Yoga Radio: April 8, 2015 – No Radio Show Today

Due to schedule conflicts of the radio hosts, there will be no radio show tonight, April 8, and next week, April 15, 2015.

Please check back on April 22, we’ll have a show as scheduled.

Namaste!

In the mean time, please suggest a topic you are interested in for the show, or if you’d like to help out in some way, just let me know…. dan@yogastudents.org

February 4, 2015 No show tonight

The Snow and Technology Spirits are in Full Force!

After spending a full day moving snow out the way on Monday, I now have (weather based?) issues with the internet… If you are a loyal listener, I want you to have a great experience.

The connection is not good enough to be listenable, and I’ve got the people at Comcast coming out tomorrow to look at everything.

Which means, we’ll (hopefully) have a great show NEXT week (Feb 11), with David Angsten!

Stay tuned, and we’ll see you next week!

Yoga when traveling

This summer I’ve had occasion to head out of town several times, a couple of times on business, and a couple of times for vacation. Here’s what I do for yoga when I’m away from home…

I still need to use some props for the various poses. I bring a travel mat (Nike, got it at Sportmart) that is very lightweight, two Hugger Mugger foam blocks (with the center “structural” board, the blocks look a little like a sandwhich, with the foam on the outside, and a stiff center ‘board’, the blocks are very lightweight, and very sturdy), and two d-ring belts.

This is a very nice setup for the following reasons:

  1. – it is very lightweight (maybe about 3 lbs total)
  2. – it takes up very little room in my luggage
  3. – it’s just about all that I need for props… the hotel room usually has some blankets in the closet, and an open wall

Nike travel mat, Hugger Mugger lightweight blocks, and Hugger Mugger D-Ring strap

Nike travel mat, Hugger Mugger lightweight blocks, and Hugger Mugger D-Ring strap

I have used this setup at the end the work day.  I head back to the room for some relaxing yoga posture sequences. It really did take the edge off of the day. I did a short practice on the morning of the day I flew back to home, before going to the airport. When on vacation, it’s a great way to start or end the day!

For the yoga sequence, I get to ‘treat myself’ to whatever I want. I usually do some standing poses, forward bends, an inversion or two (viparita kirani (legs up the wall) and/or setubanda (bridge pose, using the blocks), or salamba savangasana (shoulder stand) if there are a couple of blankets in the room). I have a couple of things that I’m working on, i.e. forward bends back/spine flexibility, that I add to mix, and I also try to spend a little time on a pose that I’ve tried and would like to understand more.  My special treat last week was to work on Tadasana (mountain pose). It was great to spend some time just feeling and trying to understand such a fundamental pose. If you get a chance, try it out!

What do you bring in your luggage when you travel, and what kind of sequence do you do when you’re on the road?

Analyzing my first sequence

My question this week is:

How do I develop a set of sequences that I can use for various days of the week?

Eventually, I’d like to have 1 month of sequences that I could use for my personal practice. Right now, I’m going to apply myself to figure out how to do one sequence.

My approach to this is to use the very first sequence in the back of “Yoga – The Iyengar Way” by Silva, Mira, and Shyam Mehta and see if I can figure out the logic to the sequence.

sequence_analysis

To do this, I wrote down the sequence by hand onto a sheet of paper.

Then I looked up the poses in two books: “The Key Poses of Yoga: Scientific Keys, Volume II” by Ray Long and Chris Macivor, and “Yoga Sequencing: Designing Transformative Yoga Classes” by Mark Stephens.

Here’s what I discovered…

1. Yoga – The Iyengar Way book was a truly ‘information dense’ book, with pictures and a descriptions of each pose, and a listing of many sequences in the back, which suggest a 2 year program (or longer). All of the sequences are ‘handed over’ without much or any discussion on WHY the asanas were chosen in that order.

2. Ray Long’s book was excellent at showing the muscles that are used in a pose, and how the contract or are released (blue, and red colored, in the pictures).

3. Mark Stephens’ book has a section where the poses are listed alphabetically. For each pose, it lists the parts of the body that need to be open, and those parts that need to be stabilized. It lists the poses that create the openness and the stability, and which poses you can use the asana as preparation, and which poses for which it is a ‘counterpose’.

Using these three sources of information, I found that the sequence listed in the Yoga – The Iyengar Way  class was very thoughtfully designed: all of the steps in the progression were ‘preliminary poses’ for a later step, and most steps were preceeded by 3 ‘prelimary poses’.

My next steps are tries to outline additional sequences, and look for the pattern of how the sequences are assembled. I’ll have more on that in a future update to the blog

Getting started on a home practice

ThinkingMan_RodinFor the last couple of weeks I’ve been waiting for the answer to ‘appear’ to me, the answer about how to approach a home practice. Yesterday was New Year’s day, I had a new thought on the matter. Why would I approach yoga any different than anything else in my life?

Perhaps it took two weeks to make this connection because of both the complexity and the simplicity of yoga.

It’s simple, just do the practice (which is the part I’m trying to define) and the results will come. That’s the beauty (and the paradox) of yoga, if you have a regular practice, and stick with it long enough, the results will be attained. At one level, it doesn’t matter if you understand what you are doing, or the ‘theory’ behind it. Just do it! The wonderful thing is that this is true for anyone of any age of any ability.

But how can it be true that the benefits are available by ‘just doing‘? Why is it in my classes that the instructors are giving precise instructions to each pose, pointing out the various muscles to contract or release, and the alignment of the body and the joints, that’s not quite ‘just doing it’! If everything is available by ‘just doing’, why are all these instructions coming at me?

Ok, perhaps it’s not available by just doing‘, it’s more like the benefits are ‘not available without doing‘. Sort of a double negative makes a positive? Like the formulas:  ‘-1 * -1 = 1’ and ‘1 * 1 = 1’  If you’re curious, here’s a link to something you can ponder.

I’ve decided that I need to do a practice everyday, or else the benefits won’t come. Action brings results.

Now for the complexity, and it can be complex. In order to understand the ideas and internalize the concepts, I’m trying to compare yoga concepts to things that I already know.  There seem to be some similarities to music or the machines I have at work (these machines stuff envelopes, fold paper, and I have a big network of computers doing all sorts of functions).

Guitar LessonsLet’s start with music.  I took guitar lessons from a couple of wonderful teachers while I was young, and learned all sorts of things. There are the strings and the frets. You push down on a string with your left hand, and pluck the string with your right hand. The note changes based on which string your hand is on, and which fret. And, not so oddly, the frets are located so that the strings play various notes and the whole instrument is tuned so that you can play any note, over a wide range.

To learn the guitar, you start by doing. There is theory, like scales (relationships between tones) and how to combine notes to make chords. Then you get into keys, which are the ‘scales’ or sets of notes that are in the song, or a portion of a song. You’ve heard the “key of D” (this might be a song like Jingle Bells),878_Jingle_Bells or minor keys such as “A minor” (this might be a blues song, like the great Les Brers in A minor by the Allman Brothers)lesbrers

And there is the structure of songs. Songs have an introduction, a main melody, sometimes they build up to a peak, and then a ‘cool down’ to the end. Along the way, there are portions that resonate and portions that create discord (a ‘tension’ between the notes). There are repetitions of the melody, and variations on a theme.

InsertingMachineRegarding the machines at my work, the more that I look at them and watch them in operation, the more that I understand them. The basic design of the letter inserting machine was developed in the 1920’s. Since then, it has been improved and refined, most lately with the addition of electronic controls. Recently I was adjusting the settings for a complicated job, and had the opportunity to study a small section of the machine. I looked at the part of the machine where one piece of paper is pulled from the bottom of a stack… there were 11 possible adjustments in that one area. I wondered why those adjustments were consciously built into the machine. I concluded that the engineers that study, invent, design, and manufacture these machines designed the adjustments so that during certain types of production, the machine runs smoothly.

While standing at, staring at and thinking about that machine, I realized that Mr. Iyengar has acquired that kind of knowledge of the body and mind, by studying it for 75 years within the context of yoga.

LanSwitchesThen, add the computer infrastructure at work, with the connectivity within the building via our LAN and to the ‘outside world’ via the Internet. Many of the functions of these computers are called services or ‘daemons’. The computers wait for an inquiry of some sort, and then respond. Each service has it’s own function (i.e. a web server, email server, telephone service, etc). This alone has taken years and years to put together. And as I progress, so do the capabilities of networks and computers in general. It is a never ending process of self renewal and advancement.

How does one learn all of this? I guess you could say ‘the hard way’, or perhaps ‘the only way’. Trial and error, lots of experiments, many times of frustration or lack of progress, and a cumulative increase in knowlege and capability over time.

Why would learning and progress in yoga require any different than these other areas? The answer that came yesterday is that it isn’t fundamentally any different.

My intention is to apply all of the learning skills I acquired in these other domains over to my interest in yoga.

Here is my approach:

  • A daily practice (you’re interval might vary)
  • Be able to identify the major components of the ‘big picture’ of yoga
  • Take a small portion, such as a muscle movement, a pose, or a pose sequence, and investigate it, play with it, make adjustments, understand how it works, internalizing the knowledge so that it is available for recall and use without effort
  • Move to the next small portion.
  • Understand the fundamental components of yoga
    • Body parts: bones, muscles, connectivity
    • Poses: position of joints, muscles used or relaxed
    • Sequences: how to understand the basics of sequencing the poses
    • Class construction: Startup, energy ramp, peak, cooldown
  • Experiment with generating my own classes

Welcome All!

For me, yoga first started out as a way to counter the 25 years of computer work, sitting in a chair, and spending endless hours working on various projects. My friend Mike did yoga, and I asked cheap jerseys him if I could join him sometime. Looking for a companion to go down his path, he heartily arranged the class, focusing on Iyengar certified teachers… he was 63, and I was 54.

Now, more than three years later, we’re still at it, and tied I’ve found cheap nba jerseys it the to be extremely beneficial. One our teachers moved jerseys away, and we’re looking for a replacement.  While we are figuring this out, I decided to do the thing that from I do the most… sit in a chair and work on a computer. This time it’s an effort to provide connections between yoga students like me that are looking for information on how to proceed, to advance in their studies and knowledge. Let’s we have some fun along the way!!

I’ll be populating the site with information over time, and with cheap nfl jerseys any luck, you’ll cheap jerseys find it useful. Have something to share? Let me know and I’ll put it on the website. If you would like to be a guest blogger, that can be arranged, too!

Namaste,

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Information and Community for Yoga Students