Mark Stephens' Musings
These writings are informal reflections on practicing and teaching yoga. Click on any title to read the entire piece.
In thinking about the nervous system, it makes sense to assume it is the part of us that makes us feel nervous. It does. But part of our nervous system makes us feel calm, relaxed, and sleepy. It is called the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS), with the nickname “rest and digest.”
Following the basic principles of sequencing instructions, guide the building of full Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog Pose) from the ground up and from what is at most risk of strain or injury: the wrists, shoulders, and hamstrings. We will look alternatively at the upper body (from the hands up) and lower body (from the feet up).
Excerpted from Teaching Yoga, Chapter 4 sidebar on “MULA BANDHA AND UDDIYANA BANDHA”
With twenty-six bones that form twenty-five joints, twenty muscles, and a variety of tendons and ligaments, the feet are certainly complex. This complexity is related to their role, which is to support the entire body with a dynamic foundation that allows us to stand, walk, run, and have stability and mobility in life. In yoga they are the principal foundation for all the standing poses and active in all inversions and arm balances, most back-bends and forward bends, and many twists and hip openers.
This is excerpted from Chapter 9 of Yoga Therapy, "Kinesiology and the Biomechanics of Movement."
The trouble with the fast lane is that all the movement is horizontal. And I like to go vertical sometimes.
The Sun Salutations that initiate many yoga classes are rich in symbolism. Surya is the chief solar deity who drives his chariot across the sky each day as the most visible form of God that one can see. It is also the ancient Sanskrit term for “sun,” which in most ancient mythology is revered, as Richard Rosen (2003) says
If you’ve ever taken a Vinyasa Flow class or tried Ashtanga Vinyasa, you’ve moved through Warrior I (Virabhadrasana I) pose a lot. Or perhaps you sip from another cup of yoga such as Iyengar or basic Hatha in which you often hold Warrior I longer than the five breath maximum prescribed in Ashtanga.
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Mark Stephens Yoga
1010 Fair Avenue, Suite C
Santa Cruz, CA 95060