|John Churchill, founder and owner of Samadhi demonstrates Gomukasana (Cow Face pose) with a side bend. Why Cow Face? The stacked knees look like the lips of a cow, the feet like the ears.|
So while visiting Boston with my folding bike recently, I found a studio that was a perfectly civilized 3-mile bike ride from door to door - a lo-carbon emission way to arrive already warmed up to class!
The studio: Samadhi in Newton, MA. The teacher: founder and master acupuncturist, John Churchill.
John's Open class contained quite a few interesting variations on basic poses that I hadn't come across before. I confess I like to experiment, seeking different (and easier) ways to achieve the effects of poses for nervous newbie students, so this definitely resonated with me.
1. Vasisthasana or side plank variation: first, I liked that he instructed students to start from plank with feet slightly apart, dropping the sides of both feet to the left, say, one directly behind the other, heel to toe. The advantage is a wider surface area - weight on two feet, not just the one underneath:
|Easy Vasisthasana feet|
One of my easy variations on this is to make a "V" with the big toe and second toe of the right foot say, then slot it over the skinny part above the heel of the other foot, before tipping the whole "unit" over to the side. It's just a variation of what John taught - his is actually simpler, easier and more comfortable:
|Easy Vasisthasana feet V2|
|Tip the whole "unit" to the side|
Second, once in the Vasisthasana side plank position, he instructed us to lower the hip to the mat a few times. This is a very cool and interesting way to stretch out the side of the body while actually in another pose. I like it!
2. For preparing to do Warrior III, he had us do several small, prep moves to weight the standing foot considerably, before attempting to take flight. This kind of prep is rarely done to this degree in balancing poses - we often try to move into them too hastily and end up hopping around and falling all over the place. It was surprising how after "priming" the standing leg so much, it felt extremely stable.
3. He seemed to be a big fan of Gomukhasana pose, as shown in the above picture, which does a nice job of stretching out the much neglected piriformus (one of those muscles in the sit bone area that gets sat on all day in office chairs). I liked the side bend he incorporated into this pose. The most common arm position for this pose, as you'll see in the link, is the "reach behind," where your hands either meet or they don't!
There were more cool moves of course, but these are the ones I remembered.
Thank you John @Samadhi!
Spotting more cool moves by fellow teachers: Yoga Rover
|Passage to Boston from NYC: 4-5 hours on the Bolt Bus with folding transportation in the hold!|