An advanced class with a focus on arm balances | iHanuman


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An advanced class with a focus on arm balances

This 120-minute practice is a live audio of a class led by Iyengar-trained yoga instructor John Schumacher. It is a Level III class intended for students with prior Iyengar experience who are experienced in inversions, as poses such as headstand and shoulderstand are held at length (>10 minutes) in this practice. Furthermore, Schumacher uses only Sanskrit terminology to cue the postures, so a solid familiarity with Sanskrit is needed in order to follow along with this class.Schumacher opens this class in a seated position, slowly setting up proper posture and then chanting three rounds of OM. At an unhurried, measured pace, he leads the class through downward-facing hero, downward-facing dog, standing forward bend, and chair pose. Schumacher then calls out the first inversion, headstand. He allows several minutes of silent practice of this posture before beginning to offer form pointers. After the class has held headstand for about 6 minutes, Schumacher instructs half headstand and other headstand variations; the entire headstand sequence lasts approximately 12 minutes. Following a rest in downward-facing hero, seated forward bend is held for a good 3-4 minutes. Next is an arm balance, pendant pose, practiced twice, with the feet crossed in each direction. Schumacher then includes a couple more uncommon asanas (bow-to-ear pose and seated arm press) before moving into the more familiar wide-legged seated forward bend, holding the forward bend and then adding a twist and finishing with cobbler\'s pose. At this point, Schumacher coaxes the class to attempt several more arm balances, including Dwi Hasta Bhujasana (arms and legs pose), Bhujapidasana (arms-pressing pose), and, after a break to perform Malasana (squat) and Malasana 2, garland pose. Schumacher provides more detailed instruction for the latter, having the class repeat the posture several times; he also has one of his students demonstrate the pose. With about 35 minutes left in the class, Schumacher cues shoulderstand. He allows the class to set themselves up in the pose, but eventually, he chimes in with alignment reminders and begins adjusting individual students. The posture is held for a full 10 minutes, and then Schumacher leads the class through variations (half-shoulderstand, half-twisting-shoulderstand) before moving into plow pose, which is held for about 4 minutes. The class concludes with a long (12 minutes), silent savasana and just a few minutes of seated meditation. Schumacher notes that the arm balances practiced in this class serve mainly to prepare for Bakasana, crow pose. This is certainly an ideal class for advanced students wanting to enhance their skills in the area of arm balances.
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