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Fitness 1

Challenge the body!

If you experience three different classes in different yoga centers you will likely be faced with three practices in anything similar. Although yoga advocates the same principles, adaptations to the west, the various schools around the world and the freedom of teachers defined alternative paths. We choose Hatha-Yoga that focuses on body work. To learn how, it’s not enough to read, you have to watch carefully this article and practice a lot!

By Isabel Pinto da Costa / Photo João Carlos Oliveira

The method is based on the teachings of Iyengar master, born in southern India and one of the great masters of hatha-yoga of our time. With over 60 years of research and intense practice, the master has revolutionized the practice of asanas (postures) and pranayama (breathing exercises). Iyengar, today with more than 80 years, argues that to practice the asanas in a healthy way, we need to develop an interior action to facilitate a correct anatomical position. This is why a dynamic yoga, with initial focus on the progressive development of awareness, location, alignment and mobilization of the different areas of the body, aims to the integral development of the practitioner. That’s how Alexandra Sequeira, yoga teacher, explains the method of teaching this practice that accompanies all sessions. Practitioners usually start with a set of standing postures, then sitting postures, passing to postures in ventral and dorsal decubitus and at last to reverse postures and to respiratory and relaxation techniques .

Technique used

Techniques of asana – Involves psychophysical postures.

Techniques of pranayama – Breathing exercises.

Techniques of yoga nidra – Relaxation techniques of samyama – focalization of attention.

Technique of samyama – Gradually, the practitioner will feel a greater well-being, progressing at his own pace in the postures.

Be aware of your body and relax, the class is starting

Check your level – Beginners (B) or Advanced (A). Keep the action without tension. Gently undo all postures. Breathe only through your nose, slowly and deeply, trying to match the inspiration and expiration. Stay 5 to 10 peaceful breaths in each pose.

Uttanásana

1. Basic posture Tadasana. Be aware of your body. Standing with feet together, spread your toes to have greater contact with the floor. Keep your back straight, look ahead.

2. (B) Fold the body by the waist, hold your elbows with your hands and extend the body to the feet. The head should be between the elbows.

3. (A) If the flexibility permits it, wrap the palms to the ankles.

Adho-Mukha

4. (B) Hands, knees and toes on the floor at shoulder length.Place the brick behind the heels. Inhale, exhale, stretch your arms and legs, heels on the brick as pictured. Turn the pelvis, lengthen your spine expanding the chest.

(A) As above, but without the brick – the soles of the feet and heels pushing the floor.

Parivrtta Utthita Parsvakonasana (1st right side / 2nd left side)

6. (B) Start from the previous posture. Turn 30 degrees inward the left heel and place your right foot on the floor on the inside of the right hand – shin and thigh at a right angle. Left knee on the floor, palms together in front of your chest. Inhale, exhale, press with the left elbow the outside of the right knee (it resists) turning the chest and face to the right side.

7. (A) Dominating the previous stance, place the left hand on the floor, stretch the left leg and stretch the right arm in the line with the trunk and leg. Turn the chest to the ceiling.

Ustrasana

8. (B) Knees and soles of the feet on the floor shoulder width apart. Thumbs on tailbone, tighten buttocks, inhale and expand your chest. Exhale, turn your head back and open the chest towards the ceiling. Stay with fluent breath.

9. (A) Dominating the previous posture, support your palms on the heels. Undo all steps in reverse.

Who practices Yoga, benefits from it!

1. To the osteo-muscule-articular system: Strengthens and relaxes the neck, shoulders, back, knees, ankles, wrists, fingers and feet. Is refreshing, removes discomfort and pain. Develops coordination and sense of balance.

2. In posture: Teaches the basics of correct body alignment and body motion, fundamental for the postures and for everyday life.

3. At an organizational level: Stimulates digestion, regulates the functioning of the kidneys and relieves constipation. Improves blood circulation and breathing. Assists in lymphatic drainage and rebalance the functioning of the endocrine system and the internal metabolism.

4. At a mental level – Reassures the nervous system by removing the physical and mental tension. Develops the ability to focus attention and concentration. Improves self-esteem and gives good mood.

Ardha Matsyendrasana

10. (B) – Sit back, buttocks on the foam board, feet together, vertical trunk. Flex the right leg, sole of the foot on the floor in front of the buttock, wrap with the left arm the thigh and rotate the chest to the right side on expiration. Chin in line with the sternum.

11. (A) From the previous posture, place your right foot on the of the left iliac crest joining the knees. Run your right hand behind your back and wrap your right foot, the left hand involves the left foot. Turn the chest to the right side.

Pascimottanásana

12. (B) Feet together, legs straight, buttocks on the plaque, pass the belt around your heels and grab from one side to the other. Inspire verticalizing the trunk, exhale, and with the hands pull the belt by turning the pelvis and lengthening the spine (hollow back).

13. (A) When the flexibility permits it, involve with your hands the heels stretching the trunk forward without bending your back.
Sarvangasana (sticky -mat , cushion and belt)

14. (B) Top the mattress with the sticky -mat. A belt loop on the arms, above the elbows, shoulder width apart. Support them on sticky -mat and mattress, head out. Palms push the ground, lift the buttocks, knees to the forehead. Hands in the lumbar area, vertical trunk, thighs parallel to the floor. Pull your shoulders inward. To undo, remove the belt first following the steps in reverse.

15. (A) From the previous posture stretch your legs forming a line perpendicular to the ground. Keep your elbows on the floor and hands on the back.
Savasana (relaxation)

16. With the aid of a teacher, or not, use the techniques of yoganidra aiming to consciously relaxing the most inner and deepest tensions and incorporate the benefits of the practice.

Basic material of Yoga

For an individual and continuous practice of yoga you should use specific material that serves as facilitator, allowing to progress safely and effectively.

1. Stycky-mat (anti-slip mattress)
2. Belt
3. Brick
4. Foam Board
5. Bolster (cushion)
6. Mattress

DO NOT EAT OR DRINK ANYTHING…
… two hours before class.

Use clothing that allows you full freedom of movement, not too tight or too wide

Remove all metal props like watches, bracelets, earrings, etc…

Remove contact lenses if possible or notify the teacher in advance.

Alexandra Sequeira is licensed in Physical Education from FMH and yoga teacher for 15 years. Thanks to: Club VII, www.clubevii.com. The teacher also teaches classes in Portuguese Yoga Center, Av Miguel Bombarda, 145, r / c, in Lisbon.