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Sadhana: the practice for day four

In Vancouver we're still waiting for a glorious sunrise like this one, in Scottsdale, AZ

Today was the third day of summer Sadhana, and the first time we’ve come back to repeat a practice, albeit with some changes.

In fact, it was amazing to see what a difference it makes to add a few standing poses and Supta Padangusthasana 1 and 2 to the practice.

By the time we started the back bends it was 7:40 a.m.

Subtract a minimum of five minutes for Savasana, and you don’t have a lot of time for backbends and twists. So we worked only with Salabhasana (locust pose) and Dhanurasana (bow pose) and stayed with them longer.

Tomorrow it’s the second pass at the day of shoulder stand variations and forward bends. It’s all the same program up to Marichyasana I, but on Thursdays, the forward bends give way to twists and supine poses.

It’s bound to be interesting.

Something I wish I’d been noting sooner:

It’s been my practice for some time now to read from the Yoga Sutras at the end of Savasana.

First we settle, then we rest, then we come half way out of Savasana to hear the day’s text.

We started on Monday with the definition of yoga in first four verses of the first chapter, Samadhi Pada: yoga is the stilling of the patterns of consciousness.

Tuesday the reading was I.12 to 16, on practice (abhyasa) and dispassion (vairagya), the two essential polarities of yoga.

Wednesday  it was  I:30 and 33, on the obstacles to stilling consciousness, and how consciousness settles when one radiates friendliness, compassion, joy and equanimity.

On Thursday, we’ll start the second chapter of the Sutras, with Sadhana Pada 1,2.

These verses list the three components of yoga, discipline, self-study, and orientation to the ideal of pure awareness, and its purpose, to disarm the causes of suffering and achieve integration.

I’ve been reading from the translation by Chip Hartranft. There are at least 50 English translations currently in print. They all follow the same numbering system.

Day 4: Thursday

(Poses in brackets are for more experienced practitioners.)

Sitting/ Invocation 5 to 10 minutes

Child’s pose   1 minute

Dog pose     2 minutes

Arm balance (or preparations) 3 – 5 minutes

Headstand (or preparations)   3 – 5 minutes

Sarvangasana, (shoulder stand)  5 minutes

Halasana  (plow pose) 2 minutes

Karnipidasana  1 minute

Supta Konasana  1 minute

(Parsva Halasana) 1 minute per side

Eka pada Sarvangasana 1 minute

Setu Bandha Sarvangasana  (with brick beneath sacrum)  3 to 5 minutes

Abdominal poses:

hold 20 seconds, building to 30 seconds, repeat

Urdhava Prasarita Padasana  1-2 minutes

Jathara Parivartanasana      1-2 minutes

Seated Forward Bends   1 minute each side

Janu Sirsasana

(Ardha Baddha Padma Paschimottanasana )
Triang Mukhaikapada Pascimottanasana

Marichiyasana I


Twists: 1 minute each side

Bharadvajasana 1

Bharadvajasana 2

Marichyasana 3

Ardha Matsyendrasana

Supine poses

Supta Virasana

Supta Baddhakonasana



Photo courtesy of  Dru Bloomfield, via Flickr.