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Create a marriage between your ribs & thighs

On understanding relations between asanas and going beyond borders.

Supta Kurmasana. Photo: claudiyengar 2019.

Last weekend I had the great pleasure of being taught a yoga class by Senior Advanced Iyengar Yoga teacher Joan White from the US at Iyengar Yoga Centre Berlin, Germany.

One of the many eyes-and heart-opening moments I had, was in fact due to a rather simple message from Joan: »Do not let your memory of not having being able to achieve a certain pose in the past stop you from trying again. Often we are able to go much further than we ourselves believe possible.« With this encouragement at the very beginning of her class, she guided us through a sequence that led towards Supta Kurmasana, the 3rd and final state of the turtle-pose.

»Learn the connection between certain asanas - understand the relations between them«

Joan made us being aware of the very same movement in child pose – adho much virasana – between the outer ribs and the thighs rolling inwards and towards the ribs/ rib cage. This 'marriage', as Joan called it, this compactness between ribs and thighs she emphasized later on in Marichyasana I the twist, as well as in Malasana – the garland pose.

Malasasna I. Photo: claudiyengar 2019.

I had never achieved Supta Kurmasana before, but thank‘s to Joan’s guidance I slipped into it almost effortless.

Kurma, the turtle or tortoise incarnation of the God Vishnu, maintainer of the universe, is a sacred pose to the Yogi, writes B.K.S Iyengar: Once there was a big flood and many of the Gods’ treasures were lost in it, including the nectar of youth. To regain their treasures, the Gods entered into an alliance with the demons to churn the cosmic ocean and bring up all lost treasures. Vishnu transformed into a huge turtle and dived deep down onto the ground of the ocean. On his back he carried a mountain that functioned as stirring rod. With the help of the demons who twirled around the mountain, the ocean was churned and all the treasures including the nectar of eternal youth emerged from the depths of the ocean.

»Completing this pose, one feels refreshed, as though one had woken up from a long undisturbed sleep«.

B.K.S. Iyengar.

About Joan White:

About Iyengar Yoga Centre Berlin:

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