Half Moon pose, or ardha chandrasana, requires balance and focused attention as one leg supports the weight of the body and the other leg lengthens parallel to the earth, one arm supports the upper body and the other arm reaches skyward. When balanced, the posture enable as pure sense of flight, expansion and joy so. This week we will work to create stability in the legs so that we can take flight in half moon.
Revolved triangle pose, or parivrtta trikonasana, incorporates a deep abdominal twist with a standing variation of parsvottanasana. In order for the pose to be balanced, both sides of the waist must remain equally long. This week we will work towards creating this length to deepen the twist and ultimately make the posture more stable.
Upavista Konasana is a wide-legged seated forward bend with several variations for opening the hips, hamstrings, inner thighs and lateral torso. This week we will continue our exploration of forward bends through a standing pose sequence ending with this deeply releasing forward bend, all while keeping the lower back structurally sound and aiming for an attitude of surrender.
'Head of the knee" pose, or janu sirsasana, is a seated forward bend that requires open hamstrings and good awareness of the sacrum in order to practice safely and comfortably. We will begin by opening the hips, groins and backs of the legs with postures incorporating one bent knee and one straight leg. The sacrum in the pose should feel supported as the length between the pubic bone and navel is kept long, even when the pelvis is flexed. Imagine the length needed in this part of your lower belly to zip up your jeans zipper. The length of the lower belly should be maintained in all forward bends, and if you desire a deeper forward bend, allow the upper spine to gently release forward.
For years, the name janu sirsasana has been mis-translated to "head to the knee". If you are in the full expression of forward bend over the straight leg, the head is no where near the knee. In fact, to put your head on your knee you would need to round spine, something we are trying to avoid in this posture. The name actually translates to "head of the knee" referring to the bent leg knee. In order to keep the sacrum from feeling pinched in the pose, press the heel of the bent leg side into the opposite groin and lengthen out through the bent leg thigh to widen across that side of the sacroiliac joint.
I attend Cheryl's class regularly and feel that my practice has improved immensely over the past few years due to her expert coaching. Her teaching style is clear and compassionate and her previous experience in teaching adults is evident in her organized approach and easy to understand instructions. I also appreciate that Cheryl not only teaches us about how to correctly position ourselves, but also touches on many aspects of yoga philosophy, which in turn has deepened my personal practice and heightened my awareness of the connection between mind and body, breath and relaxation.