I was tempted to start another blog altogether for this focus on Simon and Bianca's approach to practice, to strongly signal that it's in many ways a new beginning but the isn't our practice always a new beginning, every time we step on the mat it is or should be perhaps like the first time, just as each morning we seek to do a little better in regards to the yama/niyama.
This isn't a new 'style' of yoga, just an alternatively mindful approach to the practice we already have, If I feel a long way from my Ashtanga Vinyasa practice, moving back closer to the Vinyasa Krama variations of Krishnamacharya/Ramaswami I'm reminded that Simon has an online Ashtanga course in the works. Whatever we practice we can always perhaps improve the effectiveness and efficiency of practice as well as making it sustainable for the long as well as short term.
This post relates to my previous posts
In their standing sequences at yogasynergy.com Simon Borg-Olivier and Bianca Machliss focus on moving the spine vertebra by vertebrae while keeping length and avoiding, as much as possible, any compression, starting from the base of the spine around L5 and moving on up, tricky.
Below is my first video of working on their Spinal movements that I've become addicted to, I'm more than a little embarrassed to share it, suggesting that after ten years of practice and nine of blogging about that I'm taking myself and my practice a little too seriously. I like to think of this video as akin to one of those first jump back in progress videos form the first weeks of the blog.
I'm thinking tai chi and how it takes decades of practice to iron out the edges, to maintain focus on all the elements throughout.
It's work in progress, come back in ten years.
Instruction for this sequence can be found on this download
And Simon showing how it should be done
And Simon showing how it should be done
Note: I strongly recommend watching this series of videos on YouTube for an explanation of the why and wherefore of all these movements SPINAL MOVEMENTS SEQUENCE
And also this. I love what Simon has to say on this video about practice and Yoga in general and I've shared this here before but try changing the settings to 1080p and watching it with the sound off. THIS is what I'm currently exploring in my own practice, the first two minutes in particular.
So the focus on the spine is clear and this carries on through Simon and Bianca's approach to seated postures, lengthening the spine, maintaining space as we move in and out of 'traditional/classical' postures. I began to wonder though about Inversions. In shoulder stand it's possible to do something similar perhaps, rolling up and down the spin/the mat, into and out of postures as we do in occasionally inVinyasa Krama. The video below is from a couple of years back, there is compression in the spine here in the backbend but a rolling down and back up too in the Supta Padangushtasana variation as seen in Krishnamacharya's 1938 Mysore documentary footage starting two minutes in, I'm working on this now with Simon in mind as I am in revisiting all the Vinyasa Krama sequences.
What then can we do with headstand, Vinyasa Krama variations come to mind, but we can also perhaps move from headstand to seated just as we roll down from shoulderstand to the floor, curling the spine vertebra by vertebra, it's interesting to explore, again work in progress, research.
Below then Sirsasana to gomukhasana, a posture Simon and Bianca favour in their fundamentals course
Also, exploring 'rolling' the spine down into baddha konasana which we can also take back up although I haven't shown it in the video.
I'm also exploring Simon's nerve tensioning arm movements in the posture as well as the spinal movement, working to relax the spine as I move in and out of the posture.
Flow without Fluidity
Even though there is movement to and from the postures in Ashtanga and Vinyasa krama, such practice still feels somewhat....static, flow perhaps but without... fluidity, it's perhaps this fluidity that I'm enamoured with in Simon and Bianca's approach and suspect may be of benefit.
In going the other way, back up to headstand from padmasana (lotus) I'm using some of Simon Borg-Olivier's tips for effortless handstand here. Aiming to push the hips forward, lifting the upper back and moving the sitting bones forward to firm the abdomen and make up for the lack of navasana, the key though seems to be breathing into the abdomen as I bring my lots up my arms and then all the way up to Sirsasana.
See Simon's how to lift up to handstand , part fifteen in his superb spinal sequence series of videos on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3h-vASq0H-U Update:
And finally another of the movements we see in the spinal sequence in the video at the top of the page (near the end) to move with ease into the bind of baddha padmasana, active movement.
So much to work on here, I'm fascinated again by my practice.