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Iyengar Yoga Institute Milano

Journal

Iyengar Pratica Yoga Studies

20 Dicembre 2022

Winter Immune - part 3

Chiara M. Travisi - illustrated by Svenja Karstens


Winter immune - part 3

The second half of the sequence is focused on inversions with the aim of boosting fluid circulation, organic vascularization and balancing the so-called hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis.

 

I alternate inversions in combination with active and supported back extensions either with a complete throut extension or a complete chin lock. Such alternation is intended to stimulate both the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems in search of an overall capacity of the ANS to find a balance and an efficient homeostatic capacity. The dominance of the parasympathetic system should be maintained through exhalation and relaxation even in active and challenging back extensions.

 

Part 3 continues with back spinal extensions. In particular I’ve selected those where the head is again in an inverted position. Purvottanasana is presented in two different variations: one with chair and bolster support and a more intense one at the trestle. Thanks to the pushing of the feet, both variations benefit from a “plunger action” on the thymus area while the chin lock increases the vascularization of the thyroid. Dwi Pada Viparita Dandasana is also paramount: it opens up the whole anterior body while the brain receives a good vascularization. Both supported versions, on the bench and at the trestle, allow the practitioners to stay longer in the pose.

 

The asanas sequence with the ropes (Purvottanasana, Viparita Dandasana and Salabasana) again combines an extension of the spine with the inverted position of the head. This time, the head position differs from the earlier Purvottanasana for the throat and thyroid area are completely open. The halasana-box supported Ustrasana goes back to a chin lock position. Lastly, for more experienced students, Chakrabhandasana gives an intense boost to the ANS. In fact, the whole spine here is completely engaged in the pose, from the sacrum throught the dorsal up to the cervical spine.

In order to keep a parasympathetic dominance even in intense back extensions, exhalation and a slow pace breathing are pivotal. Similarly, senses organs should remain quiet and in a restful state.

 

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