Yoga & Movement Therapy here shall reinforce and fortify your internal healing processes by teaching you mudras, bandhas and enhanced pranayama techniques. The mind-body-soul connection will be intensified. You’ll evolve to feel more centred, less distressed and more rejuvenated.
Dear fellow yogi, there shall come a time where you'll move to a different plane. Congratulations! You now have a good grasp of basic yoga asanas. Besides bridging your breath to your movements while comfortably switching asanas.
Your proceeding yoga and movement therapy will see some changes. A few would emanate from your guru whereas others will spring from you. Hmmm…sure you understand that you shall be challenged with added sophisticated poses and inversions, but what are the modifications that you’ll make?
Your participation in the therapy will shift from being sporadic to consistent. Implying that as you get familiar with your new hobby, you’ll want to hit your mat frequently. Though it may (or may not) happen that after a few intense sessions you feel overwhelmed and a bit discouraged. However the current transformations within you, spurred by the maturing mind-body connection would egg you on to persevere and practise even outside your formal classes at home.
Assuming your having a working knowledge of yoga, your instructor may use Sanskrit asana names. Some of you may feel a bit lost by this. Fret not…no one expects you to master the ancient and classical language of India. Even your teacher might forget or mispronounce asanas names. They are only attempting to create a yogic bubble so as to facilitate your total submersion. You could get cues about the asanas by observing your classmates and following the teacher's directions for coordinated breathing. For the less inhibited among you, feel free to simply request your guru to also include the English names. After all, your progression is in their best interest too and they would not mind expressing themselves more in order to be better understood by you.
Your instructor shall probably do less demonstrations, and instead walk around during class to make corrective adjustments to your postures. Thus you’ll need to hold your asanas for longer periods with the synchronised prolongation of your respiration. This in itself would add intensity to your yogic workout and power your muscle mass.
Although you are meant to push your boundaries and take risks at this stage, nevertheless it should be done in a mindful, safe and respectful manner. So if were you to feel a sharp pain or sudden cramping, it’s your flesh and bones requesting a dialling down of effort - to stop for the moment, be patient and gentler with yourself. Your coach might offer modifications of the same posture in order for your muscles and tendons to get used to it.
Some of you may find yourself not as supple as others or unable to reach your preconceived ideas of where you should be at this level. It is a misnomer to think flexibility is synonymous with yoga and shall come organically and quickly. On the contrary, you’ll learn that many people practise yoga & movement therapy for decades before they obtain an enviable degree of pliability. Your practitioners will raise the bar of your awareness by coaxing your systems to take fewer deep breaths to stretch out the maximum of your potential. They’ll also gently remind you to focus on yourself and not deflate your motivation through unequal comparisons.
As you work through understanding the extent of the burgeoning elasticity within you, to know what your ‘new’ physique is capable of, the pace of the exercises shall quicken. In part naturally as you internalise the novelties introduced but also because of the conscious choice of your guru. Through the combination of longer pose holds and speed, your stamina and flexibility too shall be solicited. For example, a sustained maintenance of Ardha Chandrasana (the Half Moon pose) by fixing one’s concentration on a point and stable muscle support.
Your sessions would be increasingly characterised by complex pranayama (breathing) methods. Thereby developing greater control over your breathing and comprehension about physical and mental reactions to consciously monitored inhalation and exhalation. It’ll enhance the established bond between the brain and body. Making you experience peace and non-judgemental acceptance about the ongoing bodily changes.
Additional concepts could be introduced to you at this stage such as ‘mudras’ (hand gestures) or ‘bandhas’ (internal energy locks). If these had been already evoked previously, their benefits and techniques would be elaborated. Mudras in all their forms is performed either in conjunction with pranayama or postures. The hand gestures builds on cerebral and corporeal dexterity, steadiness and strengthening.
Your guide could explain the anatomical significance of the three main ‘bandhas’ constituted by the ‘Jalandhara bandha’ (the throat lock), the ‘Uddiyana bandha’ (the stomach lock) and the ‘Mula bandha’ (the root lock). It is believed that the body manifests polarised vitality in the form of heat or cold, positive or negative thoughts. An excess of any is harmful for our well-being. Through the varied applications of the three locks, you could try to restore order among the oscillating energies circulating with you so as to create internal harmony and equilibrium of forces.
Herein your evolution in yoga & movement therapy would deepen the inward journey from the outer space to your inner chakra chambers. To hear the mental chatter in your head, the body’s signals and sit almost comfortably with any mental trauma or physical pain being encountered by you. By better tuning yourself with your own mortal being, a healthier balance between the heart, psyche and body evolves.
Your practise blossoms in a way that when you fully immerse yourself, the internal dialogue in the head is swiftly contained, while the manifested aches and discomforts are reduced by your malleable figure, or potentially even dissolved. Your merging with self will be all that’ll matter to you. The actual moment will acquire higher relevance, where just you’ll be - unified, securely anchored in peace and contentment.