Saturday, April 14, 2012

Tripsichore Yoga

I got a taste of Tripsichore Yoga when I attended Matthew Kemp's workshop on Thursday and in today's class with Daniela.  Being an Ashtanga practitioner, I might not have attended the workshop if I had known that the teacher would be teaching Tripsichore Yoga.  I always thought of Tripsichore Yoga as an acrobatic form of dance yoga with lots of impossible poses after watching this video.   

It was an eye-opener for me as I learned how to  incorporate the techniques from Tripsichore Yoga into my practice.     Both classes started with the Sun Salutations (Tripsichore-style) where emphasis is on the breath with movement.   The teachers reminded us to keep our abdomen lengthen, not round our back and keep our shoulders rolled back and down.  

It was an amazing workshop as Matthew showed us how we could attain the difficult poses such as inversions and backbends by working our breath and bandhas as shown in the video below. 

And it was another amazing class with Daniela today as she got us to hop into handstands on our own at the wall.   When one of the practitioners said that she needed to be assisted into the handstand, Daniela asked us to place a bolster at the wall and placed our head on the bolster as we hopped into our handstand.    The bolster managed to take off some of my fear of banging my head on the wall as I tried to hop up to a handstand on my own.  Although I did not managed to hop over to place my legs on the wall; using the breath, engaging my bandhas and keeping my legs working all the time helped me to go higher in my hops which I had never been able to do so before.    

The two Tripsichore classes gave me an insight on the importance of knowing how to work the breath and the bandhas and when we are able to apply this to our practice constantly, it will help to transform our practice.   

"When you open your mind to the impossible, you find the possible."

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Trial Classes

I have started looking for a new studio to practice and managed to get free passes for classes at Chi Fitness.

The first trial class was an Ashtanga class with Daniela Somasundram-Agnoletti last Tuesday.   Daniela led us through the sun salutations and pointed out that as we look up from the forward bend, to press our palms flat on the mat before we jumped back instead of touching our fingertips on the ground.  By keeping our palms flat, it helped to keep the core muscles activated before we crouched to bend our knees and kept the lift in the hips as we jumped back to Chaturanga Dandasana. 

We also practiced hopping forward in downward dog, bending our knees before straightening the legs and keeping our hips lifted high in the air as we jumped forward to land gracefully on our feet. 

I found the class tough as I had not been practicing for more than a week and my hamstrings had gotten tight and had to adjust myself to the different style of teaching of the poses. 

The second trial class yesterday morning was supposed to be a Hatha class but turned into an Ashtanga class as Ganesh, who is a traditionalist Ashtangi told us he only teaches Ashtanga.  It turned out to be an amazing class with the assists and adjustments I received from Ganesh. 

Ganesh led us through the sun salutations and standing poses and kept reminding us to stay active and not comprised the integrity of the poses. His counting and reminders of sound breathing kept me focused on my poses.   

When it came to the sitting poses, Ganesh let those of us who could do the poses carry on on our own while he teaches the rest of the class the poses.   When I reached Marichyasana D,   he came over and helped me to bind my hands and also adjusted my hips so that I could twist deeper in the pose.  

And in Supta Kurmasana, I received my deepest assist ever with my hands coming together high behind my back as he crossed my legs behind my neck although I lost the clasp of the hands just before he helped me to my feet which ended with me losing the pose to go into Titibasana. 

I managed to continue to do some of the poses in the Primary Series up to Prasarita Padottana (Wide Leg Forward Bend before Ganesh asked all of us to lie down to do the wheel pose followed by the closing sequence.  

I found both classes to be great as I received so many pointers to improve my practice and I will be going to my third trial class at Chi Fitness this afternoon; an Ashtanga class again but this time with another teacher, Kunal.

Update:  As I was the only one who turned up for the Ashtanga class, Kunal asked me to do a Mysore class instead.   As I went through the poses in the Primary series, he counted softly which kept me focused on my breathing and he came over to adjust some of my poses and helped me go deeper in some of them.  I had another great assist in Marichyasana D and for Supta Kurmasana, Kunal placed a towel between my hands which helped to keep the bind as he helped me to lift up to Tittibasana before jumping back.    He instructed me to stop at Supta K and asked me to finish the practice with the backbends (I could only do two wheel pose) followed by the closing sequence. 

After the class, Kunal gave me some encouraging and positive feedback on my practice and told me to continue with my Ashtanga practice as a continuous practice will help me to progress in the poses.