There is an art to yoga and a path each class travels along. The journey begins slowly, quietly and aims to open the body with gentle movements. The destination is what is called a “peak pose” and each sequence gradually builds up to the class crescendo. Along the way, you may recognize poses that are frequently used to bring us through class, into our peak pose and back to a gentle, relaxed state. These are powerful, foundational poses that bring our practice together in harmony and choreography.
Samasthiti: Also known as “Mountain Pose”, Samasthiti is our most basic, foundational pose. With hands at heart center, we are given the opportunity to look within. For an additional challenge, you can close your eyes and test your balance. Anatomically, Samasthiti helps us correct our posture, firm the abdomen and glutes, relieve sciatica pressure and reduce flat feet. When coming into Mountain Pose, build from the ground up. Feel your feet against the floor, engage the arches of your feet, strengthen the legs, firm the core and stand tall. Energetically, this pose is empowering and grounding and will be your home base as you journey through class.
Virabhadrasna I: With roots in the Bhagavad-Gita, Warrior I is challenging in its simplicity. This pose can be more of a mental test for yogi’s. Realize that not all bodies are created the same and move in different ways. The goal here is to find peace, stillness and acceptance within the pose. This is where we become our own spiritual warriors. Connect mind with body and find inner strength.
Uttanasana: Where Warrior I is our strength, this Standing Forward Fold is our flexibility and release. What seems to be a simple pose is actually quite complex internally and energetically. Uttanasana requires strength from our core in order to allow our head to hang and bring forehead to knee. It requires balance and focus. With knees straight or bent, we can release the tension in our back and hamstrings to gradually increase flexibility. Uttanasana is also an inversion and encourages us to see the world from a different perspective.
The next time you find yourself on the mat and in one of these poses, remember not only the physical alignment of the pose but also it’s energetic purpose. In this energy find it within you to go deeper into the pose and release.