Friday, April 9, 2010

Movement and Stillness.

Last night I took a wonderful class with Elena Brower, an amazing Anasura Yoga teacher.   In the class she combined vinyasa flow with her knowledge of Anasura instructing.  I found it to be that magical, wonderful blend of movement and stillness.  Although the flow aspects of the practice were more stagnant at times than some students were used to, this allowed her to honor the clear anatomical instructions that Anasura Yoga does so well.  Once I settled into the slower pace of movement I found that my breathe deepened in the postures.  It is always easier to hold revolved triangle when I know that a series of movements will soon follow.  I love the marriage between holding poses and moving through poses.  It is a lovely balance of yin and yang, prana and apana, sun and moon, movement and stillness.    

My tendency is to want to move more than I want to be still.  Since I know this about myself I try to set a timer  and commit myself to stay in the pose until the timer beeps. While other days, I put on some good music and flow in and out of postures until my heart is content.  It just depends on my mood and what I have been experiencing that day.   This variety keeps my practice flexibile.  Types of Yoga that honor continuous movement include Vinyasa, Flow, Kundalini, and Yogalates, to name a few. Types that honor holding of postures are Iyengar, Classical Hatha, and Yin yoga.  These  practices put a lot of emphasis on getting the structural alignment correct and deepening into the postures, thus strengthening the correct muscles.  When I need a good challenge and a little bit of discipline these classes really hit the spot. I don't want to be misleading when I make the distinction between these two groups as if it were a hard and fast rule containing each style, because there is always elements of stillness and movement in all of these types.  After all Desikachar says "that dynamic practice of asanas [postures] should be an essential part of every yoga session."   Dynamic meaning movement in and out of the poses.  

I want to encourage everybody to explore a variety of practices in regards to holding versus moving.  Notice what your tendency is and allow the opposite element to enter into the practice.   Whatever emphasis you choose keep pace with the rhythm of your breathe and let that determine how deep you go!


  1. Holding postures a long time often feels difficult to me (I'm middle+ aged and chubby.) I try to encourage myself by taking it as a metaphor for hard times in my life with the self statement "I can find ease and relaxation in this pose" which does then generalize into my life in those tough times.

  2. I love the permission you give in this piece for varying your practice. This is a great line for me to remember: "I love the marriage between holding poses and moving through poses. It is a lovely balance of yin and yang, prana and apana, sun and moon, movement and stillness." This true of a lot of spiritual practices; you need to find your own way, drawing upon what the traditions offer us.