VIDEO | February Asana Spotlight: Standing Sq (Ashtanga Vinyasa Baby Series)

Welcome to the standing part of the Baby Ashtanga Vinyasa sequence (not suitable for beginners), with the theme: Rooting Down to Create Space. FYI: Filmed in 2020 (amid a move!) – thank you for your understanding re: the space and stay posted for more vids later in the year when I have recovered fully from recent medication detoxification.

The standing sequence helps build strength and stability, also helping you develop a connection to your anatomical body. Please make sure to read the health and safety information below as well as asana specific notes including various modifications (mods) and assists (use of props).

We practice Ahimsa, non-harming, the first of the Yamas (universal moralities); meaning non-harming to yourself, to others, to the world and to animals. So don’t do anything which will cause you or anyone else harm. PLEASE make sure to warm up beforehand (click HERE for warm-up and Surya Namaskar videos), bringing in your dhyana (meditation).

Remember to set your devotion / intention, practicing Bhakti Yoga (devotional yoga) by offering up your practice to someone you love or someone you perhaps find challenging. Most of all, Yoga is a practice OFF the mat. We find compassion, strength, discipline, concentration on the mat, to become compassionate, strong, disciplined and attentive off the mat. Make it a selfLESS practice. And come back to this intention, devotion, during and after the practice.


General notes:

Health and Safety note on pregnancy: Please do not practice in your first 12 weeks if you are pregnant, and make sure to have clearance from your doctor; practicing after 8 weeks (minimum) after you have given birth.

Yogasana is comprised of four physical components: dhyana (meditation); asana; pranayama (Ujjayi for the first few years); japa mantra (Guru Mantra at the start of your practice, Gayatri to close).

Activate your Pada Bandha (Foot lock – essential for all standing balancing asasas), by rooting down into the earth with your feet – balancing the weight equally across all four corners of each foot, growing tall out the crown of your head.

After your Namaskar Sq, start in Tadasana and approach the Standing Sq by breaking it down into three parts: 1) Standing Part 1 (Padangusthasana until end of Vasisthasana ‘side plank’); 2) Warrior [3] Part; 3) Standing Part 2 (From Prasarita until end of Garudasana ‘Eagle’*)

– Always come back to your Tadasana, your Mountain, your Equal Standing place. Find your balance, find your breath (Ujjayi Pranayama), and then progress to the next part.

ASSISTS AND MODS

 Belt / long sock for reaching foot or binds. Belts will assist you while you progress with learning the different baddha hasta (bound hands) alignements for standing asanas in Ashtanga Yoga (binding hands in, for example, Eagle).

– Wall for extra balance and stability (Tree/Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana/Eagle); press foot against wall for alignment and balance in Warrior 3, for example.

– Chair / Cupboard / Couch (i.e place hands on couch or a stable chair for balance in Vira 3). Use with caution and rather use a wall! – Wooden/Cork Blocks (or thick and stable books) under your hands (i.e. Adho Mukha Savasana ‘Downward Facing Dog’, Prasarita 1, Standing Splits)

 Props for Forward Folds – Bend your knees slightly in forward folds including (Uttanasana; hands behind ankles, knees bent for beginners). You can also use a chair in Uttanasana and Prasarita (ragdoll arms with forehead resting on chair – use a folded blanket/mat or pillow if more comfortable. No pressure in neck and face at all! Cannot expand if tense!)

Further Notes for Assists; Health & Safety tips (re: Standing Sq Asanas)

-Props (general) – Please have blankets, pillow under/cloth folded between for any knee issues, blocks under sitting bones for cross-legged seated (Sukhasana) and (optional) blocks under your hands in Adho Mukha Savasana (or books!) to help elevate you and raise your hips in your inverted V-shape. You can also use something (sweater; cloth) to cover your eyes with for your own savasana if you choose to end the sequence after this video – remember 5m savasana per every 30m practice!

Adho Mukha Savasana – Use blocks under your heels in Adho Mukha Savasana (Dowward Facing Dog) or keep your knees bent and heels lifted, working gradually to get your heels down to the floor. Don’t rush. Keep it safe!

Uttanasana: Option to bend your knees slightly in forward folds (mod: hands behind ankles, knees bent for beginners).

– Prasarita sequence:  In prasarita padottanasana (Wide angle forward fold) you can take the following modification: hands on hips; bend knees for lower back or tight hamstrings; use a belt to wrap around your big toes for Prasarita D. For those new to the practice, remember to take it slow – listen to your body – and can use a chair to place your forearms and head – on top of a pillow – onto until you build the flexibility to fold forwards and place hands and crown of head on the mat.

– Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana: Use a belt if you can’t reach your foot in Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana (Extended hand to big foot pose), or just bend your knee (with opp. hand resting on it) as the alternative modification.

– Knees: Place padding under your knees for any knee issues in Anjaneyasana; and watch out for over / under extending the knee above the ankle.

– Take Balasana (Childs pose) at any point – this is still an active asana, you are still breathing! There is no hierarchy!

To practice the full six-video series, click here: https://sarahclairepicton.blog/2021/01/12/baby-primary-ashtanga/

Note on filming: This was filmed in London, 2020 during lockdown and amidst moving house (appreciate your understanding re: the space – but my aim is not to make this video look pretty, it’s to share the gift of Yoga and help you build a practice – wherever, whenever! Keeping it authentic is key.

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