1 I have begun my serious yoga training with James Murphy, director of the Iyengar Yoga Institute of New York, located at 150 West 22nd Street in Manhattan. I am convinced this training is the very, very best for me to build strength, muscle tone, limberness, and maintain vibrancy. At present, I am taking two private lessons per week with James, while continuing to train in my home gym with Mary Tedesco. http://iyengarnyc.org
2 This is the north studio, a private room, at Iyengar. It has this wall fitted with ropes and bars. These are known as "props" which aid in stretching and lengthening.
3 This is the rope wall in the west studio, a large classroom that accommodates 40-people at the Iyengar Yoga Institute of New York. Follow them on social media.
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4 The object in front of the wall is known as the "horse". We use this horse for standing poses, and for all sorts of twists for the torso. It is invaluable.
5 Wooden blocks of different sizes enable wide leg stretches of varying lengths supported by the horse. The instructor knows just how far to go.
6 James uses all the yoga props to accommodate different body types- foam blocks are great for "spacing".
7 Here, James used the belt to spread my toes.
8 I practiced how to balance my legs equally in a mountain pose or Tadasana.
9 James worked with my shoulder.
10 James showed me how to be stable and steady.
11 Then, James showed me how to extend my side body. Most of us don't even realize how tight the sides of our bodies are until we lengthen them during yoga poses like this one.
12 James demonstrated how to interlock the fingers and open the palms.
13 I did it next - all the fingers should interlock with the thumbs touching and the arms outstretched. This position allows the arms to extend without tightening the trapezius muscles.
14 I bent my elbow to free up my shoulder. In these exercises, proper alignment is very important.
15 James attached a belt to the bar and helped create traction for my trapezius muscles in the upper back near the neck. This also helps to properly align the body, improve posture and functioning.
16 Again, James helped me to create traction for the trapezius.
17 Here, James used a different method to create traction - he used his hands. This relieves the tension in the back of the neck and realigns the shoulders.
18 I used the ropes to create the same traction. We continued to do different variations of the same type of position and exercise.
19 James helped improve my position, and allowed my back muscles to wake up, so there was no strain on the shoulders.
20 James did the same thing here - he helped me to lift up my chest and allow the back muscles to support me and relieve any strain on the shoulders.
21 This exercise on the horse wakes up the inner legs, and stretches the muscles in preparation for standing poses.
22 James showed me how to adjust my foot for the triangle pose.
23 Here we were, going into the triangle pose.
24 This was the triangle pose on the other side. It stretches the hamstrings and sides, opens the calves and lengthens the back muscles.
25 The horse supports the body, and allows it to have more freedom to go deeper into the different postures while still maintaining a balanced manner.
26 I worked with the opposite shoulder and refined the alignment.
27 James directed me to bend properly, so that my hip, knee and ankle joints all coordinated correctly.
28 This position opens the front body, and allows the freedom to come into the front body by stretching.
29 This is a wonderful cooling pose we always do to end the session. This restores, and rejuvenates the body. It helps to relieve tiredness in the legs, and restores the entire nervous system. Finally, it relaxes and quiets the mind.
30 This position relaxes the inner thighs and is also part of the cooling process.
31 This is called Shavasana, the corpse pose. This is commonly done when the session is over. It allows the body to absorb the work that was completed, and gives the body the chance to regroup and reset itself.
32 Here is James "hanging out" on the ceiling rope at the Iyengar Yoga Institute of New York after teaching. This is a time honored posture called the Sirsasana - the head stand. It increases blood circulation, stimulates the nervous system, and works on all the systems of the body - it's a great pose for health and wellness.