Monday, January 16, 2012

January 16, 2012
             ONE YOGA with Yusuf-Quddus Erskine DO

Tonight's class began with me sharing a few thoughts about the recent NY Times article on Yoga (Jan 8) which has quite a few people agitated.   It is a delusion to think that Yoga is uniquely 'protected' from the risk of injury. I think with the publishing of this article, it is a good moment to remember that Yoga is about yoking, or integrating body, mind, spirit; it is about being fully present in your body, opening your being and the practice of  balancing strength and flexibility.  The article attempts to bust the notion that you can do yoga and not be concerned about injures. It  especially, focuses on  yoga classes, with examples of teachers prodding, pushing or overextending students resulting in injuries, some which have been permanent.

  When doing yoga, truly doing yoga, I have always encouraged students to tune within, to find an interior point of reference, observing locally and at the same time globally, as you move through yogic poses or Asanas.  Another way i speak of it, is for you to be in the zone around the edges of your capabilities;  after entering the zone, back off from your edge and utilize the breath, not the will or muscular strength to explore opening and releasing.  

I know i am dating myself, when i talk about the 'good old days'; the late 60's and early 1970's when yoga first broke into American mainstream consciousness.  However, the yoga I was exposed to was taught as part of a transmission of information, interior knowing, and an integrative relation to your body, mind and inner being.  The outer form may have been less defined, without 50, 100 or 250 hours of training certificates, but the student did not get invited to teach until the intention, inner insight and yoked experience was grasped. 

Yogic teaching included the tenet of ahimsa or non-violence, toward oneself and toward one another.
Therefore, instead of focusing on say 'the slaying a tight hamstring', one practiced developing attention skills, focusing locally and globally in your body, stretching,relaxing, letting go, and moving towards greater openness via concentration and relaxation;  and allowing transformational release to occur. The practice of concentration is called Dhyarana in yogic philosophy. With the practice of concentration, the yogic student can explore the triad of concentration, contemplation, and meditative realization.

(In my workshops, when we have a few hours to explore the depth and scope of yoga, I generally include explorations involving this triad. 

Yoga relies on the breath and prana or life force which is infused in the breath to be directed through the breath to open and vitalize the body, allowing the release of  restrictive strain patterns in the body, whether structural, traumatic, emotional or psychological in origin.  The practice of conscious breathing is called Pranayama and is a core tenet to the practice of yoga.

In the last couple of years, I have been encouraging the 4-7-8 Buddha Breath because of its ability to promote the fuller expression of the parasympathetic autonomic nervous system (core functions: sleep, eat, breed)  and to disengage, reduce the sympathetic (fight or flight) autonomic nervous system, which has been 'entrained' in our modern civilization, and finds its expression with disease patterns such as hypertension (high blood pressure) and heart disease.

So, continue to explore yoga,  ONE YOGA!  Enjoy the opening of your body, promote the flexibility of your mind as well as your body, expand the spectrum of emotions you are able to feel and express; and reconnect with your inner self!


Yusuf Quddus Erskine DO


ONE YOGA:  January 9, 2012
Second class of ONE YOGA 2012 winter series tonight focused on shoulder and upper extremities. Of course we warmed up, standing. Then we did a deep, sun salutation, exploring, deepening and opening up as we prepared for unwinding the shoulders.
Great group of students tonight. Drop in's welcome if you have some prior yoga experience.
Namaste! yusuf quddus

Monday, January 2, 2012

January 2012 ONE YOGA Class

First series of 2012 is off to a nice start. 

After centering breath work, we started with the cervical area tonight,  exploring cervical (neck) range of motion, gross and subtle.  Unwinding the myofascial cervical realm!

Then, we explored deep forward folds, culminating in the STAR pose, holding it as a restorative pose.
After this deep, relaxing forward fold, we transitioned to supine bolster supported lordotic curve enhancement stance.  Unfolding and lengthening our spines.

Deep final relaxation culminated the evening.

Drink plenty of water and sleep well tonight!

Yusuf Quddus Erskine DO