Notes for the teacher

The practices have been chosen keeping the theme of balance, harmony and equanimity in mind and also the vision of the second chapter of BSY.

  • The asanas constitute a balanced program of practices for inducing vitality, health and harmony in the entire body. Among other things, the asanas cover all the five spinal movements (stretching, lateral bending, twisting, forward and backward bending); include standing, sitting, supine and prone postures; include two practices each from the second and third series of pawanmuktasana for vitalizing two important areas of the body, viz. abdominal and pelvic; include practices for physical and nervous balance (Ek pada pranamasana and a few others like Trikonasana and Naukasana involving different degrees of balancing), releasing frustration and emotional tension (Kashtha takshanasana and Simha garjanasana) and inducing tranquility (Shashankasana).
  • The pranayamas are also chosen for their cooling, tranquilizing and balancing effects.
  • The practice of Antar mouna is intended for releasing mental tensions and complexes and for developing drashta bhava, the witnessing attitude to allow oneself to look objectively at one's mental and emotional shortcomings. The subsequent practice of the yama of Kshama is an antidote for anger and the niyama of Maitri for jealousy and ill-will, two of the main adversaries of mental peace and equipoise.

Practitioners should be encouraged to attune and sensitise themselves to the pranic dimension as well in order to deepen their yogic experience. For beginners, it may be worthwhile to give a brief introduction to prana as the subtle, vital energy pervading the entire body. In the dynamic practices, the last 3 rounds have been devoted to pranic awareness. The prana can be imagined as a bright, pulsating source of golden light in a particular part of the body or it can be imagined as a flow in a certain area of the body or a sensation of warmth or tingling or any other feeling that the practitioner finds easy to relate
to. The important thing is to have the intention to connect to one's prana.

Shavasana may be practised in between the asanas as per the need of the group. For a normal group, shavasana can be practised 3 times: after nauka sanchalanasana (practice 8), naukasana (practice 11) and shashankasana (practice 14). After relaxing the body in shavasana, the practitoners should be guided towards breath awareness and the breath can be experienced in the nostrils, abdomen and the entire body (psychic nadi shodhana) respectively.

Simpler/more challenging variations of some of the asanas may be practised according to the fitness level of the group. For instance, Kashtha takshanasana can be done in the standing position for people who have difficulty squatting, Supta pawanmuktasana can be practised one leg at a time and those who are unable to sit in Vajrasana and hence unable to perform Shashankasana, can try Saithalyasana instead. Eka pada pranamasana can be made more challenging by raising the arms above the head and/or closing the eyes. Similarly, the lateral stretch in Trikonasana can be enhanced by practising variation 2 for a few rounds.

3rd IDY Coordinator,
Bihar School of Yoga