Sunday, August 29, 2010

Yoga Adjustments for a Deeper Practice

There were only three of us in the Flow class today and the benefit of a small class is that Azmi got to observe and went round to adjust and assist each of us to go deeper into the poses. As Azmi has been my teacher since I started practicing yoga, I have learned to trust him to take my body to places where I didn’t think I could go to as I believe the teacher-student exchange during adjustments is a very important. Instead of resisting the discomfort, I have learned to use his breathing to help me to go deeper into the pose which has helped me to progress in my practice. From his adjustments I have learned to become more aware of how the body should feel in a particular pose and I will try to execute the same alignment required for the said pose the next time I do it.

Azmi adjusted me in Triangle and Half-moon pose by asking me to lean back at bit against his leg and he used one hand to stabilize my hips while the other hand pressed my shoulders slightly up towards the sky. The adjustment helped to open the heart more and with him holding my standing leg, I could pressed on it more firmly to lengthen my torso.

In Gomukhasa or Cow Face pose, I have always been able to do only one side i.e. hooking my right hand on top to my left hand at the bottom. For the other side, I would need a strap or towel. This morning with Azmi’s assistance, I managed to lace my left fingers on top to my right fingers at the bottom and could feel a deeper stretch along my shoulder joints and rotator cuffs as I lVeaned forward to hook my chin over my knee.

The other pose that I got a great adjustment was during Urdhva Dhanurasana or Wheel pose. By holding Azmi’s ankles to lift up, I could lift higher in the pose by straightening my arms more and with his hands around the sides of my torso and his palms covering my shoulder blades encouraging them to widen away from the spine, I could feel the difference in the backbend in this assisted pose as compared to doing it on my own as it gave me the extra height to open up my shoulders and chest without feeling compression in my lower back.

Each of us received Azmi's magic touch during Savasana where he gently pressed our shoulders to open the chest and gave a light massage to the neck before slightly lifted our head to lengthen and release the neck as we relax into the pose. It was a wonderful way to end a great practice.

Namaste, Cikgu Azmi.

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