This is session 1 of a 5-week course aiming to give students a way to start Iyengar Yoga using supports to help with alignment, understanding, and stability.
Set up using two blocks and a folded towel or blanket to cover the blocks. Use a second folded blanket for head support.
Lie back with the back ribs and head over your support, legs in the simple cross-leg position and feel how the chest is opened and the breath can become smoother with support under the back ribs.
Come up and go forward into Virasana, knees apart and extending the arms forward. Place the hands on to blocks. This helps to release the lower back and to start to bring length into the front, back, and side body.
Stand, keeping your two blocks nearby.
Place the feet hip-width apart and extend your arms up. Elbows straight: Urdhva Hastasana.
Now place a block between your ankles, take a second block between the palms, and extend your arms up, holding the block. Palms flat into the block, fingers pointing up towards the ceiling.
Keeping the block between the ankles and hold the block from underneath and raise the arms up. This gives a good sense of further extension in the back ribs, whilst keeping an awareness of the base, the legs, and feet.
Turn to the wall and place the palms against the wall, hip-height and shoulder-width apart. Step back and feel the length in the spine and the opening in the shoulders: half Uttanasana to the wall.
Step forward and still facing the wall, place the fingertips to the wall, and “creep” the fingers up. Notice how you can lift your chest whilst taking the arms overhead keeping the shoulders down.
Standing poses with the back against the wall.
Turn your mat sideways up against the wall and step the feet one leg length apart. Turn to the R and go to Trikonasana (Triangle pose). Keep the back outer heel to the wall, both kneecaps up, back of the head to the wall as you turn to look forward, or up if the neck allows.
Come up and go to the L side.
Repeat again on both sides.
Spread the legs wider and turn to the R side for Virabhadrasana 2 (Warrior 2). Extend the arms to the side, shoulder height, and bend the front knee to a square. Keep the left shoulder over the left hip, and turn to look over the right arm. Come up and change sides.
Repeat again on both sides.
Bring the feet to hip width and step about a foot away from the wall. Bend forward, keeping the buttocks against the wall, and place your hands to your knees or shins, where you can reach without bending the knees. Release the head and neck down and take 5-6 breaths to rest.
Come up and turn the mat so it is perpendicular to the wall.
Parsvottonasana, a turning standing pose.
Place the L heel to the wall and the R foot forward, about one leg length away. Turn to face the wall, rotating the hip around so that the two hips and the front chest are facing the wall evenly. Extend forward, and place your hands down onto upright blocks just under the shoulders. Sternum forward and look forward. After 5/6 breaths, come up and change legs to bring the L leg forward, R heel to the wall.
Turn for Prasarita Padottanasana, the widest of the standing poses. Place the feet wide and parallel to each other raise the sternum up and look up. Extend forward, taking your hands down onto blocks or to the floor. Concave spine. Look forward, legs straight.
Prepare for a few sitting poses. Have two blocks and a blanket nearby.
Sit in Vajrasana: bend the knees, place the feet together, and sit on your heels with a folded blanket between the buttocks and the heels. This is a good pose to rest the legs in while opening up the hips. Interlock your fingers and raise your arms up: Parvatasana. Change your interlock.
Extend the legs out into Dandasana (Rod or Staff pose). Knees straight, legs together. Use a folded blanket under the buttocks to get a better lift in the spine.
Stay sitting on your blanket and go to simple cross-legs twist. Place a block behind the buttocks and turn to the R. Change the cross leg and turn to the L side. Come up and walk the hands forward and hold a few breaths.
Lie on your back with the legs perpendicular and resting against the wall. Hold for a minute or so to let the hamstrings extend and the back release. Feel the support of the floor for your spine and back. Then bring the soles of the feet together, knees bending to the side (Baddha Konasana). Stay for a minute or more. This second variation opens the hips in a supported and passive way. Extend the legs up and then spread the legs wide apart. Hold for a minute, bring the legs back together, and then bend the knees into the chest to release the lower back. Turn to the R side to come out.
Set up for Savasana (Corpse pose).
Lie back with a folded blanket for your head. Keep warm if the weather is cooler by using a blanket over the legs. Check that the two buttocks, shoulders and legs are evenly resting on the floor. Then quieten the facial muscles, the eyes, the jaws, and the mouth; observe the soft breath for a few minutes to finish.