Sunday, March 28, 2010

Toe-tal Revelation

Sequence One* in the back of the book, Light on Yoga helps the yogi to find their feet and to balance well on them, activating all around the legs. It strengthens the legs, ankles and feet. I leave this practice with easy, open, deep breaths and a calm nervous system. My neck even feels good.

Utthita Trikonasana
Utthita Parsvakonasana
Virabhadrasana I & II
Salamba Sarvangasana I

One thing that I think has led to my revelations after my practicing this sequence has to do with the way I am practicing these poses. I've gone back to review Mr. Iyengar's written instructions earlier in the book, and it has really added to my sense of the poses.

On one reading about Tadasana, I took a fresh look at balancing equally on the bases of my toes and heels and continuing this approach to the feet in the following standing poses, too. On a later reading I retrieved the extension and grounding of the metatarsals-toes. It was such a revelation! I was so much more stable when I extended my toes and plugged the ends into the mat, not gripping, just extended and strong toes! After practicing like this I was walking around with such powerful-feeling legs. I could feel all around my thighs working, and really strong in the outer-shins, too!

At first it reminded me of the years in my early to mid twenties when I did yoga from a book. I liked it. But over the days of working with this sequence of poses, with the direction coming from the earlier text, I have integrated it and it feels like mine. And of course my students are also getting a fresh breeze of new instruction based on what I am learning and reviewing here.

*Thanks to Ariana and Jenny at Light on Light on Yoga! Seeing their blog helped me to remember that I wanted to look more closely at these asana sequences in the back of Light on Yoga.


YogaforCynics said...

I've never tried using sequences from a book, always preferring, when practicing on my own, to just kinda be spontaneous...then, my home practice has never been particularly satisfying, and has fizzled out almost completely of late. That's partly because at the end of the summer I started getting unlimited passes so that I can go to as many classes as I time allows, but, lately, I've been getting a bit frustrated with always having somebody else call the shots(though my teachers are all very open to suggestions and requests). So, I was thinking maybe I should write out sequences for myself...but, then, since I'm no yoga teacher myself, it'd probably be a really good idea to at least base them on those in Light on Yoga or Desikachar's book...but, now I'm just self-indulgently thinking onto my keyboard in your comments (not the first time, I know...) so will just leave ya with a namaste...

Anahita said...

I recently finished "Light on Life" (Wonderful. I'm sure I'll re-read several times) and finally bought "Light on Yoga" just the other day. I'm looking forward to exploring/reading it and integrating what I learn into my own practice :)

Linda-Sama said...

that's interesting because when I was teaching in Africa I asked the students to lift their toes and then extend them one by one (forgot what pose they were in) and they had a very different experience in the pose.

I totally intuited* this whole toe thing you wrote about.

*never read it in LOY...go figure

Unknown said...

practicing those without a mat can be enlightening. it forces you to activate the feet in a different way. i like doing that from time to time.

Eco Yogini said...

you know, using my toes has been difficult for me- since they usually just go up... annnnd... down. lol.

I HAVE noticed however, after the years of practice, that they move SLIGHTLY more when I flex them now to extend them on the mat... YAY for toe flexibility!!!! :)