Moon Salutations- Start in a Seed. Your job is to resist the pull of habit. All the potential of you is in the seed. Your job is to fight against your propensities instead of going with your feelings in the postures so that you measure up, becuase what you do on the mat will happen in real life. That is the nature of consciousness.
You want to get underneath yourself so that you can leverage yourself, be alert, and have your antennae up so that you have vision. Really good yoga is about the capacity to partcipate in your own well being. If you are in the middle of yourself you can rotate around and whip yourself up like cream. You do not want to be thick like butter. You want to be light and airy like whipped cream so that you can be a person who is swept off their feet.
"In our yoga practice students who are a bit stiff have advantage over students who have loose limbs. Tight people tend to be more linear in their bodies and in their thinking. They understand neurologically how to embody a shape so that teaching them how to orient themselves to find their center is easy. People who have a lot of range (flexibility) in their joints tend to struggle with boundaries. Their tendency is to stretch themselves like taffy in order to feel something in their bodies that satisfies them. Tight people simply have to "open up" and they feel wonderful. If you have good form the flexibility will come."
Daily CallerUniting Body and Mind, With a Bit of a StretchNew York TimesFor Kelsea Bangora, New York's 2011 yoga asana champion, the conversation usually goes like this: “Yoga champion? How does that work?
Yoga is something that you use to function more efficiently. Exercise is something you "do".
The art of good yoga is to fight your propensities to be habitual. When your goal is to find the perfect pose and you fight against your personal tendencies you become agitated and you generate heat and moisture. Everyone’s body is designed to fit themselves and their environment.The goal is to find the "fit".
When you begin studying yoga you come to the mat "personally" with your “first” nature as the source of your information. If your legs are naturally strong you will use your legs. If your arms are naturally strong you will use your arms. If you don’t learn to use both your arms and your legs you will drown.
Eventually by repeating the poses you will develop a "second" nature, and the capacity to work not personally but archetypically to find a pose. In this way you have to be conscious and purposeful. You have to use your imagination, the forms and the breath to practice consciously rather than repeating your personal patterns and habits. While yoga isn't specifically designed for aerobics, it demands an effort to work towards the archetypical poses.
The goal is to build a cathedral inside your physical body. The nature of this yoga practice is rigorous. Once your body learns to find the archetypes your spirit will change.
Abbie Galvin has not only studied with Nevine Michaan for over two decades, she has been training teachers in Katonah Yoga for nearly as long.
Abbie appears confident, poised and exuberant when teaching class or rushing in and out of the studio dressed in her designer street clothes designed by her twin sister Carol http://www.shoshnyc.com. Abbie is actually quiet shy when she is not teaching yoga or conversing with members of her large extended family and you may have to demand her attention because, there aren't enough of her to go around, but when you do she will show you where to go and like the yoga sleuth articulates so well, Abbie will find the place that makes you happy.
Abbie says that you are a beginner in yoga for 7 years which may seem like a long time but she will cajole and encourage you along the way if you have the patience to wait.
Reposted from: Abbie Galvin's blog post WALKING THE DOG:
Anyone who has ever taken a yoga class is familiar with a downward facing dog pose. The dog pose expresses the archetype of this primitive animal. Dog owners who practice yoga often say that their precious pets can do a perfect dog pose. This is because dogs instinctively do an ideal version of a dog pose; it is a stretch that demands the full arch of the back and front of the torso with four equal points of contact on the ground.
You simultaneously press into the floor with your feet and your hands and lift off yourself, through the joint spaces of your wrists and ankles. It is a posture that is expressed through a 60 degree angle, from the heels of your hands, to the fulcrum of your buttock bones, to the heels of your feet.
In order to find the ideal pose, begin on your hands and knees and lift through your hips, straightening your arms and bending your knees so that the pinnacle of the pose is the sacrum. Like any other pose, the most functional dog pose uses the geometry of an equilateral triangle. While Geometric shapes are static and linear, the true archetype of a dog is not static, but one that is in motion. Instead of holding a dog pose use your imagination to fully explore its weight-bearing nature. In the dog pose, find the center of each hand, which puts you in the center of the bone of your arm and shoulder rather than sitting in a muscle. In this way the strength, structure and stability of the pose supports you instead of your effort to hold it.
In this pose, cross reference your left hand to your right foot and your right hand to your left foot so that you are engaging your neurology as you play within the form. Think of your hands and feet as four plugs in sockets which draw a currency up through the joints of your wrists and your ankles and move a flow of energy through your arms and legs.
Finally, know that this pose contains a perfect forward bend and a perfect backbend. Know that in the dog pose there is a 60 angle that is both dynamic and stable, a true characteristic of the nature of most doggie http://www.YogawithAbbie.com
Group classes Sun 10:00 am & 12:00 pm and Mon at 6:30 pm Katonahyoga 17th St. & 8th Ave
One of my favorite students told me that her shoulder hurt after doing her yoga practice. She was concerned that she was "doing it wrong.” While it is hard for me to know what someone is doing with their shoulders without watching them work, I can safely say that you don't do yoga to stay the same. The body learns through the repetition of proper form, not setting up your structure so much as re-setting it up. In a sense, every yoga practice is an opportunity to renovate your body that is your "house.” We engage in this effort to renovate the structure so that we can live in our bodies well, so that our structure, that is, our bones, our frame, the boundaries will contain the interior (organ, glands, feelings) better. Our bodies and minds coming into a practice are holding all of the "damage" of our life in it, our daily burdens as well as those deeper ones that take years to let go of. Our daily practice, whether it be a home practice done by ourselves or one in community with a teacher leading us through it, agitates, bothers, shakes up, whips up, and expands our physical body, and in the doing enables us to let go of the deeply embedded habits of our psychology, our physiology, and the way that we think. Our greatest task is to develop the skill of mediating between our practice in the moment (the personal) and the practice we would like to have; where we would like to be (the ideal). By practicing yoga in this way shoulder pain is relegated to its rightful place, as a nudge to use our shoulders as part of the scaffolding for our lungs, which enables us to have more volume, air, and joy.
ScienceDaily (Apr. 4, 2012) — Yoga classes have positive psychological effects for high-school students, according to a pilot study in the April Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics, the official journal of the Society for Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics. Since mental health disorders commonly develop in the teenage years, "Yoga may serve a preventive role in adolescent mental health," according to the new study, led by Jessica Noggle, PhD, of Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston. Pilot Study Shows Improvements in Some Psychosocial Outcomes Fifty-one 11th- and 12th-grade students registered for physical education (PE) at a Massachusetts high school were randomly assigned to yoga or regular PE classes. (Two-thirds were assigned to yoga.) Based on Kripalu yoga, the classes consisted of physical yoga postures together with breathing exercises, relaxation, and meditation. Students in the comparison group received regular PE classes.
Since mental health disorders commonly develop in the teenage years, "Yoga may serve a preventive role in adolescent mental health," according to the new study, led by Jessica Noggle, PhD, of Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston.Pilot Study Shows Improvements in Some Psychosocial Outcomes Fifty-one 11th- and 12th-grade students registered for physical education (PE) at a Massachusetts high school were randomly assigned to yoga or regular PE classes. (Two-thirds were assigned to yoga.) Based on Kripalu yoga, the classes consisted of physical yoga postures together with breathing exercises, relaxation, and meditation. Students in the comparison group received regular PE classes.Students completed a battery of psychosocial tests before and after the ten-week yoga program. In addition to tests of mood and tension/anxiety, both groups completed tests assessing the development of self-regulatory skills -- such as resilience, control of anger expression, and mindfulness -- thought to protect against the development of mental health problems. Teens taking yoga classes had better scores on several of the psychological tests. Specifically, while students in regular PE classes tended to have increased scores for mood problems and anxiety, those taking yoga classes stayed the same or showed improvement. Negative emotions also worsened in students taking regular PE, while improving in those taking yoga. (There was no difference in a test of positive emotions.) However, the tests of self-regulatory skills were not significantly different between groups. Although attendance was only moderate, the students rated yoga fairly high -- nearly three-fourths said they would like to continue taking yoga classes. Could Yoga for Teens Help Prevent Mental Health Problems? Adolescence is an important time for the development of mental health, including healthy coping responses to stress. Several types of school-based stress management and wellness programs have been developed with the goal of encouraging healthy coping strategies and resilience among teens. One promising approach is yoga, which combines strength and flexibility exercise with relaxation and meditation/mindfulness techniques. Studies have shown benefits of yoga in a wide range of mental and physical health problems, including a growing body of evidence showing positive effects in children and teens. Although limited by its small size, the study suggests some positive psychological effects of Kripalu yoga for high school students. The results are "generally consistent" with the few previous studies of yoga in school settings. Dr Noggle and coauthors call for larger studies including multiple schools and tracking teens for several years into adulthood. These larger studies will be needed to clarify the psychological and other health benefits of yoga for adolescents -- including the possible preventive benefit on development of mental health problems.
I first started practicing “Katonah Yoga” with Abbie Galvin about two years ago when despite my diligent and regular attendance at core fusion and spin classes my body aging, as it is and as result of my scoliosis, started to fall apart in ways that I couldn’t fix. Abbie’s sister, who I knew only as the mother of one of my son’s schoolmates and from spin class sent me to Abbie after I pulled a hamstring, For the first time in my life. I took a few privates. Slowly my back, ankles, hips, arms and neck began to feel differently. And so when I could I made the trek to Bedford Hills where I could take two classes on a Saturday for $45.
I made audio recordings of the classes on my I phone, which I would listen to on the train home, and then use to develop my practice between classes. I really didn’t talk about the yoga to anyone outside of my most inner circle, as most people would think it was mad to travel all the way to Bedford Hills for a yoga class. I didn’t want to waste time explaining.
Then Abbie moved to the City and started to teach at a new studio on 17th St at 8thAve. . I kept writing about the classes because Abbie herself does not own the studio, and she did not have a website or blog that really described the practice. I want people like me who would never practice yoga on their own to try it.
No I don’t own any of the business. No I don’t get free classes. In fact the other night as Abbie was talking about working through pain rather than hiding from it occurred to me that Abbie often speaks as though she was a brand of psychoanalyst yoga teacher directing the conversation away from herself and making it between you, your head, your heart and your body.
I go to class becuase I figured if anyone could get a little closer to finding happiness from going to a $20 class then why not?
Well now finally Abbie has a website and a blog where her voice can he heard. So I will send you there instead of continuing to weave tales of the practice.
"The Goal is not to do perfect poses but to reference the ideal and move towards it. What do you have to do to be the archetype? You want the form with the most function. You want to have a 60 degree angle (not a hang) so that you work in your joints and not in your back. You want to have your feet hip distance apart, and your hips at 3 o'clock and 9'oclock. Your hands should be shoulder distance apart. Your head should be up with your ears at the sides of your arms. Everyone has their own foibles. If you work too hard in your lungs you will lock your elbows. The goal is not to hold the pose, but to move a currency. Most people can not do a dog pose with good form maintaining even weight on all four points of contact (the center of the palms of the hands and the center of balls of the feet) keeping themselves on a grid. When you can do the pose and stay in the middle of yourself, when you have four points of contacts (or 3 points when you put one leg in the air, or one hand on your back) you can straighten your legs."
Abbie Galvin@ Katonahyoga NYC Sundays, Mondays and some Wednesdays
In Abbie's yoga theory she teaches you that your pelvis and your legs are like the roots of a plant. They are the depths of your body. They are the part of your body that make you stable like the foundation of a building. The upper body that houses your heart and lungs is where you hold your feelings. It is the part of you that inhales and exhales your breath and allows you to be an individual and to participate in the world. When you do in an inversion it is like cleaning out a house from top to bottom. Your stability (upper body) and your capacity (lower body) are reversed so that you support yourself from your capacity rather than from your base. When you clean out your body (your house) you generate a currency and give yourself an infusion of energy that move through your bones.
Still in the middle of winter, we are going underneath ourselves in order to develop insight and the capacity to be deep in our hips where we are stable and safe.
This photos from Abbie's Galvin's teacher's class show students in Kurmasana, or turtle pose. It is a winter pose encouraging practitioners to move into their depths for insight. A turtle reminds us that the way to heaven is through the earth.