Foundation First: Ashtanga Research Course

Foundation First: Ashtanga Research Course

The 8 day course titled Foundation First serves to remind you of the single greatest principle for doing a yoga pose: begin your pose by building a relationship between the ground beneath you and your skeleton.

The exercises for this course are designed to help you learn how to make your foundation the first priority in building your poses. You’ll see that by establishing your foundation the other steps in the process of building a pose will come together with more simplicity, logic and ease--while anything extra or less relevant will fall away naturally. Over the 8 days of the course you will use the 6 foundational postures of the Ashtanga yoga system and the many transitional set up positions between poses to understand how to make a sound foundation for all poses. You’ll also learn how to work with a progression of steps to maintain a strong foundation as you go deeper into each posture. By doing this course you take a single clear and substantial step towards attaining Asana Vidya--Knowledge of the 3rd yogic limb--and you’ll also get the bonus of feeling empowered and inspired.

Discovering and establishing your foundation is no different than the planning and initial work that an architect or an engineer goes through when creating a structure that must bear weight, provide support and offer protection as well as durability and longevity. The architect draws up a plan using geometrical shapes such as lines, squares, circles, and triangles to come up with the structure of the intended form. Associating the word first with foundation teaches you to make a general rule of attending to your foundation as the first step in doing a pose. Learning to care for the foundation of your posture will give you a better understanding of the purpose of doing an asana and how to extract its benefits. You will also be better informed on how doing a posture relates to the other techniques and how everything fits together to make the overall system.

When your foundation is first you begin each pose by acknowledging and bowing to the physical ground directly beneath you. You endeavor to relate to and trust the earth as your best means of creating a strong, stable stance that supports your spine and clears your mind of unhelpful distraction. You then identify the parts of your body that are in contact with the ground. This is usually some combination of your limbs—your feet and legs, hands and arms and also your pelvis. You weight your limbs, allow them emulate or ‘go with’ gravity and drop towards the earth. You intentionally and meaningfully connect your body with the ground. And then you focus your awareness from the earth up through your limbs and set up a dynamic interaction between them. You cause your limbs to work off of each other in a specific, well targeted play of oppositional forces that animates your skeleton, galvanizes your energy and gives you a strong, stable foundation for your pose. ​

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Foundation First: Ashtanga Research Course

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