“Hurricane” Yoga

Greetings from Philly!

The sun is out and we are hanging out with some good friends after a lovely workshop with the amazing David Garrigues.  Looks like all the hype about the hurricane was merely that – hype, sensationalism and fear mongering.

Boyfriend Yogi and I are on the road again!  We are heading up to Maine for awhile, then jetting out to California.  For the next two weeks our focus is going to be music, beach time, catching up with old friends, doing yoga, reading and relaxing.  It’s been a long summer with a lot of work and some hard times, so we are ever so grateful to be able to take this time to recharge and have fun!

We are going to practice Mysore with David tomorrow morning at his beautiful new studio.

Today’s workshop was entitled “Mula Bandha and the Most Glorious Channel”.

It being a moon-day, our practice was very slow, prop-heavy and with very little actual movement (not a typical day at an Ashtanga shala!).  We chanted yoga sutras and discussed many subjects of the subtleties of the Sushumna Nadi and Bandhas.

We stuck these skinny, long sticks down our backs and strapped them on tight with belts around our waists.  We used this stick as a tool to find our alignment with the central axis – sushumna nadi – “the most glorious channel”.  We worked slowly with a few positions of Surya Namaskar with these sticks down our backs.  No doubt we looked a little odd (it reminded me of my father’s stories about his mother sticking a yardstick down his back at the dinner table to teach him good posture!) but it was really illuminating.  This practice made me really focus in on the small muscular and skeletal adjustments needed to find my central axis and activate my bandhas.

Then, still with the sticks down on our backs, we worked with seated postures such as dandasana, pascimottanasana and janu sirsasana A using a chair against the wall and other props.  Even though the postures we quite simple and we used lots of props, it required quite a lot of effort, focus and attention.

Next we practiced pranayama. The wind was blowing outside strongly and we definitely tapped into the energy of Vayu!

I love practicing pranayama.  We practiced breathing in strokes with kumbaka but also just brought our awareness to the sushumna nadi using deep powerful ujjayi.  Sometimes I almost feel stoned when I breathe that long and deep – all that prana really is consciousness altering!

David is a magnificent teacher – so engaging, interesting and authentic.   Practicing with him and simply reading his blogs encourages me to turn to the more mystical and subtle realms of the practice and the philosophy.  I am so grateful for my teachers.

Hope everyone is safe and sound.

Blessings,

Love Frances

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