Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Help Your Students Feel Their Energy

Many students, especially beginners, don’t realize they are feeling their energy when they are. They confuse the feeling of their energy with the feeling of their physical body. Here is a great series of poses that will help your students get the sense of their energy versus their physical body. In fact, some of my very beginner students who are not yet even connected to their bodies well have gotten this exercise.

Have your students begin in Tadasana (Mountain Pose). Have them really feel the pose so they can compare how they feel now with how they will feel in a moment. You will then do a series of standing poses. You will do one pose to the right and then a different pose to the left. Then another to the right and a different one to the left. Here is the series I do. There is no magic to the order. Just be sure to remember what you did so you can repeat the series the other way when you are done to balance out your energy. What is great about this order is all the poses that may need a block are to the right so your students don’t need to move it.

Turn your feet to the right and do Trikonasana (Triangle Pose). Then turn your feet to the left and do Virabhadrasana II (Warrior II Pose). Then to the right do Parsva Konasana (Extended Side Angle Pose). To the left do Parsvottanasana (Pyramid Pose). To the right, do Parivrtta Trikonasana (Revolved Triangle Pose). Finally, to the left, do Virabhadrasana I (Warrior I Pose). Return to Tadasana (Mountain Pose). Take a moment and ground your pose (as best you can!) Feel the imbalance? Quite significant. There is a feeling like you are tipping or twisting to one side.

We purposely created an imbalance in the body. The imbalance, though, is mostly energetic. We used all the major muscles on each side of the body so physically we are relatively balanced.

Be sure to do the series to the other side to balance your students out!

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Reversing the Cycle of the Breath

Here is a wonderful exercise for letting go. I often use it as a visualization for Savasana in my classes. I find it especially helpful in a restorative class.

In our culture, we view the cycle of the breath as beginning with an inhalation and ending with an exhalation. There are cultures in which they view it going the other way, beginning with an exhalation and ending with an inhalation. For your Savasana, encourage your students to use this image of the breath. Have them first exhale, releasing whatever they are holding on to, creating space in their body, mind, and heart for something new. And then have them inhale and bring in wonderful new energy to fill those spaces.