Guest Blogger: Dan – Hot Pilates, Week Three

 

We asked one of our new members, Dan, to write a few blogs about his experience participating in the Hot Pilates classes at Absolute Yoga, Crosby. We selected Dan for this task because he was completely new to Pilates and, therefore, would be able to describe the changes that he is noticed in his body and mind from doing three Hot Pilates classes a week at Absolute Yoga.

 

This is Dan’s final blog. You can read his other two blogs here and here.

 

 
Three little words. That is all it takes. They mean the world to a lot of people. Not me, I know they mean pain and suffering now. “Let’s do Plank”………. you were expecting something else? Keeping still has never been such hard work or for that matter exercise. But here I am, keeping still, holding plank, sweating, a lot.

 

 
It might sound like I go on about the sweating a bit too much, but I can’t overstate it enough. I finished today’s class in the centre of my own moat. You absolutely must hydrate properly, I drink at least two litres of water every day now and up to a litre and a half in the class alone, the majority of which feels like it comes straight back out during the class. Paula, the teacher, made a good point today (one of many across the classes but this one is pertinent to my point so I’m stealing it) You don’t get thirst pangs the way you get hunger pangs, if you feel thirsty in the class you’re too late, hydrate Hydrate HYDRATE!!!!

 

 
Today marked my tenth lesson and so far no two classes have been the same and every lesson has introduced something new, todays’ had a leg work out that I’m sure has a lovely yoga based name but I’ve christened it quad killer. Testament to my physical improvement I stuck with the move almost to the end, but not quite, I’ll get you next time quad killer.
 

 

Back to that Plank, it has come in two flavours so far. Low, on elbows and toes, very strong focus on core and high, on hands and toes still with core engaged but arms and thighs have more of a say in my experience. High gives more room for movement with running plank and alligator. These two are most definitely the hardest for me as they are the most intense physical activity in the class. Me and plank aren’t friends yet, but we will be.
 

 

With the engagement of the core, pelvic floor muscles for girls, swimwear pose for boys, it has started to shape me as I am carrying myself differently out of class, engagement of the spine, core and shoulders has lead to a better overall posture I believe and this is after only three weeks! Along with the physical change there is also the mental one, thinking about how I carry myself is starting to become second nature. A historic back injury hasn’t made its presence felt since I’ve been attending classes and that area has been given a solid work out without a hint of a twinge or spasm.

 

 
All in all it feels like rapid improvements are being made but I know there is a long way still to go, but it is the first exercise class that I’ve looked forward to attending and enjoyed throughout my time there.

 

 

 

Inabit Namaste

 

Read more about Hot Pilates here.

 

Hot Pilates classes at Absolute Yoga:

 

Monday – Hot Pilates 10am
Wednesday – Hot Pilates 10am
Wednesday – Hot Yogalates 4.30pm
Friday – Hot Pilates 10am

 

Book a class here.

 
 

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The Story Behind Virabhadrasana I, II and III

 

It may seem odd that the peaceful practice of yoga includes a posture known as “The Warrior” or “Virabhadrasana” (veer-ah-bah-DRAHS-anna). This is a yoga pose with which most yoga students are familiar. However, perhaps you are not familiar with the tragic love story behind this posture. The story is one of love, hate, rage, violence, sadness, wrath, compassion and forgiveness which begins with the marriage between Lord Shiva and his bride Sati.

 

According to ancient texts, Sati’s father, the powerful King Daksha did not approve of their union. Shiva was described as an unorthodox god with dreadlocks who was prone to meditating in graveyards whilst smeared with the ashes of the dead. Shiva was also reclusive and would spend a lot of time meditating on mountain tops rather than engaging in society. 

 

In addition to consuming toxins and singing and dancing at will, it is also said that Shiva carried around with him a skull (legend has it that the skull was actually stuck to his hand following a curse placed on him by Lord Brahma after Shiva cut off one his five heads).  Accordingly, Shiva was very much the antithesis of King Daksha who thrived on rules and regulations and was a preserver of traditional society.

 

After they were married, Sati left to live with Lord Shiva in the PleasureCity, Bhoga, on MountKailash. Enraged by their union, King Daksha decided to hold a huge event known as a Yagna (a ritual sacrifice) to which he invited all heavenly creations, deities and dignitaries… with the exception of Lord Shiva and his own daughter, Sati.

 

Sati was enraged at the snub and decided that she would go to the Yagna alone and confront her father. Shiva, however, refused to go choosing instead to remain alone and meditate. Unfortunately, when Sati arrived at the gathering her father refused to speak to her and when he eventually did it was only to ridicule Sati and Shiva which humiliated his daughter.

 

The Yagna guests looked on and laughed at Sati as her father sniggered and mocked her new husband saying that he was a despicable character and asked if Shiva was also known as “the Lord of the Beasts”.  Sati was so angry at her father that she decided that she would sever all ties with him which also included the earthly body which he had given his daughter.

 

Since you have given me this body I no longer wish to be associated with it.” 

 

The story goes that Sati then sat down on the floor, went into a meditative trance and, by way of yogic exercises, began to increase her inner fire until such a point that she burst into flames and died.

 

The Wrath of Shiva

 

Shiva soon heard the news of his wife’s violent death. At first he was deeply saddened but then became so enraged at his loss that he tore off his clothes and ripped out his jatars (his dreadlocks). Legend has it that Shiva then picked up one of his jatars from the floor and threw it down to the earth to create “Virabhadra” (Vira meaning hero and Bhadra meaning friend).

 

Shiva then directed his warrior demon, Virabhadra, to go to the Yagna and kill everyone, behead King Daksha and drink his blood. It is here that we really see the links between this ancient tragic love story and the warrior poses that we see commonly in modern yoga classes known as Virabhadrasana I, II and III. 

 

Virabhadrasana I

 

According to the ancient texts, Virabhadra entered the Yagna by thrusting his way up from deep underground with his sword held over his head in both hands – a feat re-enacted in the posture Virabhadrasana I.

 

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Virabhadrasana II

 

Next, Virabhadra made his presence known to the Yagna guests by standing with his sword poised and ready to strike. Essentially, the posture Virabhadrasana II represents Virabhadra  having his victim in his cross hairs (consider the drishti point of the middle finger as the cross hairs and the back arm is the sword ready to strike forward).

 

 Virabhadrasana II

 

 
 
 
 
Virabhadrasana III

 

Finally, Virabhadra lifted his sword into the air and, as instructed by Shiva, quickly and precisely he severed the head of King Daksha. This macabre scene is represented by  Virabhadrasana III.

 

 

 

 
What happened next…

 

Shiva arrived at the Yagna and absorbed Virabhadra back into his own form. Seeing the death and destruction before him, Shiva was no longer enraged but was instead filled with sorrow. Shiva then showed compassion to his father in law by finding the headless body of the King and giving him a new head (the head of a goat) before bringing him back to life. This prompted Daksha to bow to Shiva and call him “the kind and benevolent one”.

 

Shiva then picked up the remains of his wife’s dead body and left the Yagna to return to a life of solitude.

 

The Moral of the Story

 

This story is symbolic and can be viewed as Shiva (and his incarnation, Virabhadrasana) as representing the higher self doing battle with the arrogant ego (Daksha) in the name of love and the heart (Sati). 

 

Accordingly, the yoga pose “Virabhadrasana” is not at odds at all with the peaceful “ahisma” of yoga practice (ahimsa is one of the yamas and means “non-harmful”). For in this pose we are not celebrating a warrior who caused a scene of destruction and carnage. Instead, in this posture, we acknowledge our own spiritual warriors who every day do battle with our own egos and avidya (self-ignorance) which is the ultimate source of all our suffering.

 

View Absolute Yoga‘s timetable here and book a class online here.

 

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Hridaya Yoga Workshop at Absolute Yoga Sunday 23rd February 2pm – 4.30pm with Niamh

 

New log with yoga and pilates

 

Yoga and Chakras from the Heart

 

The workshop will take place at Absolute Yoga, Crosby on Sunday 23rd February 2.00pm – 4.30pm with Niamh. There are 18 spaces available on a first come, first served basis. Ticket price is £25 per person.

 

The workshop is for all levels: beginners, intermediate and advanced yogis and yoginis.

 

About this Workshop…

 

  • What are chakras?
  • What is energy?
  • How does energy relate to yoga?
  • How do we experience this from the heart?

 

With awareness and self enquiry we experience the energetic structure through asana pranayama, mudras and bandas as a way of deepening the connection with Self. This workshop is layered with broad aspects of the Spiritual Heart from a variety of traditions to boost your regular practice, for more vivid healing and a healthy body in order to enhance peace and love on our ever evolving path. In doing so, we awaken more to our true nature.

About Niamh…

After extensive travels around the world, Niamh’s training and developed insights from spiritual teachers bring ten years of teaching experience (IYF & RYT 500) in Hridaya yoga, Tantra, breath work, Advaita Vedanta, Self Enquiry, Buddhism and more.

 Niamh

Niamh has found the magic in yoga to actively maintain fresh attitudes toward one’s life making the most of each day. She has observed growth and change available to ALL: no matter how big or small a problem appears. Niamh has worked with a diverse range of clients and specialises in developing personalised yoga practices for specific needs and various conditions.

Niamh’s teachings are rooted in a detailed understanding of tendencies and relationship between the body and the mind. She creates a mindful and clear space for her students to develop their own understanding within their practice and ultimately their own wellbeing. Niamh looks no further than the cultivation and revelation of the true self, the spirit of who we really are, to bring the depth of contentment and joy in life.

Niamh first qualified in 2004 with Sivinanda in India. Teaching for 11 years with a variety of different yoga styles such as contemporary and vinyasa, Niamh, now a teacher of Hridaya yoga and meditation (IYF & RYT 500), is also involved with teacher trainings in the UK for The Banyan Tree School of Yoga (YA) and is a contributing writer for Yoga Magazine as well as running her own workshops and retreats in Europe.

 

How to Book a Place (£25

 

Email: info@absoluteyogacrosby.co.uk

 

Telephone: 0151 928 1029

 

Or visit reception.

 

Please note that places are only provisionally booked until the cost of the place (£25) has been paid in full.

 

 

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