Monday, November 8, 2010

The Practicum with Arun Deva

Yesterday I went to a wonderful workshop that Arun Deva was leading at The Shiva Center. The workshop was called The Practicum: Exercises in Identifying Doshic Imbalances in Asana & Pranayama with emphasis on Marma Points. I absolutely love attending Arun’s workshops he has so much wisdom and experience and he is so good and humble when sharing it with others.

Highlights and notes: The focus of this workshop was on the doshas and how the constitutions express them self through our asana practice. We also focused on identifying doshic imbalances and ways asana and pranayama can cultivate a more sattvic experience. Lastly we worked with marma points (phenomenal!) to help adjust students.
  • Movement, composed of air and space 
  • Typically better at backbends at revealing
  • Restless, anxious, typically hyper flexible or hyper tight
  • Tends to have weak joints and crackling joints
  • Cold, dry, light, mobile, ruff, subtle, clear
  • Pranayama: typically better at exhaling, should focus on improving inhalation
  • Pranayama: nadi shodhana
  • asana practice should be: warming, held poses, balancing poses
  • How to teach a vata: vata receives the most through touch. As a teacher continue to lie you hand gently on them throughout the class to help them ground and slow down.  
  • What would pacify Vata is Sweet, Sour & Salty

  •   Arun shared as story from his teacher saying, if you are married to a pitta and you get the pitta angry, if you get angry you won’t win, no one can get angrier than a pitta. But pitta doesn’t know what to do with sweet, so instead give your pitta partner a hug. (I love that). Never walk away from a pitta because they won’t like that (so true)
  •  Transformation, good at engaging bhanda (women need to be carefull for menstal problems), acess fire in there system
  •  Typically better at forward folds at concealing
  •  Focused and determined, thinks they are always right, pushes themselves really hard (maybe to point of injury), likes showing off being the star of the class, very driven.
  • Pranayama: kapalbhati pranayama
  • Pranayama: typically better at inhaling, should focus on improving exhalation 
  • Asana practice: needs to be constantly coming back to the idea of not trying or pushing oneself to hard.
  •  How to teach a pitta: be sweet and compliment them and then offer a suggestion. Example “Bonnie what a wonderful virabhadrasana, try rooting the back femur bone back a little bit more”. Another way of teaching pitta is challenge them. Example “I bet bonnie can’t maintain the foundation of the hands throughout class”.  
  • Stability
  • Loss joints have joint flexibility and mobility in every direction, can exhibit beautiful postures and maintain them (padmasana).
  • Carries weight in shoulders and belly (makes handstands easier (luck kaphas :))
  • Inertia, problem with motivation for practice, being lazy in practice and in poses, can become addicted to certain poses that allows for laziness (balasana/child’s...), they might not have a good time in class, appear bored.
  • pranayama: bhastrika pranayama
  • How to teach a kapha: be a drill sergeant, they need the encouragement. Motivate them. Make them sweat.
Arun talked about the yoga sutras mentioning that only 3 of all ~195 aphorisms. The yoga sutras tell us that our asanas should be effortless, stable and the breath should be long smooth and slow throughout the whole practice. You can see how these qualities come from a harmonious cultivation of all three constitutions (vata=movement, pita=transformation, kapha=stability)

Marma points= energy points in the body that you can touch and the student will find the alignment just by these energetic touch. It is like an energetic invitation to align so you may celebrate the pose more fully.

We got the opportunity to partner up and I got to work with the beautiful and talented Stephanie Engelbrecht. Some of the marma points we used were:
  • The back of the heart which helped elongate the spine
  • The crown of the head which help lengthen the spine and neck
  • The front of the thighs which helped root the femur bones back
  • The inner thigh and outer shin which helped create stability in the lower legs and expansion up into the pelvic bowl (shins in thighs out)
  • The fronts of the shoulders which was amazing at helping establish shoulder loop
  • The tops of the traps which helped lengthen the neck removing addition stress and tension in the traps
  • The point between the big toe and the forth toe knuckle of the foot that helped ground
  • The inner and outer ankle bone that helped ground student
  • The front of the knee which helped set femur bone into pelvis
  • The front of the hip which helped stack the hips and root the femur bone out
The tops of the sitting bones toward the lumbar spine which helped lift sacrum in and up

I am sure they were many more and they all have names that I didn’t get a chance to write them down. But it was amazing to see how just these simple touches helped the student make these amazing alignment adjustments. So beautiful!

I have been talking a lot to people lately about how yoga is passed down from teacher to students. And the students gather around the teacher around the guru to learn and gain this knowledge. I am grateful for this opportunity I had to gather around Arun and take in his wisdom and advice.
Om Shanti!

1 comment:

  1. It was such a pleasure to work with you that evening Kim! :-)


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