Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Richard Freeman dives in deep

British Ashtanga blogger Grimmly attended a full five-day workshop with the extraordinary Richard Freeman and has this excellent report. If you have taken classes with Richard before, much of this resonates as familiar. Start with posture and the prana/apana movements:
-frount of armpit up back and out -Bankers pose- exaggerates the patters of the yoga postures, prana and apana.. -there's a tendency to shut down the opposite pattern, pinching the shoulder blades together, closing the kidney wings -to avoid that we keep the exaggeration of the prana pattern, -we drop the coccyx, and float the shoulder blades apart slightly, allowing the floating ribs to spread, the pattern of apana returning -we get both patterns simultaneously, strong, each one stronger because of it's opposite
As Grimmly says: "Much of Richard'ss pranayama practice/teaching seems to inform his approach to asana, just as his approach to asana, the keen attention to alignment, informs his approach to pranayama." His notes are really very detailed, so they're worth a read, especially on the palate and the link to mula bandha. I appreciated his closing thoughts:
I really wanted to communicate this focus on the gaze/breath/ palate/release/bandha connection with the prana and apana model as it's key to Richards teaching. It doesn't matter the posture, any asana will do, it doesn't have to be fancy, the first half of primary will give you plenty to be going on with. An advanced practice doesn't begin with pasasana or kapo or vasisatasana it begins with ekam and dve ...if we attend to the breath. And it's because a pranayama practice can inform our asana practice that it may be worth considering beginning a simple, formal pranayama practice.

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