Fluid, fiery, and fun, this intermediate/advanced vinyasa yoga class harnesses the power of the second chakra.
The second chakra, svadhisthana, is responsible for our emotions, so as you move through the sequence honor how you feel and be in your breath. Flow with Clara through a sequence that involves twists, side-waist lengthening, and hamstring opening to build toward a peak pose with revolved half moon pose.
Props: 2 blocks
Focus: Twists, Revolved Half Moon pose-peak
Location: Jasper House, Sri Lanka
This class focuses on building heat to stimulate the digestive fire with wide-armed twists and chaturanga push-ups. Twisting opens the shoulders and back. Iyengar described twists as a squeeze and soak action to stimulate the spine, muscles, and organs.
When we twist, the organs are compressed which blocks the flow of blood and pushes out the blood-filled with toxins. When we release the twist, fresh blood flows back to the organs and muscles bringing nutrients to improve circulation and tissue healing.
Chaturanga push-ups help build strength in the arms, as well as the chest, shoulders, and back. You can take chaturanga push-ups with knees on or off the ground. The strength-building is balanced by the flexibility and flow featured in the dynamic movements in this sequence as you move with your breath.
Fluidity and moving through change are two themes of svadhisthana, the second chakra. Svadhisthana’s element is water and is located at the sacral area at the lower pelvis.
The second chakra includes themes around creativity, relating to others, change, emotions, boundaries, and sexuality. The parts of the body associated with the second chakra include the sex organs, kidneys, adrenals, lower back, and lower pelvis.
Svadhisthana asks us to examine how we express ourselves, how we relate to others, how we move with change, how we honor our emotions, and how we set healthy boundaries.
Imbalances of the second chakra are expressed as rigidity, stagnation, and indecision. To overcome feelings of lethargy, or feeling stuck, you might do this class or any yoga class that is fluid and fiery to get things moving, build the heat to transform, and open the body.
To The Moon begins with Surya Namaskar (sun salutations) to distribute the prana to the entire body, build heat, lengthen and strengthen the muscles, and connect the body to the breath. As you move through the sun salutations and open your practice, acknowledge how you feel and how you wish to express your practice. Stay connected to your breath as you move and flow- go at a pace that serves and keep checking in as the sequence builds.
Once you’ve completed a few rounds of sun salutations, you’ll move into the first wave of this sequence with a variation of Parivrtta Anjaneyasana (revolved crescent lunge).
Inhale arms to the sky, and as you exhale twist with wide arms. From Adho Mukha Svanasana (downward dog) come forward and put your knees on the ground for chaturanga push-ups. You can also leave knees off the ground to test your tapas (discipline).
A modified version of Ustrasana (camel pose) follows the push-ups to release the front of the chest and shoulders and stretch the pectorals, which worked hard in chaturanga.
A dancing warrior flow through Virabhadrasana || (warrior 2), Viparita Virabhadrasana (peaceful warrior), and Utthita Parsvakonasana (extended side angle pose) help soften the edges as you dance through each pose.
When we flow with breath through poses as opposed to holding each pose for a longer period we create a different energetic current in the body. To create a sense of groundedness and stability, holding poses for 5-8 breaths serves to connect you to the earth. Flowing from pose to pose shakes up the static energy and serves if we’re feeling heavy or lethargic. Flowing with the breath through each pose mimics the idea of water by creating a current of prana in the body and connects us to our second chakra.
The second wave of this sequence starts standing for Virabhadrasana III (warrior 3) to prep you for the balancing in the peak pose.
Step back into another Parivrtta Anjaneyasana (revolved lunge) variation with your knee on the ground. Ardha Hanuman (half splits) opens the lower back and the hamstrings. After more chaturanga push-ups you’ll take a seated version of cat/cows to rinse out the spine after all the twisting. A longer-held Utthita Parsvakonasana (extended side angle pose) opens the side waist and strengthens the legs.
The final piece of your standing series, place your yoga blocks on the tallest hight at the top of your mat, and move into Virabhadrasana III (warrior 3). The opposite hand to the lifted leg will come down to one of the yoga blocks for you to move into your peak-pose, Parivrtta Ardha Chandrasana (revolved half-moon). A cross-toed forward fold releases the glutes on the standing leg after all the leg-balancing.
Come onto your back for supported Setu Bandhasana (supported bridge pose) and Pavanamuktasana (wind-relieving pose) with a block still supporting the lower back to release the quadriceps on the extended leg. Supta Matsyendrasana (reclined spinal twist) finishes your practice to release the low back.
This class is an intermediate/advanced yoga class with modifications for those who are pregnant or newer to the practice. Clara offers variations and assistance with yoga blocks to accommodate yogis of all levels.