddiyana bandha. Contract sides of abdomen, isolating the central muscle. Then press on alternate hands to move the muscle from one side to the other. 23
    19. CLEANSING AND PURIFICATION • MELTDOWN Jala Neti • Nasal Cleansing Most colds and viruses are breathed in through the nose. From there they work their way through our system to the throat, chest, and into the entire respiratory system. One of the most effective ways of stopping that cycle is to clean out the nasal passages. A neti pot and some lightly salted water can do the job quite thoroughly. Nasal cleansing exerts a profound physiological effect on the body and mind. On the physical level, irrigation of the nasal mucosa removes accumulated mucus from the nostrils, associated passages and sinuses, allowing air to flow without obstruction. Regular practice of neti maintains healthy secretory drainage mechanisms of the entire ear, nose and throat area. This helps to ward off colds and coughs, hay fever, and tonsillitis. It builds up resistance to various diseases of the ears, eyes, and throat. Practicing neti promotes a balance between the right and left nostrils and consequently the right and left hemispheres of the brain. This induces a state of harmony and balance throughout the entire central nervous system, and the systems governing respiratory, circulatory, digestive, and excretory functions. 24
    20. PRACTICE Jala Neti neti pot Using a neti pot (illustration or a small cup with a spout, a small teapot • Notice which nostril is blocked. Does it change from day or watering can will work), fill it with warm saline water. The salt should to day? At different times during the day? be just enough to taste. Stand squarely, legs apart, body weight evenly distributed between the two feet and lean forward. Tilt the head to the right • After doing the neti, do you feel a sense of clarity? side and place the neti pot nozzle in the left nostril. Open the mouth • What happens to your hearing? slightly and breathe through the mouth only. • Does food taste differently? What about your sense of smell? Keep the whole body relaxed and let the water pass out through the right nostril. When you have used the water, remain bending forward, center the head and let the water run out of the nose. close the right nostril with the finger and blow gently through the left nostril so that all the remaining water comes out. Repeat, passing the water through the right nostril. Throughout the whole practice, keep breathing through the mouth and do not attempt to breathe through the nose. When blowing the nose, do not blow very hard, otherwise remaining water may be pushed into the ears. It is important to remove all the water after the practice so irritation of the sinuses and mucus membranes does not occur. 25
    21. CREATE A SACRED SPACE Choose A Spot That Draws You Inward This is a time of focus. You acknowledge the space around you on which you are about to work. It should be quiet, with no interrup- tions. You pick a place for the feet and plant them, one by one, deliberately connecting with the earth beneath. Participation at this level is important, if the link between your body and the ground is formed there is a centered calmness. Making a time and place for your yoga is essential for maintaining a regular practice. Choose a place which is warm and where there is enough room for you to move freely. It is helpful to practice at the same time each day, the optimal times being sunrise and sunset. Choose a spot that draws you inward. Regular practice is the key to yoga. It is through practice that these seemingly impossible postures are mastered with comfort and ease within a reasonable time period. It is through practice that yoga becomes integrated in your life. PRACTICE Decide how much time you have to practice each day (be realistic) and how many times a week. Begin all sessions with naulis, sun salutations, standing postures, sitting postures, meditation and finish with corpse. 26
    22. THE INVOCATION . Acknowledge The Creator VANDE GURUNAM CHARANARAVINDE . ´ SANDRSAITA SVATMASUKHAVA BODHE ´ NISHREYASE JANGALIKAYAMANE . ´ SAMSARA HALAHALA MOHASANTYAI ABAHU PURUSAKARAM . ´ . SANKHACAKRASI DHARINAM . ´ ´ SAHASRA SIRASAM SVETAM PRANAMAMI PATAÑJALIM. . . OM f You say a prayer. Connecting with the world of sound, you focus your attention inward. Patanjali’s Mantra (A chant with meaning dedicated to the codifier of ashtanga yoga) Om… (All; the universal vibration) I bow to the lotus (symbol of unfolding enlightenment) feet of the teachers Who awaken in me the pure happiness of universal being. I take refuge in the jungle physician, Who dispels the delusions of conditioned existence to reveal peace. I prostate my ego self before the wisdom of Patanjali Who is depicted as crowned by a thousand white radiant serpents (the symbol of kundalini, universal energy) And as holding in his hands a conch shell (the symbol of divine sound, AUM, and the planet’s breath in the ocean waves) As holding a discus of light (the symbol of infinite time, and the one sun which shines on all with equanimity) And as holding the sword of discrimination between illusions (of the selective attention of ego conditioned particularities) and universal truth. Om… – Translation/adaptation by johannes Van Vugt 27
    23. ASANAS To Flex Is To Stretch f By flexing your quads you will notice your hamstrings get a deeper Asanas make one firm, free from maladies, light of limb. stretch. As you pull your abdominals inward and upward you can Hatha Yoga Pradipika feel the lower back lengthening. Maintain a flexed contraction within the stretch by engaging the opposing muscles. Don't sink into your knees or lock them. Always lift up the kneecap by flexing the quadriceps. Maintain awareness also of your elbows, shoulders, and wrists. The intention is to bring life energy into our bodies, for Asana is not a particular posture, but a state. Within the word this we need awareness. asana itself are the connotations of strength and firmness, as well as the connotations of pleasantness and comfort. This is the balance we are trying to achieve, strength and flexibility, not only in the physical postures, but also in our mental state. Take The Ambition Out Of It f The brain is the hardest part of the body to adjust in asanas. Everybody is unique and their progression in yoga is going to look BKS Iyengar differently than the person next to them. It is important to allow the asanas to arise out of an internal place rather than some externally imposed idea of what the posture should look like. As long as you are working at your peak, combining breath, bandhas, and move- ment, and you are gaining that internal sense of stretching and strengthening, you are exactly where you need to be. In the beginning, the physical aspects of the postures will affect you the most. In time, and as you progress, you will become more aware of the flow of prana, life force, moving through your body. As your practice evolves, these subtle, but deep movements will reawaken your awareness and control of your body, leaving you both relaxed and full of energy. 28
    24. ASANAS Some Tips Fearasana • Visualize yourself in the posture before moving into it. Some of One of the greatest obstacles is fear. Go into the resistance, allow our resistance is just a conditioned mental idea that we cannot the body to open. S U R R E N D E R. do the posture. Change the mental idea. • Never force it. Allow the breath to move you gradually deeper into the posture. • Focus on the breath to bring lightness, ease, and fluidity into the f movement. This is not about contorting your body into some Don't fear. Pain and injury can occur when breath and mind frozen posture, there is always movement in the stillness. are resisting in fear and you move in an asana mechanically. Pattabhi Jois • Be patient with yourself, notice that the more even your breath, the slower the breath, the easier the movement. • Let the thoughts go by, notice them as just thoughts, and then let them go. • Notice how persistent the mind can be. • Feel the breath as an extension of the bandhas. • What happens to your spine if you connect breath and bandhas as you move into a posture? And if you don't? • As you flex the front of your thigh (quadriceps), notice the extended stretch on the opposite side (hamstrings). 29
    25. PRANAYAMA • THE SERPENT POWER Live As You Breathe; Take In and Let Go Swami Rama used to say a person has one thought on inhalation and another on exhalation, so that the rate of breath determines the number of thoughts a person has. Greater number of thoughts (a faster breathing rate) decreases concentration because there are so many thoughts going on. The breath, body and mind are so closely linked, a change in one brings about a change in the other two. By developing control of your breath in certain ways, you can bring beneficial changes to your body and mind. Pranayama acts as a key, it opens the mind, freeing the nervous system of its ordinary patterns and habits. By breathing from the upper third of the respiratory system, pranayama can move blocked pathways to the brain and the nervous system, creating new patterns, roadways to the superhighway of the superconscious. Pranayama revitalizes the body, steadies the emotions, and creates great clarity of mind. Maintain the bandhas during pranayama. Place the mind in the breath. Pranayama, like asana practice, is progressive. You build upon what you've already done. 30
    26. PRACTICE Pranayama Opening on the inhale, apana downward. Anchoring on the exhale, prana upward Sit in siddhasana or padmasana (illustration p. 13). Begin with exhale, retention. We use the example of a water pot. Before you fill it up, you Try to make the period of retention as comfortable as possible. Connect want to bake it until it’s strong, to seal it, especially the bottom of the pot with the base of the spine, creating a straight line from the top of the head so that it doesn't leak. This corresponds to the exhale retention, you want to the base of the spine. At first the exhale hold feels very unnatural. You to make sure that your pot will hold water before you fill it up. Connect may feel a sense of panic or fear, the emptiness of breath versus the fullness with mula bandha , lifting the pelvic floor and uddiyana bandha, drawing of breath. If you don't do the bandhas, you won't be able to do the exhale the navel inward and toward the spine. retention comfortably. At the top of the pot, you'll want to have a stopper, so that the water Hold the retention as long as you can comfortably, start small and work up doesn't spill out. The inhale retention with jalandhara bandha (throat lock) from there. is the stopper. You want to contain and build the prana, life force, with the bandhas, the seals that prevent leakage. A good indicator of capacity is the quality of the subsequent breath. If the inhale is a huge sucking, fast breath, then the exhale hold was too long. With pranayama we are putting the mind in the breath. The idea is to bring You don't want the breath to have a grasping quality. Pranayama should be the breath up through the sushumna nadi. The exhalation creates stability, soothing for the system. grounding. It is the descent of the spirit from the subtle moving into dense movement of energy and down into the perineum. So you're right in the location for the muladara chakra. If you can learn to follow the movement downward, then you’re there. Same with upward. 31
    27. PRANAYAMA • THE SERPENT POWER Pranayama Sequence Once you get the feel for quality of breath and the bandhas you can practice this pranayama sequence. Begin with 3 ujjayi breaths (3 full breaths with sound) I. Baya kumbhaka – exhale retention Take a deep breath in and then exhale fully. Hold the exhale. Engage mula bandha, uddiyana bandha and jalandara bandha. Begin with a 5 second hold and build from there. Repeat 3 times 3 ujjayi breaths II. Antara kumbhaka – inhale retention Take a full inhalation and hold. Engage the bandhas. Begin with 5 second hold. Repeat 3 times. f By using the breath to move our attention within the body, we 3 ujjayi breaths explore the ever-shifting flow of energy that creates our inner experience. We begin to develop a conscious familiarity with ourselves. We begin to discover the powerful intelligence that III. Antara kumbhaka and baya kumbhaka is already breathing within us. We begin Breathing into Life. Inhale fully and hold 5 seconds. Exhale and hold 5 seconds. Bija Bennett Engage all three bandhas. Repeat three times. As your abiliity to control your breathe improves, increase the seconds of the holds. Lay down and rest at the end to integrate the pranayama practice. Feel the effects on your body and mind. 32
    28. YOUR PRACTICE INTEGRATION Helpful Hints The Challenge 1. Listen to your body. Only through your own internal awareness The true challenge is not can you do a handstand, but can you will you come to understand when to work harder or deeper and apply yoga to your life? when to move more slowly. Yoga truly begins when you leave the classroom.Yoga is a way of 2. The breath should always be louder than your internal dialogue. living. 3. Never force yourself into a pose, no posture is worth injury. Every posture reflects something about our internal state. Some days you may have trouble with the balancing postures and notice 4. Take the ambition out of it. You are competing with no one. you are having trouble juggling all the different things in your life. Another day you may discover you're not as flexible as the day 5. Less is more with yoga. Take your time and build your practice before, perhaps you've become a bit less fluid in your thinking or slowly, there is nowhere to “get” to. actions, resistant to stretching yourself a bit further. 6. Set up a regular practice for yourself. Practice is the key to the Flexibility • strength • grounded • balance • centered • clarity entire science of yoga. • lightness • wholeness • peace – these are all directly applicable, translatable to our daily lives. Nothing is separate. The path of 7. Enjoy your practice. Acknowledge and receive the gift you are least effort is one of union, yoga. giving yourself. Take the lessons of yoga and apply them to your life. f Ashtanga Yoga is 99% practice, 1% theory. Pattabhi Jois 33
    29. SUN SALUTATION • THE DAWNING OF A RITUAL Ritual Connects Us To The Absolute By tradition, at dawn, the yogis practiced greeting the sun with a PRACTICE salutation. A yoga session is incomplete without it. An ideal exer- Suryanamaskara – A cise to get you moving, Surynamaskara welcomes the new day, Begin in Samasthiti, equal standing. preparing for the asanas, heating up the body, toning up the muscles, quickening and intensifying the respiration and cardiac 1. Inhale, hands up, look up to the rhythm. The sun salutation is the foundation of your practice, it thumbs. establishes the connection of movement and breath, uniting body, 2. Exhale, bend forward to Uttanasana, mind, and spirit. gaze at tip of nose. Not only is the sun salutation a preparation for the rest of your 3. Inhale, head up, straighten spine, Samasthiti yoga practice, but it is a complete exercise within itself. gaze at third eye. Suryanamaskara tones up the digestive system by the alternate 4. Exhale, bend knees, jump back (or stretching and compression of the abdominal region. It massages step back) to Chaturanga the inner organs, stomach, liver, and spleen. It activates digestion Dandasana. and aids in reducing constipation. Synchronizing breath with movement, the lungs are thoroughly ventilated and the blood 5. Inhale, roll up to Urdhva Mukha oxygenated, creating a detoxifying effect. The sun salutation steps Svanasana, upward dog, gaze to sky; back and up. up cardiac activity and blood flow throughout the system, which is ideal for the health of the body. By stretching and bending the 6. Exhale, lift hips back to Adho Mukha spinal column, this sequence of movements tones up the nervous Svanasana, downward dog. Gaze system. Toxins are easily eliminated through the skin, lungs, toward navel. Hold for 5 breaths. intestines, and kidneys. Immunity to disease is increased by 7. Inhale, jump (or step) feet up strengthening its potential breeding ground. between hands, gaze between eyebrows. Concentration and the maintenance of an uninterrupted rhythm Inhale throughout the succession of the sun salutations are key. Synchro- 8. Exhale, fold at waist to Uttanasana, nize breath with movement and connect with the rhythm, your gaze tip of nose. own internal rhythm. Exhale 9. Inhale, come all the way up looking between eyebrows with spine Start by practicing three rounds.Gradually increase to five or six. straight, hands up, gaze at thumbs. 10. Exhale, arms to sides, Samasthiti. 34
    30. SURYANAMASKARA–A Samasthiti 1 2 3 4 Uttanasana Chaturanga Dandasana 5 6 7 8 9 10 Urdhva Mukha Adho Mukha Uttanasana Samasthiti Svanasana Svanasana 35
    31. SUN SALUTATION • THE DAWNING OF A RITUAL PRACTICE Suryanamaskara-B Begin in Samasthiti, equal standing 11. Inhale, left foot forward, right foot turned in at an angle, 1. Inhale, bend knees, lift arms, Virabhadrasana; lift arms above palms together over head, gaze head, gaze to thumbs, left knee at thumbs. bent. 2. Exhale, straighten legs to a 12. Exhale back to Chaturanga. forward bend, Uttanasana, gaze at nose. 13. Inhale, upward dog. 3. Inhale, head up, lengthen spine, 3 14. Exhale, downward dog, hold Samasthiti 1 2 gaze at third eye. for 5 breaths, gaze toward Utkatasana Uttanasana 4. Exhale, jump back to navel. Chaturanga Dandasana. 15. Jump feet up between hands, 5. Inhale, lift chest, head back to inhale head up, gaze between Urdhva Mukha Svanasana, eyebrows. upward facing dog, gaze at sky. 16. Exhale, bend forward crown of 6. Exhale, lift hips to downward head towards floor, look to facing dog, Adho Mukha nose, Uttanasana. Svanasana, gaze toward navel. 17. Inhale, knees bent as you come 7. Inhale, right foot forward, left up to Utkatasana. heel turned inward. Virabhadrasana, lift arms, palms 18. Exhale, straighten legs, arms to together. Right knee bent, left side, Samasthiti. leg straight with back foot pressed into floor. Gaze at thumbs. 8. Exhale, back to Chaturanga Inhale Dandasana. 9 10 11 9. Inhale, upward facing dog, Adho Mukha Exhale Urdhva Mukha Virabhadrasana Urdhva Mukha Svanasana Svanasana Svanasana 10. Exhale back to downward dog. 36
    32. SURYANAMASKARA–B 4 5 6 7 8 Chaturanga Dandasana Urdhva Mukha Adho Mukha Virabhadrasana Chaturanga Dandasana Svanasana Svanasana 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 Chaturanga Dandasana Urdhva Mukha Adho Mukha Uttanasana Utkatasana Samasthiti Svanasana Svanasana 37
    33. THE PRIMARY SERIES There are 6 series or sequences of postures in the ashtanga yoga system. This manual focuses on the primary, or first series, which is known as yoga chikitsa (yoga therapy). It is designed to heal, detoxify, and align the body and mind, particularly the spine. The sequencing of postures is a science, set up so that each asana provides a necessary foundation for what follows. We always begin with the sun salutations and standing postures to generate heat and connect with the breath. The first half of the primary series (which begins after the standing postures) is mostly forward bends, work- ing the hamstrings, hips, and back. The middle section focuses on flexibility and the third part combines more flexibility with strength postures. The finishing postures are the same regardless of what series you are practicing. They are restorative postures designed for cooling down, balancing out the body, and integrating the effects of the practice. This is the vinyasa system, a breathing/moving system. Each pose flows into the next using breathing and the bandhas (locks). If you don’t have time for the whole series always begin with the sun salutations and standing postures. Work through a portion of the sitting postures and always finish with the corpse pose. If you are having difficulty with any of the postures, modify them to your ability. And keep breathing! 38
    34. STANDING ASANAS I PADANGUSTHASANA • BIG TOE POSTURE Pada=foot or leg Padangustha=big toe Begin in Samasthiti. Jump feet hip width apart (6-8 inches), feet parallel. 1. Inhale, hands on hips, lift chest, look up and back. 2. Exhale, bend forward, hold onto big toes with middle and index fingers. 3. Inhale, head up, straighten back like a ski slope, arms straight, look up between eyebrows. 4. Exhale, move crown of head towards floor, elbows out to sides. Drishti: nose. Hold posture for 5-8 breaths. Modified posture: bend knees. 5. Inhale, head up, look between eyebrows (only your head, don’t come all the way up yet). II PADAHASTASANA • HAND UNDER FOOT POSTURE Pada=foot Hasta=hand 1. Exhale, slide hands under feet. 2. Inhale, head up, look up and extend spine, place the hands as far under the feet as possible, toes come to the wrists, the back of the wrists should be on the floor and weight off the heels. 3. Exhale, fold at waist, head towards floor. Drishti: nose. Hold posture for 5-8 breaths. 4. Inhale, just your head up, gaze 3rd eye. 5. Exhale. 6. Inhale, come all the way up, spine straight. Modified posture: bend knees. 7. Exhale, Samasthiti. 39
    35. STANDING ASANAS III UTTHITA TRIKONASANA • TRIANGLE POSTURE Utthita=extended Tri=three Kona=angle 1. Inhale, jump to right, right foot parallel to edge of mat, left heel turned inward, heels 3 ft apart. 2. Exhale, reach out over foot and bend to right, hold big toe of right foot with first two fingers of right hand and pull up on it, creating counter tension and oppositional stretch. Turn head to look up toward left thumb, opening chest toward ceiling. Feel the rotation of the hips as the right hip moves under and the left hip rotates open. Drishti: thumb of left hand. Hold for 5-8 breaths. 3. Inhale, come up slowly. 4. Exhale to other side, repeat 1-3. 5. Inhale, come up, keeping arms out to sides. Modified posture: right hand to ankle or shin or up as high as necessary to prevent straining back. If neck is strained, look to toes and then back up to thumb. IV PARIVRTTA TRIKONASANA • REVOLVING TRIANGLE Parivrtta=revolved Tri=three Kona=angle 1. Exhale, revolve around pulling left hip back, bringing left hand to the floor on the outside of the right foot, right arm up, keep shoulders moving down, away from ears. Push on floor with bottom hand while pulling up with the top hand to create counter tension. Lengthen both sides and pull lower ribs toward front. It helps to step the back foot up a bit. Drishti: thumb of right hand. Hold for 5-8 breaths. On last exhale turn head to look down to hand on floor. 2. Inhale, come up. 3. Exhale, revolve around to the other side, repeat 1-2. Modified posture: bring both hands to the right shin, look up, spine straight. 4. Exhale to Samasthiti. 40
    36. V UTTHITA PARSVAKONASANA • EXTENDED SIDE ANGLE POSE Utthita=extended Parsva=side Kona =angle 1. Inhale, jump to right, approximately 4 ft apart, arms out to the sides, left heel turned in, right foot parallel to edge of mat. 2. Exhale, bend right knee over right ankle, extend right arm out as far as possible before placing it on floor outside of the right foot, either palm or finger tips, keep the pelvis tucked, open chest toward ceiling, press right knee into right arm and push on floor with back foot, feeling of being drawn and quartered. Drishti: palm of left hand. Hold for 5-8 breaths. 3. Inhale, come up. 4. Exhale down to other side, repeat 1-3. Modified posture: right elbow on right knee instead of hand to floor, back knee on the floor if necessary. *VI PARIVRITTA PARSVAKONASANA • REVOLVING SIDE ANGLE POSE Parivrita=revolved Parsva=side Kona =angle 1. Exhale, turn to right bending right knee directly over right ankle. Bring left elbow on the outside of right knee and place hands in prayer, spiraling chest open to ceiling looking skyward. Use breath to move deeper into the posture lifting belly off of thigh. To revolve even more fully into the posture (level 2 of the pose as indicated in the drawing), reach left arm underneath right thigh and clasp wrist of right arm, always opening chest and lengthening into the twist.To extend into the full traditional pose, place your left hand to the floor outside of your right foot and spiral your right arm over your right ear. Drishti: sky. Hold for 5-8 breaths 2. Inhale, come up. modified pose 3. Exhale to other side, repeat 1-2. Modified posture: back knee on the floor. Samasthiti. *Not in traditional series. 41
    37. STANDING ASANAS VII PRASARITA PADOTTANASANA A-D • INTENSE WIDE LEG STRETCH Prasarita=spread out Pada=foot Uttana=intense stretch A 1. Inhale, jump to the right, feet approximately 4 1/2 ft apart, legs out to side, feet parallel, hands on hip joint. Look up and back open chest, tuck pelvis. 2. Exhale, fold forward, lengthening as you bend at waist, place both hands on floor between feet shoulder width apart. Pull the scapula up the back and away from the shoulders, elbows out to sides. 3. Inhale, head up, look up between eyebrows, spine straight. 4. Exhale, crown of head towards the floor. Drishti: nose. Hold for 5-8 breaths. 5. Inhale, head up, look up between eyebrows. 6. Exhale, hands to hip joint. 7. Inhale, come up, spine straight. 8. Exhale. Modified posture: bend knees. B 1. Inhale, arms out to the sides. 2. Exhale, hands on hip joint, fingers pushing into abdominal cavity to emphasize uddiyana bandha, pull the elbows together and lift from the hips, top of head moving towards floor, shoulders away from ears. Drishti: nose. Hold for 5-8 breaths. 3. Inhale, look up to 3rd eye, come all the way up, lengthening from base of spine. 4. Exhale. Modified posture: bend knees. 42
    38. C 1. Inhale, arms out to sides. 2. Exhale, interlace fingers behind back, palms facing each other. 3. Inhale, look up, open chest pulling arms and shoulders back. 4. Exhale, bend forward, arms over head bringing hands toward floor. Drishti: nose. Hold for 5-8 breaths. 5. Inhale, come up looking to forehead. 6. Exhale. Modified posture: hold elbows behind back, look directly ahead, spine straight instead of coming all the way down. Bend knees if necessary. D 1. Inhale, hands on hips, lift chest, pelvis forward. 2. Exhale, bend forward, hands to big toes pressing roots of big toes down while pulling up with fingers (hold toes with index and middle fingers, and thumbs). 3. Inhale, head up, look up between eyebrows, straighten spine. 4. Exhale, bend forward, top of head towards floor. Elbows bent, shoulders away from ears, arms pulling out to side to bring body closer toward legs, keeping chest open, shoulder blades moving down the back. Drishti: nose. Hold for 5-8 breaths. 5. Inhale, head up. 6. Exhale, hands to hips. 7. Inhale, come all the way up, straight spine. 8. Exhale, top of the mat, to Samasthiti. Modified posture: hold back of legs with hands, keep back straight (don’t go all the way down). 43
    39. STANDING ASANAS VIII PARSVOTTANASANA • INTENSE SIDE STRETCH POSTURE Parsva=side Uttana=intense stretch 1. Inhale, jump feet out 3 ft apart, right foot parallel to edge of mat (90 degrees) left heel turned in (left foot at a 45-60 degree angle). 2. Exhale, hands in prayer behind back, turn hips to right, lift kneecaps. 3. Inhale, look up, open chest. 4. Exhale, press palms together not clasping thumbs or fingers, stretch out and then down, bend from the hips forward over right leg, bring chin toward shin. Pull right hip back so hips are parallel, lift elbows. Drishti: 2nd toe of extended foot. Hold for 5-8 breaths. 5. Inhale, come up. 6. Exhale, turn hips to left, reverse feet. 7. Inhale, open chest, look up and back. 8. Exhale, bend forward over left leg. Hold 5-8 breaths. 9. Inhale, come up. 10. Exhale, hop to Samasthiti. Modified posture: hold elbows behind back instead of hands in prayer, stay at half way down position with head up, spine straight. 44
    40. IX UTTHITA HASTA PADANGUSTHASANA • HAND TO BIG TOE POSTURE Utthita=extended Hasta=hand Pada=foot Padangustha=big toe 1. Inhale, right leg up, hold big toe with first two fingers of right hand, left hand on hip, right leg straight. 2. Exhale, chin towards knee. Drishti: big toe. Hold for 5-8 breaths. Modified posture: hold knee into chest. 3. Inhale, look up, straighten body, keeping leg extended out. 4. Exhale, right leg out to right side, look to left. Drishti: far to side. Hold posture 5-8 breaths. 5. Inhale, leg back to center. 6. Exhale, take foot with both hands, pull leg toward chest (bending elbow), chin toward knee or shin. 7. Inhale, head up. 8. Exhale, hands to hips, hold leg extended straight out in front for 3 breaths. With last exhale bring leg down to Samastithi. Repeat other side. Modified posture: keep knee bent as you bring leg out to side and back in to chest. 45
    41. STANDING ASANAS X ARDHA BADDHA PADMOTTANASANA • HALF BOUND LOTUS FORWARD BEND Ardha=half Baddha=bound Padma=lotus Uttana=intense stretch 1. Inhale, place the right heel as close to the navel as possible. 2. Exhale, reach around behind back with right hand and hold onto big toe of right foot. 3. Inhale, lift left arm up. 4. Exhale, bend forward, looking straight ahead, left hand on floor. Drishti: nose. Hold for 5-8 breaths. 5. Inhale, head up, look between eyebrows. 6. Exhale, fold forward, crown of head towards floor. 7. Inhale, head up, look up. 8. Exhale, spine straight. 9. Inhale, come up. 10. Exhale, leg down to Samastithi. Repeat left side,1-10. Modified posture: hold foot up in half lotus with both hands, 5-8 breaths, don’t bend forward. Or bend forward with both hands to the floor, and knee bent. 46
    42. XI UTKATASANA • FIERCE POSE Utka=fierce or powerful 1. Inhale, hands up, look up to thumbs. 2. Exhale, forward bend, gaze nose. 3. Inhale, head up, gaze 3rd eye. 4. Exhale, bend knees, jump back to Chaturanga. 5. Inhale to upward dog, lift chest. 6. Exhale back to downward dog. 7. Inhale, head up, bend knees and jump to top of mat, feet together. Straighten or lift upper body to erect position with knees bent, palms together but not clasped, arms as straight as possible pointed to ceiling. Deepen posture with each breath. Drishti: thumbs Hold for 5-8 breaths. With last inhale deepen 1/2 way down towards floor. 8. Exhale, come up and bend forward in a swan dive, arms to sides. Look toward 3rd eye and then tip of nose. 9. Inhale, head up, look between eyebrows. 10. Exhale, bend knees and jump back to Chaturanga. 11. Inhale, upward dog. 12. Exhale, downward dog. 47
    43. STANDING ASANAS XII VIRABHADRASANA A-B • WARRIOR Vira=hero A From downward dog, Adho Mukha Svanasana 1. Inhale, step right foot forward between hands, bend right knee to 90 degrees, square the hips, press back heel and outside of foot into floor, as you lift arms up over head, palms together, gaze upward and really emphasize mula bandha. Drishti: thumbs. Hold for 5-8 breaths. 2. Inhale, straighten right leg, come up and turn around to other side, bend left knee, arms up over head. Virabhdrasana A, left side 5-8 breaths. B 9. Inhale, keep the trunk straight, a feeling of being pulled from four directions, revolve hips open to right, arms out to sides looking over middle finger of left hand. Bend left knee, tuck pelvis, lift chest. Press back heel and outside of back foot into floor. Drishti: tip of middle finger. Hold for 5-8 breaths. 10. Inhale, come up, straighten legs, revolve around to other side, bend right knee over right ankle, Virabhadrasana B, right side 5-8 breaths. 11. Inhale, arms back up to Virabhadrasana A facing front, look up to thumbs. 12. Exhale, hands to floor on either side of right foot and jump back to Chaturanga. 13. Inhale, upward facing dog. 14. Exhale, downward dog. 15. Inhale, jump through to sitting, legs extended straight out. 48
    44. THE PRIMARY SERIES SITTING POSTURES XIII DANDASANA • STAFF POSE Danda=staff, rod 1. Sit with legs extended out in front and hands on floor by hips with fingers facing the feet, sitting up with spine straight. Place chin to chest in jalandhara bandha, shoulders rolled open and scapula pulled down the back. Drishti: nose. Hold for 5-8 breaths. XIV PASCHIMOTTANASANA A-C • INTENSE WEST STRETCH OR SITTING FORWARD BEND Paschima=west Uttana=intense stretch A 1. Inhale, arms up, look up to thumbs. 2. Exhale, bend forward, hold onto big toes with middle and index fingers. 3. Inhale, head up, straighten spine, lift chest and look toward 3rd eye. 4. Exhale, bend forward, pulling elbows out to sides to help bring chest to thighs, then nose to knees. (In A, B, and C pull shoulder blades back down the spine as the arms stretch forward to create oppositional pull.) Drishti: nose. Hold for 5-8 breaths. Modified posture: hands to ankles or shins, look up, spine straight. B 1. Inhale, head up, look up between eyebrows, lengthen spine, this time hold around sides of feet. 2. Exhale, bend forward, go a little deeper into the posture and bring chin to knees, elbows should be above the ground out to the side, not touching the floor, feet flexed. Drishti: nose. Hold for 5-8 breaths. C 1. Inhale, head up, look up, lengthen spine, this time clasp hands all the way around feet. 2. Exhale into a forward bend. Drishti: nose. Hold for 5-8 breaths. VINYASA TO SITTING 49
    45. 1. THE VINYASA In the primary series the vinyasa links the postures together in a flowing series of movements. It helps to maintain the heat as well as realign the body between postures. The full vinyasa is basically one A-salute, coming to standing between postures. For the purpose of this manual we will practice vinyasa between the two sides (right, left) without coming to full standing in between. If you want to work on building strength or increasing 2. the heat, practice full vinyasa, coming to standing between each side of a posture. The first vinyasa is introduced in the primary series after Purvottanasana . 3. 4. VINYASA TO JUMP BACK 1. From sitting, with palms on floor, cross ankles and lift up. 2. Exhale, swing legs back through arms to Chaturanga Dandasana (if this defies all laws of gravity for you, begin by just lifting your body up and moving in the direction of bringing your legs back through your arms 5. and then step back). 3. Inhale to upward facing dog. 4. Exhale back to downward facing dog. 5. Inhale, bend knees and jump legs through arms to sitting with legs extended straight out in front. Again, this is something most of us have to work up to. Begin by jumping crossed legs to arms, then sit and stretch legs out. Progress to coming through with your legs straight. 50
    46. THE PRIMARY SERIES XV PURVOTTANASANA • INTENSE EAST STRETCH Purva=east Uttana=intense stretch 1. Exhale, place hands 1 ft behind hips, palms flat on floor, fingers pointing towards feet. 2. Inhale, lift body up supporting weight with hands and soles of feet. Tuck pelvis, toes to floor. Arms straight, head back. Lift hips emphatically, bring inside edges of feet together and knees together. Look back and up between eyebrows. Drishti: 3rd eye. Hold posture for 5-8 breaths. 3. Exhale down. Modified posture: if neck feels strained, keep chin to chest. VINYASA TO SITTING Legs extended straight out in front XVI ARDHA BADDHA PADMA PASCHIMOTTANASANA • HALF BOUND LOTUS FORWARD BEND Ardha=half Baddha=bound Padma=lotus 1. Inhale, bring right heel into the navel before lowering knee to get leg as high up on thigh as possible. Try to keep both shoulders level with each other, pull scapula back and down the spine. 2. Exhale, right arm around behind back and clasp toes on right foot, left index finger and thumb holding left big toe. 3. Inhale, head up, look up between eyebrows. 4. Exhale, bend forward, staying in half bound lotus, chin to shin or knee. Drishti: nose Hold for 5-8 breaths. 5. Inhale, come up. Modified posture: forget half bound lotus! Place right foot onto left thigh and bring both hands to left foot as you bend forward. If right foot doesn’t go on top of thigh, just place foot on inside of left thigh. Repeat other side. VINYASA TO SITTING 51
    47. THE PRIMARY SERIES XVII TIRIANG MUKHAIKAPDA HIMOTTANASANA ASCP • REVERSE THE LEG DIR ECTION OF ONE LEG INTENSE W E ST STR H ETC Tiriang=reverse Mukha=Face Eka-pada=one leg Paschima=west (back side of body) Uttana=intense stretch 1. Exhale through to sitting with right foot by right hip, knees close together, left leg extended straight out in front. Before starting pose, lift flesh of left buttock and make room for the right calf by turning it out a bit with hands. 2. Inhale, arms up, look up. 3. Exhale, fold forward, hold top of foot with both hands or clasp left wrist with right hand around foot. 4. Inhale, look up between eyebrows. 5. Exhale, come forward and down, chin to shin or knee. Work to bring both hips to the floor. Keep both shoulders at same level with shoulder blades moving down the back, elbows off floor. Drishti: big toe of extended foot. Hold for 5-8 breaths. Modified posture: place left hand out to side and push to keep right hip down. Or as above, but with a block or pillow under left buttock for support. 6. Inhale, head up, come up. 7. Exhale, repeat other side. VINYASA TO SITTING 52
    48. XVIII JANU SIRSASANA A-C • HEAD TO KNEE POSE Janu =knee sirsa=head A 1. Exhale, right heel into groin, right knee at 90 degree angle, left leg straight, foot flexed. Hold foot with both hands or clasp left wrist with right hand. 2. Inhale, look up between eyebrows, spine straight. 3. Exhale, stretch out from the hips, bend forward, chest on thigh. Pull scapula back while pulling forward with hands around foot. Drishti: big toe of extended foot. Hold for 5-8 breaths. 4. Inhale, head up, come up. Exhale, repeat other side. Modified posture: keep head up and bring hands to shin or ankle. VINYASA TO SITTING B 1. Exhale, right heel to groin, then using your palms on the floor lift yourself up and move forward, so you’re sitting on top of your foot with the heel into the perineum. 2. Inhale, hands on left foot, look up and stretch spine up. 3. Exhale, stretch out from hips, fold forward, chest on thigh, chin to shin. Drishti: toes. Hold for 5-8 breaths. Modified: use hands on the floor to support sitting posture with heel into perineum, do not bend forward. 4. Inhale, head up. 5. Exhale, repeat other side. VINYASA TO SITTING 53
    49. THE PRIMARY SERIES C* 1. Exhale, left leg stretched out, foot flexed. Take right foot in right hand, holding under foot and take your toes with the left hand, place the foot on the floor with the toes flexed on the floor (your hand can hold them flexed as they go down) right next to left thigh, molding the right arch around the left thigh. Lift the hips slightly to bring the body forward so the foot straightens. 2. Inhale, head up, look up holding foot with both hands. 3. Exhale, stretch forward from the hips with chest on thigh and chin to shin. Drishti: big toe of extended foot. Hold for 5-8 breaths. Modified: sit on toes. * optional XIX MARICHYASANA A-D Marichi=a sage, son of the Creator Brahma A 1. Exhale, pull right knee up with the right foot just in front of the right hip a few inches away from the left thigh. Keep bottom leg straight and flexed. 2. Inhale, reach right arm up to ceiling. 3. Exhale, wrap right arm around leg (low on shin) to meet left wrist behind back. Clasp left wrist with right hand and bring chin towards shin of straight leg, lengthening forward. 4. Inhale, head up, look up. 5. Exhale, bend forward, head towards knee. Drishti: toes. Hold for 5-8 breaths. 6. Inhale, head up. 7. Exhale, repeat other side. Modified: sit straight up holding hands around knee. VINYASA TO SITTING 54
    50. B 1. Exhale, left leg into half lotus, bring left heel as close to navel as possible or into the crease of the right thigh. Right leg extended straight out. Bring right foot towards buttocks, right knee to ceiling. 2. Inhale, right arm up, look up. 3. Exhale, fold forward with shoulder low bring right arm around right leg. Hold left wrist with right hand. 4. Inhale, head up, look up. 5. Exhale bend forward, stretch spine from hips trying to get chin to floor between legs, stretch arms out and back. Drishti: nose. Hold for 5-8 breaths. 6. Inhale, head up, look up. 7. Exhale, repeat other side. Modified: instead of placing left leg into half lotus, place left foot along the inside of right thigh. Do not bend forward toward floor. Keep spine straight, look up. VINYASA TO SITTING C 1. Exhale, right knee up, left leg extended straight out onto floor. 2. Inhale, stretch left arm to ceiling to make room 3. Exhale, wrap left arm around the right leg with the armpit as close to the knee as possible, clasp the right wrist with the left hand, gently pull to deepen the twist. Pull the right hip towards the floor and straighten the spin as much as possible, with shoulders revolved, trying to make the twist come from the abdomen and waist as well as from the thoracic spine. Drishti: far to right. Hold for 5-8 breaths. 4. Inhale, unwind. 5. Exhale, repeat other side. Modified: twist with right palm flat on floor, left arm along side left shin. VINYASA TO SITTING 55
    51. THE PRIMARY SERIES D 1. Exhale, left leg into half lotus, bring left heel as close to navel and foot as high on the thigh as possible. Bring right knee up towards ceiling, right foot close to right buttock. 2. Inhale, twisting to left, lift left arm to ceiling, look up. 3. Exhale, extend left arm around outside of right knee with armpit over knee, looking to the right. Clasp right wrist with left hand behind back if possible or clasp fingers. Drishti: far to right. Hold for 5-8 breaths. Repeat other side. Beginners skip this posture. VINYASA TO SITTING XX NAVASANA • BOAT POSTURE Nava=boat 1. Inhale, jump through, without touching feet to floor if possible, to sitting, both legs extended out straight. 2. Exhale, lift legs, arms parallel to floor, lift chest. Drishti: toes. Hold for 5-8 breaths. Modified: bend knees, and/or place elbows and forearms on floor. 3. Exhale, cross legs, palms to floor, inhale, lift up, without touching floor if possible, for one breath. Exhale, buttocks back to floor. 4. Inhale, lift legs back up without touching floor…repeat 5X. VINYASA TO 56
    52. XXI BHUJAPIDASANA • SHOULDER PRESSURE POSTURE Buja=shoulder Pida=pressure FROM VINYASA 1. Inhale, jump legs around arms, palms on floor (to get farther into pose, take a moment to work shoulders under knees, keep hips lifted). 2. Exhale, sit back, cross feet in front. 3. Inhale, head up, look up. 4. Exhale, slowly move forward until head and feet are just above the floor. (To modify bring top of head to the floor.) Drishti: nose. Hold 5-8 breaths. beginning full pose Modified: keep buttocks on floor and stretch legs around arms, knees bent, palms flat. 5. Inhale, head up, balance legs on upper arms, extend feet straight out, toes pointed; Tittibhasana – flying insect posture. Drishti: feet. Hold for one breath. 6. Exhale, bring one leg at a time back so that knees are resting into upper arms. 7. Inhale, head up, look up, lift mula bandha; Bakasana – crane posture. Drishti: nose. Hold for one breath. Exhale, jump back. VINYASA TO transition, do not hold transition, do not hold 57
    53. THE PRIMARY SERIES XXII KURMASANA • TORTOISE POSTURE Kurmasana =tortoise 1. Inhale, jump feet around arms. 2. Exhale, bend arms and lower buttocks to the floor. 3. Inhale, head up, extend legs straight with backs of knees high up on arms, pressing through heels. Arms stretched out to sides underneath legs. Chin to floor, chest to floor. Drishti: 3rd eye. Hold for 5-8 breaths. Modified: keep knees bent and chest lifted, you’ve got the rest of your life to get your chest to the floor. XXIII SUPTA KURMASANA • SLEEPING TORTOISE Supta=sleeping Kurmasana=tortoise 1. Inhale, head up, bend knees, bringing feet in towards each other. Cross right foot over left. Bring shoulders under knees. 2. Exhale, slide hands around behind back until underneath legs and clasp them together. Drishti: nose. Hold for 5-8 breaths. Modified: skip it until you can get your chest to the floor without feeling pain in your back. 3. Exhale, lift up to Tittibhasana. 4. Inhale, head up, look up. Drishti: nose. Hold for one breath. 5. Exhale, jump back. VINYASA TO SITTING 58
    54. XXIV GARBHA PINDASANA • EMBRYO POSTURE Garbha=womb Pinda=embryo 1. Inhale, fold legs into lotus, right leg first. Bring the feet as high up on the thighs as possible, push knees closer together. 2. Exhale, slip hands through space between thighs and calves so that arms are through legs up to elbows. (Slip right hand through hole first starting with the palm down, then rotate the palm upwards about 1/2 way through, use your left hand to bend right elbow and bring it farther through. Repeat with left hand.) Bend arms and place hands in prayer in front of chest, or place chin in palms of hands. 3. Inhale, rock and roll; roll backwards and forwards in a full circle, backwards on the exhale and forwards on the inhale. Repeat roll 9X. Drishti: straight ahead. Modified: hold either crossed legs into chest or just bend knees and bring knees into chest, then rock and roll around in circle. Note: Spray insides of elbows and knees with water to facilitate posture. XXV KUKKUTASANA • ROOSTER POSTURE 1. Inhale, roll up, place palms flat on floor (still with arms through legs), lift bottom and knees off floor and then balance. Hold for 5-8 breaths. Drishti: 3rd eye. Modified: inhale, roll up, place palms to floor by hips with legs crossed, lift up if possible. 2. Exhale, sit down. VINYASA TO SITTING 59
    55. THE PRIMARY SERIES XXVI BADDHA KONASANA A-B • BOUND ANGLE POSTURE Baddha=bound Kona=angle A 1. Inhale, bring feet in towards perineum, hold feet with hands and open soles out to ceiling. Let knees move down towards the floor as hips open. Bring chin towards chest. Lift chest. Sit up straight. Engage all 3 bandhas. Drishti: nose. Hold for 5-8 breaths. B 1. Exhale, bend forward and bring chin and chest to floor, lengthen from base of spine. Drishti: nose. Hold for 5-8 breaths. Modified: repeat A. VINYASA TO SITTING 60
    56. XXVII UPAVISTA KONASANA A-B • SEATED ANGLE POSTURE Upavista=seated Kona=angle A 1. Inhale, come through to sitting with legs wide apart holding onto head down, 5 breaths outside edges of both feet. Look up, lift chest. 2. Exhale, bend forward, lengthening spine as you bring chin and chest to floor. Drishti: nose, or 3rd eye if deep into pose. Hold for 5-8 breaths. Modified: hands to ankles, shins, or knees. Keep spine straight and look directly ahead, lift chest, do not bend forward. B 3. Inhale, lift straight legs (still holding onto outside edges of both feet if possible) to balance on tailbone. Lift chest and use arms to pull legs in towards torso. Drishti: 3rd eye. Hold for 5-8 breaths. pull up, 5 breaths Modified: bend knees, lift chest. VINYASA TO SITTING XXVIII SUPTA KONASANA A-B • LYING-DOWN ANGLE POSTURE Supta =reclining Kona=angle A 1. Exhale, rock back, lift legs over head to floor with legs spread wide, fingers inserted between big toes. Drishti: nose. Hold for 5-8 breaths. hold, 5 breaths 2. Inhale, rock up, pause with legs up. B 3. Exhale, roll over, chin and chest to floor again, landing on calf muscles. Drishti: nose or 3rd eye. Hold for one breath. Inhale up, exhale, jump back to vinyasa. hold, 1 breath VINYASA TO LYING DOWN 61
    57. THE PRIMARY SERIES XXIX SUPTA PADANGUSTASANA • RECLINING BIG TOE POSTURE Supta=reclining pada=foot angustha=big toe JUMP THROUGH TO LAYING DOWN ON BACK 1. Inhale, bring right leg up holding onto right big toe with first two fingers and thumb of right hand. Leg should be as vertical as possible. Place left hand on left thigh, head down. 2. Exhale, lift up so chin comes to right knee. Drishti: toe. Hold for 5-8 breaths. Modified: right hand on shin or behind knee. 3. Exhale, head down. Take right leg out to the side, bring heel to floor, turn head to look over left shoulder. Left hand on left thigh, legs straight. Drishti: far to left. Hold for 5-8 breaths. 4. Inhale, bring right leg back to center, holding onto big toe with both hands. 5. Exhale, chest to thigh, chin to shin. Add a split at end, pulling leg to floor over head. Drishti: toe. Hold for 1 breath. 6. Inhale, head and leg down. Repeat other side. VINYASA TO LYING DOWN OR CHAKRASANA TO Chakrasana* – wheel pose, backward roll into vinyasa From lying on back place palms on floor by ears with fingers pointing toward shoulders. Bring legs overhead, engaging the bandhas, pointing toes in the direction you are moving. Maintain jalandhara bandha (chin lock) as you bring legs all the way overhead, rolling over so head comes through arms and you end up in a plank position. From there move right into chaturanga, upward dog, downward dog, and then through to sitting for next posture. * This is best learned with an instructor before practicing. 62
    58. XXX UBHAYA PADANGUSTHASANA • BOTH BIG TOES POSTURE Ubhaya=both Pada=foot Angustha=big toe 1. Inhale, bring both legs over head so that the toes touch the floor holding onto big toes with thumbs and first two fingers of each hand, chin to chest. Hold one breath. 2. Exhale. 3. Inhale, roll up to balance on tailbone and sit bones, arms and legs extended, head back, look up. Drishti: 3rd eye. Hold for 5-8 breaths. Modified: bend knees as you come up to balance on tailbone and slowly straighten legs, or just keep them bent. Lift chest. PALMS TO FLOOR, VINYASA TO LYING DOWN XXXI URDHVA MUKHA PASCHIMOTTASANA • UPWARD FACING FULL FORWARD BEND Urdhva=upward Mukha=face Paschima=west 1. Inhale, bring both legs over head, toes to floor holding outside edges of feet with hands. Hold one breath. 2. Exhale. 3. Inhale, roll forward and up, pull chest to thighs. Drishti: 3rd eye. Hold for 5-8 breaths. Modified: keep knees bent as you roll up to balance, hold onto ankles or calves. VINYASA TO LYING DOWN OR CHAKRASANA TO 63
    59. BACK BENDING XXXII SETU BANDHASANA • BRIDGE Setu=bridge 1. Inhale, bend knees, bring feet in towards buttocks, heels together, toes pointed outwards. Using elbows for support, lift chest off floor. 2. Exhale, tuck pelvis and lift hips upward, rolling head so that the balance is now on the head and feet. As you roll onto head straighten legs so that they are extended. Drishti: 3rd eye. Hold for 5-8 breaths. Modified: instead of coming up onto head, keep knees bent and feet parallel, resting weight evenly on shoulders and feet (flat to floor). Lift pelvis upward and keep shoulders and feet on floor. 3. Exhale back down to lying on floor, bending knees open as you come out of the posture. CHAKRASANA TO LYING DOWN XXXIII URDHVA DHANURASANA • UPWARD BOW POSTURE Urdhva=upward dhanur=bow 1. Exhale, bending knees bring feet in towards buttocks, feet firmly planted and parallel. Place palms onto floor by ears, fingers pointing towards feet. 2. Inhale, press up lifting pelvis and straightening arms and legs. Head hanging, neck long. Breathe! Mulabandha is key here. Drishti: 3rd eye. Hold for 5-8 breaths. Modified: start with modified Setu Bandhasana as above and slowly progress to back bend by placing crown of head on floor first. Eventually work your way up to back bends after a few weeks. 3. Exhale, come down, shoulders to floor, then roll spine down to floor. Repeat 3X, resting for a couple of breaths between back bends. 64
    60. FINISHING ASANAS XXXIV PASCHIMOTTANASANA • FULL FORWARD BEND Paschima=west Uttana=intense stretch Begin from sitting position, legs extended straight out in front, hands by hips. 1. Inhale, arms up, look up. 2. Exhale, bend forward, hold onto sides of feet, or clasp wrist with hand. 3. Inhale, head up, lengthen spine. 4. Exhale, bend fully forward. Drishti: nose. Hold for 5-15 breaths. Modified: bend knees. 5. Inhale, head up, look up between eyebrows. EXHALE, LIE DOWN FULLY FLEXED, 5 BREATHS XXXV SALAMBA SARVANGASANA • SHOULDERSTAND Salamba=supported Sarva=all Anga=body Begin from a lying down position. 1. Inhale, lift legs upward. 2. Exhale, lift legs over head, toes to floor. Place hands on back as close to shoulders as possible. Walk elbows in towards each other. Chin to chest. 3. Inhale, raise legs directly over head, supporting back with arms and hands, work the hands farther down the back closer to the shoulders with elbows close together. Relax your face! Drishti: toes. Hold for 5-8 breaths and gradually increase to 25. Modified: keep most of the weight on arms and elbows, bend knees if neck feels compressed. Use padding under shoulders if you have any neck problems. 65
    61. FINISHING ASANAS XXXVI HALASANA • PLOW Hala=plow 1. Exhale, bring legs over head to floor. Feet together, toes pointed. Interlace fingers behind back and bring hands to floor. Spine straight. Drishti: nose. Hold for 5-10 breaths. Modified: support back with hands and keep knees bent. Come part way up and over as far as possible. XXXVII KARNAPIDASANA • EAR PRESSURE POSTURE Karna=ear Pida=pressure 1. Exhale, bring knees to floor by ears, press the knees into ears and down into floor. Keep hands to floor behind back, spine lengthens over. Drishti: nose. Hold for 5-10 breaths. Modified: knees to forehead, hands supporting back. 66
    62. XXXVIII URDHVA PADMASANA • UPWARD LOTUS Urdhva=upward padmasana=lotus 1. Inhale, back up to shoulderstand, hands supporting back. Look to toes. 2. Exhale, put legs into lotus, right leg first, push up on knees with hands, straightening the arms. Drishti: nose. Hold for 5-10 breaths. Modified: place soles of feet together in Baddha Konasana, with knees out to sides. Continue to support back with hands. XXXIX PINDASANA • EMBRYO POSTURE Pinda=embryo 1. Exhale, bring knees towards chest in full lotus, wrap arms around thighs and clap hands together. Drishti: nose. Hold for 5-10 breaths. Modified: knees to forehead. 67
    63. FINISHING ASANAS XXXX MATSYASANA • FISH POSTURE Matsya=fish 1. Inhale, take palms to floor along mat, arms straight. Bring legs down to floor still in full lotus. 2. Exhale, using elbows for support, lift chest and bring top of head to floor. Hold onto feet or big toes and lift chest so that all weight is supported by buttocks and crown of head. Drishti: 3rd eye. Hold for 5-10 breaths. Modified: place soles of feet together, knees open to sides. Lift chest, but support with elbows. XXXXI UTTANA PADASANA • EXTENDED LEG POSTURE Uttana=extended Pada=leg 1. Inhale, release legs and extend them straight up 45 degrees to the floor. Extend arms up parallel to legs, palms together. Drishti: 3rd eye. Hold for 5-10 breaths. Modified: lay back on floor, lift legs. VINYASA OR CHAKRASANA 68
    64. XXXXII SIRSASANA • HEADSTAND Sirsa=head Come through to a kneeling position. 1. Inhale, create a triangle with your hands and arms; interlace fingers with heels of hands, forearms and elbows on the floor, elbows shoulder width apart. 2. Exhale, crown of head to floor, palms facing back of head, thumbs lightly touching head. 3. Inhale, walk feet in towards torso until toes lift off by themselves and keep back straight. 4. Exhale, legs straight, inhale to lift legs up slowly. Most of the weight should be on elbows, forearms, and heels of hands, not on neck and head! Drishti: nose. Hold for 25 breaths. Begin with 5 breaths and work your way up to 25. 5. Inhale, slowly lower legs until they’re parallel to the floor, hold for 5 breaths. Look to big toes. 6. Exhale. 7. Inhale, raise legs all the way up for one breath. 8. Exhale, lower legs to the floor. Sit back in child’s pose, buttocks on heels, arms along sides, forehead to floor. Modified: rabbit posture, begin on hands and knees, bring crown of head towards floor and hands to ankles. Lift hips towards ceiling. 9. Inhale, come up to sitting. 10. Exhale, back to VINYASA TO SITTING Legs extended straight out in front 69
    65. FINISHING ASANAS XXXXIII YOGA MUDRA • SEALED YOGA POSTURE 1. Inhale, right foot up into half lotus, get heel as close into navel and right foot as high on left thigh as possible. 2. Exhale, left leg over right into full lotus, push knees closer together. 3. Inhale, lift left arm up and around to make space before taking it behind back, grasp left foot, push left elbow toward the toe with the right hand to make more room. 4. Exhale, lift right arm up and around to make space before taking it behind back and grasp right foot (you can let go of left foot a moment to enable grasping the right). 5. Inhale, look up, lift chest. modification full pose 6. Exhale, fold forward, chin to floor. Drishti: 3rd eye. Hold for 10-25 breaths. Modified: sit cross legged, interlace fingers behind back, inhale head up, exhale head towards floor. 7. Inhale, come up. XXXXIV PADMASANA • LOTUS Padma=lotus 1. Inhale, hands to knees, forefinger and thumb touching (yana mudra, the seal of wisdom). 2. Exhale, lift chest move shoulders away from ears, bring chin toward chest. Sit straight. Engage bandhas and listen to the breath. Drishti: nose. Hold for 25 breaths. Modified: sit with legs crossed. 70
    66. XXXXV UTTPLUTHI • UPROOTING 1. Inhale, press palms to floor, still in full lotus. 2. Exhale, lift up off floor, knees up. Drishti: nose. 25 fire breaths – intense breathing , belly moving. Modified: legs crossed, palms to floor without lifting up. ONE LAST VINYASA TO LYING DOWN XXXXVI SAVASANA • CORPSE POSTURE Sava=corpse Come through to lying down on back. First with everything flexed, alive. Feet flexed, palms facing down, shoulders moving away from ears. Then slowly relax here, arms by sides, palms up for at least 10-20 minutes. 71
    67. FINISHING ASANAS The finishing series has a two fold importance. The first aspect is to give us an opportunity to experience the effect of the practice we did. We feel an incredible level of awareness. Our spine is like an antenna at this point. It is able to receive the realization of truth beyond the realm of sensory perception as we work on memory, intuition, and imagination. We are ready to understand more clearly our nature and can put into action the forces and mysteries for our growth and development by synchronizing our inner and outer rhythms. We are at the most perfect place to express our consciousness. It is a time to experience quietness and when we sit we start to see that we only perceive a little of reality. The second aspect is to connect with the big picture. Where our conscious and unconscious are interweaving we see that yoga offers us a practice method to create a state of unification. We connect with our divine nature. The realization of the divine sets us free. We practice yoga to go beyond our mind function, to expand our consciousness, to have a quieter inner dialogue, to feel peace and one pointedness. Practice leads us to unity of thoughts and actions, gives us a sense of cleansing the mind and provides us inner silence. It offers us guidance, creates non attachment, and insures better mental and physical health. Receive the fullness of your practice. 72
    68. SEQUENCE • LINKING THE POSTURES Once you have an understanding of the individual postures, you Symbols you’ll need to know: can begin to link your postures one to another using smooth, deep ujjayi breathing to initiate the movement and create a continous unfolding of asanas. The asana drawings with their drishtis are shown on the following Drishti pages, so you can open the book and have it handy as you learn and practice. Vinyasa Chakrasana 73
    69. STANDING POSTURES 5 – 8 BREATHS PER POSE 1 2 3 4 5 Padangusthasana Padahastasana Utthita Trikonasana Parivrtta Trikonasana Utthita Parsvakonasana nose nose thumb thumb palm of hand 11 12 13 14 15 Parsvottanasana Utthita Hasta Utthita Hasta Utthita Hasta Utthita Hasta toes Padangusthasana A Padangusthasana B Padangusthasana C Padangusthasana D toes far to side toes toes 74
    70. 6 7 8 9 10 Parivrtta Parsvakonasana Prasarita Padottanasana A Prasarita Padottanasana B Prasarita Padottanasana C Prasarita Padottanasana D sky nose nose nose nose 16 17 18 19 Arda Baddha Utkatasana Virabhadrasana A • R,L Virabhadrasana B • L,R Padmottanasana thumb thumbs tip of middle finger nose 75
    71. THE PRIMARY SERIES 5 – 8 BREATHS PER POSE 20 21 22 23 Dandasana Pachimottanasana A Pachimottanasana B Pachimottanasana C nose nose nose nose 27 28 29 Janu Sirsasana A Janu Sirsasana B Janu Sirsasana C* toes toes toes *optional 76
    72. 24 25 26 Purvottanasana Ardha Baddha Padma Triang Mukhaikapada 3rd eye Paschimottanasana Paschimottanasana nose toes 30 31 32 Marichyasana A Marichyasana B Marichyasana C toes nose far to side 77
    73. THE PRIMARY SERIES 5 – 8 BREATHS PER POSE 33 34 35 Marichyasana D Navasana to lift off • 5 breaths, cross feet and lift off Bhujapidasana A far to side Repeat 5x toes nose 40 41 42 43 Supta Kurmasana Garbha Pindasana Kukkutasana Baddha Konasana nose straight, rock & roll 3rd eye nose 78
    74. 36 37 38 39 Bhujapidasana B Tittibhasana Bakasana Kurmasana nose feet, 1 breath nose, 1 breath 3rd eye, 5 breaths transition, do not hold transition, do not hold 44 45 46 47 Upavistha Konasana A Upavistha Konasana B Supta Konasana A Supta Konasana B 3rd eye, 5 breaths 3rd eye, 5 breaths nose, 5 breaths 3rd eye, 1 breath 79
    75. THE PRIMARY SERIES 5 – 8 BREATHS PER POSE or 48 49 50 Supta Padangusthasana A Supta Padangusthasana B Supta Padangusthasana C toes far to side both hands to feet toes FINISHING POSTURES BREATHS VARY PER POSE 55 Setu Bandhasana 56 57 58 3rd eye Urdhva Danurasana Paschimottanasana Lie down 5 breaths, repeat 3x nose, 15 breaths 5 breaths 3rd eye 80
    76. 51 52 53 54 Ubhaya Padangustasana A Ubhaya Padangustasana B Urdhva Mukha Urdhva Mukha nose, roll up to next asana, 3rd eye, hold 5 breaths Paschimottanasana A Paschimottanasana B hold 1 breath nose, roll up to next asana, 3rd eye, hold 5 breaths hold 1 breath 59 60 61 62 63 Savangasana Halasana Karnapidasana Urdhva Padmasana Pindasana toes, 25 breaths nose, 10 breaths nose, 10 breaths nose, 10 breaths nose, 10 breaths 81
    77. FINISHING POSTURES BREATHS VARY PER POSE or 64 65 66 67 Matsyasana Uttana Padasana Sirsasana Balasana 3rd eye, 10 breaths 3rd eye, 10 breaths nose, 25 breaths rest in child’s pose,5 breaths 68 69 70 71 Yoga Mudra Padmasana Uttpluthi Savasana 3rd eye, 25 breaths nose, 25 breaths nose, 25 breaths take a rest 10-20 minutes 82
    78. Practice. 83
    79. BIBLIOGRAPHY Danielou, Alain, Yoga, Inner Traditions International, Rochester, VT 1991 Desikacher, TKV, The Heart of Yoga, Inner traditions International, Rochester, VT 1995 Feurstein, George, Encyclopedic Dictionary of Yoga, Paragon House, New York, NY 1990 Feuerstein, George and Stephen Bodian with the staff of Yoga Journal, Living Yoga, The Putnum Publishing Group, New York, NY 1993 Freeman, Richard, Ashtanga Yoga Video, Delphi Productions, Boulder, CO 1993 Kuvalayananda, Swami, Asana, The Sky Foundation, Philadelphia, PA 1978 Kuvalayananda, Swami, Pranayama, Bombay Popular, Prakasham, 1964 Mohan, A.G., Yoga for Body, Breath, and Mind, Rudra Press, Portland, OR and International Association of Yoga Therapists, Los Angeles, CA 1993 84
    80. ABOUT IT’S YOGA Classes IT’S YOGA s A S H T A N G A s Teacher Training Program s Yoga Retreats: Peru, Costa Rica, Canada s Workshops s Online Teacher Training 848 Folsom Street San Francisco, CA 94107 415/543-1970 85
    81. NOTES 86
    82. NOTES 87
    83. NOTES 88
    84. NOTES 89
    85. NOTES 90

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