20 minutes of yoga to improve your health: The Tadasana sequence
Krishnamacharya is one of the figures who have contributed most to the expansion of yoga in the West, even though he never left India. And this is because, among his disciples, there are names like BKS Iyengar, Pattabhi Jois, Indra Devi, or his son TK V Desikachar who traveled to the West and made known this ancient discipline.
However, the student who studied the longest with Master Krishnamacharya was Srivatsa Ramaswami, who received his teachings for 33 years.
Later, Ramaswami wanted to pay tribute to the teacher by collecting the entire Vinyasa Krama system in one of the books, in my opinion, most valuable in the entire yoga bibliography: The complete work of Vinyasa Yoga.
I am lucky to be a student of Ramaswami, and hence I feel particularly grateful to both teachers.
Therefore, together with the Igersyoga boys, I also wanted to pay my humble tribute to the figure of Krishnamacharya. For this we recorded two things:
- A talk, in which I talk with Zulema Blasco about the teacher and his style, Vinyasa Krama Yoga.
- A class with the Tadasana sequence, the first of the ten main sequences that make up the method. (Video at the end).
THE SEQUENCE OF TADASANA
In the first part of the class, I show you the sequence of Tadasana. This is the first of the ten main sequences that make up the Vinyasa Krama method.
As I say in the video, for me, this sequence is a little gem. A treasure. Call me exaggerated, but sometimes I think it should be declared a World Heritage Site, (like the whole method)
It may seem very simple, and probably part of its value is that, in fact, it is. But, despite its simplicity, it is an incredibly effective sequence for mobilizing the main articulatory groups of the body, as well as the spine. It also stimulates blood circulation.
This is the first sequence of the method. It is a series of postures and movements that are all made from tadasana or mountain posture.
As Ramaswami says:
(…) The mountain posture is a posture that lends itself to various sequences of vinyasa, which are exceptionally useful for the exercise of the whole body. The progression of vinyasas advances from the fingers of the hands towards the knuckles, the wrists, the elbows, and the shoulders, and then the neck, the torso, the spine, and the lumbar ones. The krama (order of the postures) includes, consecutively, the articulation of the hip and pelvis, the knees, the ankles, and the insteps of the feet. The whole body is involved.
(The complete work of Vinyasa Yoga. S. Ramaswami)
The Tadasana series is usually used as a warm-up before all the vinyasa krama sessions. But when we use it for heating, we don’t make it complete, normally, because it would take us too long. It is very suitable for this purpose because in it we gradually move the main groups of joints. The day you choose it as the main sequence, then it is practiced completely.
In this series, we start making movements with the arms ( even vinyasas ). Then the elbow and shoulder joints are mobilized. Next, we move the column in all possible ways: lateral extension, extension, torsion, and forward bending. Finally, the hips are also stretched through utkatasana and its variants. And finally, the ankles.
BENEFITS OF THE TADASANA SERIES
This sequence improves the balance, physical and emotional, as it provides a feeling of mental calm, due to the slowness of the movements and their synchronization with very slow and conscious breathing.
- Strengthens the muscles of the legs and abdominal area.
- Correct the posture.
- Stretch your arms and shoulders.
- Keeps the column flexible.
- Improves digestion.
- Upper body exercises improve breathing and are suitable for people with bronchial asthma.
- It promotes concentration.
MAIN ASANAS YOU CAN FIND IN THE TADASANA SEQUENCE
- The sequence begins in tadasana or mountain posture. From there, a series of movements are made with the arms or even vinyasa.
- Then back extensions or push-ups are made, with the arms in different positions.
- Next, lateral flexions of the spine. That is, with your arms up, your back is stretched to both sides.
- We continue with torsions of the spine to both sides, placing the arms in different positions.
- Then we continue with the flexion of the back forward: first Ardha uttanasana, or half flexion, khagasana or posture of the bird, and uttanasana or full forward flexion.
- From uttanasana, the hands slide under the feet to padahastasana. And then, uttanasana is maintained with various positions of the hands and arms.
Kurmasana or standing turtle posture.
- The posture of the full backstretch, tiryangmukha uttanasana, posture of considerable difficulty. In Yoga Beneath the Surface, David Hurwitz raises the possibility of performing a variant stretching back and touching a wall behind, and Ramaswami admits this possibility.
In The Complete Work of Vinyasa Yoga, Ramaswami states:
- Those who are not able to perform all the vinyasas can try to make only those movements they can do without support. Then, they can try to make positions with help or support, but they must strive to get rid of the supports and accessories as soon as possible.
- Finally, utkatasana, the squat or hip stretching posture, and a series of related variations and postures, such as kancyasana or gold or raisin belt posture or loop posture, are performed.
- In The Complete Work of Vinyasa Yoga, Ramaswami adds that the sequence of the greeting to the sun, the sequence of the posture of the bird, and that of the greeting to the sun in various directions ( s`qdxdiknmaskara ) are extensions of the Tadasana cycle. These sequences are studied together with the viseshas .
Then I leave the video with the full class, in which after the sequence of Tadasana, we practice three of the four positions that Master Krishnamacharya recommended to do every day: pascimottanasana or the clamp, Sarvangasana or the candle, and maha mudra Or the great seal.