Friday, April 23, 2010

Home Practice: Asana to Savasana

Image Courtesy of Jar0d on flickr

This is a substitute for a pic I took of my daffodils yesterday that's still on my camera.

This morning I woke up early with hubby. Really early. I made myself some parsley ginger mint green tea and did yoga while it steeped. I have begun my exploration of Gary Kraftsow's lower back, hip, and sacrum series. I'm trying to learn it and get it "in my body" so I can teach it.

Viniyoga is so interesting. Most "postures" are two postures in one - one movement to be completed on the in breath, and another movement on the out breath. I'll talk more at length on this subject in the future - it's one of the main tenets of viniyoga. The first series on the DVD is 23 minutes long. I toyed with it yesterday afternoon, and instead of doing three of every movement (timed with the breath) I opened up the practice to six of each movement.

By the end yesterday I was working so hard - lying on my back in my yoga room, doing seemingly "easy" poses - truly working within in my body to increase circulation in the lower back by moving slowly, with control, and with the breath. (Ujjayi breath for anyone who cares) Boy did I feel the "work" aspect of the practice!

This morning I was up early and knew it was the perfect time for an exploratory, moderate practice while my tea steeped. I did six minutes of Sat Kriya Pranayama breathing, then I did the viniyoga lower back hip and sacrum therapy series, moderating the range of motion in the movements, deepening my attention to the sensation of the breath. Low and behold, as I moved slowly and rested fully between each posture, I felt amazing shifting going on in my lower back and hips.

It reminded me how much we must take the time to soak in our yoga practice, not just gut it out and practice. Asana to Savasanaas they say. Asana being posture (where there is typically most of the emphasis), Savasana being the corpse pose, lying on one's back, palms up, receiving benefits and resting between postures. Moving with the breath and taking the time to rest and reflect between the postures allowed for movement, and healing. I could feel my left piriformis muscle release finally, then feel the left adductor tense up. I could feel the layers of this chronic tension release. After the adductor released a bit later I could feel all these little muscles in the left hip, shoulder, and if you'd believe it - my lower lip - all this lateral tension in the body melted away.

During savasana, I relaxed completely and tried to let the body breathe me, instead of trying to breathe. It's a strange sensation but the body will breathe on its own - you don't have to be out in front of it as it were. It's an amazing softening that comes with relaxing the breathing mechanism deeply. Now that's balance. I got up with extreme excitement and hoping that the early light of summer helps me wake up and do this practice more often.

I will write more about effort soon. Sometimes we must take things down a notch to experience true healing.

If you made it this far, linky treat for you! I really enjoyed this post recently.


catherine said...

Amazing. My left side is a mess, too (from my deltoid to my big toe, literally), and all this talk of release has me so intrigued. And motivated. Thanks so much for sharing your discoveries!

anna said...

catherine - the stuff I'm working on... I'm hoping to get some pics up but you can get the sequence on the DVD if you're really interested. Gary Kraftsow Yoga Therapy for the Lower Back, Hips, and Sacrum. Got it for like 13 bucks I think... I've only started with the theraputic sequence. There are two others!

Lady J said...

I am loving your discussions on your exploration of different yoga!
Thank you!

anna said...

Lady J - I'm so glad. I didn't want to lose my fellow bikram junkies. :)

Emma said...


thanks for visiting me... i would love if you did a sequence!! maybe a blog exchange :)?

ive heard a lot about viniyoga, but nothing that explained quite as well as this. probably wouldn't hurt, though, to take a video out, too!

peace to you,


sfauthor said...

Nice posting. Do you know about these yoga books?

Tyran said...

"Easy" postures are those which are often truly the most difficult. Because they are "easy" the mind easily slips away into chatter. Because they are "easy" attention may shatter and follow the mind's chatter.

Does shavasana receive the same fully engaged attention that bound-one-legged-inverted-arm-through-the-pigeon-hole (hehe) does?


anna said...

Hi Emma, I'd love to do a blog/sequence exchange I'm just not sure what that is exactly... :) educate me and I'm there!

sfauthor - I had not seen those. Thanks for the link!

Tyran... I do agree that the "easy" postures don't get as much attention. As a bikram yogini I don't do a lot of fancy stuff nor do we do a lot of introspective work. It is, therefore, a huge gift to me to do a more introspective, breath paced practice. I actually felt completely tuned in, to the point that I noticed immediately when my mind slipped away and labeled it thinking, came back to the breath. Moving meditation!

Take care.

Tiffany @ Moving Meditation said...

Hi there - just found your blog and I'm really enjoying it. Have a great weekend!

anna said...

Thanks Tiffany! I'm looking forward to your posts as well. Take care!