Earth Day Grounding Yoga Class at City Vista
Savor the Effects of a Grounded Practice
An Earth Day Celebration
Automaticity comes with training, and the yogic world is not an exception to this rule: the more one practices postures (?sanas), the more common it is to operate on “automatic pilot mode” when stepping on the yoga mat. In the same way that one acquaints oneself with any new activity—stage at which the highest degree of attention is needed—the practice of ?sanas also requests for full concentration. A task like cooking, for example, presents the same challenge. We start with the basics: chopping the ingredients that will be used for a dish, but in order to successfully execute a recipe one must focus on every move of the knife. In a parallel way, remaining grounded in yoga will depend on how focused we are while adopting ?sanas. When automaticity comes along, one begins to wonder how to stay rooted in the here and now.
To be truly grounded in an asana, we must first comprehend what this yogic category really is. Following Iyengar’s translation of Patañjali, “?sana is perfect firmness of body, steadiness of intelligence and benevolence of spirit”. In the execution of Virabhadrasana I (Warrior I pose), for example, this definition prescribes more than merely following physical instructions, such as “bend[ing] the front knee over the ankle and bring[ing] the arms along side the ears”. Physical instructions are not enough to embody a pose; attention of the mind and spiritual presence are also essential components to a good execution, as Patañjali points out.
Below are a few strategies that we will discuss and practice in class on Wednesday April the 22nd, in celebration of Earth Day:
Connecting with the feet: A little over 25% of our bones are located on our feet. The complex structure of each foot is designed to support the weight of the entire body in any kind of upright activity, such as standing and balancing yoga postures. A brief discussion on the 3 arches of the feet will be presented in the opening portion of the session, and how these arches relate to weight bearing and balancing in yoga ?sanas. To cultivate firmness of body a basic understanding of the anatomy and physiology of our feet is necessary.
Observing negative and judgmental thoughts: It is not unusual to encounter mental activity that obstructs one’s learning experience in a yoga class. In doing ?sanas, we will work on letting go of judgmental thinking to root the mind’s attention back into the body. In order to attain steadiness of mind one must release thoughts that interrupt concentration.
Setting an intention before practice: Benevolence of spirit is hard to convey if a higher purpose is lacking from your practice. Setting an intention before doing yoga (i.e., becoming an instrument of peace, offering help to others or yourself, etc.) generates the fuel that feeds a creative and inspiring ?sana session.
Cooking and yoga demand our full attention, to bring flavor and grace to our actions and to keep us grounded along the way.
 Light on the Yoga S?tras of Patañjali, S?tra II.46.