Moving from one Yoga pose to the next reveals “conscious awareness.” Most daily activity becomes “rote,” meaning that routine matters are incorporated without thinking, once learned.
We don’t think much about lifting a fork and taking a bite of food from the dinner plate; we don’t contemplate every bite, we just taste it, chew it and swallow it. Most contemplative selection whether in eating or other activities become “rote.” However, Yoga is a practice that offers new physical/mental/emotional/spiritual challenges that serve the mind/body for improved health. Each Yoga move from one posture into the next is a thoughtful process of selection and demonstrated precise form. “Concentration” is important when learning Yoga moves and why moving slowly into postures and it’s not “rote.”
There is a great depth in visualization and reward with slow intentional movements through transitions from one pose to the next. A similar comparison is eating out at a restaurant and being served dinner. A very good “server” is a “thinker,” not just rushing through motions to “turn the table” and move on to the next person. The best “servers” have skills that flow through each step of presenting the food to you. Think about this comparison to Yoga. A server sets the pace of the dinner and the attitude towards the food. If you sit down and are rushed through by the server not providing menu details, not presenting you with water, a straw, napkins and essential items, the lack of care affects the entire experience. In referring to a Yoga practice, a thoughtful flow of postures is important. Thus, today’s Yoga practice focuses on “transitions.”
Let’s begin with “Cow Pose” and transition to “Cat Pose.” Think of these postures as the beginning of a sequence. Begin in a table top position with the body face down but lifted on the floor in a square. The arms are parallel holding up the core with a long straight back. The first move is to sink the abdominal muscles toward the ground. Hold the pose and repeat from a straight back to dropping the abdominals. Feel the flexibility of the move. Next, begin the transition into “Cat Pose” by sucking in the abdominals and rounding the back. Repeat several times, rounding the back, pulling in the abs and release back into a table top square. The slow repeated combination of these two postures activates the lower back and strengthens the abdominals. Be sure to inhale and exhale fully. Repeat several times to release tension and toxins.
Return the body to a “Downward Dog” position with the legs long and parallel to the back. Hold the pose before you transition into plank. In “Plank Pose,” you move the entire body forward, keeping the arms parallel, tight and long maintaining a straight back. Repeat the transition and let it flow slowly back and forth. Hole the “Plank Pose” a few minutes before returning to “Downward Dog.” In these transitions, focus on moving from the inverted “V” of “Downward Dog” by elongating the spine and lifting the tailbone. As you shift from “Downward Dog”, deeply inhale as you shift the body forward aligning shoulders above the wrist. Slowly lengthen the spine and keep the toes/feet aligned shoulder width apart.
When making transitions between postures, keep movements slow, intentional and with concentration. “Time” is the best teacher so have patience. Join the MWF Yoga classes at the YMCA, Sebring for a wonderfully challenging experience!