Words are magic! It makes me happy that I get a lot of emails from yoga students and teachers telling me about how they are incorporating seasonal yoga ideas from my book Yoga Through the Year into their own practice and teaching. I'm inspired by their creativity and the way that they are making the practices their own.
Below is a guest blog post from yoga teacher Judy Brenan. Judy shares with us how she has taken the changing seasons as her inspiration, placing the images and qualities of the tree at the centre of each class. I really love the innovative way that she has integrated the tree theme into her classes. Be inspired!
How I used Jilly's Yoga Through the Year Book in my Teaching
The wonderful ‘Tree Wisdom’ sections in Jilly’s book inspired me to create a seasonal theme for my autumn yoga classes. Taking the changing season, autumn into winter, as my inspiration, I placed the image and qualities of the tree at the centre of each class.
Physically, our asana practice incorporated lots of poses for both grounding and growth. Virabhadrasana 1 & 2 (Warrior poses) and Anjaneyasana (Crescent Moon Lunge) embodied the ‘rooting and shooting’ quality of trees. These expansive, energising poses also allowed us to minimise the effects of the encroaching winter slump. Side-bends, such as Trikonasana (Triangle), Parsvakonasana (Side-angle pose), and Parighasana (Gate pose), all reflected the strength and flexibility of trees, which are able to hold firm and steady throughout life’s storms. Quite naturally, Vrksasana, the tree balance featured each week in all its glorious variations.
Practising Viloma Pranayama, with an interrupted exhalation, encouraged a steadying of the mind and a settling of the breath, both helpful during this seasonal transition period, in which we are so often unsteady and unsettled.
During our relaxation time, I shared some tree-themed visualisations with my students. One was a multi-sensory walk through an autumnal wood, soaking up the myriad of colours, textures and scents. Another, at the end of term, was a Christmas tree themed visualisation, which encouraged students to embrace the light, peace and healing of this special season.
Throughout each class, I also read short extracts from Jilly’s book, poignant, thought-provoking passages showing us how trees connect us not only to the changing seasons but to the different phases of life itself. After all: ‘Yoga is union and trees are a living, breathing embodiment of this union.’ (p.20)
Judy Brenan is a British Wheel of Yoga teacher and Foundation Course tutor
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Jilly Shipway, sharing seasonal yoga ideas and inspiration with you through the year...
Please feel free to share ideas and resources that you find in my blog, but please do acknowledge me and my website as their source. Thanks!
Disclaimer: if you have any concerns about your health or suitability to do yoga, please consult a medical professional before attempting any of the yoga routines in this blog.