Well done in completing Week Two of my Beginner’s Yoga Class.
Hopefully you can see a little progression in your learning this week and the more you repeat something the more you can enjoy it. Things become slightly less effortful and you can really switch off from the world for the 60 minutes you practice and start to relax.
Sanskrit Word of the Week:
Surya Namaskar -Sun Salutation
What is it: A Sun Salutation is a set of 12 poses performed in a set sequence moving with your breath. There are two main versions.
Sun Salutation ‘A’ begins in Tadasana (Mountain Pose) and incorporates Adho Mukha Svanasana and Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Downward and Upward Dog). Sun Salutation ‘B’ is slightly longer and starts with Utkatasana (Chair Pose) and also includes Virabhadrasana I (Warrior I). It a traditional sequence going back many 1000’s of years and was used as a worship to the sun. Each style of yoga has a slightly different take on the traditional Surya Namaskar and because of its highly technical and athletic requirements, you will often find modified versions of the sequence in most yoga classes.
In our beginner’s course we use a variation of the Sun Salutation to warm the body up after a short mobilisation phase.
Yoga Style of the Week
Vinyasa Flow stems from Hatha Yoga. It is slightly faster paced and the movements are linked together in a sequence of the instructors creativity. Vinyasa Flow will often use Sun Salutations to link asana’s together and can be quite strenuous. This type of yoga can sometimes be called Power Yoga to indicate its speed and energy. This type of yoga can be quite effortful, which some people need for their body to be able to get into their mind. Have you ever heard someone say ‘I need to sweat it out?’
In my Beginner’s Yoga Course, we really delve deep into the asana’s which will leave you more than capable to enjoy a vinyasa class if your energy levels wish to.
Although this is not my favourite style, I do like Vinyasa Flow and find it challenges my body and mind. Trying to connect to my breath when moving from one asana to another in quick concession is enough to get me sweating!
NB: The faster the class, doesn’t necessarily mean its more advanced.
Did You Know?
The Psoas Muscle is a tight, rope like muscle that connects the lower spine (in the back of your body) to the front of your legs (on the front of your body). It is a deep core muscle that initiates all of our movements and is pivotal in the Fight-Or-Flight response built into our bodies. In the western world, our bodies are almost always in some kind of constant stress, triggering our Fight-Or-Flight response to always be turned on (to some degree). This constant Fight-Or-Flight state, along with the prolonged sitting lifestyle the majority of us have, means that our Psoas Muscle can become extremely short and tight.
Because of its relation to the Fight-Or-Flight response (which we usually trigger when we are fearful) it is said the Psoas Muscle is where we hide fear. The process of opening up the Psoas and stretching it out can give us a chance to shed our fears and release our body’s stress.
This weeks main poses were the same as week 1 so if you would like to see them again visit my Week One Blog here
Below are some variations of the poses we have already covered that you may wish to try because a) it may feel better in your body and/or b) you want to try a different variation of the pose.
Half Side Plank
- Using a brick/book can lift the torso higher so there is less weight through the bottom wrist
- Lifting the torso higher can help to create and feel spacious on the underside of the body, keeping the side body nice and long.
Great for anyone with wrist injuries, weakness or tightness.
- Weight through the knees, feet and hands. Lower body taking more weight than the upper body.
- Limiting the stretch in the legs can help to focus on a good shape for the upper body.
A great alternative to Downward Dog. Can be less effortful in arms and legs and may be a position you can feel comfortable to rest in.
The longer we practice yoga the more mobile and stronger we become, yet these variations are always nice to visit regardless of strength and flexibility. We are able to explore different parts of the pose that were previously hidden to us.