The following images/animations depict a short sequence anyone can do. Repeat each posture 4 times – which should take a few minutes (over time you may want to increase this to 6 or even 8 repetitions of each posture). The postures are accessible and yet each one has much depth to explore. It is a short sequence, requires a very small space and no special accessories (a quiet spot and a small rug) which can be softly introduced even into a busy and hectic daily schedule. If you do practice daily, try to practice regularly – at the same time & the same place.
As with any practice (short or long, soft or intense…) it is beneficial to take a few minutes to settle and arrive before beginning the practice, and a few minutes to settle and absorb at the end. Observing before and after the practice may, over time, give you some indication of it’s effects on you. You can find more ideas on how to approach a practice by reading about taking your first steps in yoga.
Clicking on an image/animation will lead to more details and guidance on each of the postures.
Savasana (corpse posture) is a simple looking asana. Lie down on your back, legs straight and released so they fall slightly to the sides, arms alongside the body, palms turned up – and you are physically arranged in Savasana. It is a resting posture that can be visited numerous times during a practice.
Savasana is an opportunity to let the body settle and to observe. It is often introduced at the end of an Asana practice to close the practice by letting the breath and body settle and to observe changes in body, breath, consciousness, energy, feelings… to give the body an opportunity to absorb and communicate.
Savasana may seem like “an easy posture” – and physically it is (though there are therapeutic situations in which it is inaccessible). The challenge Savasana offers is to remain present and attentive – in this sense it is almost a trap. During pratice the mind is reasonably occupied – coordinating movement, keeping balance, breathing, sustaining effort, etc. In Savasana the mind is relieved from it’s responsibilities and left with nothing to do and tends to wander. My teacher often reminds us that Savasana is a “rest from practice, not from life”.
Still, despite it’s seeming simplicity, there are some physical qualities to look for when practicing Savasana:
- Neck placement – keep your neck long by keeping the chin tucked in.
- Arm placement – find a position in which your arms and shoulders relaxed. Explore by moving your arms further and closer to your body until you find a restful position.
- Hand placement – make sure your palms are facing up and that your fingers are relaxed.
- Lower Back – if the lower back is sensitive or strained (sometimes as a result of the practice itself), releasing the area around it can lead (though actually it’s revealing) discomfort or pain. As a result there can be a tendency to keep the lower back tense. If you encounter discomfort in your lower (or any other area of the body for that matter), place you attention softly on it, keep breathing and try to slowly and gradually sink into relaxation.
- Legs – remember to release the legs, it’s simple, but also easy to forget.
- Small Places – let the head weigh down, release your facial muscles, let the eyelids fall & close lightly, release the tongue in your mouth. Let your consciousness explore your body and gently release what can be released.
Remember to also let your breath relax. If it is still demanding and rushed, try to witness as it gradually relaxes. I have found that the breath settles quicker when attention is placed on it, otherwise it can take much longer, the mind wanders until suddenly it finds the breath settled.
Yesterday, we went to see Arkadi Duchin’s premier performance of his new album and songs. At the last minute (to be more precise – the last 24 hours) some of my images were incorporated into the visual art-work that was displayed on a large screen on stage.
My efforts to share my photography work (StillCreation, SweetClarity) have always been rooted in a wish to share with others something of the magical experiences that have been bestowed on me. Almost all of my work has taken place in improvised settings – creating alongside talented, inspiring and passionate people. For me, images that are created in this work are echoes of fleeting and sometimes life-changing moments in which I was present. I make images available to others in the hope that something from those experience will touch them as well.
In this spirit I answered the invitation to incorporate my work into Arkadi’s performance. Arkadi is a talented and well renowned artist in Israel. His recent songs are anchored in spiritual studies and the texts I encountered offered a warm embrace to my images. With this in heart I embraced the invitation and offered my works. Yesterday some of them met an audience of ~500 people, and over coming months they may meet many more. For this I am grateful.
On a more personal, may be more egoistic, note, I did not enjoy seeing my images the way the were displayed. There were a 2 or 3 moments in which incidental meetings between images and words resonated in my heart. There were many more moments where I encountered wonderful opportunities for wonderful meetings between words, music and images – but they did not manifest. When my images were screened, I felt as if I was one of the musicians on stage – but it felt as if my microphone wasn’t properly connected – I was getting cut off mid-phrase and then reappearing out of context.
The dialogue about including my images began a week before the performance. 24 hours before the performance I spoke to the video artist for the first time and sent her images for preparation and editing. There simply wasn’t enough time & space to create a caring and intimate relationship between the images, the songs and the performance. I would have liked to spend more time creating a deeper relationship. I would have preferred that the visual art work received caring attention as the songs did when they were written, the musicians forged in rehearsing and playing together and the production received in light, sound, documentation and recording.
I hope this was just a beginning and that there will be an opportunity to develop the work.
Tomorrow is a premier concert of Arkadi Duchin‘s new album “September”. Most of the texts on the new songs are rooted in spiritual teachings of Kabala.
Amit Shalev is an inspiring video photographer I met during my first year working with Shahar (which brings back a memory for another Glimpses). I was contacted by Amit, who studies and collaborates with Arkadi, a few days ago about an opportunity to present my works within the settings of the new performance (on a large screen that is part of the stage design).
Amit sent me a list of songs in the set-list (and a tight schedule), and over two days I roamed my image repositories with Arkadi’s music in the background. It was a wonderful journey. Though I don’t study Kabala, the spiritual contexts resonated clearly with my outlook on life and my teachings and practices rooted in Yoga. The songs gently illuminated the vast collection of images and some images popped out asking to be present. Initially images appeared for specific songs – but after the first few songs an aura was set and images appeared from different directions. Some images came up that had never been presented or published in any context – they came to life with Arkadi’s new songs.
I sent out a selection of images matched to songs and then after a couple of days of silence I got great responses. Arkadi and others in the production team were moved and excited by the images and it seems that most of the visual work during this concert (and probably during the following tour) will be based on my photography work.
So tomorrow Andreea & I have another unplanned visit to the city. I am honored, excited and looking forward to this unique opportunity for my work to meet new audiences in a special and moving setting. I invite you to come (Thursday 21/2/2010 Noga Theatre – Jaffa 21:30).