Pose of the month: Giving and Receiving Support by Mary Pat FitzPatrick
To prepare for teaching yoga, one of the elements of the class an instructor will focus on is the asanas, or poses. The teacher will give careful thought to the injuries and range of abilities of the students and to the sequence of the positions. They will also consider the effects those asanas and the class as a whole might have on the students. Thanks to the genius of BKS Iyengar, many poses can be customized to better suit the needs of each student, with props providing a means to adjust alignment and increase precision and comfort. Seasoned yoga teachers know not to begin a class with too many expectations for what might unfold. Sometimes, when the teacher steps back after planting the seeds of a pose, wondrous and unpredictable things happen. The alignment instructions given to Xi and Dave in this photo might have included: stay grounded through the feet and sits bones, make space between the front and back pelvic rim and the front and back of the bottom ribs, open the elbow pits, extend through the arms, ground the heels of the hands and spread through the fingers, elongate from the sacrum up through the spine and keep extending beyond the top of the head. However, the yoga seen here goes far beyond those instructions. It is unpredictable, though not surprising. We see beyond the two bodies supporting one another. We see their enjoyment of getting bigger in space and their gratitude for sitting in one another’s company.