Practice Lab: Core Poses (from "Light on Yoga")

I think I’m starting to develop a full-blown obsession with Mr. Iyengar’s sequences in the back of “Light on Yoga”. After a week of teaching a modified, simplified version of last week’s Practice Lab (see this week’s intermediate group class to be posted this Thursday), I’m starting to see how these sequences work. Remarkably, they seem to be all about core strength and organization. I thought I’d try a few more of them over the next few weeks. Here’s a slight modification of the next day’s sequence, day 6 from course 2, on page 474 of the Schocken edition of the book. This practice is more straightforwardly about core strength, featuring long holdings in the inversions, boat poses and twists.

The Sequence

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)
• 5 minutes.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)
• In the book he calls for 15 minutes, I was only able to do 7 as my neck is a little weak at the moment.

Urdhva Dandasana (Upward Staff Pose)
• 1 minute.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)
• 10 minutes.

Halasana (Plough Pose)
• 5 minutes.

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)
• 5 minutes.

Upward Facing Intense West Stretch Pose 1
Urdhva Mukha Pashchimottanasana 1 (Upward Facing Intense West Stretch Pose 1)
• As illustrated.
• 1 minute.

Paripurna Navasana (Full Boat Pose)
• 1 minute.

Ardha Navasana (Half Boat Pose)
• 30 seconds.

Supta Virasana (Reclined Hero Pose)
• 5 minutes.

Krounchasana (Heron Pose)
• 20 seconds.

Malasana (Garland Pose)
• Mr. Iyengar class for Kurmasana (Turtle Pose) here, but I find it usually does a number on my sacrum, so I substituted.
• 1 minute.

Supta Kurmasana (Sleeping Turtle Pose)
• If, like me, you have troubles with this pose as well, do a preparation by placing the feet on a block or bolster with the heels touching. Open the legs up into a square shape, as if you were going to go all the way though them into the full pose. Instead, however, hold onto the feet and extend the trunk forward.
• 1 minute.

Ardha Matsyendrasana 1 (Half Lord of the Fishes 1)
• 30 seconds.

Pashasana (Noose Pose)
• 1 minute.

Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (HAnd Stand)
• 1 minute.

Mayurasana (Peacock Pose)
• I was unable to hold the balance for the full time, so I did the pose with the feet on the floor.
• 1 minute.

Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward Bow Pose)
• 6 times, holding for 20 to 30 seconds each time.

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)
• 10 to 15 minutes.


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