In the Iyengar method, the standing poses and the inverted poses are the foundations of asana practice. These are the poses that are presented and emphasized for the first several years of practice and longer. A master practitioner for over sixty years, Mr Iyengar continues to practice these foundation poses regularly.
Basic standing poses and points about them have been presented in my first recording, Yoga: A Basic Daily Routine. Foundations proceeds from there with deeper actions and more difficult standing poses.
If you are not familiar with these basic standing poses, study with a competent Iyengar teacher and/or practice with Yoga: A Basic Daily Routine before attempting to work with this CD. The terminology and the pace of instructions presupposes familiarity with the basics.
Basic Inverted poses (headstand, shoulderstand and plow pose) are presented here. Although the foundations for doing these poses are given on Track 2, the guidance of a competent teacher, especially for headstand, is recommended to correct any errors.
A few suggestions on using this audio class:
Have the props you'll need nearby and ready to use. This will help to avoid interrupting the CD and your practice unnecessarily.
Some may find this practice strenuous. If you need to come out of a standing pose before instructions are finished stand in Tadasana and wait for the next asana.
Rest in relaxed Uttanasana between standing poses if you feel fatigued
The sole of the foot refers to the ball of the foot.
There is no guided Savasana on the tape so that more asanas could be included. I strongly recommend you include Savasana
If you do not have an hour to practice, Tracks 01 and 02 may be done separately. Track 01 is a good morning practice; Track 02 is a good evening practice.
Avoid inversions until you have consulted an experienced teacher if one of the follwing conditions is present: during menstruation, high blood pressure, heart problems, eye, ear or neck problems.
This 60-minute, 2-part yoga audio class builds on instructor John Schumacher’s other audio release, A Basic Daily Routine, by offering more challenging standing postures as well as some basic inversions. Given that Schumacher is Iyengar-trained, he places a strong emphasis on precise alignment in each pose, and his instruction reflects this—i.e., his ongoing dialogue focuses solely on accurate execution of the postures and contains no extraneous comments. This audio practice features Schumacher’s voice alone (no music), and he cues the postures mainly in Sanskrit.Schumacher begins the session by spending several minutes setting up mountain pose; he comes back to this stance in-between each of the standing postures. He moves into some basic standing poses, including triangle, side angle, and warrior 1, before stepping up the challenge with some balancing work and other more difficult postures, such as half moon, warrior 3, and revolved triangle. Schumacher’s general style is to set up the pose, providing meticulous, head-to-toe form instruction, hold the pose briefly, and then move on to the other side. The first half of this practice finishes with extended leg stretch (a.k.a. wide angle forward bend) and uttanasana, forward bend. In Part 2 of this practice, Schumacher focuses mainly on seated and inverted postures. He begins with thunderbolt, adding an arm stretch and then transitioning into easy pose. Holding this stance, Schumacher leads the listener through cow-face arms, performing this posture on both sides and then repeating with the legs crossed the opposite way. Next comes hero’s pose, which moves into a forward bend; both thunderbolt and staff pose are then held very briefly. At this point, Schumacher introduces the only down dog of the practice, and he then has you rest in child’s pose before continuing on to the inversions sequence. The inversions segment begins with headstand, and Schumacher offers the option of practicing against a wall. This posture is held for a significant duration (about 3.5 minutes) as Schumacher again very carefully sets up the pose. He continually talks about stretching the body in the posture, cautioning the listener to come out of the pose if there is any pain in the neck. Headstand is followed by the traditional counter-pose, shoulderstand, which is held for an even longer period (about 5.5 minutes). Schumacher suggests a stepwise blanket setup for this posture, and he encourages the practitioner to continually adjust the pose as needed. From shoulderstand, you move into plow pose, hold the posture briefly, and then roll down to conclude the practice (savasana is practiced on your own).Schumacher’s style is well-suited to the audio format, as his great attention to detail obviates the need for visual cues. This is a perfect practice for experienced yoga practitioners who are ready to move into some more challenging postures, although as Schumacher himself suggests, inversions are best learned under the guidance of a live instructor.