Find depth in the basics. This class makes the hard poses easy, and the easy poses hard. Beginners and more experienced practitioners alike can benefit from attention to fundamentals. We use the same alignment and actions to build a foundation or strengthen it. We open ourselves to what’s new by reinforcing the familiar.
This is based on the fundamental insight that the same alignment cues and actions used by more experienced practitioners, are used by beginners. Moreover, poses we think of as “easier” or “more basic” can be intense with the right sort of attention.
I’m happy to have a class that suits my regulars and welcomes a brand new crop of students who are coming into the studio from Introduction to Yoga series. Although it’s my philosophy that each person’s practice is unique, it’s also my view that we benefit from the energy of practicing in community. We learn both from exposure to “beginner’s mind” and the breakthroughs that come from consistent practice.
I look forward to teaching from this approach, and hope you will join me. To add the class to your Facebook calendar, scan the QR code below, or use the following URL: https://www.facebook.com/events/284111975446404/. To sign up for my mailing list, use the following form:
I’ve a full week of teaching yoga. In addition to my regular Mindful Vinyasa and Form and Flow yoga classes at Pause Yoga Amesbury and Discover the Wonders Yoga in Dracut, respectively, I’ll be subbing for Roberta Dell’Anno’s All Levels Yoga at Essential Yoga Studio in Andover, and for Linda’s Slow Flow class following mine at Discover the Wonders.
I saw this Instagram posted by my friend @debra977, at Essence Yoga in RI, and had to repost it, knowing that I’d have this news to share.
On Monday, July 11, I will begin teaching a “Mindful Vinyasa” class at Pause Yoga in Amesbury, MA, 7-8:15 PM. It’s a sweet little studio perched right on Main Street in a town at once timeless and trendy. I look forward to meeting new students and having new adventures in āsana there.
Which way do you run to
Are you coming out or in
When one cycle goes around
Another one begin, begin, begin
This song by Trevor Hall is my “ear worm” right now, because it speaks of change and its cyclical nature. As surely as the seasons, we will pass this way again. A little over two weeks ago we observed the cross–quarter day between the Winter Solstice and the Vernal Equinox (Imbolc). We’re more than halfway to astronomical spring. The moon, after having been full on Presidents’ Day, is waxing to fullness.
The most external reason for that has to do starting a new regular class at what is for me a new studio. While I have been subbing since my second shoulder surgery in March 2015, this will be the first time I’ll be on a studio schedule. I’m pleased to report that beginning tonight (Thursdays), at 5:30 PM, I’ll be teaching a class at Discover the Wonders Yoga in Dracut, MA. Dracut is an old–school town full of farmland and hard–working people, right next to the historically industrial town of Lowell. A beautiful community has grown up in that studio. Right down the street there is a conscious café expanding its offerings of fresh, local, organic products. Beyond there is much fertile farmland, some of it being leased to small nonprofits. The people of Dracut are not only hardworking, but politically savvy and well–connected. It’s a very interesting place to find so close to a major city in the northeast corner of a northeastern state.
And I start with a trifecta! As it is school vacation week, I also get to sub at the same time tomorrow night, and at the primo slot on Saturday at 9:30.
It’s a wonderful new beginning that evokes an openness to experience I am already feeling in the rest of my life.
Like my Facebook page in the right sidebar to mark your calendar for events, and be sure to sign up for my e-mail list as well. I’m very happy to be on this journey with you!
A photo posted by Richard Hudak (@wholeheartedyoga) on
I have some good news to share on what is a snowy and reflective day for me. I am fortunate not to have University classes to teach on Fridays, and I decided to forego traveling to my “goto” Friday morning public class because of the weather. Home practices are in order.
One of the most delightful practices I engaged this morning is to prepare a yoga class for a studio to which I am applying to teach on a regular basis. I haven’t been on the schedule at a studio for a year. When I haven’t been recovering from a second shoulder surgery, and rebuilding my own practice from it, I’ve been mainly subbing for Roberta Dell’Anno and Linda Moran.
I get to prepare this class for a group in teacher training; for colleagues, then. I get to do so when this month, I mark seven years since I immersed myself in Anusara Yoga. The decision to do so took my practice and my life in directions which have not yet seen their full fruition. It has given me the gift of vital and decisive friendships I’m committed to treasure without consideration of cost or effort. The maintenance of these relationships has become a practice in itself.
It is one of these improbable friends who introduced me to the studio to which I am applying. The opportunity to teach is something which had “come together” more than which I had to overeffort to seek. So the aphorism on the Yogi Tea bag is appropriate. I welcome it.
A teacher of mine suggested we don’t fully appreciate the wisdom of the assertion of Jois, “Practice, and all is coming.” We think it means practice improves our lives. That’s the half of it. Practice, and all is coming: joy, sorrow, ease, challenge, love, and conflict. In some sense, the greater capacity we presumably develop to live and to savor life means our spirits grow. Larger spirits seem to attract bigger challenges precisely because of this greater capacity to grow from them.
It is with this in mind that I embrace the sacred duty to theme and sequence this practice. I treat it as a challenge, rather than take it lightly. Should I be extended the opportunity to teach at this studio, I will post that outcome here, with great relish, I must add. For I teach to share. The sharing makes the practices sweeter.
I would agree with everything except I would argue the opposite about the shoulder points. Pulling them together creates a lift in the chest, and collarbones, increasing lung capacity. Pulling them downward as recommended in the article makes the shoulders roll forward, collapsing the collarbones and chest. It also tends to shorten the “side body,” in particular through the side ribs. Your lungs go right up under your collarbones, so you might as well use the capacity under the collarbones, and side ribs.
Also, pulling the shoulders down as recommended creates tension on the trapezoid muscles in the neck, They’ll try to compensate creating tension through the neck and possibly result in a tension headache. Don’t believe me? Pull your shoulders down, and see how free your neck is compared to when your shoulders lift more freely.
Practice a five-point posture check
1. Feet and knees: Place your feet hip-distance apart, with your knees at hip level. Keeping an even pressure through the inside arches and outside heels of your feet helps maintain neutral knee and hip position. Avoid crossing your legs or ankles, which can stifle blood flow and cause swelling.
2. Hips and pelvis: Evenly distribute your weight through your “sitting bones,” the bony parts of your pelvis you can feel making contacting with your seat. Our feet and knees indicate and affect our hip position, so avoid letting a foot or knee drift forward, taking the hips out of balance.
3. Back and spine: Maintain the natural curves of your spine — don’t try to straighten it. Your mid-back curve is naturally kyphotic, which means “hump” in Greek. Your low back is lordotic, so it curves into some extension. Keep spinal curves soft, not exaggerated.
4. Shoulders and chest: Your chest should be open with your shoulders sitting evenly. Concentrate on pulling the bottom points of your shoulder blades downward rather than inward. It’s a common mistake to squeeze your shoulder blades together and puff your chest out, which lifts your rib cage, arches your mid-back and decreases your ability to breathe deeply.
5. Head and neck: Align your head and neck between your shoulders rather than lurching into “text neck.” The action of engaging muscles to draw the shoulder blades down in point No. 4, helps position your head properly by initiating a muscular action called “reciprocal inhibition,” which turns off (inhibits) the overactive neck, upper back and chest muscles that tend to pull your neck forward.