Teaching Peak Poses and Advanced Asanas

An almost inevitable part of yoga practice is the interest in “mastering” advanced asanas. Of course, yoga isn’t about who can stand on their head. It’s about your journey to stilling your mind (after all, asanas began as preparation for extended seated meditation). However, advanced asanas can act as a path to the true goal of yoga and to your deepest spiritual goals as well.

I started teaching yoga a few months ago. Kind (and brave!) friends and family members have volunteered as my students so I can gain some experience. I have developed a teaching practice where I have my students pick an advanced asana that they want to be able to do one day, an asana that represents some kind of real achievement or an overcoming of an obstacle to them. Then I work with them on the spiritual, psychological and emotional foundation of the pose before attempting the physical asana itself. Eventually, we begin physical preparation work, but not before the spiritual foundations have been set. My hope is that, once they achieve the asana, they will associate it with the virtue they have cultivated along the way. In this way, the asana can act as a philosopher’s stone, activating that quality when they need it most.

Here is an example of advanced asana and its prerequisite spiritual/emotional foundations (from my point of view):

Supported Headstand

Supported Headstand (Sirsasana) – To get into a supported headstand, one has to diminish any pre-existing notions of what one can and can’t do in order to go upside down. She will need to develop strength in her arms to create a stable foundation, which requires mental fortitude. She will need to cultivate the ability to open up the crown chakra in order to press the top of her head down and protect the health of her neck, thus establishing a point of stillness. So all-in-all the pose requires: trust in oneself, mental fortitude and stillness.

I created a new page for the Fourth Chakra website called the Asana Gallery, where I have begun documenting the asanas I have achieved along with the spiritual and emotional journey that helped me get there. I captioned every photo with the lessons I had to learn along the path to the realization of the pose. As I improve on my asanas and learn to execute new ones, I will upload new images with their corresponding lessons.

I hope the gallery will inspire you to explore your own asanas on a deeper, more meaningful level.

May you be filled with peace,

Screen Shot 2016-02-13 at 4.26.45 PM

Advertisements

15 thoughts on “Teaching Peak Poses and Advanced Asanas

    1. Thank you for stopping by! Yes, that’s a great observation! I keep noticing that even those who can access the pose easily physically tend to have “mental blocks” that prevent them from leaning into the pose more openly. Warmest wishes!

      Like

  1. i am almost afraid to admit this but you are RIGHT… i have just been over a month into Yoga and it is like my mind is not mine anymore. The chaos is in the background, my emotional approach to situations life balls at me is no longer there…. whenever I feel axious about a moment auto-pilot turns on and I notice this rythmic breath take over… when I catch myself thinking or worring about things I cannot control, again, the mind immediately calms and goes blank… is this normal? Or am I going into some form of brain coma? How can I build up into my crow or headstand? My instructor is teaching asnas only not building up to them or achieving the spiritual conditioning as you mentioned… how can I become your mentee??

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, Alia! I am so glad to hear that calmness is becoming a default for your mind! It is completely normal when one practices yoga, prayer or meditation with a totally open heart. It is a way to “rewire” the brain, short-circuiting usual reactions in favour of the new “habit” you have created of embodied stillness. I would love to help you build up to crow and eventually headstand in an integrative and holistic way. I just helped one of my students (my sister) reach her peak pose (tree pose), and am now working on crow with her–so I am already building a program for that particular pose. And it would be my honour to take you on as a mentee–although we would be more like spiritual friends helping each other advance and grow 🙂 Email me at fourthchakrayoga@gmail.com and let’s see what we can do together 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Spiritual friends???!!! Love that and am honored to be considered one. I am soooo looking forward to this. Appologies for my delayed responses. We have a heatwave upon us…obviously I ain’t coping too well… will email you shortly!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s