Here’s how I apply my deconstruction principle to teaching a pose. Before I teach Vasistasana, I take my students through a step-by-step process that prepares the body-mind for the classical pose. Each gradation can be the final destination if the previous step is not yet fully mastered.
Here is the process:
- Rest in Ardha Savasana- to down regulate the nervous system and connect to the breath.
- Self-massage of the rotator cuff muscles with the Yoga Tune Up® Therapy balls-to palpate these tissues, and unwind tension and knots.
- Sidewinder Minivini- to strengthen and activate all of the muscles of the tubular core and the posterior kinetic chain of the torso.
- Jithara Parivartonasana Minivini- to awaken and energize every major muscle of the torso and hips using a dynamic rotational pose.
- Shoulder Flossing Variation 1 and 2- to excavate the shoulder joint from every conceivable angle in a closed kinetic chain and teach internal vs. external rotation of the shoulder joints.
- Megaplank with Active Serratus-to explain where the serratus anterior muscle is, why it is so important, and help students embody the connection of the shoulder girdle to the core.
- Vasistasana Prep -Variation #1- to build the kinetic chain of the external obliques and teach the shoulder how to stabilize the pose.
- Vasistasana Prep-Variation #2, #2.5, #3, #4-All four of these variations continue to up the ante by opening more kinetic chains which create more shear force in the joints.
As you can see from the example above, my teaching philosophy emphasizes the importance of exploring “inner space”. From the moment we blink our eyes open in the morning, until the end of the day when we go to sleep, we must be concerned with what is happening OUTSIDE of ourselves. This provides a safe container within which you can introvert your attention: it is a mini-vacation that allows you to get out of your “thinking mind” and into your “feeling body”. Students are continually amazed at how a sacred pause to simply close your eyes and observe your breath, or a short practice of self-massage using the Yoga Tune Up® therapy balls can effectively down regulate the nervous system. As a result, new patterns and healthier ways of inhabiting the body imprint into the student’s body/mind; not just during your asana practice, but also in the activities of daily life.
What are the component parts of your short story? How do you move through complex movement patterns? Can the building blocks instead become the “masterpiece”?
Read about the most important part of a yoga pose.
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