Updated: Feb 20, 2021
Prashant’s discussions are always wide-ranging, and this morning was no different. I won’t try to recap the two hours; instead, I will touch on a few elements that stood out for me.
One aspect we explored this morning was the effect of one Asana on another. For example, we did Utthita Trikonasana several times, each time preceded by a different Asana:
Adho Mukha Svanasana
Urdhva Mukha Svanasana
Prashant asked us to explore the differences in each rendering of Utthita Trikonasana. Was there a difference in the back concavity? In the dorsal movement? In the lumbar movement? In the openness of the pelvis?
We repeated this exercise with Utthita Parsvakonasana, again examining the effect of the different preceding Asanas. Prashant asked us to imagine the same exercise for Virabhadrasana II and Ardha Chandrasana.
Prashant expanded on a point he’d covered yesterday, i.e., the role of yoga in ‘toning’ the body or ‘burning calories’. He compared how two different Asanas would burn calories differently. Adho Mukha Svanasana is a ‘static’ pose; there is no gross movement in it. Burning of calories comes from intensity in doing the Asana, on focusing on firming the muscles and holding the pose for extended periods. Urdhva Prasarita Padasana, on the other hand, is a ‘mobile’ Asana. Burning of calories comes from the movement up and down of the legs, and also from the pace of movement.
He also touched again on yoga at different stages in life, using Abhijata (age 37) and himself (age 72) as examples. Abhi is still at the stage of toning the body, whereas he is at the stage of maintaining mobility, strength and balance. The Asanas might be the same for both of them, but how they are done is different. He used Adho Mukha Svanasana as an example. Abhi would do this Asana with firmness and long holdings in the middle of the room, whereas he would use the ropes to support the legs and hips and have his head on a bolster.
The overriding theme in today’s class - for me - was that yoga requires thought, not mere doing. How do Asanas affect each other? How do different Asanas help attain a student’s objectives? How can the same Asanas be adapted for the needs of different students?
Revisiting the basics in Iyengar yoga’ - thematic classes by Prashant Iyengar. These sessions are taking place from 12-19 February 2021. Don't forget to check out posts for other days in the program.
Carole Carpentier has been a student of Iyengar yoga since 2008.