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This video is part of a progressive series of classes taught alternately by Senior teacher Betsey Downing and Jaye Martin. Betsey and Jaye teach a logically sequenced series of poses within each class, gradually advancing the poses across the series of classes. Perfect for beginners or experienced students looking for inspiration in their home practice. Get the entire set and experience the fun and power of progressive teaching!
Episode 8, led by Jaye, is intended for Advanced Beginners. The pinnacle is Sugar Cane Pose and the theme is Joy. The principle embodying the theme is Shoulder Loop.
Practice #8 for Experienced Beginners
After a brief seated meditation focusing on the theme of joy and including the chanting of a single “ohm,” Martin comes to standing. Here he opens with a few sun breaths and then flows into two full rounds of sun salutations, adding an upright lunge to the second round. At this point, Martin pauses to provide instruction on the shoulder loop, which is the first time this concept is mentioned in this series. He talks specifically about using the shoulder loop to further open the heart and to expand the sense of joy, and he completes a third sun salute series incorporating this loop, adding a mini standing backbend to the upright lunge.
A series of standing postures follows, with an emphasis on balance work. Martin performs each pose on both sides of the body before moving on to the next one. The postures include tree, wide-legged standing forward bend with hands clasped behind the back, humble warrior, triangle, half-moon pose, thigh stretch, and simple dancer’s pose. Martin then moves to the floor for bridge pose. (Interestingly, he cautions against placing the feet too close to the butt—I always thought that you wanted your feet to be close to your bottom in bridge!) Keeping with the theme of joy and the opening the heart, he performs bridge, repeating the pose with a single leg. Coming back to standing, Martin sets up for the pinnacle posture of this practice, sugar cane pose—basically, a more challenging, bent-leg version of half-moon. He finishes with what he describes as a “quieting” forward bend before returning to the floor for savasana. Martin offers minimal instruction here, allowing you to quietly rest in this posture for approximately six minutes before bringing you back to seated for a final “ohm” to conclude the practice.
This 58-minute class definitely offers more experienced yoga students the opportunity for a joyful expression of their developing practice. Martin frequently states “wasn’t that fun?,” particularly after some of the balancing postures; although you may have found yourself falling down in the process, you were almost certainly experiencing joy while doing so.