Sunday, March 1, 2009

Article on Chaturanga

Hey check out this article and let me know what you think:

2 comments:

Cris said...

Awesome article Alex! I tried out the chair modification and it felt sooooo good, great stretch for the shoulders.

Jeff said...

An interesting article - definitely a good thing to have pose and counter-pose relationships as part of your yoga toolbox, helping to tailor the practice to the individual student. In my classes, I usually tell students they have the option to substitute forward bend / upward stretch instead of the vinyasa with Chaturanga, Urdvah Mukah, Adho muka, etc. When I demonstrate it, I pretty much come up into a full purvottanasana on the up stretch, and the students easily follow suit. It's a great asana...

That being said, with regard to this specific article, I think we're limited on how we can work props into an Ashtanga Vinyasa class (at least, a led one). We might be able to do it in Mysore-style, but in other cases we generally won't have the time (or space) to setup a chair, move mats to the wall, etc.

It leads to a more interesting questions regarding props, or using the wall, etc. There are many who subscribe to the school of thought that props hinder more than they help, and rather prefer to introduce the student to alternatives that allow them to strengthen (or establish??) their relationship with the present state of the body. Take headstand, for example, considering the wall as a prop. There are many students who fear headstand if they're not next to a wall, and it takes years to ween them away from it (if they ever do). For my own personal case, the use of a teacher to stabilize me in freestanding backbends might be considered a prop, given that I've fallen on my head quite a few times when I don't have the support...

The decision to use props is that of the teachers, and ultimately it is they who must decide when and where to use them, for whom they apply, and who is a candidate for independence from them. Similar to the practice of medicine, that is the practice of teaching yoga. A doctor diagnoses the patient and determines the appropriate path to healing the ailment based on the circumstance. A yoga teacher listens to the student, observes the physical practice, and suggests safe alternatives for them to use based on their current abilities...