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Practice with Clara

Purusha (120-min) Vinyasa

About

A vigorous vinyasa practice that moves from the back of the mat, this class explores what B.K.S. Iyengar called the King and Queen of yoga poses with Sirsasana A & B (headstand) and Sarvāṅgāsana (shoulder stand). You’ll move through several waves as you build to the peak poses with leg balancing, twists, and core strengthening.

This class is themed for Purusha, the essential aspect of the Self that does not change, and the seventh chakra, Sahasrara. Peace, consciousness, and intuition are explored with a longer meditation to open and close your practice.

The practice teaches us what we are not. We are not this thought. We are not this sensation. As we know, our thoughts and feelings change. May we use the practice to connect to the aspect of ourselves that does not change, the Purusha.

Benefits of this class:

  • Alleviate all kinds of ailments – B.K.S. Iyengar, Light on Yoga.
  • Activates the thyroid – gland in the throat.
  • Detoxifies the blood in the legs to have the legs elevated.

Style: Vinyasa

Duration: 120-minutes

Level: intermediate/advanced

Props: 2 blocks

Focus: backbends

Location: Viva La Familia, Vancouver, BC

Music: Purusha Spotify Playlist

Opening Meditation

Come to a seat on your mat and close your eyes.

With each inhale, arrive more fully in your body.

With each exhale, let something go.

Purusha is connected to all things and is found in all things though it is not bound, connected, or affected by anything.

Generally translated as consciousness or spirit, Purusha is how we connect to our higher self, the total consciousness.

May we connect to the eye of the storm, the Purusha/our spirit, as we navigate the waters of life and the chaos that can be with more ease and grace.

Explore the king and queen of the asana as described by B.K.S. Iyengar, shoulder stand and headstand. They are supposed to be very meditative postures.

Ujjayi breath – constricting the back of the throat and opening to each inhale and exhale. Build the Agni, the digestive fires that reside at the solar plexus. We burn anything we do not need and offer it to the fire. Allow the fire to assist us in transcending the ego and we think we are.

Song of the Soul by Shankaracharya

I am neither ego nor reason,

I am neither mind nor thought,

I cannot be heard nor cast into words, nor by smell nor sight ever caught:

In light and wind I am not found,

nor yet in earth and sky – Consciousness and joy incarnate,

Bliss of the Blissful am I.

I have no name, I have no life, I breathe no vital air,

No elements have molded me, no bodily sheath is my lair:

I have no speech, no hands and feet, nor means of evolution –

Consciousness and joy am I, and

Bliss in dissolution.

I cast aside hatred and passion, I conquered delusion and greed;

No touch of pride caressed me, so envy never did breed:

Beyond all faiths, past reach of wealth, past freedom, past desire

Consciousness and joy am I, and

Bliss is my attire.

Virtue and vice, or pleasure and pain are not my heritage,

Nor sacred texts, nor offerings, nor prayer, nor pilgrimage

I am neither food nor eating, nor yet the eater am I – Consciousness and joy incarnate,

Bliss of the Blissful am I.

I have no misgivings of death, no chasms of race divide me,

No parent ever called me child, no bond of birth ever tied me:

I am neither disciple nor master, I have no kin, no friend –

Consciousness and joy am I, and merging in Bliss is my end.

Neither knowable, knowledge, nor knower am I, formless is my form,

I dwell within the senses but they are not my home:

Ever serenely balanced, I am neither free nor bound –

Consciousness and joy am I, and

Bliss is where I am found.

Mantra

Aum = primordial sound, the sound that all in the universe vibrates to.

Shanti = cultivation of peace and contentment.

Movement

Balasana (child’s pose)

10-15 breath to move as you like, options:

  • Balasana (child’s pose)
  • Adho Mukha Shvanasana (down dog)
  • Uttanasana (forward fold)
  • Bidalasana (cat pose)
  • Bitilasana (cow pose)

Come to Uttanasana (forward fold) at the back of your mat for five breaths.

Tadasana (mountain pose)

Sun Salutations – variation 1

Tadasana (mountain pose)

Urdvha Hastasana (hands to sky)

Uttanasana (forward fold)

Ardha Uttanasana (half lift)

Phalakasana (plank pose)

Chaturanga

Bhujangasana (cobra pose)

Adho mukha svanasana (down dog)

Eka pada adho mukha svanasana (3-legged downward dog)

Anjaneyasana (lunge) variation with the back knee on the ground

Adho mukha svanasana (down dog)

Phalakasana (plank pose)

Chaturanga

Bhujangasana (cobra pose)

Adho mukha svanasana (down dog)

Eka pada adho mukha svanasana (3-legged downward dog)

Anjaneyasana (lunge) variation with the back knee on the ground

Adho mukha svanasana (down dog)

Phalakasana (plank pose)

Chaturanga

Bhujangasana (cobra pose)

Adho mukha svanasana (down dog)

Uttanasana (forward fold) at the back of your mat

Roll up to stand

Urdvha Hastasana (hands to sky)

Tadasana (mountain pose)

Repeat the same sequence on the other leg.

Sun Salutations – variation 2

Tadasana (mountain pose)

Utkatasana (chair pose)

Uttanasana (forward fold)

Ardha Uttanasana (half lift)

Phalakasana (plank pose)

Chaturanga

Bhujangasana (cobra pose) OR Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana (upward facing dog)

Adho mukha svanasana (down dog)

Eka pada adho mukha svanasana (3-legged downward dog)

Anjaneyasana (lunge)

Phalakasana (plank pose) OR skip the half-vinyasa and take Balasana (child’s pose)

Chaturanga

Bhujangasana (cobra pose) OR Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana (upward facing dog)

Adho mukha svanasana (down dog)

Eka pada adho mukha svanasana (3-legged downward dog)

Anjaneyasana (lunge)

Phalakasana (plank pose) OR skip the half-vinyasa and take Balasana (child’s pose)

Chaturanga

Bhujangasana (cobra pose) OR Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana (upward facing dog)

Adho mukha svanasana (down dog)

Sasangasana (rabbit pose)

** If you have a neck/head injury, stay seated and round your upper spine. Connect your hands with your heels or shins and take your chin to your chest.

  • Whatever variation you’re in, breathe into your upper back and spread your breath across the back of your ribs.

Adho mukha svanasana (down dog)

Uttanasana (forward fold) at the back of your mat

Utkatasana (chair pose)

Tadasana (mountain pose)

Repeat the same sequence on the other leg.

Wave 1

Tadasana (mountain pose)

Utkatasana (chair pose)

  • Inhale and lift your arms
  • Exhale and sit a little lower
  • Inhale and hook your thumbs and come up to stand; take a gentle back bend
  • Exhale and bow forward and down

Uttanasana (forward fold) with hands clasped at your back

  • Draw your clasped palms skyward
  • Bend your elbows and draw them forward and down
  • Press the feet into the earth and bend your knees slightly
  • Lift your sits bones to the sky as you take the crown of your head down
  • Hold and breathe, soften the jaw and keep the breath full

Uttanasana (forward fold) release the palms to the ground

Ardha Uttanasana (half lift)

Phalakasana (plank pose) variation

  • Lower the knees to the ground
  • Take a block and place it between your inner thighs on the second width
  • Bring your forearms to the ground and take prayer palms
  • Extend your legs back behind you and lift the knees
  • Bring your shoulders over your elbows
  • Brind your heels over your toes
  • Press the back of the head toward the ceiling so your neck is long
  • Squeeze the block each time you exhale
  • Draw your tailbone toward your heels
  • Pull your elbows back toward your toes and your toes forward to your elbows
  • Hold and breathe deep into the strength of your torso

** you can always lower your knees to the ground and hold the same posture.

Catur Svanasana (dolphin pose) with the block between your thighs

Adho mukha svanasana (down dog) remove the block between your thighs

Eka pada adho mukha svanasana (3-legged downward dog)

Anjaneyasana (lunge) with the back knee on the ground

  • Take your hands by your sides
  • Tilt your head toward one shoulder for a neck release
  • Press the front heel down to engage the hamstring
  • Soften your jaw as you hold and breathe
  • Take a few shoulder rolls to release

Anjaneyasana (lunge) variation

  • Take your blocks under your palms on either side of the front foot
  • Lift your back knee from the ground and hug your inner thighs
  • Press the ball of the back foot on the ground
  • Extend both legs and keep your spine log
  • Press your palms into the blocks as you draw the tailbone back and crown forward
  • Stay for a couple of breaths.

Phalakasana (plank pose) OR skip the half-vinyasa and take Balasana (child’s pose)

Chaturanga

Bhujangasana (cobra pose) OR Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana (upward facing dog)

Adho mukha svanasana (down dog)

Eka pada adho mukha svanasana (3-legged downward dog)

Anjaneyasana (lunge) with the back knee on the ground

  • Take your hands by your sides and bring one palm to the opposite bicep
  • Tilt your head toward one shoulder for a neck stretch
  • Press the front heel down to engage the hamstring
  • Lift up through the pelvic floor to engage Mulabhanda
  • Soften your jaw as you hold and breathe
  • Take a few shoulder rolls to release

Parsvottanasana (pyramid pose) variation

  • Take your blocks under your palms on either side of the front foot
  • Lift your back knee from the ground and hug your inner thighs
  • Press the ball of the back foot on the ground
  • Extend both legs and keep your spine log
  • Press your palms into the blocks as you draw the tailbone back and crown forward
  • Stay for a couple of breaths

Phalakasana (plank pose) OR skip the half-vinyasa and take Balasana (child’s pose)

Chaturanga

Bhujangasana (cobra pose) OR Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana (upward facing dog)

Adho mukha svanasana (down dog)

Sirsasana B (tripod headstand)

  • Top of the head comes down to the ground; look between your knees
  • Get your wrist, shoulders and elbows to align at a 90-degree angle
  • Shrug your shoulders on your back and press your palms into the ground
  • Lift your knees from the ground and walk your feet toward your palms
  • Take your knees to your triceps OR extend the legs overhead

** If you’re dealing with neck, head, or shoulder injury, stay in down dog or dolphin pose.

Balasana (child’s pose)

Adho mukha svanasana (down dog)

Uttanasana (forward fold) at the back of your mat

Utkatasana (chair pose)

Tadasana (mountain pose)

Wave 2

Tadasana (mountain pose)

Utkatasana (chair pose) variation

  • Clasp your palms at the small of your back
  • Bring your wrists together to touch
  • Extend the arms and take your shoulders on your back
  • Stay as you are or eagle legs, hooking the thighs and ankles
  • Take your clasped palms to one hip and your ear to your shoulder
  • Breathe into the neck release and the strength of your legs

Tadasana Pavanmuktasana tādāsana (standing knee to chest pose) variation

  • Keep your palms clasped together at the small of your back

Vrikshasana (tree pose)variation

  • Keep your palms clasped together at the small of your back
  • Take your shoulders on your back and lift your chest
  • Stay as you are or release your palms and take them to the sky
  • Lift from the sternum as you take a gentle back bend

Tadasana Pavanmuktasana tādāsana (standing knee to chest pose) variation

  • Keep your palms in prayer at your heart

Tadasana (mountain pose)

Repeat the same sequence on the other leg.

Wave 3

Tadasana (mountain pose)

Utkatasana (chair pose)

Uttanasana (forward fold)

Ardha Uttanasana (half lift)

Phalakasana (plank pose)

Sirsasana B (tripod headstand)

Balasana (child’s pose)

Adho mukha svanasana (down dog)

Eka pada adho mukha svanasana (3-legged downward dog)

Virabhadrasana II (warrior 2) variation

  • Cactus your arms wide to either side
  • Gently hug your belly in and up
  • Inhale at the center
  • Exhale and take your front elbow to your front knee
  • Inhale to center
  • Exhale and take the back elbow toward your back thigh
  • Repeat four cycles to activate the side waist

Trikonasana (triangle pose)

Anjaneyasana (lunge) variation with fingertips on the ground

Urdhva Prasarita Eka Padasana (standing splits) variation

  • Inhale and lengthen the chest forward
  • Exhale and round your upper spine as you take forehead to knee
  • Repeat four cycles expanding and contracting with the breath

Marichyasana (seated spinal twist)

Navasana (boat pose)

  • Keep your palms on the ground or extend them by your shins
  • Extend your legs or keep them bent
  • Stay here for five breaths

Viparita Karani (legs up to the sky) OR Halasana (plow pose)

Phalakasana (plank pose) OR skip the half-vinyasa and take Balasana (child’s pose)

Chaturanga

Bhujangasana (cobra pose) OR Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana (upward facing dog)

Adho mukha svanasana (down dog)

Virabhadrasana II (warrior 2) variation on the OTHER LEG

  • Cactus your arms wide to either side
  • Gently hug your belly in and up
  • Inhale at the center
  • Exhale and take your front elbow to your front knee
  • Inhale to center
  • Exhale and take the back elbow toward your back thigh
  • Repeat four cycles to activate the side waist

Trikonasana (triangle pose)

Anjaneyasana (lunge) variation with fingertips on the ground

Urdhva Prasarita Eka Padasana (standing splits) variation

  • Inhale and lengthen the chest forward
  • Exhale and round your upper spine as you take forehead to knee
  • Repeat four cycles expanding and contracting with the breath

Marichyasana (seated spinal twist)

Navasana (boat pose)

  • Keep your palms on the ground or extend them by your shins
  • Extend your legs or keep them bent
  • Stay here for five breaths

Viparita Karani (legs up to the sky) OR Halasana (plow pose)

Phalakasana (plank pose) OR skip the half-vinyasa and take Balasana (child’s pose)

Chaturanga

Bhujangasana (cobra pose) OR Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana (upward facing dog)

Adho mukha svanasana (down dog)

Uttanasana (forward fold) at the back of your mat

Utkatasana (chair pose)

Tadasana (mountain pose)

Standing Series

Tadasana (mountain pose)

Garudasana (eagle pose)

Vrikshasana (tree pose) variation

  • Hands in prayer or cactus your arms wide
  • Lift from your sternum and take a gentle backbend

Repeat the same postures on the other leg.

Peak Pose 

Tadasana (mountain pose)

Utkatasana (chair pose)

Uttanasana (forward fold)

Ardha Uttanasana (half lift)

Phalakasana (plank pose)

Sirsasana A (headstand from forearms) variation

  • Keep the knees bent and hug your thighs to the abdomen
  • Extend the legs and take the toes to the sky
  • Option to take eagle legs and hook the thighs and ankles.

Balasana (child’s pose)

Sarvāṅgāsana (shoulder stand) OR Vipartita Karani (legs up)

Halasana (plow pose)

Ananda Balasana (happy baby)

Backbends

Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (bridge pose) with or without a block

Urdhva Dhanurasana (wheel pose)

Lunar Sequence

Kapotasana (pigeon pose) OR a hip opener of choice.

Janu sirsasana (seated head to knee pose)

Baddha Konasana (seated bound angle pose)

Seated meditation or savasana to close.