Intermediate Group Class: Expanding the Rib Cage in Back Bends

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Continuing on from the idea of balancing the lumbar/thoracic joint of the spine, we will be working on balancing the joints of the entire thoracic spine, including the cervical/thoracic joint, by expanding the rib cage.

Think of the rib cage as having three bands:
  • The stomach ribs: the lower ribs that wrap around the kidneys, stomach and liver and that attach to the cartilage that leads up to the bottom of the sternum.
  • The heart ribs: the middle ribs that wrap around the heart and lungs.
  • The neck ribs: the first two ribs to which the scalene muscles of the neck attach.

We are going to be expanding each rib band both from front to back and from back to front to crate space three-dimensionally. In the back bends we need to pay particular attention to the back of the rib bands to create support for the spinal extensors and to create room for the spine to move into the body as it extends.

When expanding the neck ribs, the scalene muscles contract, potentially creating hardness in the neck. Think of the neck as having a core of muscle and connective tissue that is close to the spine and a sheath that wraps around it. In each of these poses think of keeping the neck core long while softening and expanding the sheath.

In addition, when taking the back bends, think of moving the sides of the chest, where the armpits and pectorals meet, and lifting them as much as possible. In addition, think of moving the wall of connective tissue surrounding the buttocks away from the head towards the feet to create a balanced arch in the spine.

The Sequence

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)
• Lie back over a small mat roll or a thin- and narrow-folded blanket to create a very gently arch of the back.
• 3 minutes.

Side Stretch on a chair or ledge
• Place the elbows on the chair (from a kneeling position) or ledge (from a standing position) with the arms bent and the hands together in Namaskarasana (Prayer Position).
• Hold the pose for 2 to 3 minutes.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Shirshasana Cycle:
Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)
Eka Pada Shirshasana (Single Leg Head Stand)
Parivrttaikapada Shirshasana (Revolved Single Leg Head Stand) preparation only
• Bring the leg back into a split without turning.
Parivrttaikapada Shirshasana (Revolved Single Leg Head Stand) preparation only

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose)

Supta Padangusthasana Cycle:
Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1) head down variation
Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1) head up variation
Supta Padangusthasana 3 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 3)
Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)
• Do the whole cycle all on one leg, then all on the other.

Sarvangasana Cycle:
Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)
Salamba Sarvangasana 2 (Shoulder Stand 2)
Niralamba Sarvangasana 1 (Unsupported Shoulder Stand 1)
Niralamba Sarvangasana 2 (Unsupported Shoulder Stand 2)

Supta Virasana (Reclined Hero Pose)
• 3 minutes.

Chatushpadasana (Four Footed Pose)

Sarvangasana Drop-Back Cycle:
Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)
Eka Pada Sarvangasana (Single Leg Shoulder Stand)
Eka Pada Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Single Leg Bridge Pose in Shoulder Stand)
Eka Pada Sarvangasana (Single Leg Shoulder Stand)
Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)
• Use only one blanket and belt the elbows. Take care not to try and get the same lift in the back and openness in the chest in Shoulder Stand as you would on three blankets.
• Do the whole cycle on one leg and then the other.
• Repeat three to five times for both legs.

Viparita Dandasana (Inverted Staff Pose) over a chair

Uttanapadasana (Stretched Out Upward Facing Pose)

Setubandhasana (Bridge Lock Pose)

Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward Bow Pose)
• Come into the pose from Tadasana (Mountain Pose) walking the hands down the wall, then walking them back up.
• 5 times.

Viparita Chakrasana (Inverted Wheel Pose) at the wall
• This refers to coming into and out of Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward Bow Pose) from Hand Stand.
• Come into Hand Stand at the wall several times, each time getting a bit further away from the wall and sliding one leg and then the other down the wall until you can get the feet to the ground in Urdhva Dhanurasana. Come out of the pose each time by walking the feet back up the wall swinging the legs back overhead into Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) or Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose).

Marichyasana 3 (Marichi’s Pose 3)

Ardha Matsyendrasana 1 (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose 1)

Pashasana (Noose Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


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Year of Yoga: Week 26

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The practices are aimed at the basic level, suitable for anyone taking class on a regular basis. Regardless of your level, remember not to be reckless in your practice. Please consult your doctor before beginning any new exercise routine and do not attempt poses that you have not been taught in class by a competent instructor. The practices also include restorative work for a fully balanced expression of the yogic path.

The week’s sequences will be posted in advance of each week, giving you a chance to look them over and rearrange them according to your schedule. Wednesday’s practice will be a softer, restorative sequence. You should feel free to rearrange the order of the days, and even the practices themselves, according to your energy levels and your schedule. Take these sequences as suggestions and modify them as you will.

June 25


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose)

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

Vrkshasana (Tree Pose)

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Parivrtta Trikonasana (Revolved Triangle Pose)

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Parivrtta Parshvakonasana (Revolved Side Angle Pose)

Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior Pose 1)

Virabhadrasana 2 (Warrior Pose 2)

Virabhadrasana 3 (Warrior Pose 3)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


June 26


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Child’s Pose

Virasana (Hero, Pose) with Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) arms

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Prasarita Padottanasana 1 (Wide Spread Feet Pose 1) with the head supported as necessary
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) (3-5 min)
Intermediate Alternative: Supta Virasana (Reclined hero Pose) (3-5 min)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Upavishtha Konasana (Seated Angle Pose)

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


June 27


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) (3-5 min)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose)

Supta Virasana (Reclined Hero Pose) or Ardha Bhekasana (Half Frog Pose)

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)

Paripurna Navasana (Full Boat Pose)

Ardha Navasana (Half Boat Pose)

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


June 28


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Bharadwajasana 1 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 1)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose)

Bharadwajasana 2 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 2)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose)

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Marichyasana 1 (Marichi’s Pose 1) twist only

Malasana (Garland Pose)

Marichyasana 1 (Marichi’s Pose 1) full pose

Marichyasana 6 (Marichi’s Pose 6)

Ardha Matsyendrasana 1 (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose)

Parivrtta Parshvakonasana (Revolved Side Angle Pose)

Pashasana (Noose Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


June 29


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) (3-5 min)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Eka Pada Bhekasana (Single Leg Frog Pose)

Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)

Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana (Upward Facing Dog Pose)

Virasana (Hero Pose) with Pashchima Namaskarasana (Reverse Prayer Pose)

Purvottanasana (Intense East Stretch Pose) table top variation

Ushtrasana (Camel Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Parshva Bharadwajasana (Side Bharadwaja’s Pose) over a bolster

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


June 30


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose)

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation)
• Any simple variation.
• 3 to 5 rounds.

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose)

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation)
• Any challenging variation including Vashisthasana (Vashistha’s Pose).

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose)

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation)
• Any challenging variation including Chaturanga Dandasana (Four Limbed Staff Pose).

Parvatasana in Virasana (Mountain Pose in Hero Pose)

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) with a bolster across the back

Supta Virasana (Reclined Hero Pose) or Ardha Bhekasana (Half Frog Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Shirshasana (Head Stand) prep only
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) with a bolster across the back
Intermediate Alternative: Supta Virasana (Reclined Hero Pose) with a bolster across the back

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) over a bolster

Viparita Karani (Upside Down Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


July 1


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Child’s Pose over a bolster

Side Stretch over a bolster

Parshva Bharadwajasana (Side Bharadwaja’s Pose) over a bolster

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose) with the head supported on blocks

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) over a bolster

Viparita Karani (Upside Down Pose)

Ujjayi 1 (Victorious Breath 1--simple breath awareness) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Ujjayi 2 (Victorious Breath 2--gently extended exhalations) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Viloma 2 (Interrupted Breath 2--a gentle pause at the end of each exhalation) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


Related Articles

A Year of Intermediate Yoga: Week 26


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Level 1 Group Class: Opening the Chest and Shoulders

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The general idea here is to create width and openness across the collarbones and top chest while also keeping the upper and middle back broad. The sequence is perhaps a little more than basic as it has an inversion prep in it.

The Sequence

Side Stretch at the wall
• Stand with the feet together about eight to twelve inches away from the wall and lean the right hip, waist and ribs against it. Reach the right arm up. Pause here for a few breaths.
• Come up onto the balls of the feet. Stay here for a few breaths.
• Slowly drop the right heel, resisting up through the ribs and arms to lengthen out the right side of the waist. When the right heel is down, drop the left.
• Bend the right elbow and clasp it with the left hand. Draw the upper arm bone up towards the ceiling. Hold here for a few breaths.
• Take the tip of the elbow up and over the top of the head while keeping the outer armpit moving into the wall. Hold here for a few breaths.
• Turn the chest a slightly into the middle of the room to send the stretch towards the back. Hold here for a few breaths.
• Release and repeat on the second side.

Garudasana (Eagle Pose) arms with the back against the wall

Urdhva Baddhanguliyasana (Upward Bound Fingers Pose) with the back against the wall

All Fours
• Take a moment to seal your hands into the mat while widening the upper back and the top of the chest.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Child’s Pose

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Child’s Pose

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)
• Put the hand of the raised arm on the hip.
• Press the collarbone away from the ear and roll it up towards the ceiling.

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Bharadwajasana 1 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 1) simple variation
• Turn the head away from the direction of the twist.

Bharadwajasana 1 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 1) full pose with bound arm
• Turn the head away from the direction of the twist.

IMG_2180
Head Stand Preparation
• Do twice, once with each interlock of the fingers.

Right Angle Forearm Stand at the wall
• Sit with the buttocks against the wall and mark off where the heels are. Set yourself up in the Head Stand Prep with the elbows where the heels were.
• Walk the feet up the wall to hip height.
• Hold for several seconds and repeat with the second interlock of the fingers.

Purvottanasana (Intense East Stretch Pose) table top variation
• Have the hands on blocks.

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) with the feet on the chair

Ardha Halasana (Half Plough Pose) with the toes on the chair
Eka Pada Sarvangasana (Single Leg Shoulder Stand)
Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose) with a lift under the trunk and head
• 5 minutes.

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


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Practice Lab: Drop-Backs From Tadasana [Light on Yoga]

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When we went to practice yesterday, we took a little time to get started and ended up having to pair back our intended practice from the sequence in “Light on Yoga” we had planned (the sequence for weeks 61 to 65 on p.471 of the Schocken edition). This raised the question of how much you can cut out of the sequences before they start to fall apart. We ended up cutting out the variations in Head Stand and Shoulder Stand, some of the arm balances and all of the twists which should have come after them. When the time came to work on the drop-backs, we decided that we should probably have cut the arm balances and kept in the inversions and the twists, as we were lacking some of the organization needed to optimally go to the floor and back up.

The Sequence

Supta Virasana (Hero Pose) over a bolster
• 3 to 5 minutes.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
• 1 to 2 minutes.

Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)
• 5 minutes.

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)
• 5 minutes.

Halasana (Plough Pose)
• 3 minutes.

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose)

Supta Padangusthasana Cycle:
Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1) head down variation
Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1) head up variation
Supta Padangusthasana 3 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 3)
Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)
• Do the whole cycle all on one leg, then all on the other.

Anantasana (Vishnu’s Couch Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)
• 1 minute.

Parivrtta Pashchimottanasana (Revolved Intense West Stretch Pose)

Akarna Dhanurasana (Bow to the Ear Pose)

Kurmasana (Turtle Pose)

Supta Kurmasana (Sleeping Turtle Pose)

Eka Pada Shirshasana (Single Leg Behind the Head Pose)

Skandasana (Single Leg Behind the Head Forward Bend)

Bhujapidasana (Pressure on the Arms Pose)

Ashtavakrasana (Ashtavakra’s Pose)

Padmasana Cycle
Padmasana (Lotus Pose)
Parvatasana (Mountain Pose)
Simhasana 2 (Lion Pose 2)
Matsyasana (Fish Pose)
• Do the whole cycle all on one crossing of the legs, then all on the other.

Uttanapadasana (Stretched Out Upward Facing Pose)

Setubandhasana (Bridge Lock Pose)

Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward Bow Pose)
• Come into the pose from Tadasana (Mountain Pose) walking the hands down the wall, then walking them back up.
• 6 times.

Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward Bow Pose)
• From the floor.
• 6 times.

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


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Year of Yoga: Week 25

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The practices are aimed at the basic level, suitable for anyone taking class on a regular basis. Regardless of your level, remember not to be reckless in your practice. Please consult your doctor before beginning any new exercise routine and do not attempt poses that you have not been taught in class by a competent instructor. The practices also include restorative work for a fully balanced expression of the yogic path.

The week’s sequences will be posted in advance of each week, giving you a chance to look them over and rearrange them according to your schedule. Wednesday’s practice will be a softer, restorative sequence. You should feel free to rearrange the order of the days, and even the practices themselves, according to your energy levels and your schedule. Take these sequences as suggestions and modify them as you will.

June 18


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose)

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior Pose 1)

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior Pose 1)

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)

Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior Pose 1)

Virabhadrasana 3 (Warrior Pose 3)

Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior Pose 1)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose)

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


June 19


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Prasarita Padottanasana 1 (Wide Spread Feet Pose 1) with the head supported as necessary
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) (3-5 min)
Intermediate Alternative: Supta Virasana (Reclined hero Pose) (3-5 min)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Upavishtha Konasana (Seated Angle Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Janu Shirshasana (Head of the Knee Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Triang Mukhaikapada Pashchimottanasana (Three Limbs Facing Intense West Stretch Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Shalabhasana (Locust Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


June 20


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) (3-5 min)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Paripurna Navasana (Full Boat Pose)

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Ardha Navasana (Half Boat Pose)

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


June 21


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Marichyasana 1 (Marichi’s Pose 1) twist only

Marichyasana 3 (Marichi’s Pose 3)

Marichyasana 6 (Marichi’s Pose 6)

Parivrtta Trikonasana (Revolved Triangle Pose)

Ardha Matsyendrasana 1 (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose)

Parivrtta Parshvakonasana (Revolved Side Angle Pose)

Pashasana (Noose Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


June 22


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) (3-5 min)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Eka Pada Bhekasana (Single Leg Frog Pose)

Shalabhasana (Locust Pose)

Eka Pada Bhekasana (Single Leg Frog Pose)

Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)

Eka Pada Bhekasana (Single Leg Frog Pose)

Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana (Upward Facing Dog Pose)

Eka Pada Bhekasana (Single Leg Frog Pose)

Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)

Eka Pada Bhekasana (Single Leg Frog Pose)

Ushtrasana (Camel Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Parshva Bharadwajasana (Side Bharadwaja’s Pose) over a bolster

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


June 23


Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) over a bolster

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose)

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) with a bolster across the back

Parvatasana in Virasana (Mountain Pose in Hero Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose)

Matsyasana (Fish Pose) with a bolster across the back

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Shirshasana (Head Stand) prep only
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Pashchima Namaskarasana in Virasana (Reverse Prayer Pose in Hero Pose)

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) with a bolster across the back
Intermediate Alternative: Supta Virasana (Reclined Hero Pose) with a bolster across the back

Bharadwajasana 1 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 1)

Bharadwajasana 2 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 2)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


June 24


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Child’s Pose over a bolster

Side Stretch over a bolster

Parshva Bharadwajasana (Side Bharadwaja’s Pose) over a bolster

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose) with the head supported on blocks

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) over a bolster

Viparita Karani (Upside Down Pose)

Ujjayi 1 (Victorious Breath 1--simple breath awareness) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Ujjayi 2 (Victorious Breath 2--gently extended exhalations) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Viloma 2 (Interrupted Breath 2--a gentle pause at the end of each exhalation) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


Related Articles

A Year of Intermediate Yoga: Week 25


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More Erratic Posting

I’m going out of town for a few days, so I’m pre-posting a bunch of stuff this week. Things might also be a bit erratic next week once I get back, but I’ll keep a trickle of good stuff coming until I get back on track.

Happy practicing!

Witold
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Intermediate Group Class: Balancing the Lumbar/Thoracic Vertebral Joint [Light on Yoga]

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The joint between the first lumbar vertebra (L1) and the last thoracic vertebra (T12) often gets a lot of abuse, getting gripped and hardened as we try to muscle through our poses. In this practice focus on these actions:
  • Soften and widen the lower ribs from front to back.
  • Soften and widen the muscle and connective tissue on either side of the spine from the tailbone to the back of the neck, even in the back bends.
  • Expand the lumbar/thoracic joint to support the surrounding tissue, rather than gripping the surrounding tissue to support the joint.

This sequence is adapted from p. 473 of the Schocken edition of “Light on Yoga”.

The Sequence

Side Stretch at the wall
• Stand with the feet together about eight to twelve inches away from the wall and lean the right hip, waist and ribs against it. Reach the right arm up. Pause here for a few breaths.
• Come up onto the balls of the feet. Stay here for a few breaths.
• Slowly drop the right heel, resisting up through the ribs and arms to lengthen out the right side of the waist. When the right heel is down, drop the left.
• Bend the right elbow and clasp it with the left hand. Draw the upper arm bone up towards the ceiling. Hold here for a few breaths.
• Take the tip of the elbow up and over the top of the head while keeping the outer armpit moving into the wall. Hold here for a few breaths.
• Turn the chest a slightly into the middle of the room to send the stretch towards the back. Hold here for a few breaths.
• Release and repeat on the second side.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Shirshasana Cycle:
Salamba Shirshasana 2 (Head Stand 2)
• Hold for no more than a minute.
• Come down out of the pose and without disturbing the placement of the head (if possible) go into the next pose.
Urdhva Dandasana (Upward Staff Pose)
• Hold for 10 to 20 seconds.
Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)
• Hold for 3 to 5 minutes.
Parshva Shirshasana (Side Head Stand)
• Hold for 20 to 30 seconds on each side.
Urdhva Dandasana (Upward Staff Pose)
• Hold for 10 to 20 seconds.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Mayurasana (Peacock Pose)

Baddha Konasana Mayurasana (Bound Angle Pose in Peacock Pose)

Nakrasana (Crocodile Pose)
• From Chaturanga Dandasana (Four Limbed Staff Pose) hop lightly forward 3 to 5 times, then back the same amount.

Shalabhasana (Locust Pose)

Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)

Parshva Dhanurasana (Side Bow Pose)

Chaturanga Dandasana (Four Limbed Staff Pose)

Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)

Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana (Upward Facing Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana Cycle:
Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)
Salamba Sarvangasana 2 (Shoulder Stand 2)
Niralamba Sarvangasana 1 (Unsupported Shoulder Stand 1)
Niralamba Sarvangasana 2 (Unsupported Shoulder Stand 2)
Halasana (Plough Pose)
Karnapidasana (Pressure on the Ear Pose)

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose)

Supta Padangusthasana Cycle:
Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1) head down variation
Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1) head up variation
Supta Padangusthasana 3 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 3)
Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)
• Do the whole cycle all on one leg, then all on the other.

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)

Chakrasana (Wheel Pose)
• Roll from Halasana (Plough Pose) to Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
• Try this from a 3-blanket Shoulder Stand set-up to protect the neck.
• DO NOT press the head into the floor to help the transition. Use the strength of the arms and legs.

Utkatasana (Furious Pose)

Parighasana (Gate Pose)

Ushtrasana (Camel Pose)

Malasana (Garland Pose)

Supta Kurmasana (Sleeping Turtle Pose) preparation
• Put the feet up on a block with the heels together.
• Make a square shape with the legs, reach forward and take hold of the feet.
• Lengthen the sides forward towards the feet.

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


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Level 1 Group Class: Lengthening the Sides to Balance the Spine in Twists

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For the spine to twist it needs to be fully elongated with the curves balanced. The easiest way to achieve this is to make sure that the sides of the trunk are elongated and parallel to each other. Then there will be room in the trunk for the twisting action.

The Sequence

Reclined Hip Stretch Sequence

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) legs only into forward bend

Parivrtta Supta Padangusthasana (Revolved Reclined Big Toe Pose)
• Have the foot resting on a block. Keep the hips/pelvis facing the block.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Child’s Pose

Virabhadrasana 2 (Warrior Pose 2)
• Come into the pose with the arms raised alongside the ears, then bring them down into position.

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)
• Flat back position with the hands on blocks only.

Parivrtta Trikonasana (Revolved Triangle Pose)
• Come into it from Parshvottanasana.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose) with the knees bent

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose) working on straightening the legs

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) over a bolster

Viparita Karani (Upside Down Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


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How Food Choices Can Fuel Inner Growth [SpiritFit]

Pasted Graphic
Another great post from Michael Lloyd-Billington over at his new SpiritFit blog:

“...We all know certain foods serve better than others when it comes to providing energy and health. And we also know our spiritual values ultimately require us to have the energy to act. When we decide to eat things that aren’t ideal, we know on a certain level we are choosing to limit the energy we have to live our beliefs. Of course food is also a source of pleasure, and virtually all spiritual traditions would say it’s something we’re meant to enjoy. But this complex balance between “food as fuel” and “food as fun” gives us an opportunity to examine our self-awareness. Each time we eat, we have a chance to look at how much we wish to focus on our own pleasure and how much we want to think about serving those around us. By being more mindful, we can move toward a balance that runs closer to our beliefs, choosing foods that provide the right blend of pleasure and energy for service of others.”


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Intermediate Group Class: Core Poses [Light on Yoga]

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This sequence is adapted from p.474 of the Schocken edition of “Light on Yoga”. As you go through the poses, ">think about the sides of the body--the side waist and the side ribs. Strengthen and lengthen them, linking the two sides together by widening across the front and back body. Additionally, think about stretching them either towards or away from the head for additional strength and balance. Where no specific time is given, hold the pose according to your capacity.

The Sequence

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)
• 5 minutes.

Urdhva Dandasana (Upward Staff Pose)
• 1 minute.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)
• 5 minutes.

Halasana (Plough Pose)
• 5 minutes.

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)
• 5 minutes.

Urdhva Mukha Pashchimottanasana 1 (Upward Facing Intense West Stretch Pose 1)
• 1 minute.

Paripurna Navasana (Full Boat Pose)
• 1 minute.

Ardha Navasana (Half Boat Pose)
• 30 seconds.

Supta Virasana (Reclined Hero Pose)
• 5 minutes.

Krounchasana (Heron Pose)

Malasana (Garland Pose)
• 1 minute.

Supta Kurmasana (Sleeping Turtle Pose) preparation
• Put the feet up on a block with the heels together.
• Make a square shape with the legs, reach forward and take hold of the feet.
• Lengthen the sides forward towards the feet.
• 1 minute.

Ardha Matsyendrasana 1 (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose 1)
• 30 seconds.

Pashasana (Noose Pose)
• 1 minute. (Yes, that’s not a typo!)

Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)
• 1 minute.

Mayurasana (Peacock Pose)
• If you are unable to hold the balance for the full time, do the pose with the feet on the floor.
• 1 minute.

Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward Bow Pose)
• 6 times, holding for 20 seconds each time.

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


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Awesome Flickr Stream

Monkey Yoga Shala in Oakland, CA has this great flickr set of photos, mostly of founder and co-director Tim Thompson doing some really beautiful and awesome poses.

And when I say “awesome” I mean it in its classic definition:

awesome |ˈôsəm|
adjective
extremely impressive
or daunting; inspiring great admiration, apprehension, or fear : the awesome power of the atomic bomb.
informal extremely good; excellent : the band is truly awesome!


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Practice Lab: Drop-Backs and Arm Balances (from "Light on Yoga")

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In our giddy folly of enthusiastic exploration, we decided to have a go at this sequence from “Light on Yoga”, which includes both drop-backs from Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand) into Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward Bow Pose) and arm balances. Kristen did well with the drop-backs but, to be truthful, they scare the crap out of me. I tried it once or twice, once with a spot, once to a Halasana bench, but I wussed out the first time, and had a brain spasm the second and tweaked my shoulder. So I did drop-backs from Tadasana (Mountain Pose) on the ropes instead. I maintain that I’m a 6’2”, 185lb., clumsy guy and that I don’t have the openness in my back and chest yet to do them properly. Kristen thinks I need to just suck it up and own my size and figure it out. I think she’s probably right. Something else to work on.

This sequence is adapted from the one that appears on page 472 of the Schocken edition of “Light on Yoga”. Be warned that it takes a good 2 1/2 to 3 hours to perform.

The Sequence

Shirshasana Cycle:
Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)
Urdhva Dandasana (Upward Staff Pose)
Parshva Shirshasana (Side Head Stand)
Parivrttaikapada Shirshasana (Single Leg Revolved Head Stand)
Eka Pada Shirshasana (Single Leg Head Stand)
Parshvaikapada Shirshasana (Single Leg to the Side Head Stand)
Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose) in Head Stand
Parshva Baddha Konasana (Side Bound Angle Pose) in Head Stand
Pindasana (Embryo Pose) in Head Stand

Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Mayurasana (Peacock Pose)

Padma Mayurasana (Lotus Peacock Pose)

Nakrasana (Crocodile Pose)
• This poses involves coming into Chaturanga Dandasana (Four Limbed Staff Pose) and hopping forward five times, then back five times.

Salamba Sarvangasana Cycle:
Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)
Salamba Sarvangasana 2 (Shoulder Stand 2)
Niralamba Sarvangasana 1 (Unsupported Shoulder Stand 1)
Niralamba Sarvangasana 2 (Unsupported Shoulder Stand 2)
Halasana (Plough Pose)
Karnapidasana (Pressure on the Ear Pose)
Supta Konasana (Reclined Angle Pose)
Parshva Halasana (Side Plough Pose)
Eka Pada Sarvangasana (Single Leg Shoulder Stand)
Parshvaikapada Sarvangasana (Single Leg to the Side Shoulder Stand)
Parshva Sarvangasana (Side Shoulder Stand)
Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose in Shoulder Stand)
Eka Pada Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Single Leg Bridge Pose in Shoulder Stand)
Urdhva Padmasana Sarvangasana (Upward Lotus Pose in Shoulder Stand)
Parshva Urdhva Padmasana Sarvangasana (Side Upward Lotus Pose in Shoulder Stand)
Pindasana (Embryo Pose)
Parshva Pindasana (Side Embryo Pose)

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose)

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1) head down variation
Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1) head up variation
Supta Padangusthasana 3 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 3)
Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)
• Do the whole cycle all on one leg, then the other.

Anantasana (Vishnu’s Couch Pose)

Uttanapadasana (Stretched Out Upward Facing Pose)

Setubandhasana (Bridge Lock Pose)

Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward Bow Pose) from Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand) and back up into Tadasana (Mountain Pose)
OR
Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward Bow Pose) from and into Tadasana (Mountain Pose)
• Do 12 of these.

Marichyasana 3 (Marichi’s Pose 3)

Ardha Matsyendrasana 1 (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose 1)

Pashasana (Noose Pose)

Bhujapidasana (Pressure on the Arms Pose)

Ashtavakrasana (Ashtavakra’s Pose)

Bakasana (Crow Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Parivrtta Pashchimottanasana (Revolved Intense West Stretch Pose)

Upavishtha Konasana (Seated Angle Pose)

Akarna Dhanurasana (Bow to the Ear Pose)

Padmasana Cycle:
Padmasana (Lotus Pose)
Parvatasana (Mountain Pose)
Tolasana (Scales Pose)
Simhasana 2 (Lion Pose 2)
Matsyasana (Fish Pose)
Urdhva Kukkutasana (Upward Cockerel Pose)
Garbha Pindasana (Embryo in the Womb Pose)
Gorakshasana (Cowherd Pose)
Baddha Padmasana (Bound Lotus Pose)
Yoga Mudrasana (Yoga Seal Pose)
Supta Vajrasana (Reclined Thunderbolt Pose)

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Bhekasana (Frog Pose)

Supta Virasana (reclined hero pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


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Year of Yoga: Week 24

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The practices are aimed at the basic level, suitable for anyone taking class on a regular basis. Regardless of your level, remember not to be reckless in your practice. Please consult your doctor before beginning any new exercise routine and do not attempt poses that you have not been taught in class by a competent instructor. The practices also include restorative work for a fully balanced expression of the yogic path.

The week’s sequences will be posted in advance of each week, giving you a chance to look them over and rearrange them according to your schedule. Wednesday’s practice will be a softer, restorative sequence. You should feel free to rearrange the order of the days, and even the practices themselves, according to your energy levels and your schedule. Take these sequences as suggestions and modify them as you will.

June 11


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Child’s Pose

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Child’s Pose

Virabhadrasana 2 (Warrior Pose 2)

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)

Parivrtta Trikonasana (Revolved Triangle Pose)

Parivrtta Ardha Chandrasana (Revolved Half Moon Pose)

Prasarita Padottanasana 1 (Wide Spread Feet Pose 1)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Bharadwajasana 1 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


June 12


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior Pose 2)

Garudasana (Eagle Pose)

Utkatasana (Furious Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Bharadwajasana 1 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Prasarita Padottanasana 1 (Wide Spread Feet Pose 1) with the head supported as necessary
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) (3-5 min)
Intermediate Alternative: Supta Virasana (Reclined hero Pose) (3-5 min)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) full pose with arm variation

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

Triang Mukhaikapada Pashchimottanasana (Three Limbs Facing Single Leg Intense West Stretch Pose)

Janu Shirshasana (Head of the Knee Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) legs only with forward bend

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


June 13


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) (3-5 min)

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)

Anantasana (Vishnu’s Couch Pose)

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose)

Ardha Matsyendrasana 1 (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose 1)

Pashasana (Noose Pose)

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)

Paripurna Navasana (Full Boat Pose)

Ardha Navasana (Half Boat Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


June 14


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Child’s Pose

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Virabhadrasana 2 (Warrior Pose 2)

Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior Pose 1)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose)

Ardha Matsyendrasana 1 (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose 1)

Parivrtta Parshvakonasana (Revolved Side Angle Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Virasana (Hero Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


June 15


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)

Chaturanga Dandasana (Four Limbed Staff Pose)

Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana (Upward Facing Dog Pose)

Shalabhasana (Locust Pose)

Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)

Eka Pada Bhekasana (Single Leg Frog Pose)

Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)

Ushtrasana (Camel Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Parshva Bharadwajasana (Side Bharadwaja’s Pose) over a bolster

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


June 16


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) 3-5 minutes

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Virasana (Hero Pose) with Garudasana (Eagle Pose) arms

Virasana (Hero Pose) with Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) arms

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutations) any simple variation, 3-5 rounds

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutations) including Vashisthasana (Vashistha’s Pose), 2-3 rounds

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutations) including Chaturanga Dandasana (Four Limbed Staff Pose), 2-3 rounds

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Bharadwajasana 1 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 1) binding the arm if possible

Bharadwajasana 2 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 2) either the simple or full variation, binding the arm if possible

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Shirshasana (Head Stand) prep only
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Purvottanasana (Intense East Stretch Pose) table top variation

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


June 17


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Child’s Pose over a bolster

Side Stretch over a bolster

Parshva Bharadwajasana (Side Bharadwaja’s Pose) over a bolster

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose) with the head supported on blocks

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) over a bolster

Viparita Karani (Upside Down Pose)

Ujjayi 1 (Victorious Breath 1--simple breath awareness) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Ujjayi 2 (Victorious Breath 2--gently extended exhalations) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Viloma 2 (Interrupted Breath 2--a gentle pause at the end of each exhalation) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


Related Articles

A Year of Intermediate Yoga: Week 24


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Intermediate Group Class: Balancing the Secondary Curves

The Curves of the Spine
The secondary curves of the spine are the ones that start to develop in early infancy as the child begins to pick its head and legs up and strengthen its back. They are the lumbar and the cervical curves. In this practice, think of softening and widening across the inner and outer surfaces of the lumbar and cervical areas.

The Sequence

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) over a bolster with the legs in Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)
• Hold for 5 minutes.

Viparita Dandasana (Inverted Staff Pose) over a chair
• Support the head.
• 5 minutes.

Supta Virasana (Reclined Hero Pose) over a bolster
• 5 minutes.

Paryankasana (Couch Pose)
• Turn the bolster sideways and add blankets for more height so that the head falls back below the shoulders.
• Allow the hips to lift so the arch of the body is fairly balanced between the hips and shoulders.
• Support the head.
• 5 minutes.

Hanging Child’s Pose on the ropes
• Hold for 3 to 5 minutes.

Hanging Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) on the ropes
• Come into this directly from the Child’s Pose.
• Slide the feet down to the floor (or to blocks if they don’t reach). Slide the rope into the abdomen to support the upper body.
• Hold for 3 to 5 minutes.
• Come up slowly from this so that the blood does not rush to the head.

Hanging Shirshasana (Head Stand) on the ropes
• Hold for 3 to 5 minutes.

Viparita Karani (Upside Down Pose)
• 5 to 10 minutes.

Adho Mukha Shavasana (Downward Facing Corpse Pose) over a bolster
• 5 minutes.

Shavasana (Corpse Pose) with support under the head and thighs
• 5 minutes

Ujjayi 4 (Victorious Breath 4) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose)
• Full, expansive inhalations and exhalations.
• 5 minutes.

Ujjayi 8 (Victorious Breath 8) in any comfortable seated position
• Sit with your upper back resting on a foam block against the wall.
• 5 minutes.

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)
* 5 to 10 minutes.


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Practice Lab: Standing Poses (from "Light on Yoga")

One of the reasons I got behind with my posts last week was because of this new obsession that Kristen and I have been developing over the sequences in “Light on Yoga”. When we got together last Monday to practice, we ended up doing one of the more basic sequences from LoY and I was thinking I might do something not from the book later in the week for variety and to have something to write about. Turns out I didn’t. I was back on the old BKS treadmill. (There’s something great about not having to think and plan what you’re going to do all the time.) I was even trying to come up with advanced classes that weren’t based on the book (coming soon), but then I found out that Kristen was teaching from the book as well. So I surrendered to the call. It’s going to be all “Beeks” (as my friend Leslie calls him) all the time for a few weeks. One could do worse.

This sequence comes from the end of the first course in the back of the book. After 30 weeks of progressive sequences he offers a three-day course that hits all the important poses from the course. This is the third day, which mostly features standing poses. Notes that it begins with Shirshasana (Head Stand), but there is NO SHOULDER STAND! Shocking! I wondered if it was a typo, but I have a newer UK edition that corrects some other mistakes, and this was unchanged.

I should add that all of these Light on Yoga sequences that I’ve been presenting have pranayama associated with them as well, but I haven’t been practicing or teaching them that way. Iyengar pranayama has moved on so much since then, it doesn’t really fit with these sequences any more. The body is too exhausted to have the necessary sensitivity and ease required.

The Sequence

Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)
• 10 minutes.

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Parivrtta Trikonasana (Revolved Triangle Pose)

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Parivrtta Parshvakonasana (Revolved Side Angle Pose)

Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior Pose 1)

Virabhadrasana 2 (Warrior Pose 2)

Virabhadrasana 3 (Warrior Pose 3)

Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose)

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)

Prasarita Padottanasana 1 (Wide Spread Feet Pose 1)

Padangusthasana (Big Toe Pose)

Padahastasana (Hand Under Foot Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose)

Urdhva Prasarita Ekapadasana (One Foot Extended Up Pose)

Garudasana (Eagle Pose)

Utkatasana (Furious Pose)

Parighasana (Gate Pose)

Ushtrasana (Camel Pose)

Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)

Virasana (Hero Pose)

Supta Virasana (Reclined Hero Pose)

Paryankasana (Couch Pose)

Padmasana (Lotus Pose)

Parvatasana (Mountain Pose)

Tolasana (Scale Pose)

Matsyasana (Fish Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose)
• In the book, Gomukhasana is presented with the shins together underneath you, rather than heels apart as is more commonly practiced.

Lolasana (Tremulous Pose)

Simhasana 1 (Lion Pose 1)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


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Level 1 Group Class: Strength of the Ribs and Core

sq_basics
I’m getting a little backed up here with the old class sequence posts. Hopefully this week I can get caught up. Here’s a Level 1 sequence where the focus is finding strength not just in the abdomen, but in the rib cage as well, providing strength and connection for the legs and the arms.

The Sequence

Side Stretch at the wall
• Stand with the feet together about eight to twelve inches away from the wall and lean the right hip, waist and ribs against it. Reach the right arm up. Pause here for a few breaths.
• Come up onto the balls of the feet. Stay here for a few breaths.
• Slowly drop the right heel, resisting up through the ribs and arms to lengthen out the right side of the waist. When the right heel is down, drop the left.
• Bend the right elbow and clasp it with the left hand. Draw the upper arm bone up towards the ceiling. Hold here for a few breaths.
• Take the tip of the elbow up and over the top of the head while keeping the outer armpit moving into the wall. Hold here for a few breaths.
• Turn the chest a slightly into the middle of the room to send the stretch towards the back. Hold here for a few breaths.
• Release and repeat on the second side.

Urdhva Baddhanguliyasana (Upward Bound Fingers Pose) with the back against the wall
• Keep the side of the waist and the side rib cage moving back into the wall.
• Do not let the chest and rib cage follow the arms up.

All Fours
Plank Pose
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Child’s Pose

Lung with the back knee up
• Place the hands flat on blocks, pressing them firmly and evenly down

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Lung with the back knee up
• Fingertips to the floor

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)
• 3 sets.

[Do the following sequence as a continuous flow]

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart
• Clasp the elbows and draw the upper arms down towards the floor.
Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart
• Bend the knees and place the hands flat on the floor, in front of the feet if necessary.
• Press the palms down and draw the hips up, shifting the weight forward. (You might not be able to fully straighten the legs,)
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
• Hop back into the pose.
Plank Pose
• Hold for 30 seconds.
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart
• Hop forward into the pose.
• Clasp the elbows and change the crossing. Draw the upper arms down towards the floor.
Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the hands flat on the floor
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
• Hop back into the pose.
Plank Pose
Plank Pose with the toes pointed
• Hold for 30 seconds.
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart
• Variations as above.
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Plank Pose
Plank Pose with the toes pointed
Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana (Upward Facing Dog Pose)
• Hold for 30 seconds.
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart
• Variations as above.
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Plank Pose
Plank Pose with the toes pointed
Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana (Upward Facing Dog Pose)
Plank Pose with the toes pointed
• Press up from Up Dog.
• Hold for 30 seconds.
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Child’s Pose

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) legs only with forward bend

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) arms and legs

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)
• Back against the wall.

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)
• Back against the wall.
• Block between the feet.

Dandasana (Staff Pose)

Upavishtha Konasana (Seated Angle Pose)
• Upright seated position only

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose in Shoulder Stand)
• 3 blankets under the shoulders and the feet on a chair.
• 2 repetitions, holding for 30 to 60 seconds each time.

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)
• Sitting on the blankets and resting the arms and head on the chair.

Shavasana (Corpse Pose) with the legs on the chair


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Year of Yoga: Week 23

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The practices are aimed at the basic level, suitable for anyone taking class on a regular basis. Regardless of your level, remember not to be reckless in your practice. Please consult your doctor before beginning any new exercise routine and do not attempt poses that you have not been taught in class by a competent instructor. The practices also include restorative work for a fully balanced expression of the yogic path.

The week’s sequences will be posted in advance of each week, giving you a chance to look them over and rearrange them according to your schedule. Wednesday’s practice will be a softer, restorative sequence. You should feel free to rearrange the order of the days, and even the practices themselves, according to your energy levels and your schedule. Take these sequences as suggestions and modify them as you will.

June 4


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Child’s Pose

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Lunge with the hands down and the back leg straight

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose)

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) forward bend with the legs only

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) full pose

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Vrkshasana (Tree Pose)

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Utkatasana (Furious Pose)

Garudasana (Eagle Pose)

Parighasana (Gate Pose)

Virasana (Hero Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


June 5


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Bharadwajasana 1 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Prasarita Padottanasana 1 (Wide Spread Feet Pose 1) with the head supported as necessary
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) (3-5 min)
Intermediate Alternative: Supta Virasana (Reclined hero Pose) (3-5 min)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Malasana (Garland Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Virasana (Hero Pose)

Adho Mukha Virasana (Downward Facing Hero Pose)

Triang Mukhaikapada Pashchimottanasana (Three Limbs Facing Intense West Stretch Pose)

Marichyasana 1 (Marichi’s Pose 1)

Janu Shirshasana (Head of the Knee Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Shalabhasana (Locust Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


June 6


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) (3-5 min)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Lunge with the hands on the floor and the back leg straight

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Paripurna Navasana (Full Boat Pose)

Ardha Navasana (Half Boat Pose)

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


June 7


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Bharadwajasana 1 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Marichyasana 3 (Marichi’s Pose 3)

Marichyasana 6 (Marichi’s Pose 6)

Ardha Matsyendrasana 1 (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose 1)

Pashasana (Noose Pose)

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


June 8


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Lunge with the back knee up

Lunge with the back knee down

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) with a bolster/blankets cross-wise under the back

Shalabhasana (Locust Pose)

Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)

Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana (Upward Facing Dog pose)

Supta Virasana (Reclined Hero Pose) over a bolster OR Eka Pada Bhekasana (Single Leg Frog Pose)

Viparita Dandasana (Inverted Staff Pose) over a chair

Ushtrasana (Camel Pose)

Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)

Parshva Dhanurasana (Side Bow Pose)

Ushtrasana (Camel Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Parshva Bharadwajasana (Side Bharadwaja’s Pose) over a bolster

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


June 9


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Plank Pose

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutations) any simple variation, 3-5 rounds

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutations) including Vashisthasana (Vashistha’s Pose), 2-3 rounds

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutations) including Chaturanga Dandasana (Four Limbed Staff Pose), 2-3 rounds

Child’s Pose

Virasana (Hero Pose) with Garudasana (Eagle Pose) arms

Virasana (Hero Pose) with Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) arms

Virasana (Hero Pose) with Pashchima Namaskarsana (Reverse Prayer Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Intermediate Alternative: Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Dolphin/Forearm Stand prep
Intermediate Alternative: Pincha Mayurasana (Peacock Feather Pose)

Shirshasana (Head Stand) prep only
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Purvottanasana (Intense East Stretch Pose) table top variation

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


June 10


Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Child’s Pose over a bolster

Side Stretch over a bolster

Parshva Bharadwajasana (Side Bharadwaja’s Pose) over a bolster

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose) with the head supported on blocks

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the head supported on blocks
Intermediate Alternative: Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) over a bolster

Viparita Karani (Upside Down Pose)

Ujjayi 1 (Victorious Breath 1--simple breath awareness) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Ujjayi 2 (Victorious Breath 2--gently extended exhalations) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Viloma 2 (Interrupted Breath 2--a gentle pause at the end of each exhalation) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose) (5 min)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


Related Articles

A Year of Intermediate Yoga: Week 23


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Level 1 Group Class: Hips and Hamstrings

Warrior Pose 2
In this practice we are thinking about opening up the back of the leg and stretching the hamstrings in the belly of the muscle where the fibers are most flexible. In each of these poses, think of widening the backs of the thighs and moving the thighbones into the hamstrings as you deepen the hip creases and lengthen the sides of the trunk forward.

The Sequence

Reclined Hip Stretch Sequence

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Child’s Pose

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Lung with the back leg straight

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Child’s Pose

Supta Padangusthasana (Reclined Big Toe Pose) variation with block
• Hold a block against the middle of the hamstring.
• Draw the knee into the chest, deepening the hip crease, while reaching through and anchoring the opposite leg.
• After a few breath press the thigh bone into the block and straighten the leg by reaching up through the inner thigh/inner foot.

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart and the toes up
• Do the pose with the ankle flexed and the toes/balls of the feet up on a block or a blanket roll.

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Tadasana (Mountain Pose)

Urdhva Baddhanguliyasana (Upward Bound Fingers Pose) in Tadasana (Mountain Pose)

Virabhadrasana 2 (Warrior Pose 2)

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Virabhadrasana 2 (Warrior Pose 2) INTO Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)
• Come into the flat back position with the hands on blocks.
• Bend the knee and deepen the hip crease.
• Straighten the leg by moving the thigh bone into the hamstring. Stretch the sides of the trunk forward.
• Walk the hands and blocks forward.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Child’s Pose

Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose in Shoulder Stand) on a chair
• Come into Setu Bandha with three blankets under the shoulders and the feet on the chair.
• Widen and lift the hamstrings up into the thigh bones.
• Repeat.

Halasana (Plough Pose) with the feet on a chair
Eka Pada Sarvangasana (Single Leg Shoulder Stand) with one foot on the chair
Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)
• Sit on your shoulder stand blankets and lean forward resting the forearms and forehead on the chair.
• Do both sides.

Shavasana (Corpse Pose) with the lower legs resting on the chair


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