Sunday, June 21, 2009

Iyengar Workshop with Riana A. Singgih

First thing she asked the class was anyone practices Iyengar yoga. No one responded. She laughed. She explained briefly what is Iyengar yoga and started the class with the "Invocation to Patanjali", she said those who would like to chant can follow her line-by-line, but after her first line, everyone kept quiet and she continued till the end. Again she laughed, no one heard of it? I did, in Nicola's and Amanda's classes, typical Iyengar style of starting class. But I just followed the 3 OMs.

The first pose was Adho Mukha Svanasana, she spoke in Sanskrit. The class looked at her. Third laugh, you don't know the Sanskrit names? Dog pose :p She didn't sound too sarcastic, she was just surprise (at least to me), as this is a workshop, she must be expecting some 'serious' Yoga practitioners. But in fact, most of us treat Yoga as a form of physical exercise. Chanting, meditation or Mudras(hand gestures) are too religious or spiritual. Anyway, it was fun that everytime she said a Sanskrit name, she followed by the english name of the pose, and sometimes she asked "this is what you called right?" :D

A lot of corrections on alignments are done. She walked around the room with her 'forceful' instructions and I was very sure everyone only started to adjust themselves or looked themselves into the mirror when she mentioned something.

Some poses needed a partner, I went alone so I had to make friend with a girl seated next to me, but she's an extremely quiet girl, we didn't even exchange names, merely following instructions.

We did Downward Dogs, Standing Forward Bends, Triangles, Warrior IIs, a few Vinyasas and Seated Forward Bends & Twists. At our last 1/2 hour, we were out of time, we could choose to do either backbends or inversions. Eventually we proceeded with Headstand. Everyone in the class was adventurous, some did it in the center of the room, some against the wall. She spotted incorrect alignments in all these poses and explained how to adjust ourselves and how to help the others. Correct alignment is very important to prevent injuries and to obtain the benefits out of the poses.

Most sports (at least for those I've tried) are trained with correct postures before you attempt to score. Bowlers simply throw the ball to practice the correct style before learning to aim the pins; golfers swing their golf sticks hitting the air to practice the correct posture before learning to hit the ball with the correct strength. Correct postures in Yoga (and in our daily life) is even more important because that's how we score the game.

Finally we ended the class with, of course, Shavasana and 3 OMs. Tired, but very beneficial.


  1. Very good, not many practitioner pays attention to alignment, they are more eager to do the asana than get into the asana.

  2. Because guys are shy? Haha, ask yourself :p