This class (click for video) is a regular yoga class and it is not. It is a class that will strengthen your digestion.
There are a lot of different yoga styles. When we speak about yoga styles, we actually speak about the way we perform asanas. We can do them one by one, with closing our eyes in between the poses and bringing our focus to the part we have been working on (hatha yoga), we can let one pose flow into the other, without having these little breaks in between (vinyasa flow) or we can step into a hot room (40 degrees Celsius) and perform a series of poses (hot yoga or bikram yoga). And there are many, many more variations in the way we perform the asanas.
As I wrote before, the asanas are only a little part of what yoga is. In the early days of yoga, the yogis hardly did any asanas. If you look at the Yoga Sutras (seen as ‘the bible’ of the yogi’s) Patanjali (the author of the Sutras) only mentions one pose and this pose is for meditation: an easy, comfortable way of sitting.
All the yoga poses were created later. The yogis were sitting in their caves in the Himalaya, meditating 16 hours a day to reach enlightenment; to find answers on the ‘big questions’ like why am I on earth, what is my role, where do we come from. They believed in a soul, a soul that is housed in their heart. They wanted to release this soul, that was ‘trapped’ in their body. Some even tried to do it, by killing their body. If they succeeded? Nobody knows. They were not able to tell it after they killed the body.
Meditating so many hours, not looking after their body, their bodies started to deteriorate and having an unhealthy body started to affect their yoga practice, which made them realise they had to take care of their body as well. They looked around them, at nature, at plants, trees, animals and started copying the behaviour of these trees and animals. That’s why so many yoga poses are named after animals: cat pose, cow pose, pigeon, peacock, lion pose, grasshopper etcetera.
Every pose they came up with, was created to take care of their body, to heal their body. Over time more and more poses were created and up until today yogis come up with new poses. All are meant to bring our body back in shape; solving old injuries, solving problems with our hearts, lungs, digestive system, endocrine system, nervous system. Asanas work on our muscles, but they work also on other body systems. Creating a healthy body.
Tailor made yoga series
In the old days gurus would make a tailor made asana and pranayama practice for their students. A asana series that would help the student with the problems she or he was dealing with: physically and mentally. Nowadays we teach yoga for (big) groups. We teach a standard series. Sometimes it looks like the asana, the yoga pose is the focus point, not the health of the student, where it use to be the other way around.
Luckily there are still a lot of teachers who know which asana is beneficial for which problem; who can make a tailor made program for their students.
B.K.S. Iyengar – one of the greatest yogis of the last century – was a student of Krishnamacharya, who used a combination of Ayurveda (Indian medicine) and yoga to cure people. Iyengar did a lot of research himself as well and created different yoga series to heal physical problems, like arthritis, digestive problems, heart problems etcetera. This series is the series he created to strengthen your digestion. I hope it will be beneficial for you. And even if you have no problems with your digestion it’s a nice series to do. Have fun.