Returning to the Basics
an essay by Gail Bruner, Sunset Yoga Center student
At Sunset Yoga Center I attend classes as a level 3 student; yet my path still draws/leads me to explore level 1 classes.
• to find strength and balance while being still and standing firmly on the legs, Samasthiti.
• to return to basics; such as tree pose, (Vrksasana), triangle pose, (Utthita Trikonasana), warrior II, (Virabhadrasana II ), side angle (Utthita Parsvakonasana), and intense lateral stretch, (Parsvottanasana)
All of these poses help me to connect with my feet, to use my legs differently and not to fall into habits so quickly.
Moving is invigorating to me. As a young person I was involved in competitive sports. Training and practicing precision movement, balance and strength for hours each day was a part of my life.
• My energy level raises by going upside down in full arm balance, (Adho Mukha Vrksasana)
• My energy level lifts in upward bow, (Urdhva Dhanurasana).
• My sluggishness slips away when I am practicing forearm balance, (Pincha Mayurasana).
• My alertness increases when practicing camel pose, (Ustrasana).
• My stable feeling returns when I go upside down on my hands, (Adho Mukha Vrksasana).
But it is by returning to the basics that I learn to pay attention to my mechanics.
Now I am still often amazed how much Iyengar yoga level 1 and level 2 classes have to offer me. When I return to the basics I am able to stretch in places that have scar tissue, strengthen muscles that would like to over stretch and I can lengthen my stiff shins and feet. I notice how one side of my body works stubbornly as I reflect and pay attention to my breathing, my mind slows down, the chatter in my head decreases and I can move into a quieter place.
The noncompetitive nature of Iyengar yoga classes makes room for greater kindness, thoughtfulness, patience; reminding me to create a solid foundation.