VINIYOGA & BIJA YOGA with Sasha Lessin, Ph.D., Certified Viniyoga Instructor
All-Chakra Tantra blends Krishnamacharia’s Viniyoga, White Tantra Yoga and Total Tantra’s Bija Yoga. In Bija Yoga, you move through a series of poses while you massage your inner organs. Each pose involves meditative breathing, internal holds (bhandas) and muscular movement.
Whatever the duration of your practice, I suggest you begin as follows.
|Sit or kneel, spine vertical. Meditate, set your purpose, practice the Core Sequence. You will repeat the Core Sequence as you move in and out of each pose. CORE SEQUENCESet Your Purpose: Imagine your body has a voice. Ask your body’s voice what it needs in the posture practice. Select postures and motions your body agrees are right for it.|
|BROOD ON YOUR BREATH
Focus, as you breathe, on shifts of your spine and ribs. Consciously expand and contract your lungs. Imagine your life is like your breath, as you breath, so do you live.InhaleBreathe in through your nose. Keep your eyes level looking into your partner’s (or, if using a mirror, your own eyes).
|As you inhale, lift the back of your skull (occipit) away from your shoulders. Curl your chin slightly down as you stretch the back of your skull toward the sky. Imagine your crown is stretching up to the light. Let your occiput pull up your top neck bone, the atlas. Your atlas stretches up and in turn pulls up the bone below it, the axis. The axis pulls up the neck bone beneath it. In turn, stretch each cervical, thoracic, lumbar and sacral vertebra up.Contract your intercostals so your ribs rise and contract your diaphragm downward. This starts air sucking through your nostrils into your lungs. Direct the incoming air first to the top of your lungs, your upper chest.|
|Then consciously let the tops of your lungs press your middle ribs wider. Fill the space between your shoulderblades with air. Expand your chest, pull your shoulder blades toward each other. Keep your belly firm as air fills your lower lungs. Still inhaling, lower your diaphragm toward your pelvis. As the diaphragm drops, the very end of your inhale, curl your coccyx toward the space behind you.|
|Look in your partner’s eyes (or your own in the mirror). Open your heart to your partner (or mirror self). Especially gaze into your partner’s or your mirror image’s left eye, and see there the essentially loving, appreciative high self in your partner or yourself.In Bija Yoga, you inhale whenever you lift your arms, expand your chest or arch your back. Inhale also when you stretch into backward bends or extension positions. And inhale when you straighten your backbone coming out of twists or side-bends.|
As you breathe out, curl your tail bone forward (in front of you) toward your navel and pull the front of your sit-bones into the earth. Draw each successive backbone–sacrum to atlas–down toward the earth between your hips.Gradually tighten your rectus abdominis belly muscles as you exhale. Pull the rectus forward and retract your navel (pull your belly button in toward the spine). Let your intercostal and large torso muscles relax as you lower each vertebra atop the one below it.
|Tighten the muscles of your perineum. As you exhale, your diaphragm rises pushing the air out of the bottom of your lungs. Your ribs drop, shoulder blades relax.As you breathe out and your chest drops, focus your consciousness on air flowing up and out of your lungs as they deflate from the bottom up.|
|Imagine your coccyx and the front of your sitbones (ischial tuberosities) dig into the ground. See them sending roots into the center of the Earth. Pretend they connect you with the energy of the material world. At the same time, imagine your exhale sends energy out your crown into your partner’s (or your reflection’s).In Bija Yoga, you exhale whenever you lower your arms, compress your chest or belly. Breathe out when you stretch into forward bends, twists and side bends. And exhale when you straighten your backbone coming out of backward bends.|
|BENEFIT FROM THE BANDHAS
After each inhale, tip your chin slightly downwards toward your throat (until the back of your neck pulls straight), in jalandara bandha–the throat hold (straight neck variation). Pull your crown skyward. Then exhale slowly as you drop your spine and hold your head up.
When you’ve emptied your lungs, suck your navel back toward your spine and pull your belly up toward your throat (uddiyana bandha).Pelvis Hold
Tighten then pulse your pubococcygeal and anal muscles (mula bandha, the pelvis hold). Imagine pulling energy from the earth through your base chakra, belly chakra and throat chakra. Offer the energy up, through your crown, to your partner or mirror self.
|APPLY POSE SEQUENCE PRINCIPLESWarm up–move in and out of poses–before you hold them.Inhale when you expand your ribcage (raising arms, untwisting, etc.) and exhale when you compress your ribcage.|
|Bend forward before and after you twist or bend backwards or sidewards.Bend backwards, sidewards and twist to a mild degree to balance (counterpose) forward bends.|
|End yoga in rest pose. Lie on your back, palms up at your side, legs uncrossed, eyes closed.. Imagine energy flows up your spine and wakens each of your energy centers (chakras) as I suggest uplifting visualizations. Finish the session with a deep meditation.|
|* Here are two examples of postures as metaphors. In both, you face your a partner or a mirror.
1.) Forward Bend: Uttanasana:
As you bow to the person or mirror in front of you, image the relationship before you, the one to come. As you complete the forward bend, look between your legs–behind you and remember the relationship you leave behind you. Click here for details of Standing Forward Bend
2.) Hero pose: (Virabhadrasana) Open arms variation.
Right leg forward, close your eyes and open you heart. Imagine someone other than the partner before you is sending you love; let yourself receive this love. Now open your eyes into your partner’s. Imagine drinking in love from your partner’s eye as you open your heart in the hero pose.
Sasha Lessin has trained for over 15 years with Gary and Mirka Kraftsow, at the Maui School of Yoga Therapy, in the tradition of viniyoga, as taught by T. K. V. Desacachar and Krishnamacharya. Gary certified Sasha as a Yoga Instructor several years ago. Dr. Lessin has taught yoga at the Maui School of Yoga Therapy, Maui YMCA, Valley Isle Fitness Centers, the In-Shape Fitness Club and has led yoga trainings at Hal and Sidra Stone’s Voice Dialogue Camp, Prophet’s Conferences, Loving More Conferences and many other conferences and events around the globe.
Sources: Kraftsow, G. 1999, Yoga for Wellness, Penguin; Mohan, A., Yoga for Body, Breath and Mind, Rudha Press
|All-Chakra Tantra blends Krishnamacharia’s Viniyoga, White Tantra Yoga and Total Tantra’s Bija Yoga. In Bija Yoga, you move through a series of poses while you massage your inner organs. Each pose involves meditative breathing, internal holds (bhandas) and muscular movement.I teach 1 1/2 hour morning classes from 9-10:30 AM whenTANTRA SCHOOL is in session. In my tantra seminars, I begin each day with a 1 ½ hour yoga session.|
Monday – Friday, 10 – 11:30 AM
Monday – Friday, 9 – 10:30 AM during TANTRA SCHOOL
TEMPLE OF TANTRA
1371 Malaihi Road
Wailuku, Maui, Hawaii 96793
$100/hour by appointment or in-person classes – $100/hour – outcalls – class plus travel time
Pre-registration required. No drop-ins. We need 4 minimum to hold a class.