If you’re going to commit to a yoga practice, one that is “cultivated skillfully and continuously for a long time,” as Sutra 1.14 specifies, then there’s a question you have to answer.
If your body isn’t ready for arm balance, headstand and shoulder stand every day, what do you do while waiting for it to get stronger?
Repeating what gives you pain is not skillful, and in the end, it won’t be continuous either.
The answer: take it back a notch, or two, or three.
Today’s arm balance variations included:
• the full pose
• half arm balance
• one leg up the wall in downward dog
• legs up the wall pose with active arms and legs
Can legs up the wall pose be an arm balance preparation?
Yes: turn it around in gravity and it’s a dead ringer for half arm balance.
In headstand, we used the two stools, with two chip foams on each stool to do a headstand with no weight on the head.
If you don’t know the pose, headstand preparation with three blocks at the wall is a good alternative.
In shoulder stand, the choice was full pose with variations or Viparita Karani.
For Supta Virasana, we did the one leg at a time version.
By the end of the practice, Supta Baddhakonasana, toes spread at the wall, back resting on a tri-fold blanket with the end tucked up under the head,
it looked like everyone had their answer.
Tomorrow’s practice, Day 5, is Monday all over again.
Sutras, 2: 3-9. On Thursday we read that yoga is to disarm the causes of suffering and achieve integration.” Friday’s reading is the list of the causes of suffering: ignorance, the sense of “I”, passion, hatred, and fear of death, or clinging to life.
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
Standing poses: 30 seconds per side:
Tadasana (mountain pose)
Parvatasana (fingers interlaced, palms out, arms up)
Utthita Trikonasanana (triangle pose)
Utthita Parsvakonasana (side angle pose)
Vira 2, Vira 1, Vira 3 (warrior 1, 2, 3)
Ardha chandrasana (halfmoon pose)
Parivritta Trikonasana (rotated triangle)
Parsvottanasana (intense side stretch pose)
Prasarita Padottanasana (wide-leg forward bend)
Padangusthasana (uttanasana, feet hip distance, holding big toes)
Uttanasana (standing forward bend)
Virasana cycle: one minute per variation
Virasanana (hero pose)
Parvatasana arms in Virasana (fingers interlaced, palms out, arms up)
Forward bend in Virasana
Shoulder stand – 5 minutes
Halasana (plow pose) – 2 minutes
Baddha Konasana cycle: one minute per variation
Baddha Konasana (bound angle pose)
Forward bend in Baddha Konasana
Supta baddha konasanana (supine bound angle)
Upavista Konasana (wide-leg seated forward bend)
Paschimottanasana (seated forward bend) – 1 – 2 minutes
Backbends: 2 times, 30 seconds each
Salabhasana (locust pose)
Dhanurasana (bow pose)
Urdva Mukha Svanasana (upward facing dog pose)
Setu Bhanda Sarvangasana (bridge pose) OR
Urdhva Dhanurasana (upward facing bow)
Twists: 30 seconds to 1 minute each side
Bharadvajasana 1 (Bharadvaja’s pose)
Ardha Matsyendrasana (half Lord of the Fishes pose)
Setu Bhanda on a brick 3 to 5 minutes (bridge pose, supported)
Savasana 5 to 10 minutes
If you’d like to know more about the readings from the Yoga Sutras, check out these posts:
On friendliness, compassion, joy and equanimity (the Bhrama Viharas)
On the kleshas, the causes of suffering