NEW! – WITH INSTRUCTION Evening Yoga Practice for International Day. Iyengar Yoga Sequence.

Welcome to ‘Yoga with Lin and Leo’. This
is the International Yoga Day evening practice. It’s suitable for students who
are already confident in their practice of Sirsasana (head balance) and Salamba
Sarvangasana (shoulder stand). If you’re less practiced in these poses, please
look at our head balance and shoulder stand series and the tutorials. Our
first pose is Adho Mukha Virasana. From a kneeling position bring your toes together and your heels apart. Sit back on your heels and extend forwards, taking
your forehead to the floor. Use supports for the head or the buttocks if you need
to. Use the breath to regulate and focus your attention inwards. Keep extending
back towards your heels. Coming into the next pose Adho Mukha Svanasana, Dog
Head Down. Come onto all fours, tuck your toes under and lift your
sitting bones towards the ceiling. Extend your thighs back strongly. Make sure that
the fingers are spread and that the knuckles are down and the legs are
extending strongly away from the abdomen. Move the abdomen towards the spine. Uttanasana – forward bend. Step or jump the feet forwards. If you don’t have the
flexibility and the suppleness in the backs of the legs to take the hands to
the floor, then place the hands onto your shins or onto your thighs and look
forwards. Otherwise come into the full forward fold of Uttanasana. Look up, extend up and stand in Tadasana. Have the inner edges of the feet
together, take the weight back into the heels. Lift through the chest, extend your
fingertips down. We’re coming now into Sirsasana, Head
Balance. For those who are confident doing that into the centre of the room,
set your mat up in the centre of the room. Otherwise take your mat to a wall.
Interlock the fingers behind the head, make sure that the elbows are in line
with the shoulders. Lift the shoulders away from the ears and take the legs up
into a Sirsasana action. Be sharp on those lower arm bones. Take the armpits
forwards, move the ribs back. Move the tailbone into the body, take your thighs
back. Roll the very top of your thighs inwards and extend into your inner heels. You can stay in this pose for as long as
you wish; if you’re not doing used to doing this pose, then please do come out
as soon as you need to. Make sure that there’s no compression in the neck. The
wrists need to be upright, the head needs to be firmly held in the interlocked
fingers of the hands. Let the body settle, let the breath settle, keep extending up
with your legs. There should be no exertion in this pose. Keep the throat soft. Keep the facial
features soft. As with all yoga poses the breath should
be coming through the nostrils, not through the mouth. And now when you’re ready, slowly release
out of the pose, either with two legs together, or one leg at a time. Release
down into Adho Mukha Virasana, toes together,
heels apart, buttocks back onto the heels, head resting onto the floor, arms
forwards. You’re going to set your equipment up now for Sarvangasana,
Shoulder Stand. Have a platform that you make from four foam pads, you can always
use blankets if you don’t have yoga pads You need a fifth foam pad or cushion;
something else as your launch pad. For those of you who can drop back into Setu Banha, Bridge Pose, from your Shoulder Balance, you can set this up in
the centre of the room. If this is a difficult action for you, then set your
equipment up so that you’re close to the wall. Whichever way you decide to
work your shoulders are on your support with the back of the head onto the floor. Those of you who are working in the centre of the room can come into
Halasana to start with. If you’re working to the wall just make sure that you’ve
got yourself the correct distance from the wall. For those who are
working to the wall, climbing up the wall makes it a little more difficult to get
into the pose, but you will probably need this for your Setu Bandha. Once you are up into your Shoulder Stand
work as much as possible onto the tops of your shoulders, so you need to move
your hands out of your waist towards your shoulder blades. The elbows need to
come in; in line with your shoulders. For many people with restriction in the
upper shoulders/upper back, if you have a lot of muscle bulk in this area, or if
your stiff in your shoulders, it can be difficult getting these actions of
moving the elbows in . If that’s the case for you and moving the hands up the back
is difficult then Setu Bandha might be a bit of a challenge at this stage in your
practice. Use your fingers to move your back ribs in and your thumbs to lift
your side ribs up. Keep working your hands up your back. So your fingers press
into your back ribs but also your back ribs press into the fingers, weighting
down into your elbows. Move the abdomen back and the sacrum in. Move your thighs
back. Bring the inner legs together as much as
possible and extend into your inner heels. Broaden the soles of the feet. In this pose we’re not stretching the
toes up like a ballet dancer but nor are you drawing the toes down towards you. We’re going to come back into Setu Bandha now. If you’re working to the wall you can take one foot at a time to the
wall and start to creep your feet down the wall. Those who are dropping back in the
centre of the room, release the heels towards the buttocks and then and
gradually take the feet to the floor. Keep the hands into the back lifting
your back ribs in. Those who are working to the wall you can walk your feet down
towards the floor. If this is too difficult at this stage just come back
up into your Sarvangasana. There shouldn’t be discomfort in your
wrists. The chest really needs to lift up. Keep your elbows in. Ensure that the feet
are facing forwards and the thighs are rolling in towards one another. Hit back
with the head of the shins to lift more in the chest. Keep the facial muscles
soft, keep the gaze of the eyes in towards the chest. For those who are working to the wall
you can climb the feet back up the wall to come into your Sarvangasana,
Shoulder Balance again. For those who are working to the floor, lift up one leg at
a time into your Sarvangasana. Re-establish your shoulder balance by
again moving the hands in. Keep the legs extending strongly, keep
the breath fine and even. To come out of the poses come into Halasana first. This is the Plough (Plow) Pose. Be on the very nerve endings of your
toes, moving the thighs away from your face, keep the legs strong and straight. You can come back up into Sarvangasana
before releasing down, or just come straight out of your Halasana into a
resting action. If you’re coming into a resting action,
remove the launch pad from underneath your pelvis, place it underneath your
head. And recline back with the legs bent.
The head and the shoulders supported by your platform, the pelvis releasing down. Roll to your right to come out and take your foam pads. You’re either going to be sitting on
your foam pads, if you’re able to come into your Padmasana comfortably then do
so. Otherwise sit in Siddhasana. You can use the foam pads if Siddhasana is a
difficult action for you straight to the floor. Rest the hands, palms face up, onto your
thighs. Keep the chest lifting and let the head bow down. Let the eyes close
and the attention fold inwards. Keep the breath fine and even through the
nostrils. Observe your breathing pattern. Let the structure of your body support
your breath. You can change the cross of the legs now. If you’re in Padmasana or half Padmasana just change the cross of the legs.
Likewise those of you working in Siddhasana can change so that the other leg
is in front. Ensure that you get the lift through the body, the lift through the
chest in this action. Don’t let the spine slump. Don’t let the
chest collapse. Keep the sides of the body lifting up, the frontal armpits
lifting and let the head release down. Where the eyelids are closed keep them
soft. Observe your breath. Fold your attention inwards. And now raise your head, release your
legs. We’re coming into Savasana, Corpse Pose. If you need to have support for
your head, then take it. Make sure that when you lie down your mat is straight
and you’re lying straight on your mat. Recline back with the legs bent. Take the
arms out at a slight angle from the body, with the palms facing the ceiling and
with resistance, scrape the heels away from you, and let the thighs release out
to the side. Allow the eyes to close. Relax your feet, your ankles, release your thighs. Soften and relax the abdomen, releasing your throat. Relax at the back
of the jaw. Take the gaze of the eyes inwards. Fine
inhalation, fine exhalation through the nostrils. Keep the eyes soft. Focus your attention on your breath. We’re coming out of this pose now, you
can stay here for longer if you wish to. So bend your knees, roll to the right
side, come into a seated position. Keep the chest lifted, the head bowed down.