She Who Controls the Thermostat Controls the Yoga Class Flow

poweryoga The noon Power Yoga class I teach is held in an on-site facility, the main control for the thermostat being managed by the building/property management -not the health club.  In summer the yoga studio area was broiling and I had to bring in fans – there seemed to be no A/C coming in.

Today, there was a very gusty breeze from the vents and it was freezing – so cold that even I did not break a sweat, and one of the thinner ladies in class threw a towel around her shoulders to stay warm. Even the Group Coordinator commented on how it seems as though during winter they turn the A/C on for some reason.

Class went well in spite of the cool environment and I felt well enough to go through some of the postures. Towards the end of class when I usually do a few stationary asanas I attempted to demonstrate Sirsasana (headstand) – I got as far as one leg up, the other parallel to the floor in what looked like an “L”, but I just don’t have the abdominal strength or dexterity.  The students were not keen on Headstand anyway.  So I showed them Urdhva Vrksasana (handstand) modified by making an “L” with feet pressing into the wall, and attempted showing them kicking up into Handstand with legs towards the wall, again my kick up fell short as I did not want to break a toe over kicking, and did not have the strengthen to actually use my muscles to glide up.  Again, students were unmoved to try the posture – one even said – “that twisting sitting one is a challenge enough to get my foot tucked behind me” – so we did Garudasana (twisted eagle), Natarajasana (lord dancer), & Vrksasana (tree pose) and called it a day.

Grow Your Tree (Pose)

  • Start by finding neutral. Come to standing and find your balance. For men big toes touching, for women feet fist distance apart is acceptable. Find a place where you are evenly weighted in your outside edges of your feet (big toe and little toe ball mount joints) and from the front inside and outside of the heel.  Imagine spreading the flesh of the foot.
  • Open the hip. Perform a hip opener by bring the knee up in front and slowly out to the side, then rest the foot on the ground.  This is a swing gate like motion to warm up the hip area and help you to realize your range of motion in the present moment.
  • Position your foot.  Now bend that same leg and guide the foot to the inner portion of your standing leg.  Be sure to keep the foot above the ankle joint and below the knee or above the knee completely. You can see several modifications on the photo above.  You do not want to put pressure on the joints. Hands at heart center in namaste mudra.
  • Work the pose. Concentrate on the energy in the standing leg, lengthening your spine, especially releasing the tailbone and creating space in your lower back. Breathe and fill the lungs and your body with energy. When you are done release and repeat.

Challenging Yourself

  • Time.Your first challenge is to build stamina in the pose.  Count your long smooth yogic breaths. See if you can hold 10 breaths, then 20, and so on.
  • Movement.Bring the hands to heart center and focus on the finger tips, slowly as you inhale raise the hands up and follow them with your gaze, lifting the chin. Hold several breathes and on exhale bring them back down.

This pose is great for the whole family it has many benefits including:

  • Strengthens thighs, calves, ankles, and spine
  • Stretches the groins and inner thighs, chest and shoulders
  • Improves balance and concentration
  • Helps alleviate sciatic syndrome
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