This intermediate forward bend practice begins with standing poses to wake up the hips and legs and establish the relationship between the legs and the torso. Props are used to help define and open the front of the hip crease, creating separation between the legs and torso. Then come inversions, in which the legs are used to lift and support the torso, creating torso/leg separation in a different way. Single leg variations in Shoulder Stand are included to work with the relationship of the legs to the hips once again. Finally, simple seated forward bends are practiced, with and without props to explore the leg/hip relationship.
This advanced practice behind with Shavasana (Corpse Pose), breath awareness and reclined pranayama to free the ribcage, shoulder girdle and arms. It follows with seated pranayama in which the practice is to maintain that freedom in the upright. After that comes an inversions practice with an awareness of the breath and organization of the arms, shoulders, back and chest.
This intermediate inversions practice begins with reclined poses to soften and widen the chest and back, and open the shoulders. It follows with floor poses to integrate the legs and arms into the torso before going into Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand), Pincha Mayurasana (Forearm Stand), Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1), and shoulder stand variations.
This advanced practice begins with standing poses and inversions to activate the torso and integrate the legs while strengthening the upper body and opening the chest and shoulders. It follows with a series of back bends over the chair to open the abdomen, hip creases, chest and shoulders while minting integration of the limbs into the spine, ending with Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward Bow Pose) from the floor. It ends with a short series of supported forward bends and restorative poses to widen the back and settle the energy.
This advanced twisting practice begins with standing poses to open up the backs of the legs and the back of the torso and follows with twisted variations in inversions. After some floor poses to reintegrate the limbs into the torso and to allow the spine to lengthen in the horizontal, Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose) is introduced to restablish the twisting of the torso. This is then taken into seated twists and Parshva Bakasana (Side Crow Pose).
This practice begins with lateral standing poses that are not considered to be twists, but that have a spiraling action in the torso, the pelvis and rib cage turning in opposite directions. In poses such as Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose), the cue is often given to square the hips, or to push the hip of the back leg back. This only serves to limit range of motion in the hip joint, putting unnecessary strain on the knees and lower back. Allowing the pelvis to follow the feet with a slight turn creates a tremendous amount of freedom in the lower half, while spinning the rib cage back to the lateral position activates the spiral in the torso that is an essential feature of functional contralateral movements such as walking and reaching.
This advanced practice includes work at the wall ropes. It begins with a sequence hanging from the hips to create length and width across the torso. It moves on to some floor work to develop strength and integration in the front and back body, which is then taken into Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1). The classic Iyengar Ropes sequence called “Ropes 1” is interweaved with Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand) practice. All that chest and shoulder opening is then taken into Pincha Mayurasana (Forearm Stand) practice, followed by the shoulder balance variations of Salamba Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand).
This practice beings with a sequence on the ropes that stretches out the torso, lengthening and widening the back while strengthening and integrating the legs. The poses that follow go around the torso creating strength and length, including a cycle focusing expressly on the strengthening and opening the upper body before focusing on the abdomen as a preparation for inversions.
Advanced Practice: Balance the Pubic Bone and the Sacrum and Create Space inside the Pelvis (Forward Bends)
Today we will begin our practice with sun salutations and arm balances to integrate the torso and the limbs. After that we have Head Stand and Shoulder Stand with variations that emphasis the relationship between the torso and the legs at the hip and that open up the backs of the legs, buttocks and lower back in preparation for seated forward bends. We focus on some of the single-leg seated forward bends and Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose) before finishing off with a brief Shalabhasana ())Locust Pose) to reintegrate the back.
This practice includes standing poses that emphasize flexion in the hip and opening up the backs of the legs as a preparation for seated forward bends. It also features bent-leg poses as a vehicle for highlighting the relationship between the thighs and the lower back without over-taxing the backs of the legs.