12 May 2018

Vintage sadhana

A sadhana is one's daily yoga practice.

I found this sadhana that I'd written thirty years ago, for a course that I was teaching, which included yoga. Actually I was teaching a small morning practice for energy, and a small one for evening which was about body toning. And there were no downward dogs, warriors nor chaturangas in the toning sadhana!

Thirty years ago, most people were more slender (including me... ) and that does make for quite a bit of agility. Moreover, it is easier to maintain body tone, when one is slender. What people did not have so much of, was body strength. Nevertheless, this wee practice was to ease people into a small daily yoga practice, in a time when not so many people were into fitness, nor knowing much about yoga. And this in particular, is for easing into learning an old-fashioned, yet excellent, version of Surya namaskara (salute to the sun).

I did this sadhana this morning. It was nice. I felt great afterwards. So here goes....

Warming up....
                                 Image result for yoga dynamic spinal twist seated
Dynamic spinal twist: Sit, with your legs as wide apart as is comfortable. Keeping the arms outstretched in one straight line throughout the exercise, inhale as you raise your arms out to the sides at shoulder level. Exhale as you twist your torso and take the left hand to the right foot, and the right arm to behind the back, keeping it as high as possible, looking back, toward the right hand. Inhale as you return to start, exhale to the other side. Inhale back to start.

This can be done in the above manner, about five times to each side. Or, move briskly, just breathing normally, 27 times each side.
                                        Image result for yoga butterfly pose

Butterfly: a) Sit on the floor, with the soles of the feet touching, and the knees are bent out to the sides. Place the hands on the knees, and bounce knees up and down, twenty-seven times.
b) Clasp the feet as in the above photo, and exhaling, gently push the knees towards the floor, using your elbows, as you bend forwards, aiming the head towards the floor. Inhale to upright. Do this five to seven times.

                                              Image result for yoga standing forward bend

Standing forwards bend: a) Standing, feet together, or a bit apart, with arms hanging by your sides, exhale as you drop your head towards your chest and then gradually relax the torso downwards as though there are no muscles in your spine, until you are down as far as you can do. Have the knees soft, bend them if necessary. Relax and hold the position, for five to seven breaths. On an inhale roll the vertebrae one by one, until you are back upright.
b) Standing, as above, arms by sides. Inhaling, raise arms overhead, arms straight. Drop head back, push hips forwards, weight on heels. Stretch back. Slowly straighten up, then exhaling, bend forwards until your arms and torso are at right angles to the floor, keeping head, torso and arms in a straight line. Then take hands towards the floor, either in front of you or alongside feet, head towards knees, drop back of the head down. Inhaling, swing the arms upright and stretch backwards again. Keep going backwards and forwards until you have done four times.
b) was done with straight legs......

                                               Image result for yoga kneeling lunge

Equestrian Pose/kneeling lunge: On the last time forwards, inhale as you extend the right leg back as far as you can, bending the left leg at the knee. At the same time, look up and arch the back. The weight of the body should be supported between the two hands, left foot, right knee and toes of the right foot. Exhale back to standing forward bend, and repeat on the other leg. Do three to five on each side.
                                            Image result for yoga downward dog
Mountain Pose/Downdog: Begin on the hands and knees. Tuck the toes under. Exhale and raise the buttocks high and straighten the legs. Hold the breath out briefly, then inhale back to all fours. Do three to five times.
                                            Image result for yoga striking cobra     

Striking Cobra Pose: Begin in the child pose, sitting back on heels, forehead on the ground, arms stretched in front of the body, wide enough apart for your body to pass between them Inhaling, bend the elbows as you slink forwards, keeping your chin and chest as close to the ground as possible, until your abdomen is on the ground as you arch the upper body back, look at the ceiling (cobra). Exhale to slink back to start. Do three to five times.Relax after in child pose.

Simple alternate Nostril Breathing: Sitting cross-legged. Raise your right hand, with the first two fingers between the eyebrows and a bit above that. Use your thumb to open and close your right nostril; ring finger opens and closes the left nostril. Close the right nostril; inhale left. Close left nostril; exhale right. In right, close right nostril as you exhale left. This is one round. Do five rounds.

Afterwards, have your eyes closed and be still, be present with yourself, briefly.


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