Monday, November 28, 2011

Nov 28, 2011 final 2011ONE YOGA Series Class 1/5

Great Class this evening!  Tonight's class was mostly a standing pose series.  Yet, not one based on the Sun Salutation! 

After taking a few moments, to explore personally our intentions for this class series, we began on our feet, focusing on grounding our feet and feeling how our bodies adapt to changes; whether we carry ourselves in front of or behind the axis of gravity.  Working with standing stretching poses, we explored elongating our bodies and focusing on Side Bending as a primary mechanism for unwinding and opening our bodies.

Alternating between broad side bending stretches and localized side bending, we peeled away fascial restrictions experiencing progressive releases.  At appropriate intervals, we switched into rotational stretches, before re-approaching the side bending releases.

Deep forward folds and progressive backward bending poses were explored and held ' in a restorative yogic approach', allowing the breath to open us up in concert with gravitational support. 

Then, down to our mats for unwinding cobras and pigeon poses; cat tilt, pelvic tilt and table pose transitions; and backward leg raises!

Deep restorative relaxation time capped the evening!

There are still 4 Monday classes left in 2011. 

Come share with us, as we move forward in our common goals of getting healthier and more flexible.

Yusuf Quddus Erskine DO

Monday, November 21, 2011


Tonight was the last class of the current eight week series, as the end of 2011 rapidly approaches and as we prepare for 2012. The feedback i have received on my blogging to date has been positive, so I shall give a synopsis of tonight's class for your perusal. 

We started with our backs on our mats and our legs up the wall; as we stretched up and acclimated, we brought our seats closer to the wall, with our feet forming a shelf on the wall.  We opened our hips and lumbar-sacral junctions with progressive stretches, following the general principle of alternating sides and enhancing symmetry.

For example, one straight leg toward the floor while the other straight leg remains at the perpendicular.  Holding the pose, breathing, and exploring openness!  Repeating on the other side; stretch, hold breathe and return to center. 
Then, mid-line stretch, bending the knees and bringing the bottom of our feet to the wall surface, breathing, and returning the sacrum slowly to the mat.  Repeating a few times to open up the lumbar-sacral area. 

Building on this series, we then bent the left leg at the knee and placed the left ankle on the right thigh toward the groin.  From this figure four pose, we drew the legs to the left until the left knee reaches the floor and holding the pose we turned the head to look at the right hand stretched out at shoulder distance from the wall.  Breathe, hold the pose and release tension from your bodies!  Next, we took the figure four configuration and shifted everything towards the right side, with the right leg at or near the floor to our right, the left knee toward the wall, and the head looking toward the left arm stretched out at shoulder level from the wall.   This was repeated turning toward the other side.  

Returning again to mid-line, we raised our seats again, this time letting the calves become parallel to the floor, and allowing the mid spine below the scapulae to be rolled on the mat.  SLOWLY, returning to the floor bringing the sacrum to rest, resting and then repeating the lifts again, several times, with attentive listening to our bodies as we promoted spinal flexibility . 

Turning the bottom of our feet towards each other, we began to draw the feet down the wall towards the groin, keeping the knees wide; breathing, releasing, and raising the forehead towards the wall on the exhales and rolling back down to the mat on the inhalations.  

Well, we progressed with side bending stretches with rotations to each side, and alternating the rotation of the knees, via various placements of the feet relative to the wall and the floor.  

We explored the plough, and the bridge and some of us experienced Chakradassana!  (the wheel pose)
I like to share inversions as part of the last class of a series, so keeping in that tradition we progressed into Shoulder stands.  We explored variations of the shoulder stand, with partial plough, and knees to forehead, feet to buttocks, raising and lowering the knees slowly and maintaining our balance.   No matter what level of openness, participants felt freer and more open and relaxed by this point. 

Before the final relaxation, I shared some Kundalini breathing work ( play!) practicing localization of our consciousness within the body and we moved slowly and rhythmically.  Using a metaphor of a elevator rising and lowering within a tall structure, such as the Eiffel Tower, we practiced localization and movement of our center of consciousness within our bodies.   Deepening this experience one step further, we drew our awareness to the spinal column within our spines and continued to work with breath, concentration, and visualization as we explored our individual ' Eiffel Towers'.  

Deliciously followed by a self guided final relaxation sequence- deep, conscious repose!

Join me for the last ONE YOGA series of 2011, starting next Monday evening for 5 weeks!
7:15 pm till 8:45pm, at Devi Yoga Center, Sebastopol, Ca. 

J Yusuf Quddus Erskine DO  

Happy Thanksgiving to each and every one of you!