Transitions in a Yoga asana practice

transitions-wordle

Transitional poses are the poses (and movements) between the poses. Some are obvious some are not.

The transitions are where the puzzle pieces fit together. They piece together a vinyasa practice. If we think of yoga as a journey, and the poses as the destination, then the transitions are the vehicles we travel in.

Transitions give us space to be aware of where we’re going but also where we’ve been. They are the bridges to the bigger picture. The full expression of a pose can come from the place within the transitional space.

Think of that moment between Plank and Cobra….we called it Chaturanga, we think of it as a pose but what it really is, is an opportunity to float between the poses. It is a continuation of the exhale of Plank into the inhale of Cobra.

Transitional poses are important in preparing you for the next pose. Both physically and mentally, they give your mind time to shift from one pose to the next and help you to prepare to shift your weight and give attention to alignment.

Some transitions aren’t really movements or poses but moments between the poses. An example would be Warrior I to Warrior III, both are poses and there isn’t a specific bridge to get you from WI to WIII, BUT that ‘moment’ when you ground your front foot and begin to float the back leg up, that moment is your transition. Give some thought, time and appreciate it’s importance to your practice.

When you are aware of the transitions in yoga you can focus more on breathing and movement instead of rushing to finish the sequence.

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OM Shanti

Cheryl

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Be Gentle

Being gentle with yourself doesn’t mean lying around doing nothing

Being gentle with yourself means practicing ahimsa with yourself

Being gentle with yourself is a gift…. Not only to yourself but to those who love you

Being gentle with yourself means recognizing your light and doing what is needed to fuel your fire

Being gentle with yourself today is needed

When yesterday depleted you

And tomorrow looms

Be gentle

For tomorrow may kick your ass and then you will be thankful for today

Be gentle once in a while

You are worth it

~c

Om Shanti

Restorative Quote

Exploring Parivrtta Sukhasana

Parivrtta – to turn around or revolve 
Sukha – with ease, pleasure, bliss
the ever-present Asana – pose, posture

As we move into any version of seated twists, try not the use the arms to create the rotation, instead lift through the torso using the breath, rotate using the obliques and then release the arms (wherever they land) to hold you securely in the pose.
Sukha baby Sukha… move with ‘ease’ not force….

There are two schools of thought regarding seated twists, 1) keep the sit bones firmly anchored and the pelvis still or 2) move with some rotation in the pelvis allowing for movement in the twist.

Now most teachers seem to pick one or the other. But really you can do it both ways, it just depends on what you want (need?) from the pose.

When you are firmy anchored, you need to achieve even more lift through the bandhas to avoid torquing the lumbar spine and creating real problems in the sacrum. Anchoring allows for isolation in the obliques and other specific muscles in the torso and while that limits your range of motion,  it builds a great deal of strength, And that’s good, right?

When doing the 2nd version, you’re allowing some mobility in the pelvis and sacrum and your body is moving in a more ‘real world’ i.e. funtional way. Think about sitting on the floor playing with catch with the dog or a child and the ball rolls a little past you out of reach, so you rotate the torso, reaching the arm back, the navel center rotates in the same direction as well and you lift the left hip taking it with you as you move, this type of movement uses more muscles, less isolation and gives you better range of motion. Well that’s good too.

Just remember either way you do the pose, you need to keep the arms out the equation. Don’t use them to tug or pull you into a pose, that’s using unnecessary force. I think it is Judith Lasater who says ‘dont use the arms as weapons’. Remember it’s all about the Sukha.

Twisting poses,  from the simplest sage twist to most elaborate binding twists, are nourishing for the body. Twists massage and stimulate the organs, improve circulation and digestion. Twists help to restore a more natural range of motion to the spine.  They also……

  • Stimulates the liver and kidneys
  • Stretches the shoulders, hips, and neck
  • Energizes the spine
  • Stimulates the agni (digestive fire) in the belly
  • Relieves fatigue, sciatica, and backache
  • Helps with anxiety, stress and tension

A version of  ‘Sage Twist’  Bharadvajasana showing the fluidity in the pose

A point to remember, if you have arthritis in the spine or scoliosis please seek the advice of a qualified teacher before doing anything other than the simplest of seated twists.

Have fun exploring this in your next practice.

My dear friend Lori and I doing a partner version of  Parivrtta Sukhasana

  

Om Shanti

Cheryl