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First day of the Sadhana: forward bends


Tomorrow is officially the beginning of summer. It’s also the beginning of the second annual 10-day Summer Sadhana at Yoga on 7th.

At 6:15 tomorrow morning, 18 of us will meet at the studio and begin to practice together.

We’ll repeat a sequence of forward bends (days 1, 4 and 7), back bends (days 2, 5 and 8) and twists (days 3, 6 and 9). On day 10, which falls on Canada Day, we’ll have a restorative session.

Every day follows a similar pattern. First we sit. Then we move from child’s pose into dog pose, and then into handstand and headstand, or whatever preparation for those poses is suitable for each person’s practice.

(Check out Get a Leg Up on Downward Dog and Half a Headstand with Three Blocks and a Wall for ideas, if you’re not sure what to do.)

Standing poses follow. Each day, the standing poses work with the theme of the day. Tomorrow it’s forward bends, so we’ll be including Parsvottanasana and Ardha Chandrasana, both of which help to prepare the body for seated forward bends, as well as the more advanced standing balance, Urdhva Prasarita Eka Padasana (standing splits).

Depending on the day’s work, it’s either shoulder stand, or the focus poses next. In forward bend practice, we do the shoulder stand first, because the seated forward bends continue its soothing, cooling action.

Then it’s a gentle twist and savasana, and we’re out the door, to find out how it feels to live a day that started with 90 minutes of practice.

If you’d like to follow along at home, the sequence is below.

Some tips for home practice:

• You may find some of these poses difficult. Each one has a bus stop – a place to pause and wait, rather than going all the way to the end of the route.

• If a pose completely eludes you, spend the time repeating the pose just before, or, if you’d rather, move on to the next pose.

• If neither the Sanskrit nor the English name rings a bell, try searching the Yoga Journal website. The poses may not always be exactly as we do them in class, but they’re very close.

• Be sure to leave enough time for Savasana at the end. Your body and your nervous system need it to absorb the work you’ve done. Five minutes is a bare minimum.

Forward bend sequence: Day 1, 4, 7

Sitting, centering          5 to 10 minutes

Constructive rest position   3 to 5 minutes

Adho Mukha Virasana (child’s pose)

Adho Mukha Svanasana (downward-facing dog pose)             1 minute

Adho Mukha Vrksasana (handstand or preparation)             2 x 30 seconds

Sirsasana  (headstand)  or preparation, 3 – 5 minutes

Uttanasana (standing forward bend)             1 minute

Tadasana (mountain pose)             30 seconds

Vrksasana (tree pose)             1-2 minutes

Utthita Trikonasana (extended triangle pose)             1-2 minutes

Uttanasana (standing forward bend)             1 minute

Utthita Parsvakonasana (extended side angle pose)             1-2 minutes

Parivrtta Trikonasana (revolved triangle pose)             1 minute

Ardha Chandrasana (half moon pose)             1-2 minutes

Parsvottanasana (intense side stretch pose)             1-2 minutes

Urdhva Prasarita Eka Padasana (upward extended one leg pose)            1-2 minutes

Uttanasana (standing forward bend)             1 minute

Sarvangasana (shoulder stand)             5-10 minutes

Eka Pada Sarvangasana (one-legged shoulder stand)             1 minute

Parsvaika Pada Sarvangasana (one leg to side shoulder stand)  1 minute

Halasana (plow pose)             1-2 minutes

Urdhva Mukha Paschimottanasana II  (upward facing forward bend, Plate 169/170 In Light on Yoga; start by lying on your back, legs at 90 degrees, strap around your feet, gradually bring your feet overhead into an upside-down Paschimottanasana.)

Upavistha Konasana wide-angle seated forward bend)             2 minutes

Baddha Konasana (bound angle pose)             1 minute

Janu Sirsasana (head-to-knee pose)             2 minutes

Paschimottanasana (seated forward bend)             2 minutes

Jathara Parivartanasana (supine twist or revolved abdomen pose)             1 minute

Savasana (corpse pose)             5 to 10 minutes

Sunrise photo courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons, Fr Antunes

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Janice June 21, 2010, 2:35 pm

    I recently discovered this site. Thanks so much for sharing all your knowledge. I enjoyed today’s sequence and look forward to the others.