Yoga for Kapha season

When the seasons change, we need to make changes to ourselves to stay in balance.   Kapha season is arriving soon and this means you should make changes to your diet and lifestyle as well as changes in the way you practice yoga.  Check out the blog I wrote about Kapha season in Ayurveda.

The qualities of Kapha are cold, heavy and dull – given the primary elements of earth and water.  In Ayurveda, we look for the opposite qualities to find balance.  So this means you want to find balance using warm and light attributes.  When you think about yoga, you would want to concentrate on more movement to create warmth in the body.

When I planned my yoga class this last week, I kept in mind movement and energy.  I remembered a book by Ray Long, Anatomy for Vinyasa Flow and Standing Poses.   Please don’t get me wrong, I’m not a Vinyasa Flow teacher, in fact, I rarely even teach Sun Salutations.   But I was inspired by my teacher, Sandy Carmellini, in class last week when she taught Moon Salutations on the day of the full moon.

Ray Long's book, Anatomy for Vinyasa Flow and Standing Poses

Ray Long’s book, Anatomy for Vinyasa Flow and Standing Poses

My idea was to teach all of the poses in the sequence like I normally do (I usually hold the pose [asana] for 10 breaths).  Not sure when I started doing that, but as far back as I can remember, that’s been my thing.  Next, go through the entire sequence a second time and this time at a faster pace, say for three breaths in each pose.

3D Yogis and Yoginis

Trikonasana, Virabhadrasana II, Parsvokonasana

Virabhadrasana I, Parsvottanasana, Parivrtta Parsvokonasana

Virabhadrasana I, Parsvottanasana, Parivrtta Parsvokonasana

My challenge was to stay focused enough to remember both the English and Sanskrit names and just focus within those three breaths.  It really takes practice to do that and luckily, I didn’t just wing it this time, but then again, I could have used a little more practice!  And, as much as I am not a teacher of Vinyasa, it reminds me to have great respect for those who venture into the Vinyasa arena.  Fast pace teaching requires one to be a fast thinker!  Hey, does that mean I’m slow?

Parivrtta Parsvakonasana, Urdvha Mukha Svanasana, Adho Mukha Svanasana

Parivrtta Parsvakonasana, Urdvha Mukha Svanasana, Adho Mukha Svanasana

When I got to my class to teach, I took time to explain about Kapha season and the reason I was teaching a flow that week, which again, is really out of character with me!  There were a couple of quizacle looks from the students, but in the end I think they were okay with the idea.

The class ending up going well.  I had one student new to my class that I kept a watchful eye, but other than that, the students kept up with the slow flow.  Taking them through the sequence slowly the first time really helped the students to remember what the poses felt like.  Call it muscle memory or whatever you want, but it really does help the body to remember how the poses feel.

Class finally ended with a five minute pranayama of Nadi Shodana and then a 10 minute shavasana.  Ahhh shavasana, with sandbags and eye pillows, what could be better!

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