Monday, 12 November 2012


That homework assignment came back to bite us today – a 30 minute seated/twist series followed by Savasana that we were to prepare and teach to a partner.  We did a half hour or so practice with a teacher as usual, before the reigns were handed over and we had to fill an hour with our partner.  This is more difficult than it sounds.  We had to include –

Dandasana (Staff pose)
A forward fold of our choice
A seated twist of our choice
A reclining spinal twist of our choice
A final seated meditation

So, if you split these options up evenly, you’d have to dedicate five minutes to each.  That’s easy for Savasana and meditation, but Staff for 5 minutes?  Boring beyond hell, not to mention uncomfortable.  I partnered with Yogi C and somehow convinced her to go first.  She did really well and gives a killer head massage to boot, but she was frustrated by a good half of the class ending their partner’s Savasana time after about 20 minutes, meaning that while she was trying to keep me in Savasana, people were finishing up and talking and moving about.  I told you – 30 minutes is a long time!  I handled this problem my go around with the most logical solution – I cheated.  I strung it out as long as I could by splitting the forward fold into Head to Knee first on the left, then on the right, and then the same with half Cow Face, left, then right.  I also threw in Butterfly as well to counterbalance the twists, tortured C by making her do Boat, and then getting her to do a gentle inversion after the reclining spinal twists as well, throwing  a bolster under her hips and getting to hang out with her legs in the air for a few minutes.  By the time I’d crammed all this in, I had seven minutes for Savasana and meditation.  Perfect timing.  As one of our teachers pointed out afterwards, no one will thank you for cutting the class short – not when they’re paying $20-25 for a drop-in yoga class.
 The rest of the class was dedicated to backbends.  I don’t really like a lot of backbends because my spine has a tendency to twist and curve in strange places.  We covered Salabhasana (Locust, which I REALLY don’t like), Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge, which I do kind of like), and Urdhva Danurasana (Wheel, which I like when my back will let me).  You think yogis are peaceful people?  Think again.  There was mild open warfare in an argument as to whether or not you should activate your gluteal muscles when you’re doing these poses.  Our resident physio said yes, others said no, our teachers tried to be diplomatic.  (I say no, by the way, just in case you’re wondering, as you want to activate your hamstrings and push through your feet to achieve a bend in your upper back, which engaging your gluteus muscles will prevent, but that’s just my opinion).  If you’re ridiculously interested, there’s a great article covering both camps at Yoga Journal.  

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