Week 6: Moving toward Balance with Rodney Yee (when I got stuck in a chair)

Despite not being able to do most things that make life worth living, I have been carrying on with my Rodney Yee yoga course. It’s actually been good to have this structure when I sit down to do yoga, especially on days when I’m not feeling great or have been very busy entertaining people. I’ve actually finished the course but very very very behind with these recaps.

Week 6 is forward bends and restorative poses. Just saying that makes me have a big relaxing sigh: “ahhhhhhhh”. I wasn’t looking forward to this week having said that. Looking over it I wondered what the point was, having done Rodney’s dvds a lot early in my practice if there’s one thing his sequences aren’t lacking, it’s forward bends. He loves his forward bends. But then again it’s standing forward bends (uttanasana) he loves and there hasn’t been a single seated forward bend so far in this course, except for a couple of baddha konasanas and upavishta konasanas in that core strengthening sequence.

As usual I found the first day irritating, all those props! But there was two welcome new prop poses- restorative backbends! I love me some backbends and I love me some restoration so I was looking forward to these. The first one was a backbend over two bolsters in a cross formation. Now if you’re lucky enough to have two bolsters I’d imagine this would be heavenly, I had to make do rolling up two blankets but it felt good enough in my hips flexors. By this point in the practice I was very irritable, having done so many variations of forward bends with bolsters, straps etc… but it all went in this little bit. The second was my good friend supported bridge pose (high block under sacrum) and the third was a kind of viparita dandasana on a chair. A chair! See this page to see how this works. Β Now I don’t have a yoga chair but I do have a backless chair which worked fine except for a ridge in a very painful place and the inevitable panic I get when I realise that it’s much easier to get in than it is to get out of the chair. I can now add “getting stuck in a chair” as an experience I’ve had thanks to yoga. Does this happen to anyone else? Or are my legs a bit too generous for this prop?! I don’t think this added to do the ‘looking inward’ feel of the forward bending practice.

Another slight problem: supported downward facing dog (with a block under the head). How is it possible to get the block in the right place to support the head? I wonder if proportions are in play here but I just couldn’t get it right, the only thing supporting me was my arms and my legs and that does not make for any kind of restoration for me, holding that for two minutes! Maybe in a few years.

The rest of the practices were nice enough, seated forward bends used to challenge me because of the general lower back stiffness that plagues most habitual chair-users (again with the chairs!) but I’ve made peace with them this past year. So this week with the easy restorative poses and the lovely hip and hamstring opening forward bends I had a relatively easy ride, no major conflicts! Must do this more.

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5 thoughts on “Week 6: Moving toward Balance with Rodney Yee (when I got stuck in a chair)

      • it’s a trip πŸ˜‰

        monday we used a chair as an assist, and tried exertion-variations of dancer pose

        start by just being able to reach the foot or ankle or leg behind you, the other hand firmly on the chair back, then just breath in place, no pulls no stress no finding the edge yet

        then the other foot, then rest a bit with both feet planted

        then, repeat w/first foot, but now, with the breath, a gentle pull and extension, other hand still on chair, feel what feels like what, breath

        repeat other foot, then rest again

        then…repeat first foot again, and, if able, once extended gently, slowly release chair-hand, and so if / how able to extend arm

        it’s a process, been at it a couple of weeks, slowly getting more relaxed, muscle memory / awareness is starting to build; it’s fun πŸ˜‰

      • That sounds quite intensive! I always imagined chair yoga would be a bit gentler. I remember listening to my mother’s friends used to joking about going to chair based exercise classes but if they’re anything like what you’ve described they would be a challenge!

      • definitely a challenge, good point brija, but these ladies have been doing poses for almost three months, and the sequence described is “very” gently tried, and only to the capacities available, it’s all a process

        sometimes i need to encourage someone to actually pull back if they appear to be struggling, rather than finding πŸ˜‰

        and some people may never be able to do this routine, just as there’s many poses i’ll never be able to do, but that’s ok, it’s to my capabilities too

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