WHOLE BEING HEALING -                        Sylvia May Smith

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Open Your Heart with Back Bending
Sacred Geometry Yoga Part 2
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Open Your Heart with Back Bending

In this Bridge pose, the feet are too far forward. The heels should be lined up under the knees, not too far forward or too close. Her chin is turned up and should be aiming towards her neck to lengthen her neck. Her chest is lifting towards her chin which is opening her heart or chest.  In this Bridge pose, the knees are over the toes and too far forward. When you lie down on your back and stretch your arms along your body, your fingers should just touch your heels. As you can see in this pic, the fingers are reaching towards the middle of the foot. This is a beautiful Bridge Pose. Her chest is wide open, her palms are pressed together in a fist, her knees are over her ankles.
This is a well executed Locust pose. Her head is in line with her feet. She is not cocking her head back or allowing it to fall back. It is in line with her spine.
Camel Pose Ustrasana: Step 1-Start with placing your hands on your lower back. Your knees should be over your hips and feet flexed. You can place a blanket or folded towel under your knees if you have discomfort standing on your knees. Lift your heart to the ceiling more than thinking about grabbing your feet. Bring your shoulder blades together. Camel Pose Step 2-Place your hips forward over your knees, try to touch your heels or if possible grab your ankles but only if you can keep your hips forward over your knees. If either are impossible for now, just keep your hands on your back. Only let your head go back if that is comfortable for you. It is not appropriate for everyone. Otherwise keep your chin tucked to your chest. Step 3: Point your toes and grab her heels or place the palms face down on the soles of your feet but only if the knees are still under your hips. That would be the most advanced version of Camel pose.
This is a beautiful Cow Pose (part of cat/cow warm up). The lady in this pic has her shoulders drawn back to open across her chest, her neck is in a safe position, her shoulders are stacked over her wrists and her hips are stacked over her knees. In this Cow pose the girl is cocking her head back and crunching her neck which is not safe for one's neck, her shoulders are not stacked over her wrists and they are jutting forward closing her heart or chest.In this Cow pose the girl's shoulders are not lined up over her wrists and her hips are not lined up over her knees however her neck is in a safe position.Back Bends are heart openers, literally! When you expand your chest area, you are opening the heart chakra, the Anahata, is located in the middle of the chest. When we sit most of the day with hunched shoulders at our computers, we are contracting our pectoral muscles and our heart center is slammed shut. The weight of the world is on our 
shoulders rounding them forward. This not only effects our muscles and we feel tight and have pain but is a sign you are protecting your heart and keeping it closed.

Sacred Geometry Yoga Part 2

Chaturanga Dandasana: This is the yoga push up done well. The student has L shaped arms in line and next to his body and a straight line from head to toe. He has pushed forward as he lowered from plank and is on the balls of the feet rather than pressing through his heels as in plank. This girl in collapsing her shoulders lower that her elbows which is very bad for the shoulders which are not supposed to be weight bearing. She is also not engaging her core or mula bandha which is typical when one lacks shoulder strength. She sould try lower with her belly pressed to her spine and practice lowering her entire body to the floor in one piece without the belly spilling out as it is in this pic. When she is able to do that successfully, she can work on lowering the entire body half way to the floor without collapsing her shoulders lower than her elbows or sticking her butt up in the air.  This is a woman doing chaturanga with her elbows out and not pressed to her sides and as well sagging in her back be cause she lacks arm strength sufficient enough support her weight. She should drop her knees to the floor or stick with knees chest chin pose to make it easier to keep her elbows next to her body and not harm her back while gaining strength. "Asana as Sacred Geometry: The asanas..take the form of mandalas and yantras, as can be seen by the designs of the postures in which the body assumes a variety of angles, triangles, circles and half circles. Sacred geometry involves the universal patterns existing in the design of everything in our reality....Sacred geometrical patterns are the ethereal blueprint for the arrangement and rearrangement of matter, which implies order within a system and how that system interacts with other systems.

Sacred Geometry Yoga Part 1

In this warrior 2 pose, the guy does not have his head over his tailbone. He is leaning forward. His front knee is slightly past his ankle and he is sitting too low in his hips which over stretches the ligaments in the hips, might also put pressure on the knee joint and cause wear and tear and he is collapsing the back the ankle arch. This is a well aligned warrior 2 pose. Her head is over her tailbone, her wrists in line with her shoulders, her front knee is over her ankle. I think she might be able to widen her stance to get her ankles under her wrists. She looks strong enough to do this without collapsing her back arch which is not ever recommended. This is a poorly aligned plank pose. I like to cal this Schlank pose in class. Her entire lower body is sinking making the arms, shoulders do the work the lower body should be doing. And she is not engaging her core. I would recommend she lift her belly to her spine or curl her tailbone into the body. It's definitely not sacred geometry. This is a very good plank pose. She is not sinking in the pose and she is engaging her core. She is also flexing her feet but I would recommend she press through her heels more as if she would trying to touch the back wall.This is what I call a collapsed downward dog. She is over arching her back which can be easily remedied by engaging mula bandha or curling her tailbone down to her heels. The sit bones should point up to the ceiling but the tailbone should always point down to the heels so the belly is pressed to the spine.
This is a perfectly aligned downward dog. Two straight lines. Upside down triangle.Downward Dog pose. Bending the knees in downward dog  is what one must do with tight hamstrings to lengthen the spine.
Downward Facing Dog pose. This woman has tight hamstrings and is rounding her back as a result. I would recommend she bend her knees and maybe lift her heels to send her sit bones high away from her hands and lengthen her spine which she might need to do for a while until she can open up her hamstrings. First things first. Spine must also be straight.
This is good alignment in extended Triangle pose but I would recommend the student bend her knee right over the ankle. The teacher is helping her to not collapse her back thigh and therefore, arch.Extended Triangle pose. This guy has the right idea to use a block but his knee is not over his ankle. Usually when this happens it means the stance should widen. He should also place the block right outside the foot. Then he would also have a straight line from the outer edge od his back foot to his fingertips.  which is dangerous for the knee/
In this triangle pose the woman is hyperextending your knee which is dangerous. I recommend using a block, shortening her stance and maybe also micro-bending her knee. If she is not using a block, she could also hold higher up the leg which will prevent her from putting too much pressure on her knee. All poses should have a feeling of lifting, never leaning. This is perfect alignment of Triangle pose. His head is in line with his tailbone which is of utmost importance so using a block can help with this alignment if one can't find it without. Never depth over alignment.
The way I am teaching my classes now is based on sacred geometry using the alignment I learned from the Sacred Geometry workshop at Jivamukti based on the teachings of Iyengar and David Life. You need to use blocks to maintain your alignment. It's different because you're not going as deep into postures you might be used to going. It's about head in line with tailbone, wrists in line with shoulders, of course, knee over ankle, shoulders over wrists and the bandhas. Students have to slow down and take a good look at their alignment and maybe back up from where they were used to going.

Yogis Be Careful Of Your Joints!!!

Yogis Be Careful With Your Joints!!! 
This is an important topic. I know only too well what being over flexible can do to your joints. I developed intense knee pain years ago after about 10 years of vinyasa and ashtanga practice. I had to stop yoga for months and strengthen my quadriceps. I became a certified personal trainer to learn more about fitness. Most of my yoga teachers at that time were not able to help me understand what had happened to my knees or how to help them recover. So I finally returned to yoga practice and found some very smart teachers.
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