Monday, March 20, 2006

Learning the Ropes

This is an Iyengar wall.

These are just a few of the fun things you can do with an Iyengar wall.

But the funnest thing you can do with an Iyengar wall involves not the ropes hanging from up high, but the the mid-level rope (see them, pictured at knee level?) Back to that in a moment.

Today, I taught my two Vinyasa classes at Yoga Sutra. Exhilerating! Lots of energy. Ten people in the 12:15 class, mostly level I/II. Five people in the 1:15 class, all level II/III. So, essentially the same class plan, but it played out so so differently from one class to the other.

After teaching, I expanded on a tip I received via email from DK, who sometimes comments on this blog (and when she does, always has something incredibly useful to say), combining it with stuff I've been reading on First Trip To Mysore (regarding Vekatesh's backbending intensive, which uses the "hanging from ropes" methodology, among other things) and went in to explore the Yoga Sutra Iyengar Room...

...with it's gorgeous yellow walls, green ropes, big ole phonebooks, Iyengar rugs (much thicker and squishier than Mysore rugs), bolsters and some strange balance-beam-type contraption designed and built by the Dmitri Shapira. Anyway, based on what I read in First Trip To Mysore
, I pretty much knew exactly what I wanted to do with those ropes. I started out by taking two low ropes and threading them around groins (a/k/a hip creases), kind of like a makeshift "thong", stood firm, and then slowly dropped back. It was sooooo cool. This worked my legs for a while, and then I decided that I could accomplish something similar and yet different by threading one low rope around my waist (padded with an Iyengar rug) and dropping back from there. By putting the one rope around my waist, I was able to use my leg strength AND really deeply contract my spine. Finally, I decided that I wanted to use the ropes to open up my armpits in the context of backbending. So, I used the low ropes again around my groins, knelt on the floor and dropped back to reach my hands (or rather, as I discovered to my dismay, my fingers) to the floor behind me, as in Kapotasana B.

It was awesome. AWESOME. I so so so want one of the Iyengar teachers at Yoga Sutra to give a backbending workshop using the ropes. I asked Kelman if that would be possible. Need to email him on that to remind him...

Anyone else interested in that? If so, let me know...much easier to make things happen in numbers...

My practice this morning was very very good. I have nothing more to say than that. I wish I did. But I don't. I'm all gabbed out on the backbending stuff.



samasthiti said...


Back bends will come for you, even without all this stuff.
You haven't even made it through primary yet.
Give it some time!

yoga chickie said...

None you worry...I am really loving the backbend right now, for whatever reason. I am not attempting any Second Series stuff...just working on opening up my chest in order to make my current practice easier and more pleasurable. No dark side! I promise!


Anonymous said...

what is the name of the yoga studio who held that workshop?
can you e-mail the info please

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Northern Westchester, New York, United States
I live by a duck pond. I used to live by the East River. I don't work. I used to work a lot. Now, not so much. I used to teach a lot of yoga. Now not so much. I still practice a lot of yoga though. A LOT. I love my kids, being outdoors, taking photos, reading magazines, writing and stirring the pot. Enjoy responsibly.


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