Level 1 Group Class

Elbows Clasped Behind the Back
All Fours INTO Child’s Pose
• Keep the palms firmly sealed into the mat.

All Fours INTO Plank Pose INTO Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
• Keep the palms firmly sealed into the mat.

Vajrasana (Thunderbolt Pose) with the elbows clasped behind the back
• Have a blanket behind the knees.
• Both crossings of the arms.

All Fours INTO Plank Pose INTO Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
• Keep the palms firmly sealed into the mat.

Urdhva Baddhanguliyasana (Upward Bound Fingers Pose) in Vajrasana (Thunderbolt Pose)

All Fours INTO Plank Pose INTO Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
• Keep the palms firmly sealed into the mat.

Bharadwajasana 1 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 1)
• Simple variation without binding the arms.
• Turn the head away from the leading shoulder to stretch out the neck and top chest.

Bharadwajasana 1 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 1)
• Full pose with one arm behind the back. Hold onto the arm with a belt if necessary.
• Turn the head away from the leading shoulder to stretch out the neck and top chest.

All Fours INTO Plank Pose INTO Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
• Keep the palms firmly sealed into the mat.

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose) with the elbows clasped behind the back
• Flat back and full forward bend.

Parivrtta Trikonasana (Revolved Triangle Pose)

Parivrtta Trikonasana (Revolved Triangle Pose)

All Fours INTO Plank Pose INTO Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
• Keep the palms firmly sealed into the mat.

Prasarita Padottanasana (Wide Spread Feet Pose) with the arms extended forward

Prasarita Padottanasana (Wide Spread Feet Pose) clasping the elbows behind the back
• Both crossings.

All Fours INTO Plank Pose INTO Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
• Keep the palms firmly sealed into the mat.

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)
• Feet on blocks, holding a belt around the ankles.

Reclined Glute Stretch
• Lie on the back with one ankle on the opposite thigh. Draw the legs in.

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)
• Feet on blocks, holding a belt around the ankles.

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose)
• Passive variation with the knees bent and the whole body resting on the floor.

Viparita Karani (Upside Down Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


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Practice Lab

Four Feet Pose
Sometimes when I’m practicing I don’t like to think too much. It can be nice to let the sequence and the poses take over and tell you what you need to be paying attention to in your body as you practice. I had one of those days last week and ended up practicing this sequence. Other than the first Down Dog, Head Stand and Viparita Karani don’t hold the poses for too long, no more than 30 seconds. Though it’s not really a vinyasa sequence, do your best to flow smoothly from pose to pose, adding props minimally where necessary.

The Sequence

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)
• Arms stretched out to the floor.

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)
• Elbows clasped behind the back, both crossings.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Prasarita Padottanasana (Wide Spread Feet Pose)
• Arm stretched out alongside the ears as if in Adho Mukha Shvanasana.

Prasarita Padottanasana (Wide Spread Feet Pose)
• Elbows clasped behind the back, both crossings.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)
• 2 to 3 min.
Baddha Konasana in Shirshasana (Bound Angle Pose in Head Stand)
• 30 to 60 sec.
Upavistha Konasana in Shirshasana (Seated Angle Pose in Head Stand)
• 30 to 60 sec.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)
Bharadwajasana 1 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 1) to the right
Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)
Bharadwajasana 1 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 1) to the left

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) right leg on top/left arm on top
Ardha Matsyendrasana 1 (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose) to the right
Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) left leg on top/right arm on top
Ardha Matsyendrasana 1 (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose) to the left

Malasana (Garland Pose) with the arms reaching forward
Pashasana (Noose Pose) to the right
Malasana (Garland Pose) with the arms reaching forward
Pashasana (Noose Pose) to the left

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose) folding forward
Malasana (Garland Pose) clasping the ankles
Marichyasana 1 (Marichi’s Pose 1) with the left leg bent
Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose) folding forward
Malasana (Garland Pose) clasping the ankles
Marichyasana 1 (Marichi’s Pose 1) with the right leg bent

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose) folding forward
Janu Shirshasana (Head of the Knee Pose) with the left leg bent
Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose) folding forward
Janu Shirshasana (Head of the Knee Pose) with the right leg bent

Bharadwajasana 2 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 2) to the right
Ardha Baddha Padma Pashchimottanasana (Half Bound Lotus Intense West Stretch pose) with the right leg bent
Bharadwajasana 2 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 2) to the left
Ardha Baddha Padma Pashchimottanasana (Half Bound Lotus Intense West Stretch pose) with the left leg bent

Ardha Matsyendrasana 2 (Half Lord of the Fishes 2) with the left leg in Padmasana (Lotus Pose)
Marichyasana 2 (Marichi’s Pose 2) with the left leg in Padmasana (Lotus Pose)
Ardha Matsyendrasana 2 (Half Lord of the Fishes 2) with the right leg in Padmasana (Lotus Pose)
Marichyasana 2 (Marichi’s Pose 2) with the right leg in Padmasana (Lotus Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Chatushpadasana (Four Feet Pose)
• See the above photo.

Reclined ankle-to-knee glute stretch
• Both sides.

Chatushpadasana (Four Feet Pose)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)
• Both sides.

Chatushpadasana (Four Feet Pose)

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

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)
• 5 to 10 min.


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Intermediate Group Class

Intense Side Stretch Pose variation
I’ve been rather consumed with this idea of the pectoralis major and latissimus dorsi coming together deep in the armpit. The way they feed in toward the upper arm bone means that pec major makes up part of the muscular ridge that forms the inner or front armpit, while latissimus dorsi makes up part of the ridge that forms the outer or back armpit. (When the arms are down it makes sense to me of thinking of these ridges as front and back. When the arms are up overhead, I usually think of them as inner and outer as a result of their position relative to the head.) I’ve found that working with the armpits, chest and back in this way creates incredible strength and stability through the shoulder girdle and core, including activating and expanding serratus anterior in a powerfully supportive way.

Think of the following points as you go through the practice:
  • Soften and widen the palms, the pecs and the lats.
  • Think of the inner and outer armpits as four pillars of connection and support of the arms into the trunk. Distribute the weight and/or stretch evenly between each of the four pillars of the armpits.
  • Soften and widen the deltoid (the shoulder cap muscle), wrapping it around the shoulder joint.
  • Hollow out the armpit deep into the joint.
  • Stretch the apex of the armpit, where the lat and the pec come together, towards the palms as you either take the sternum towards or away from the head, depending on the pose. Generally, when the arms are overhead move the sternum away from the head. When they are in front of you, move them towards the head. When the arms are clasped behind the back, widen the sternum and move it deeper into the body.

A note about props: I’ve found that foam blocks are not ideal for the Down Dog and Hand Stand variations presented here. They serve their purpose, just be aware that they can be a little slippery and the wrists tend to sink into them.

The Sequence

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)
• Lie back over a bolster arranged across the back.

Utkatasana (Furious Pose)
• Do the pose with a block between the thighs.
• Set yourself up close to a wall so that you can place your elbows and forearms on the wall without leaning forward any more than you would normally be in the pose.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
• Have the hands up on blocks. You might want to set yourself up with the blocks against a wall and the mat folded over the blocks if you find yourself slipping.

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart
• Have the hands flat on either side of the feet, fingers lined up with the toes. Put blocks under the hands if necessary.

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)
• First stage: Hand under the shoulders, palms flat, back flat. Use blocks if necessary.
• Second stage: Arms forward, head down. Palms flat again.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
• Hands on blocks.

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)
• Do the pose with the hands clasping the elbows behind the back. Change the crossing when doing the second side.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
• Hands on blocks.

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)
• Full pose with the hands in Pashchima Namaskarasana (Reverse Prayer Pose).

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)
• Hands on blocks.

Prasarita Padottanasana (Wide Spread Feet Pose)
• Arms alongside the ears as for Adho Mukha Shvanasana.

Prasarita Padottanasana (Wide Spread Feet Pose)
• Hands clasping the elbows behind the back. Do both crossings.

Prasarita Padottanasana 2 (Wide Spread Feet Pose 2)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart
• With the hands flat on either side of the feet, fingers lined up with the toes.

Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand) on a chair
• Lift the back of the armpit towards the ceiling.
• Roll the front of the armpit towards the floor.

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)
• 5 to 10 min.

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)
• Have a sandbag or some other weight along the length of the sternum.
• 5 min.

Ujjayi 4 (Victorious Breath 4) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose)
• Be sure to take the sandbag/weight off the sternum for this.
• Full, easy expansive breaths.
• 5 min.

Ujjayi 8 (Victorious Breath 8) in any comfortable seated pose
• Put a tennis (or some other) ball under each armpit to support the arms.
• Full, easy expansive breaths.
• 5 min.

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)
• 5 to 10 min.


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Year of Yoga: Week 13

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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.

March 26


Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Utkatasana (Furious Pose)

Garudasana (Eagle Pose)

Utkatasana (Furious Pose)

Vrkshasana (Tree Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Prasarita Padottanasana 1 (Wide Spread Feet Pose 1)

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)


March 27


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose) seated variation only

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Upavishtha Konasana (Seated Angle Pose) seated variation only

Prasarita Padottanasana 1 (Wide Spread Feet Pose 1)

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)

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)

Child’s Pose

Adho Mukha Vajrasana (Downward Facing Thunderbolt Pose)

Adho Mukha Virasana (Downward Facing Hero Pose)

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose) upright and folding forward

Janu Shirshasana (Head of the Knee Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Shalabhasana (Locust Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


March 28


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) any simple variation--3 to 5 rounds

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) any challenging variation--3 to 5 rounds

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Rolling back and forth between Dandasana (Staff Pose), Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose) and Halasana (Plough Pose)--5 to 10 rounds

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Rolling with control between Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet pose) and Halasana (Plough Pose)--7 to 10 rounds

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Rolling from Halasana (Plough Pose) into Paripurna Navasana (Full Boat Pose)--3 to 5 rounds

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Rolling from Halasana (Plough Pose) into Ardha Navasana (Half Boat Pose)--3 to 5 rounds

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose) with the legs bent (or straight)--rolling from side to side with control, 5 to 10 rounds

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)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


March 29


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)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose) seated only

Bharadwajasana 1 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 1) to the right

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose) seated only

Bharadwajasana 1 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 1) to the left

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) right leg on top

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

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) left leg on top

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

Malasana (Garland Pose)

Pashasana (Noose Pose) to the right

Malasana (Garland Pose)

Pashasana (Noose Pose) to the left

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose) seated only

Malasana (Garland Pose)

Marichyasana 1 (Marichi’s pose 1) with the left leg bent

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose) seated only

Malasana (Garland Pose)

Marichyasana 1 (Marichi’s pose 1) with the right leg bent

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose) seated and forward fold

Janu Shirshasana (Head of the knee Pose) with the left leg bent

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose) seated and forward fold

Janu Shirshasana (Head of the knee Pose) with the left leg bent

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


March 30


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)

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

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana (Upward Facing Dog Pose)

Shalabhasana (Locust Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana (Upward Facing Dog Pose)

Makarasana (Crocodile Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana (Upward Facing Dog Pose)

Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana (Upward Facing Dog Pose)

Eka Pada Bhekasana (Single Leg Frog Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana (Upward Facing Dog Pose)

Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana (Upward Facing Dog Pose)

Parshva Dhanurasana (Side Bow Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog 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)


March 31


Urdhva Baddha Hastasana (Upward Bound Hands Pose) in Tadasana (Mountain Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Plank Pose

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Plank Pose with the palms turned out (fingers pointing away from each other)

Child’s Pose

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

Vashisthasana (Vashistha’s Pose) with one knee down

Vashisthasana (Vashistha’s Pose) full pose or with one knee down

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)

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

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Pashchima Namaskarasana Virasana (Hero Pose with Reverse Prayer Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


April 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 13


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Level 1 Group Class

Belly Turning Pose (Knees Bent)
Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)
• Do both leg crossings.

Matsyasana (Fish Pose)
• Simple variation, with the legs in Sukhasana (Comfortable Pose), lying back flat on the ground holding onto the elbows with the arms overhead.
• Do both leg crossings.

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)
• Sitting up on blankets.

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)
• Sitting up on blankets.
• Block between the feet.

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose)
• Legs only, with forward bend if possible.

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Dolphin shoulder/chest opener

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Dolphin shoulder/chest opener
• Second interlock of the fingers.

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)
• Foam block between the feet.
• Holding onto the sids of the mat.

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)
• Foam block between the feet.
• Hands under the shoulders as if about to do Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward Bow Pose).

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)
• Foam block between the feet.
• Arms alongside ears with hands under sandbags or free weights to anchor upper body.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose)
• Hands under sandbags or free weights to anchor upper body.
• Knees bent.

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose)
• Hands under sandbags or free weights to anchor upper body.
• Knees bent as you begin, then work on straightening the legs.

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose)
• Hands under sandbags or free weights to anchor upper body.
• If able, with the leg straight. Otherwise repeat the previous version.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)
• Feet on blocks.
• Holding on to the ankles with a belt.
• Three repetitions, holding for 30 to 60 seconds each.

Reclined buttock stretch

Viparita Karani (Upside Down Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


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Practice Lab

Marichi's pose 1 (Bound Twist Variation)
Pectoralis Major and Latissimus Dorsi have an interesting relationship with each other. Though one is high on the body and in front and the other low and in back, they meet on the upper arm bone deep in the armpit. When working these poses, think of the following actions:
  • Widen the lats and the pecs as evenly as possible. Widen also the palms.
  • Soften and deepen the armpit as you soften and widen the deltoids around the shoulder joint.
  • When twisting to the right, initiate the movement by widening the right deltoid and the left lat. Reverse this when twisting to the left.

The Sequence

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)
• Lie back over a bolster arranged across the back.

Utkatasana (Furious Pose)
• Do the pose with a block between the thighs.
• Set yourself up close to a wall so that you can place your elbows and forearms on the wall without leaning forward any more than you would normally be in the pose.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
• Hands on blocks.

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)
• Do the pose with the elbows clasped behind the back.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
• Hands on blocks.

Bharadwajasana 2 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 2)
• Simple variation with the Padmasana (Lotus Pose) leg in Janu Shirshasana (Head of the Knee Pose) and binding with a belt around the foot and over the Virasana (Hero Pose) thigh.

Parivrtta Trikonasana (Revolved Triangle Pose)

Bharadwajasana 2 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 2)
• Full pose.

Parivrtta Trikonasana (Revolved Triangle Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)
• With the hands on blocks.

Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Marichyasana 1 (Marichi’s Pose 1)
• Bind the arms in the pose.
• Only twist away from the bent leg, do not go forward into the full pose.

Marichyasana 3 (Marichi’s Pose 3)
• Bind the arms in the pose.

Marichyasana 5 (Marichi’s Pose 5)
• Bind the arms in the pose.
• Only twist away from the bent leg, do not go forward into the full pose.

Marichyasana 3 (Marichi’s Pose 3)
• Bind the arms in the pose.

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) over a bolster or a bench

Salamba Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand) on a chair

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)
• Hold the pose for 10 to 15 minutes.

Ujjayi 4 (Victorious Breath 4) in Shavasana

Ujjayi 8 (Victorious Breath 8) in any comfortable seated pose
• Tennis balls in the armpits to support the arms.

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)
• 5 minutes.


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Intermediate Group Class

Crow Pose
In this practice we are thinking about the sternum and the two pectoral muscles: pectoralis major and pectoralis minor. Pec major is broad, superficial and more horizontal in direction. Pec minor is narrow, deep and more vertical in direction, especially when the arms are raised. Consider the following actions in each of the poses:
  • Deepen the sternum into the body, widening it as you do and broadening the back body behind it.
  • Widen pec major outwards across the collarbones towards the front armpit.
  • Lengthen pec minor towards the front armpit.

The sequence is a simplified version of this week’s Practice Lab.

The Sequence:

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)
• Lie back over a bolster arranged across the back.

Utkatasana (Furious Pose)
• Do the pose with a block between the thighs.
• Set yourself up close to a wall so that you can place your elbows and forearms on the wall without leaning forward any more than you would normally be in the pose.

Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana 1 (Extended Hand to Big Toe Pose 1) with the raised foot at the rope wall or on a ledge
• First raise the arms, then fold forward.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with feet apart

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with feet apart

Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)
• Practice kicking up with the second leg.

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)
• Place the hands under the shoulders as if going up into Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward Bow Pose) and belt the elbows to keep the upper arms parallel.
• Place a sandbag along the sternum.

Mayurasana (Peacock Pose)

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)
• Place the hands under the shoulders as if going up into Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward Bow Pose) and belt the elbows to keep the upper arms parallel.
• Place the sandbag across the sternum, approximately over the area where you were placing your elbows in Mayurasana.

Mayurasana (Peacock Pose)

Malasana (Garland Pose)
• Support the heels on a wedge or blankets.
• Put a belt around the body and the knees to act as a sling to support the legs. Release the inner thighs and widen the hip creases.

Bakasana (Crow Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Bakasana (Crow Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) over a bolster
• Hold for 5-10 min.

Viparita Karani (Upside Down Pose)
• Hold for 5-10 min

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


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Year of Yoga: Week 12 (Full Series)

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[Civic duties fulfilled! We now return to our regularly scheduled (if somewhat delayed) programming. Here’s the whole week’s sequences, including yesterday.]

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.

March 19


Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

Child’s Pose

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose)

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)

Prasarita Padottanasana 1 (Wide Spread Feet Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose)

Parighasana (Gate Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog 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)


March 20


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose)

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

Garudasana (Eagle 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)

Sukhasana (Comfortable Pose) with Urdhva Baddhanguliyasana (Upward Bound Fingers Pose)

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose) upright and folding forward

Upavishtha Konasana (Seated Angle Pose) upright and folding forward

Siddhasana (Accomplished Pose)

Janu Shirshasana (Head of the Knee Pose)

Virasana (Hero Pose) with Urdhva Baddhanguliyasana (Upward Bound Fingers Pose)

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

Dandasana (Staff Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Shalabhasana (Locust Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


March 21


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)

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) any simple variation--3 to 5 rounds

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) any challenging variation--3 to 5 rounds

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Paripurna Navasana (Full Boat Pose)

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Ardha Navasana (Half Boat Pose)

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle 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)


March 22


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)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose)

Marichyasana 3 (Marichi’s Pose 3)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose)

Marichyasana 6 (Marichi’s Pose 6)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose)

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

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


March 23


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

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

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

Shalabhasana (Locust Pose)

Matsyasana (Fish Pose) any leg variation with a bolster/blankets cross-wise under the back

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)

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)


March 24


Adho Mukha Shavasana (Downward Facing Corpse Pose) 3-5 min

Parshva Bharadwajasana (Side Bharadwaja’s Pose) over a bolster, 2-3 min each side

Side stretch over a bolster, 2-3 min each side

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

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Plank Pose

Virasana (Hero Pose) with Urdhva Baddhanguliyasana (Upward Bound Fingers Pose) both crossings

Virasana (Hero Pose) with Pashchima Baddha Hastasana (Reverse Bound Hands Pose) clasping the wrists or elbows behind the back, both crossings

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Plank Pose

Vashisthasana (Vashistha’s Pose) with the knee down

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)

Plank Pose

Vashisthasana (Vashistha’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

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

Vashisthasana (Vashistha’s Pose) with one knee down

Vashisthasana (Vashistha’s Pose) full pose or with one knee down

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)

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

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) with arm variations behind the back (See Halasana article)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose) with arm variations

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


March 25


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 12


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Year of Yoga: Week 12 (Part 1)

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[I have jury duty this week and it’s left me a bit crazed trying to fit everything else in, so I’m posting the year of yoga in pieces.]

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 normally (!) 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.

March 19


Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

Child’s Pose

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose)

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)

Prasarita Padottanasana 1 (Wide Spread Feet Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose)

Parighasana (Gate Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog 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)


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A Year of Intermediate Yoga: Week 12


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Level 1 Group Class

Half Boat Pose
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
• Block between the thighs.
• Grip the edges of the mat and stretch it out.

Child’s Pose
• Grip the edges of the mat and stretch it out.

[In the following sequence, flow seamlessly from pose to pose.]

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Child’s Pose
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Lunge with the back leg straight, first leg
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Lunge with the back leg straight, second leg
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Plank Pose
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Plank Pose with the feet pointed
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

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) legs only with forward bend

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose) sitting on blankets or a block

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose) on the floor, balancing with the feet off the ground

Paripurna Navasana (Full Boat Pose) prep with the knees bent, holding onto the thighs, balancing

Paripurna Navasana (Full Boat Pose) balance, holding onto a belt around the feet

Paripurna Navasana (Full Boat Pose) in stages:
• Knees bent, hands on the floor
• Knees bent, hands up
• Full pose

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Simple rolling along the back, catching the balance in the siting up position to keep the feet off the floor

Ardha Navasana (Half Boat Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)
• Feet on blocks
• Hold onto a belt looped around the ankles

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1) rolling up into the pose

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


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Practice Lab

Single Leg Galava's Pose
Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) over a bolster across the back

Utthita Hasta Padasana 1 (Extended Hand to Big Toe Pose 1) with the raised foot on ropes or a ledge
• Upright and forward bend variation

Parivrtta Hasta Padangusthasana (Revolved Hand to Big Tie Pose) with the raised foot on ropes or a ledge

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)

Parivrtta Trikonasana (Revolved Triangle Pose)

Bharadwajasana 2 (Bharadwajasana’s Pose 2)
• Simple variation with leg in Janushirshasana (Head of the Knee Pose) and binding with a belt.
• Full pose.

Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)

Mayurasana (Peacock Pose)

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)

Mayurasana (Peacock Pose)

Malasana (Garland Pose)

Supta Kurmasana (Sleeping Turtle Pose) preparation with feet on bolster
• Make a square shape with the legs, place the feet up on a bolster and fold forward.

Bakasana (Crow Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Bakasana (Crow Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose)

Eka Pada Galavasana (Single Leg Galava’s Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Eka Pada Galavasana (Single Leg Galava’s Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) over a bolster

Viparita Karani (Upside Down Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


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Intermediate Group Class

Bridge Pose in Shoulder Stand
I had an interesting challenge to face this week. I had a class that used a rope wall a LOT, but then I had to reconceive the class for a non-iyengar studio without a rope wall and no other props than blocks, blankets and belts. I thought I’d post both here.

Overall, we were still working with widening and releasing the large muscles of the back: gluteus maximus, latissimus dorsi and trapezius. In particular, we began to zero in on the neck and shoulder girdle with the following actions:
  • Soften and widen the upper half of the trapezius, releasing the back of the neck and loosening the upper shoulder blades away from each other.
  • As you widen the back, widen and deepen the eyes of the chest, balancing the front and back.
  • Expand the neck ribs (the first two ribs) three dimensionally.
  • Either turn the neck ribs towards the head in a back bend or away from the head in a forward bend.

On top of that, create a feeling of softness and fluidity in the the back body as you move.

Sequence 1 (with rope wall):

Utkatasana (Furious Pose) on ropes
• Hold onto rope and hang in the pose to stretch out the back.

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose) on ropes
INTO Urdhva Mukha Pashchimottanasana (Upward Facing Intense West Stretch Pose) on ropes
INTO Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose) on ropes
• From Adho Mukha Shvanasana on the ropes with the heels on the wall, reach back and either take hold of the lowest rope hook or the ankles, depending on your reach.
• Let the head hang. If the head touches the floor, walk the feet forward.
• Go back to Adho Mukha Shvanasana for a few moments to finish.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Urdhva Mukha Pashchimottanasana (Upward Facing Intense West Stretch Pose) on ropes
• Tie a low rope between two high ropes on separate rope stations as if setting up for hanging Shirshasana (Head Stand).
• Drape a couple of blankets over the ropes for cushioning.
• Climb up into the ropes with the loop behind the back ribs and the hips hanging down.
• Straighten the legs and rest the backs of the thighs on the wall.
• Slide down a little to deepen the stretch and draw the flesh of the back towards the head.
• Release the chin into the chest.

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)
• Do the pose with the elbows bent and the hands on the floor next to the elbows as if about to go into Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward Bow Pose).
• Stretch the triceps through the elbows.
• 2-3 repetitions.

Dandasana (Staff Pose) rope lift
• Loop the arms through the ropes of one rope station and grasp the hands knots.
• Straighten the arms, standing up on a block if necessary.
• Keep the arms straight and pick the knees up and hold.
• Repeat 2-3 times.
• For the second set of 2-3 repetitions, try to come up with the legs bent, the straighten the legs.

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)
• Do the pose with the elbows bent and the hands on the floor next to the elbows as if about to go into Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward Bow Pose).
• Stretch the triceps through the elbows.
• 2-3 repetitions.

Shirshasana (Head Stand)/Urdhva Mukha Pashchimottanasana (Upward Facing Intense West Stretch Pose) on ropes sequence.
• Halve a high rope on each of two adjacent rope stations.
• Grasp the ropes and walk the feet up the wall so that you end up with the back and legs flat against the wall.
• Hold for a few moments.
• Slide down the wall into Urdhva Mukha Pashchimottanasana.
• Hold for a few moments.
• Slide or walk back up to the Sirshasana position.
• 2-3 repetitions.

Urdhva Baddhanguliyasana (Upward Bound Fingers Pose)

Ropes 1
• 5-8 repetitions

Rolling sequence:
• Roll back and forth with the knees bent, softening the back, 5-8 reps.
• Roll between Dandasana (Staff Pose), Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose) and Halasana (Plough Pose), 5-8 reps.
• Add Purvottanasana (Intense East Stretch Pose) to the sequence between Dandasana and Halasana, 5-8 reps.

Ropes 1
• 5-8 repetitions

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose) INTO Halasana (Plough Pose)
• Roll up and down with control and no momentum, 5-8 reps.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)
• Once with each leg kicking up in the regular hand position.
• Once with hands turned out.
• Once with each of the hands turned back.

Viparita Dandasana (Inverted Staff Pose) over the chair
• Do the pose with a rolled up mat across the edge of the chair under the upper back.

Chair Drop-Back Sequence:
[Cycle through the following 3-4 times]
Eka Pada Sarvangasana (Single Leg Shoulder Stand) one side only
Eka Pada Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Single Leg Bridge Pose in Shoulder Stand) drop-back to chair one side only
Eka Pada Sarvangasana (Single Leg Shoulder Stand) second side
Eka Pada Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Single Leg Bridge Pose in Shoulder Stand) drop-back to chair second side
Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose in Shoulder Stand) drop-back to chair

Drop- Back Sequence:
[Cycle through the following 3-4 times]
Eka Pada Sarvangasana (Single Leg Shoulder Stand) one side only
Eka Pada Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Single Leg Bridge Pose in Shoulder Stand) drop-back to floor one side only
Eka Pada Sarvangasana (Single Leg Shoulder Stand) second side
Eka Pada Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Single Leg Bridge Pose in Shoulder Stand) drop-back to floor second side
Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose in Shoulder Stand) drop-back to floor

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


Sequence 2 (without rope wall):

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) over bolster, 5 min

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined big Toe Pose 2) 2 min each side

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Utkatasana (Furious Pose) into wall
• Have a block between the thighs.
• Rest the forearms on the wall.

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart
• Come into the pose with the back against the wall.

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)
• Do the pose with the elbows bent and the hands on the floor next to the elbows as if about to go into Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward Bow Pose).
• Stretch the triceps through the elbows.
• 2-3 repetitions.

Rolling sequence:
• Roll back and forth with the knees bent, softening the back, 5-8 reps.
• Roll between Dandasana (Staff Pose), Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose) and Halasana (Plough Pose), 5-8 reps.
• Add Purvottanasana (Intense East Stretch Pose) to the sequence between Dandasana and Halasana, 5-8 reps.

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)
• Do the pose with the elbows bent and the hands on the floor next to the elbows as if about to go into Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward Bow Pose).
• Stretch the triceps through the elbows.
• 2-3 repetitions.

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose) INTO Halasana (Plough Pose)
• Roll up and down with control and no momentum, 5-8 reps.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)
• Once with each leg kicking up in the regular hand position.
• Once with hands turned out.
• Once with each of the hands turned back.

Pincha Mayurasana (Forearm Stand)

Pincha Mayurasana (Forearm Stand)
• Palms up instead of down.

Pincha Mayurasana (Forearm Stand)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) with blocks under the sacrum and blankets under the shoulders

Eka Pada Setu Bandha (Single Leg Bridge Pose) with blocks under the sacrum and blankets under the shoulders

Salamba Sarvangasana 2 (Shoulder Stand 2) with the wrists belted instead of the hands clasped
Halasana (Plough Pose)
Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)
Halasana (Plough Pose)

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

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


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Year of Yoga: Week 11

yoy2009banner

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.

March 12


Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

Child’s Pose

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose)

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)

Vrkshasana (Tree Pose)

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose)

Utkatasana (Furious Pose)

Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior Pose 1)

Virabhadrasana 3 (Warrior Pose 3)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Parivrtta Ardha Chandrasana (Revolved Half Moon 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)


March 13


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose)

Prasarita Padottanasana 1 (Wide Spread Feet 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)

Virasana (Hero Pose)

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

Krounchasana (Heron Pose)

Parivrtta Krounchasana (Revolved Heron Pose)

Marichyasana 1 (Marichi’s Pose 1)

Janu Shirshasana (Head of the Knee Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


March 14


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

[In the following sequence, flow seamlessly from pose to pose.]

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Lunge with hands on the floor and back leg straight

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Plank Pose

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Plank Pose with the toes pointed, as if doing Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana (Upward Facing Dog 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

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

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)


March 15


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)

Parivrtta Trikonasana (Revolved Triangle 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)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Janu Shirshasana (Head of the Knee Pose)

Marichyasana 1 (Marichi’s pose 1) twist only

Janu Shirshasana (Head of the Knee Pose)

Marichyasana 3 (Marichi’s Pose 3)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

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

Marichyasana 5 (Marichi’s Pose 6) twist away from raised knee only

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

Marichyasana 6 (Marichi’s Pose 6)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


March 16


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)

Makrasana (Crocodile Pose)

Eka Pada Bhekasana (Single Leg Frog Pose)

Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)

Makarasana (Crocodile Pose)

Eka Pada Bhekasana (Single Leg Frog Pose)

Ushtrasana (Camel Pose)

Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)

Eka Pada Bhekasana (Single Leg Frog Pose)

Ushtrasana (Camel Pose)

Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana (Upward Facing Dog 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)


March 17


Urdhva Baddha Hastasana (Upward Bound Hands Pose) in Tadasana (Mountain Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Plank Pose

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Plank Pose with the palms turned out (fingers pointing away from each other)

Child’s Pose

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

Vashisthasana (Vashistha’s Pose) with one knee down

Vashisthasana (Vashistha’s Pose) full pose or with one knee down

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)

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

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Pashchima Namaskarasana Virasana (Hero Pose with Reverse Prayer Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


March 18


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 11


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Level 1 Group Class

Cow Face pose with the legs together
This week we took some time to stretch out and warm up all the leg joints. Then we broke down forward bends into three elements:
  1. Folding at the hips.
  2. Lengthening forward through the sides of the body.
  3. Stretching out the backs of the legs.
Instead of starting with the legs straight, we came into poses with the legs bent, focusing on the depth of the hip crease and the length in the sides of the trunk. Then we practiced straightening the legs, but without losing the first two elements. That meant that we were not necessarily doing the poses with the legs fully straightened.

The Sequence:

Vajrasana (Thunderbolt Pose) with the elbows clasped behind the back
• Come into the pose with the ankles belted together and a blanket behind the knees.

Vajrasana (Thunderbolt Pose) with the arms in Urdhva Baddhanguliyasna (Upward Bound Fingers Pose)
• Curl the toes under.

Vajrasana (Thunderbolt Pose)

Calf massage:
• Come to all fours and take one shin and wedge it into the crack behind the opposite knee.
• Gently press down on the back of the knee to widen and release the flesh there.
• Work your way down the back of the calf in three or four stages, pressing into the soft tissue and releasing any knots.
• End with crossing one ankle on top of the other and sitting back.
• Repeat on the second side.

Arch massage:
• Sit back with one instep pressing into the opposite arch.
• Hold this position for 30 to 60 seconds, releasing the flesh of the arch.
• Repeat on the other side.

Vajrasana (Thunderbolt Pose) with the toes curled under
• This should be a little easier now.

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) variation
• The common variation is to cross one knee behind the other and sit back in between the heels.
• In this variation, press the shins together and sit back without letting them come apart.
• Do this variation twice. The first time, support your self with a block. The second, try to balance.

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose)
• Do the common variation, keeping the hips level, sitting up on a block or blankets to achieve this if necessary.

Seated Garudasana (Eagle Pose) twist.
• In a seated position, cross the right leg over the left and hook the foot behind the left ankle.
• If you are unable to hook the foot, press the shins together.
• Roll to you left, so that the right leg is on top and walk the upper body around to the left so that it lengthens out behind you.
• hold for 30 to 60 seconds and then do the other side.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Utkatasana (Furious Pose) with a block between the thighs

Utkatasana (Furious Pose) with a block between the thighs INTO Uttanasa (Intense Stretch Pose)
• Once in Uttanasa bend the legs, deepen the hip creases and lengthen the sides of the trunk down towards the floor.
• Work on straightening the legs without losing the depth in the hip crease, perhaps not straightening them all the way in the pose if necessary.

Virabhadrasana 2 (Warrior Pose 2) INTO Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose) INTO Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose) INTO Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose) INTO Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose) flat back only
• Start with the front leg a little bent to get the depth in the hip crease.

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose) flat back only INTO Virabhadrasana 3 (Warrior Pose 3) INTO Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose) full pose

Vajrasana (Thunderbolt Pose with a blanket behind the knees

Virasana (Hero Pose) with a blanket behind the knees and the hips on a block.

Virasana (Hero Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Dwwnward Facing Dog Pose)

Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand) on the chair

Ardha Halasana (Half Plough Pose) on the chair

Shavasana (Corpse Pose) legs on the chair


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Inversions Update

Pasted Graphic
No Practice Lab this week. Kristen and I were kinda wiped out by the clocks going forward this weekend and the soupy, rainy weather today, so we did some long-held restorative poses and pranayama. Great fun for us, but not so interesting to read about.

On the plus side, however, I’ve completely re-vamped the inversions section of the poses area with thirty-six (!!) new poses. I’ve gone a little crossed-eyed from all the image editing and typing, but I think it was worth it.

W
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Intermediate Group Class

King Dancer Pose
This sequence continues the ideas from previous weeks about softening and widening the big muscles of the back--gluteus maximus, latissimus dorsi and trapezius--and unlacing the spine from the back.

Many of these poses are asymmetrical back-bends and can be thought of as “twisting” back bends as one side gets pulled towards the back leg. When, say, the left leg is back, widen the left back ribs away from the spine and around to the sternum as you widen the right ribs away from the sternum around into the spine. Keep the bones and muscles wide and full so as not to pinch along the spine. As you turn, differentiate the upper ribs from the shoulder girdle, so that the twist can happen inside the collarbones, arm bones and shoulder blades.

The Sequence


Utkatasana (Furious Pose) on ropes
• Hold onto rope and hang in the pose to stretch out the back.

Parivrtta Hasta Padangusthasana (Revolved Hand To Big Toe Pose) with foot on ledge

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)

Parivrtta Trikonasana (Revolved Triangle Pose)

Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior Pose 1)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Pincha Mayurasana (Forearm Stand)

Eka Pada Bhekasana (Single Leg Frog Pose)
• Repeat on both sides.

Padangustha Dhanurasana (Big Toe Bow Pose)

Eka Pada Raja Kapotasana 2 (Single Leg King Pigeon Pose 2) variation at the wall
• Lean forward and reach the arms up the wall to stretch out the back.

Parivrtta Parshvakonasana (Revolved Side Angle Pose)

Eka Pada Raja Kapotasana 2 (Single Leg King Pigeon Pose 2) full pose

Hanumanasana (Hanuman’s Pose)
• Support the pose by stacking blankets/bolsters up underneath you.
• Keep the trunk upright, shoulders over the hips, and the arms down by the sides.

Natarajasana (King Dancer Pose) variation
• Do the pose with the standing leg bent and the raised leg resting on a chair.

Natarajasana (King Dancer Pose) variation
• From the above variation, shift the weight forward onto the front leg and come to stand.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose)

Parivrtta Uttanasana (Revolved Intense Stretch Pose)

Ardha Halasana (Half Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose) with the legs up on a chair


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Kristen Davis Interviewed at Elephantbeans

Pasted Graphic
My dear friend and co-conspirator in yoga, Kristen Davis, has been interviewed over at the very entertaining and eclectic Ashtanga-based blog Elephantbeans. Kristen’s ideas on integrating Alexander Technique with Iyengar Yoga have had a great influence on me:

“My teaching comes out of my own experience, the dialogue between my mind and body as I practice. This dialogue comes out of all my years of Alexander Technique and the way I apply it to my yoga. The mind and body have a symbiotic relationship. The mind must coach and cajole, the body responds, and the mind is rewarded with an incredible sense of peace and serenity.

Step 1. The mind must observe, simply see what’s there, as is, without judgment. Be willing to meet the body where it’s at, in that moment.

Step 2. The mind must put an end to any nonsense—inhibit or stop any habitual pattern, any negative action, any effort that is misplaced.

I say that with a certain strictness, but really this is where there’s a lot of coaxing and cajoling. We are often dependent on these habits in very deep ways (on an emotional level); they don’t release easily. Knowing this, the mind can guide and imagine, but ultimately the body will respond in its own time, on its own schedule, so there has to be a certain looseness, playfulness. You can’t be tied to the fruits of your labor; you can’t take yourself too seriously .

Step 3. Then the mind must tell the body what it WOULD like it to do, direct the actions it wants (the actions that will better organize the body and take it deeper into the pose). There is a cooperation between the mind and body –the action cannot be forced, but must come out of an integrated sense of ease. Again playful, exploratory.”


Check out the whole interview for more yoga goodness.

(Interestingly, there’s a short piece in Fityoga Magazine about this very subject this month. I’d post a link to their site, but it’s kind of a crappy magazine and they haven’t updated their site since August, in any case.)

[source: elephantbeans.wordpress.com]

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Year of Yoga: Week 10

yoy2009banner

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.

March 5


Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

Child’s Pose

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Utkatasana (Furious Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose)

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose)

Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior Pose 1)

Parshvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)

Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior Pose 1)

Virabhadrasana 3 (Warrior Pose 3)

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)


March 6


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)

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) forward bend without the arm variation

Adho Mukha Virasana (Downward Facing Hero Pose)

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

Janu Shirshasana (Head of the Knee Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


March 7


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

[In the following sequence, flow seamlessly from pose to pose.]

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana (Upward Facing Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Vajrasana (Thunderbolt Pose)
• Jump or step forward into pose from Adho Mukha Shvanasana.

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)

Vajrasana (Thunderbolt Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
• Jump or step back into pose from Vajrasana.

Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana (Upward Facing Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Vajrasana (Thunderbolt Pose)

Paripurna Navasana (Full Boat Pose)

Vajrasana (Thunderbolt Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana (Upward Facing Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Vajrasana (Thunderbolt Pose)

Ardha Navasana (Half Boat Pose)

Vajrasana (Thunderbolt Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana (Upward Facing Dog Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Vajrasana (Thunderbolt Pose)

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose)

Vajrasana (Thunderbolt Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch 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)


March 8


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch 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)

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose)

Marichyasana 3 (Marichi’s Pose 3)

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose)

Marichyasana 6 (Marichi’s Pose 6)

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose)

Ardha Matsyendrasana 1 (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose)

Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose)

Pashasana (Noose Pose)

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Halasana (Plough Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


March 9


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

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Shalabhasana (Locust Pose)

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)

Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose)

Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana (Upward Facing Dog Pose)

Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior Pose 1)

Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)

Virabhadrasana 3 (Warrior Pose 3)

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)


March 10


Parvatasana in Virasana (Mountain Pose in Hero Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

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

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

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

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Bharadwajasana 1 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 1) with the leading arm bound behind the back

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

Bharadwajasana 1 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 1) with the leading arm bound behind the back

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

Bharadwajasana 1 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 1) with the leading arm bound behind the back

Shirshasana (Head Stand) prep only
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)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) over a bolster

Shavasana (Corpse Pose) with a blanket or bolster under the trunk

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


March 11


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 10


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Level 1 Group Class

Table Top Pose

The idea this week was to stretch out the front of the body by opening up the hip crease: lengthening down from the hip crease into the thigh and stretching up from the hip crease to the top of the head. Keep the lower back from crunching by widening the back ribs, lengthening the buttock flesh down the body and stretching the sides of the waist up towards the head.

The Sequence

Camel Pose
Opening Stretches
• Lie on the back with the feet flat and the knees up. Wrap the arms across the chest and hugh the shoulder blades. Stay here for a minute or so to soften and widen the back body. At the half-way mark of your time here, change the crossing of the arms.
• Still on the back with the knees up, reach the right arm over head, resting it on the floor. Bring the left hand across to the top of the chest on the right side. As you inhale, reach through the arm. As you exhale, keep reaching through the arm and press the chest down into the floor. Widen the back ribs.

Opening Vinyasa
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Child’s Pose
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Uttanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Lunge with the back leg straight
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Lunge with the back leg straight, second side
Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Child’s Pose

Urdhva Hastasana (Upward Hands Pose) with a belt around the wrists
• Press out into the belt and widen the back

Utkatasana (Furious Pose) with a belt around the wrists
• Press out into the belt and widen the back

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior Pose 1) with the hands on the hips

Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior Pose 1) with a belt around the wrists
• Press out into the belt and widen the back

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Lunge Sequence
• Back leg up, hands on the floor
• Back knee down, hands on the floor
• Back knee down, hands on blocks under the shoulders
• Back knee down, front foot on one block, one hand on second block under shoulder so that trunk is lifted
• Back knee down, block under back foot, toes curled under, one hand on second block under shoulder so that trunk is lifted.

Purvottanasana (Intense East Stretch Pose) Table Top Variation with the hands on blocks

Vajrasana (Thunderbolt Pose) with Pashchima Baddha Hastasana (elbows clasped behind the back)

Purvottanasana (Intense East Stretch Pose) Table Top Variation with the hands on blocks

Ushtrasana (Camel Pose) with the feet up on a bolster

Ushtrasana (Camel Pose) either repeating with the bolster, or toes curled under, or full pose

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) holding the ankles with the feet on a block

Reclined buttock stretch
• One ankle on the opposite thigh, draw the legs in.

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) holding the ankles with the feet on a block

Salamba Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand) with the feet on the wall)

Parshva Bharadwajasana (Side Bharadwaja’s Pose) on the bolster

Shavasana (Corpse Pose) with a bolster under the knees


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Practice Lab

Head Stand 1 DetailHead Stand 2 DetailHead Stand 3 DetailBound Hands Head Stand DetailFree Hand Head Stand Detail

This time, Kristen and I decided to work on the advanced head stand variations. Kristen had the idea of balancing out the front and back across the shoulder girdle by widen both the broad fibers of the trapezius and the pec minor/eyes of the chest.

The Sequence

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2) with the leg on a bolster

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2) with the leg resting on the floor

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose)

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Ropes 1, 5-8 rounds

Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Ropes 1, 5-8 rounds

Pincha Mayurasana (Forearm Stand)

Ubhaya Padangusthasana (Both Big Toes Pose)

Marichyasana 3 (Marichi’s Pose 3)

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)
• lift the head up to touch the raised shin.

Marichyasana 6 (Marichi’s Pose 6)

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

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

Prasarita Padottanasana (Widespread Feet Pose) with Head Stand arm variations
• Shirshasana 1
• Shirshasana 2
• Shirshasana 3
• Baddha Hasta Shirshasana
• Mukta Hasta Shirshasana

Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1) free standing

Shirshasana 2 (Head Stand 2) free standing

Shirshasana 3 (Head Stand 3) against the wall
Baddha Hasta Shirshasana (Bound Hands Head Stand) against the wall
Mukta Hasta Shirshasana (Free Hand Head Stand) against the wall

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Niralamba Sarvangasana (Unsupported Shoulder Stand) against the wall
Karnapidasana (Pressure on the Ear Pose) against the wall

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


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