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Sundays at Noon ~ Level One Yoga ...

Jessica Sunshine Klein
9/26/10 Backbends and Love.

Backbends elongate the spine helping us with posture and our breath.  They uplift the spirit, open the heart chakra (Anahata) and strengthen the muscles around the heart and lower back.  They create stability emotionally, physically, and mentally.  Opening the heart area, may bring up emotional issues.  Go with it.  Remember we are stimulating areas, do not irritate.  Backbends are the most stimulating and energizing poses.  They counter the tendency to collaspe forward in daily life, keeping our hearts open to receive and give.  Extend evenly throughout the spine and avoid over-bending.  The five secrets to succes in backbends are:  SPACE - ALIGN - STABILITY - ELONGATION - EXITING POSE .

"The yogi who discovers happiness and joy from within is also illumined solely from within.  That yogi becomes one with God and marvels in the ectasy of God.  Those who have realized their unity with Brahman (The Absolute) are the sages from whom sin and doubt have dropped away.  They have transcended the dualities of nature and delight in the welfare of all beings."
-Bhagavad Gita (Chapter 5: 24, 25)

Let the backbends open your heart to shine on those around you.  Radiate your light proudly.

OM Hari OM opening chant.  Heart opener laying down with the top of a block hitting the bottom of the shoulderblades (bra strap area).  Then sit on block in Sukhasana (easy seat), show two variations: heels coming together and shins crossed with ankles under knees.  Sukhasana forward bend, walk hands to the left and right.  Body circles, shoulder shrugs and rolls, neck rolls.  Table, Cat/Cow, Adho Mukha Svanasana (downward facing dog), Balasana (child's pose).  Vinyasa (moving with the breath) Balasana, Table, Adho Mukha Svanasana.  Uttanasana (standing forward bend) > Ardha (halfway) Uttanasana with a block.  Surya Namaskar (sun saluations) with Lunge.  Bhujangasana (cobra), Shalabasana (locust) prep and pose, Dhanurasana (bow).  Pelvic tilts, Setubhanda Sarvangasana with a block at the sacrum - expand the chest here.  Dandasana (staff pose), Paschimottonasana (west back stretch), Janu Sirsasana (head to knee pose).  Ardha Matsyendrasana (half lord of the fishes pose), Savasana with guided relaxation containing tensing parts of the body one at a time and then releasing, a complete body scan, attention to the breath, and then attention to the peace behind the breath.  Rest in the peace which is your True Nature.

Pranayama -  Deergha Swaasam - Three Part Breath - Begin with a complete exhalation bringing the navel to spine.  Then inhale into the abdomen, the ribcage and the chest.  See if you can expand the collarbones.  Hold the breath for a moment and fully exhale from chest, the ribcage, and the abdomen.  End the exhalation by bringing the navel to spine and then begin the next round with an inhalation.
Meditation on breath leading in from the three part breath practice.  Notice how the breathing slows.
Ending chant: Lokah Samasta Sukhino Bhavantu - May all beings everywhere be free and happy.  May they be filled with peace and joy, love and light.  Namaste.


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