Thursday, April 30, 2009

Tadasana is standing up for yourself to withstand adversity in life!

One of the most amazing poses of Iyengar yoga is tadasana and how you are taught to execute and perform tadasana. The instructions flow in the following manner:

1. Join your feet together and firmly plant your feet evenly on all your toes, the ball of your feet and your heels
2. Pull your knees up (or in Pune speak "suck up your knees")
3. Roll your shoulders back to open up your strenum and pull your trapeziums down
4. Your head is straight in a neutral position
5. Your fingers pulling down and straightenyour arms all the way.
6. Your glutes tightened

Tadasana translates into the mountain pose. You are standing tall, sturdy like a mountain, that can withstand storms, rain, snow even when it blows its top off, the raging lava just flows down, it doesn't stick. Tadasana translates to that inert strength we have to stand up and withstand all adversity, and helps us be fearless and calm.

So if you are ever being beaten down in life, you feel overwhelmed, you lean too much on one leg or the other in stress and lethargy, just remind yourself to get into Tadasana and let all that negative energy, fear and lethargy, flow out of your body, from the tips of your fingers, the crown of your head, the gaze of your eyes, the opening of you chest, soles of your firm feet, and even spread of your toes. Then let your intelligence just permeate through and little you know it you will find that spark to withstand any adversity and help you to stand up and withstand it. This is how you stand up for yourself and your rights!

This is the power of Tadasana, the king of standing poses.


The Yogi

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Fighting the battles - learning to conquer Adho Mukha Vrksasana

Well folks my bloggers block has persisted though I have been writing but on other blogs and for other reasons so that preoccupation has taken away time from this blog. I am continually challenged by the loss of the ability to perform arm balances, such as Adho Mukha Vrksasana. My sessions with Nuvana have been all about building the strength in the arms and upper back needed for the lifting, but the added weight of about 20 pounds mostly around the belly has been restricting the lifting of the hips. But something interesting happened in class the other day. She had me go to the ropes instead and jump up holding the ropes in Sirasana form. You are upside down, but holding the upper ropes in your hands, and you are in lying down prostrate position flat against the wall, but inverted.
There is tremendous pull on your arms as you literally stand upside down, but the head is in the air. After a few seconds, your legs come down to the floor, over your head, like a high angle dog pose. You are ready for lift off again.

Believe it or not my legs went right up, just as if I was performing an Adho Mukha Vriksasana. The hips felt light, and the inversion was almost in slow motion. What helped? It was the support of the hands and arms with the ropes. That provided the energy and the support to lift off.. Eureka! Its not the hips, its probably not the weight, it is the ARMS and SHOULDERS! That is my nemesis.

Imagine if you could do the same in life, clearly understanding and identifying your challenges, how much more access you have to resolving them. Ironically I am on a parallel track of another challenge, a fight, a battle.... I need a similar exercise to find the source of the problem that is creating this battle and how to overcome. I think I have a good teacher to help me with that, but at the same time I have to keep trying....


The Yogi

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Where has been the yogi been???

I am sure many of the regulars are wondering what has happened to my blog posts. I am suffering from writers block I think in addition to a very hectic travel schedule that included a week of R&R with my munchkins for Spring Break in San Diego and Disneyland. My yoga practice has deteriorated to once a week. My weight is up 10 pounds adding to my struggle with arm balance poses. My hips are just not moving, yada yada yada... and I have been spending more time reading blogs, including that of the a famous Indian movie star Amitabh Bachchan and a Mumbai based writer Shobhaa De, whose book Superstar India I read last year.

Amongst all this I end up in San Francisco for a trade show and it opens up an opportunity to find the best Iyengar yoga studio in town. I had already done that research when I met Rita Manuso, Manos Manuso and two other teachers from Abode of Iyengar Yoga. I had to take a class from Manuso, now matter how intimidated I was made to feel by others. And what a class it was. It reminded me of Pune and the intensity. This was an experience I will not forget. I introduced myself ahead to him and he basically encourage me to absolve myself and take it as it comes. This class was all about shoulders and neck and he made us do some very interesting poses, including a paired up Shirsasana on a pole. Manuso gently corrected me a few times. I had already warned Rita I had trouble with lifting up on arm balances, so when it came to Pinchmayurasana, she was right there assisting. me.

Instructions were rapid fire, blankets and blocks were Punesque and the studio large, airy, aesthetically designed with a great sun roof, natural light, even though it was cold and windy as hell outside. The class couldn't have been more perfect, we were all huffing and puffing, and some guys stripping of their shirts, which was a first as the heat emanated out of our bodies going from pose to pose. It was an amazing class to say the least. I would highly recommend anyone visiting SF to take one of Manuso's public level 2-5 class. Show up early, he turns away late comers.

I had promised David I would come to his class next day at 7 am. I couldn't make it, I was sore as if I had 3 days of uninterrupted weight training. I am still sore, so I am resting again today. Maybe I will go tomorrow afternoon.

Off to my trade show now....


The Yogi