For some of us, it’s time to pack away the slippers and open the windows – summertime is nearly here! For those reaching for the socks, my condolences (kidding!) Wherever you are, you’re welcome here. Yoga is about inclusivity, about love. And discipline. Whatever the weather, all of us stand to benefit from fresh air, daily practice, a proper belly (bandha) laugh and a good sweat! So, pull out the mat or find some grass for May’s asana spotlight: the Pacifying/Finishing Sq.
The Pacifying sequence asanas include inversions which, if practiced safely and correctly, help prepare you for the final asana, where your ego dies: Savasana or Corpse. Just a reminder for those new to the blog: this is not for beginners; please make sure you warm up first and follow the sequence in the correct order. Check out previous blog posts, or click HERE for a post including all six videos.
Enjoy and make sure to read the Health and Safety’s and Assists/Mods information listed below the video.
**Health and Safety’s (Scroll down for sq specific asana notes, namely assists & mods)**
Recommend getting all-clear from your GP before practicing. Try to listen to my voice and not look at the screen however tempting it is to look up. Do not practice if you are menstruating; have back or neck issues; have ear congestion, eye issues or glaucoma; suffer from high blood pressure or are pregnant. 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.
**ASSISTS & MODS for specific asanas in Pacifying sequence:**
– Salamba Sarvangasana (Shoulderstand – Queen of Asanas) – Do not practice if you are a beginner; Viparita Karani (legs up the wall) as your modification.
– Halasana (Plough) – Use a wall / chair to rest your feet on if they don’t reach the floor, then progress to feet on block(s), then toes on floor; then untuck toes. Do not force yourself into this inversion
– Karnapidasana (knees to ears) – Knees on forehead if you cannot reach ears. Wrap arms around legs to help bring knees closer in to ears.
– Matseyasana (Fish) – Don’t tuck your hands under your bum; forearms down, legs straight, feet together and toes pointer
– Sirsasana (Headstand – King of Asanas) – Please practice Dolphin (shishulasana) as modification, where you can use a block between your hands to build strength and alignment.
– Balasana (Child’s pose) – Place head on block or pillow if you cannot reach the floor comfortably. Place pillow/folded cloth between knees for extra support. Place block/pillow under bum if you cannot reach your heels comfortably when knees are together. Arms by your side. Eyes open, mouth closed; balasana is still an active asana!
– Padmasana (Lotus) – You can fold a belt/place an eye pillow in between your knees in Padmasana. Place Blocks/Pillows under your thighs and/or sitting bones in Padmasana (cross-legged asanas in general) to help elevate your sitting bones ensuring they are higher than your knees.
Alternative options / mods: Recommend taking Ardha Padmasana, half lotus, or Sukhasana, cross-legged easy pose, to avoid straining the knees, ankles, and hips.
– Savasana (Corpse) – Please practice Savasana for at least 10 minutes (5 mins per every 30 mins of practice). This is the most difficult of asanas as we let our ego die; practicing aparigraha (letting go), the fifth Yama (Universal Moralities which, combined with our five Niyamas – personal observances – provide a framework for living a moral life present-day.
Savasana assists & mods: Place an eye pillow or cloth over your eyes. Cover yourself with a blanket to stay warm. Prop a pillow or bolster under your knees if they are not touching the floor. Place a bolster/block on your belly to help maximise surface area touching the floor
Thank you to my many teachers, Stewart Gilchrist @ East London School of Yoga (ELSY) and Khaled Kendsi (Iyengar Yoga Teacher), and to my family for your support and love in this journey of recovery and change.
Keep fighting for LOVE (maitri; loving-kindness, friendliness) and COMPASSION (karuna; “…compassion coupled with devoted action…” – BKS Iyengar)