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Focus on Your Spine

Every once in awhile, I like to be a student and take another teacher’s class. It is so nice to be able to let someone else guide me through a practice. Sometimes I take classes from teachers trained in the Viniyoga tradition like myself and sometimes I don’t.

Recently, I took a class from a very caring teacher not trained in my tradition and, as frequently happens, I was struck by the differences among various types of yoga.

A big difference between Viniyoga classes and other yoga classes is the attention to the spine, and the role the spine plays in the sequencing of postures throughout the practice. All asanas (postures) are categorized by the spine’s direction of movement into forward bends, backbends, twists, lateral bends and axial extensions.

A key issue is how to transition from one asana to another during the practice and, in Viniyoga, it’s done through the forward bend. Forward bends neutralize the spine and are safest for the spine. For example, twisting asanas would only be followed by forward bends.  A typical sequence would be twist, forward bend, backbend. You would not go directly from a twist to a backbend. Think of a car with a manual transmission. You need to push in the clutch before changing gears or you’re going to have a big repair bill. Forward bends are the “clutch” for the other directions of movement.

This attention to the spine is part of the art and science of sequencing found in the Viniyoga tradition.

Joanne Thompson

Joanne Thompson

Founder/Owner at Yoga for Self

Health is a precious gift and my goal is to help you live a healthier, happier life through yoga. Every private session is uniquely designed just for you. For a free telephone consultation call me at 303.818.4181. Discover whether personalized, private yoga instruction is right for you.
Joanne Thompson

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