I took this from a post I made and the answers I recieved on LinkedIn. I am looking forward to hear from Teachers on this one.

Had a thought and looking for answers! In the traditional Ashtanga Yoga sequence, a vinyasa is performed in between sides of a posture. For example, Janu Shirsasana is done on the Right side, then a vinyasa is done, then Janu Shirsasana is done on the left. Because one side is being stretched first, do you think it affects the performance of the vinyasa? For example, if one hamstring/glut/QL is tighter than the other as a result of the one-sided Janu Shirsasana, would that hip be slightly higher in symmetrical poses chatturunga, updog and downdog? Would this follow in a resulting imbalance in chatturunga, updog and downdog affect the way the hips sit for the rest of the day? What’s your opinion/experience with this? Also why majority of teachers start with right side why don t we mix it up and break the rules.


Lara “Thoughtful questions Cristina. I agree and prefer to do each side before doing another vinyasa. Mixing it up beginning with the left sometimes feels more in the direction of minimizing imbalance. Thank you for posting a question that helps teachers sit back and think about our processes. I have another question to pose on this thread. What are your feelings about Chaturanga? I’ve pretty much stopped teaching it because it’s such a difficult posture for almost everyone, so what I’m seeing is people doing it improperly over and over. No matter how many times and ways I explain it, and demonstrate, it’s too difficult so students continue to do it incorrectly to get on the other side landing them in Up Dog. The concern is the repetition of Chaturanga after Chaturanga that taxes rotator cuff muscles doing more harm than good. Thoughts? Perhaps posture focusing it in class is a better way to feel the benefits and have the time to move through it carefully?”


Veena “Thanks Lara,I have the same difficulty about Chatranga and my students were getting more injuries.No matter how much correction,feet position,shoulders and neck was not aligned.I break them in to segments and shift to upward facing dog and downward facing dog.Performing right is important in my opinion.”


Cristina C Holtz

Hi Lara Falberg I had the same thoughts in regards to Chaturanga when I started teaching but then please remember we were all students once :)). I know Chaturanga can cause major injuries to the wrists. I go beyond just explaining the pose and showing it it many times in class, I usually explain that if wrists are hurting maybe skipping couple of Chaturangas is a good idea, supporting it with the knees down may work too. I also believe that in general students do some research on the poses that cause them pain as there is a need to practice and they want to eliminate whatever stands between them and a safe, steady comfortable practice. Yoga practitioners generally ask some questions as they adapt poses to their physical bodies with all the limitations involved. Do not be scared of the pose. Go for the Chaturanga and emphasize what can cause harm and how to eliminate that. Eventually everyone registers all the info provided in regards to Chaturanga at one point or another as you have to give it time and watch the students grow. I also believe that with Time we build up strength in the wrists. It comes with practice. Chaturanga in general is safer than many other poses that are explored in classes where students just take headstands with no instructions, no proper warm up or experience and it looks like their neck is about to collapse. I love these type of discussions that raise questions and makes us think and rethink our practice. Thank you for your input. I have a blog where I post often www.lifeasalifestyle.com or on facebook.com/lifeasalifestyle you may enjoy the information there as well.

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Lara Falberg

Hi Cristina, thank you for your reply. I love these types of discussions too. I’ve done all that you suggested above for many years. Breaking it down, having students do it on their knees, adjusting them so their weight isn’t mostly in their wrists, helping them to not drop their ribs, encouraging the pulling of the elbows back, not out, etc. I’m not at all afraid of the pose. I do this pose, but slowly and carefully so I can receive the benefits, and not injure my rotator cuffs or wrists. After reading your reply, I again addressed Chaturanga in class last night and had students practice on their knees. I had two assistants last night so we were able to get to most students who had trouble finding the distribution of weight in their hands. The response was, as it always is, ‘Wow, this is hard.’ About midway through class, I offered one opportunity for students to move through Chaturanga, Up Dog, to Down Dog. What I saw is what I’ve been seeing ever since I’ve been staying away from teaching it. Everyone went right back to doing it the way they’ve always done it. And this was a pretty advanced group of practitioners, overall. I’m aware I’m in the very small minority in this opinion as of now, but since I’ve been staying away from offering it in class, I’ve seen students really commit to plank pose, dedicating to weight distribution, core engagement, and bandha use. And the feedback I’ve received has been positive from students. Where I’ve landed, for now, is if a posture isn’t all that useful for the vast majority because it feels too inaccessible, why would I offer it twenty times per group class? In private client situations, it’s different. Thank you for your reply. I look forward to reading your blog!

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Cristina C Holtz
Cristina C Holtz

Lara Falberg You know what I thought when you wrote your response? ” It is true that what happens on the mat is a metaphor for life. ” We often go back to the same mistakes we made. :)) Great Reply thank you! This is a discussion to be explored. How we counteract bad alignment practices in chaturanga?

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Cristina C Holtz

Lara Falberg also as i was discussing your comment with someone else something crossed my mind. We forget our breath in practice so I wonder if alignments can also be forgotten because we are not fully aware of our physical body in all the parts that make the whole. When i teach Yin classes i always explore awareness where is the awareness going in the body in a particular pose. Maybe because chaturanga is a dynamic pose awareness fades away somewhere else maybe to the next move or the whole process hence not to the alignment. Maybe is harder to teach awareness then it is to teach alignment. With awareness comes proper alignment and breath. They are highly linked. Looking forward for your reply.

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