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Practice with Clara

Beyond Reason (45-mins) Slow Flow

A slow flow class that opens the hips, inner thighs, and hamstrings with arm balancing as the peak pose. You’ll progress toward a variation of Astavakrasana (eight angle pose). Strengthening the core and inner thighs helps to achieve lift-off from the ground. This class works the intuition of the 6th chakra, Ajna, otherwise known as the third eye. Open with moving meditation to create space in the body through the breath. Moving meditation connects you to the element ether and the idea of lightness associated with the 6th chakra.

Style: Slow Flow

Duration: 45-mins

Level: Open-level class

Props: 1-block

Focus: Hip Openers, Arm Balance

Location: Lila Familia Production Studio, Vancouver, BC

An open-levels class, listen to your breath as you move. With hip opening, gentle twists, and lots of inner thigh and hamstring stretching, you’ll create space in the body as you move into the arm balance with Astavakrasana (eight angle pose) as the peak pose. Astavakrasana requires equal parts strength and length in the legs for you to hug-in and hold your legs up from the ground. It requires that you refine your focus and effort on mobilizing the power of your core.

Jiva bandha (tongue lock) turns the awareness inwards, stops busy thought processes, and improves concentration. You might take jiva bandha in the peak pose for this class, or any of the poses, to refine your focus. Jiva is the tongue and bandha is a lock; any bandha locks or holds the energy in the specified area of the body and contracts the organs in the surrounding area. The bandhas stimulate the nerve centers and endocrine glands and profoundly affect the mind and body. For jiva bandha, take the tip of your tongue to the upper pallet of the mouth and gently press.

Benefits of jiva bandha include the strengthening of throat and neck muscles; enhanced blood circulation in the throat; nerves in the tongue, the nose, the ears, the teeth, and the eyes become more active; regulates blood pressure; benefits thyroid, parathyroid glands, and salivary glands.

Ajna chakra, otherwise known as the third eye, is responsible for intuition, wisdom, truth, acceptance, and perception. Intuition goes beyond conscious reasoning. It is beyond rational thought and logic. It’s a process of the body that is felt, not analyzed or thought. It arrives as a feeling from deep within. When we connect to or unlock the third eye center, we unlock our intuition. To connect to Ajna, we need to listen and become quite still or move slowly to let the answers to questions arise. Ajna lives in the mind, and yet it is beyond conscious reasoning. As you move through your practice, ask, what is my relationship to my inner wisdom? When is it easy to hear my intuition and listen? When do I feel connected to my truth and inner wisdom?

Opening Sequence

Begin seated and breathe deeply. Bring your awareness to Ajna, the third eye center.

Inhale hands overhead to prayer, and as you exhale, take your hands down through the third-eye, lips, heart, and to the ground. Go slow. This moving meditation christens the upper chakras through the crown, third eye, lips as a form of expression, heart as to how we feel, and finally, touching the ground to remain rooted in the material world. Come to uttanasana (forward fold) with ragdoll arms and roll up to stand.

Moving Meditation

Come to stand for Boa Breath. Boa represents the unconscious mind and breath. Boa Breath is from Chien Lung, a martial arts technique by Constantine Darling. As you take Boa Breath, inhale through the nose and exhale out the mouth. Keep your arms and gaze soft, and your movements very slow as you flow with Clara through several cycles of Boa Breath. Come to hasta mudra, palms up on either side of the waist, and complete Boa Breath. Close your eyes, listen and feel.

Wave 1

Utkata Konasana (goddess pose) moving meditation with arm variation

Prasarita Padottanasana (wide-legged standing forward fold)

Parivrtta Prasarita Padottanasana (revolved wide-legged standing forward fold)

Utthan Pristhasana (lizard pose) bow inside the leg on a diagonal

Malasana (yogic squat) moving meditation

Hasta mudra (standing, hands palm up at side)

Tada Kapotasana (Standing pigeon pose) moving meditation

Tadasana (mountain pose)

Wave 2

Prasarita Padottanasana (wide-legged standing forward fold)

Parivrtta Prasarita Padottanasana (revolved wide-legged standing forward fold)

Prasarita Padottanasana (wide-legged standing forward fold)

Utthita Parsvakonasana (side angle pose) modified or full version

Ardha Hanumanasana (half split pose)

Utthan Pristhasana (lizard pose) tuck shoulder under the knee

Malasana (yogic squat) with wrist rolls to prepare for arm balancing

Baddha Konasana (bound angle pose)

Peak Pose Flow

Start with seated pigeon pose to open the outer thigh, take the hands to the foot and draw your foot toward your sternum (center of the chest. Hold and breathe, or go deeper by pressing the sole of the foot into the armpit and the thigh of the same leg on the ground for a variation of Yogi Dandasana (staff of the yoga pose). Finally, tuck your knee under your shoulder and place your hands on the ground as if you were taking Bakasana (crow pose). Hook your ankles and hug the inner thighs towards your bicep as you lift your legs off the ground into Astavakrasana (eight angle pose).

Cooling Series

Seated Balasana (child’s pose) OR rock and roll a few times on your back with hands clasped behind the legs to massage the back body. Come to your back for supported Setu Bandhasana (bridge pose) with a psoas release (hip flexor). For the psoas release, bend one knee, place the sole on the ground, extend the other leg long, and flex the toes toward the sky. This pose lengthens the hip flexor of the extended leg. Option to take arms overhead. Stay here, or Pavanamuktasana (wind relieving pose), by taking the bent knee into the ground. Switch sides. Supta Matsyendrasana (reclined spinal twist) is followed by savasana.