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IYA UK Convention Day 1

The writing of this blog finds me at a completely different place in my life from last time we were together. After the closure of my physical studio, I am now working full time in a desk job and teaching online in the evenings. I arrived at today's class slightly apprehensive about demonstrating, given the reduced time I have available for practice. I was much heartened when Abhi started by asking us to put all of that aside and just to be in the now. Exactly what I needed to hear and I was able to just immerse myself completely in the joy of the class. There were so many familiar faces among the panelists and seen participants. The sequence was excellent and I think we all felt that we were elevated to a higher level of practice so that poses became fluid and open - even my ultra stiff hips and groins gained some movement.

Anyone who has ever attempted to teach Abhi's sequences will know that it is difficult to comprehend how she could possibly have fitted all these poses and all these instructions, into the allotted time. Instructions come rapidly and with a force that is not aggressive, but that charges you with a positive energy to do. Many of the poses below were only held for a few brief moments, long enough to feel the imprint and then move on. Others we worked in intensively and were held in place by the fire of her words to make a much deeper imprint. Within her classes, there is a lot of opportunity for rest and respite as we are given upavista konasana or baddha konasana to be seated while she speaks. The overall result is an energising, positive experience that always leaves me with a tremendous affection and respect for Abhi.

Today I am putting out a request for readers that are in a position to do so, to make a contribution to the fund that is being organised to help our friends in Pune who have lost their income due to the closure of the institute, some of whom have found themselves in desperate times. You can donate here by selecting Rima's fund

Day 1 IYA UK Convention

‘Nature has infinite potential and the yogi taps into this potential of nature’

Let us invoke the energy of this universal potential to energise us on this path that we want to walk afresh. Understand the value of now - Now is auspicious because it is all you have – many wanted it and did not have it.

Swastikasana –When you ascend your spine, watch your lower trunk and see to it that from your lower spine you get an ascending action upwards. Interlock your fingers and raise the arms upwards (Parvatasana) activate your lower spine, lift up as though your buttocks are going to FLY up – see what an ejection of your lower spine? Now maintain this ejection, maintain this lift and slowly bring the arms down. Keep your diaphragm soft and do not push the centre diaphragm forward. As a student of yoga your eyes may be open, but can you take your focus inwards? Upper eyelids down, attentive, alert pose. No part of your spine should collapse – if you have forgotten your parvatasana memory, once again interlock your fingers, raise your arms up and RECHARGE the back. Invocation to Patanjali.

AMSvanasana – open up the thigh muscles, calf muscles the back knee

Uttanasana feet and palms apart to width of the sticky mat

AMSvanasana – activate your legs and your arms.

AMVrkasana – if it possible you are happy if it difficult you are disappointed already.

Prasarita Paddotonasana –from urdhva hastasana swinging through the legs - your armpits have to go beyond the legs as you go down x 10 - the younger you are the faster you should go ‘speed and age inversely proportional’

AMSvanasana – forehead pressed into a bolster or blankets, the bottom skull perpendicularly cut down towards the ground and shoulder blades, ascend up. The rest of your back, side trunk ascend up. Roots of the thighs UP, dorsal, lumber UP. Thighs back, knees back.

Certain (those above) asanas contribute easily for your brain to become fresh. Patanjali said the path of yoga is easiest for one who is keen. One who is extremely vigorous in his attempts – the goal is nearer.

Sit in Upavista Konsasana – recollect the day you were unable to go up into full arm balance. If you were casual in your efforts, full arm balance would not have come to you. You had to jump again and again and again. When you were vigorous in your attempts, full arm balance became closer.

AMSvanasana holding outer edges of mat and sufficient height to be able to press the forehead down. Shoulders, shoulder blades LIFT up, armpits OPEN and now learn to climb up from your right side, left side back body. Exhale completely and now learn to open the thighs (bend your legs walk in with your feet to access your back thighs) and now come on LEG WORK! Thigh! top most thigh! Buttocks back x 3

Tadasana feet together, different lightness, freshness in your brain after AMSvanasana. Jump legs apart.

Utthita Trikonasana (both sides) Now when the right leg is turning out, the left thigh should not come forward. Take it back! And go down into trikonasana, top arm straight up. Your centre thoracic spine, take it IN to the body. Your right buttock, take it INto the body and your left thigh, TURN it. Right shoulder blade IN, left outer thigh TURN. Right side waist long. Shoulders away from the neck, top arm firm.

Supta Swastikasana upright brick in centre thoracic spine and upright bolster supporting neck (youngsters, can leave head hanging if comfortable) Pain in lumbar, raise the seat on a blanket so that curvature is lesser. Elbows bent, imagine I am putting an iron rod across the elbows, so that your upper arms get pulled downwards. Put your palms down on the floor and arch your neck so that your chin goes down – measure where your eye level is and find out can you arch further to bring your eye level down? 1!! 2!! 3!! As if I was standing there at your head side and I was gently pushing your chin downwards towards the ground for your neck to arch further.

Utthita Trikonasana (both sides) – You see what a great freedom there is to your thoracic spine? How much it is into the body? Right buttock, right outer thigh, deeper and deeper INto the body.

The prop acts as