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The Divine Light of Gayatri (60-mins) Vinyasa

A smooth, fluid and creatively sequenced class opens the hamstrings, thighs, and chest as you build toward sarvāṅgāsana (shoulder stand) as the peak pose. Move with breath as in mandala flows that create circles from the front to the back of the mat. With lunges, warriors, balancing poses, and back bending, feel spacious and strong after class. This class opens with the mythology and mantra for Gayatri. Gayatri is another form of Saraswati, the Muse of Creation. The Gayatri Mantra is one of the oldest in India.

**If you’re dealing with any neck sensitivities or injuries, I would suggest NOT doing the peak pose. I’ll talk about that at the beginning of the class.**

Spotify Playlist: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/5UptMtk2VeBPNVldhIwzfw?si=9e4UdpymSaCJFWC6qKx_yA

 

Here’s the link to the condensed (45-min) vinyasa class: https://practice.clararobertsoss.com/programs/gayatri-vinyasa-45

Here’s the link to the myth & mantra (15-min) class: https://practice.clararobertsoss.com/programs/gayatri-mantra-meditation

Style: Vinyasa

Duration: 60-minutes

Level: open-levels

Props: 2 blankets, 2 blocks, 1 strap, 1 bolster

Focus: chest and hamstring opening to work towards shoulder stand

Location: Lila Familia Production Studio, Vancouver, BC

Mythology of Gayatri 

Brahma, Lord of Creation, checked in with the stars to do a particular ceremony and discovered that the stars were aligned for him to perform the ceremony on a particular day and time. The ritual required the masculine and feminine energies to be present, so Brahma asked Saraswati to host the ritual with him. Saraswati is the Muse of Creation and Goddess of Wisdom. In this myth, Saraswati is the true artist who performs on her own time regardless of what is going on around her.

Brahma worries that Saraswati will not make it to the ceremony, so he sends his men to check in on her and remind her of the ceremony’s time. Many people arrive to celebrate the ceremony, and food is prepared, and yet Saraswati has not appeared. The time is drawing closer and closer for the ceremony to align with the stars, and Saraswati has not appeared. Brahma sends more men to remind her, and she says she will be there.

As the time for the ritual gets closer, Brahma is anxious that Saraswati will not appear, so he asks one of his men to find a woman who will be his wife to assist him in the ceremony as his consort. The man finds Gayatri and brings her to Brahma. Brahma tells Gayatri that she must marry him for the ceremony and be his wife to facilitate the ceremony.

Just as the marriage vows are said, Saraswati arrives and sees Brahma with Gayatri. Furious, she approaches Brahma and asks what’s going on. Brahma says that Saraswati is late, but she responds that she is on time.

For his lack of trust in her, Saraswati curses Brahma by saying, “Because you did not trust me, no one will recall your name for centuries to come.” To this day, there is only 1 temple for Brahma in India. To Gayatri, Saraswati says, “Because you helped Brahma, everyone will remember your name,” and to this day, we still celebrate thE Gayatri Mantra.

The Mantra of Gayatri

Generally chanted at the beginning of something to bring reverence and bless what we are about to embark. It’s also a deep remembering and honoring of the teachers, both seen and unseen, to remind us that we don’t walk this path alone. We have teachers and guides that we don’t see who support us as we move forward.

Gayatri Mantra

oṃ bhūr bhuvaḥ svaḥ

tat savitur vareṇyaṃ

bhargo devasya dhīmahi

dhiyo yo naḥ pracodayāt

 

One translation I love:

The eternal, earth, air, heaven

That glory, that resplendence of the sun

May we contemplate the brilliance of that light

May the sun inspire our minds.

*Translation by Douglas Brooks

Opening Flow 

10-breaths to do as you please, options:

  • Balasana (child’s pose)
  • Marjaiasana/Bitilasana (cat/cows)
  • Adho Mukha Svanasana (down dog)
  • Uttanasana (forward fold)

Tadasana (mountain pose)

2x Sun Salutations anyway you like, or follow along with Clara.

Wave 1

Tadasana (mountain pose)

Urdhva Hastasana (hands to the sky)

Utkatasana (chair pose)

Uttanasana (forward fold)

Ardha Uttanasana (halfway lift)

Ashta Chandrasana (high lunge) variation with hands clasped at the back.

  • Bend the back knee about ¾ of the way
  • Inhale lift through the chest
  • Exhale into chin lock- Jalandhara Bhanda
  • Hold here and breathe.

Ashta Chandrasana (high lunge)

Ardha Hanumanasana (half splits pose) option to use your blocks if you need the assist.

  • Tilt your booty towards the sky,
  • Draw your breastbone to your shin,
  • Soften the jaw.

Parighasana (gate pose) variation with the foot flexed on the extended leg.

  • Take the back arm to the sky,
  • Breathe into your armpit,
  • Option to take the hand to the head and extend through the elbow.

Ardha Chandrasana (half moon pose) variation with the back knee on the ground

  • Release the lifted arm to the back of your mat,
  • Lift the foot from the front of your mat,
  • Take the lifted are to the back of your mat.
  • Inhale extend from fingertips to toes,
  • Exhale hook elbow to knee,
  • Do a couple of repetitions.

Adho Mukha Svanasana (down dog)

Move as you please for 5-breaths to transition, options:

  • Take the half vinyasa,
  • Adho Mukha Svanasana (down dog),
  • Balasana (child’s pose)

Eka pada adho mukha svanasana (3-legged dog)

Virabhadrasana || (warrior 2) variation with arms clasped at the back

Prasarita Padottanasana (wide-legged standing forward fold)

Prasarita Padottanasana (wide-legged standing forward fold) variation with a twist

  • Take both hands to back leg, OR
  • Keep one hand on the ground and take the other hand to the sky.

Urdhva Prasarita Eka Padasana (standing splits)

Uttanasana (forward fold)

Urdhva Hastasana (hands to the sky) (half lift)

Tadasana (mountain pose)

Repeat the same sequence on the other side.

Wave 2

Tadasana (mountain pose)

Urdhva Hastasana (hands to the sky)

Utkatasana (chair pose)

Uttanasana (forward fold)

Ardha Uttanasana (halfway lift)

Kumbhakasana (plank pose)

  • Hold for 1-breath
  • Lower as slow as you can to the ground

Ardha Shalambasana (locus pose) keeping toes on the ground

Shalambasana (locus pose)

Rest with head on the arms or one cheek on the ground.

Peak Pose Flow

Sarvāṅgāsana (shoulder stand)

  • Iyengar-style using the blankets and strap if you have the props.

Other options if you’re not doing shoulder stand:

  1. Viparita Karani with legs up the wall or using a bolster/block under the tail.

Cooling Flow

Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (bridge pose) for 8-breath

Urdhva Dhanurasana (wheel pose) for 8-breath

Baddha Konasana (seated bound angle pose) variation with cat/cows

15-breath to close practice as you like, options:

  • Supta Matsyendrasana (reclined spinal twist)
  • Agnistambhasana (double pigeon)

Seated meditation or Savasana.

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