By Carolyn (Karuna) Beaver
Ardha Chandrasana at the Wall became my favorite pose at the 2018 New Year’s Retreat in Atlanta. It was part of a short, sweet and deeply effective asana sequence. Swami Nirmalananda had created it, and I was privileged to teach it.
I loved seeing yogis evolve in their approach and ability to work through all poses. One pose was blissful, another was energetic, another was more difficult and yet so transformative. All were beautiful pieces of the whole. Yet Ardha Chandrasana at the Wall clearly moved the group through the challenges, changes and contemplation that accompany New Year’s resolutions. Its benefits, besides opening the rib cage,include improvement to shoulders, neck and breathing. It also lengthens abdominal muscles and helps to prepare for meditation.
Our group went into Ardha Chandrasana at the Wall after deep spinal release through tailbone, sacrum and waist area. At first, several yogis had difficult extending their arm close to their ear, then over their head and all the way to the wall. Even more difficult was pressing both hands into the wall to arc their torso and create movement in their spine. Then after several repetitions,and some assistance, most difficulty was gone.
Repeating the whole lesson plan several times daily, they integrated the Ardha Chandrasana alignment details. With more flexible torsos, the yogis could reach the wall with both hands. They had more arc and movement in their spines. They could actually soften into the pose and use the strength of their arms to move them in deeper.
We love poses that are immediately blissful. The purpose of Svaroopa® yoga, however, is to expand your inner bliss, both to dive inside as well as to take your bliss into the world. This means using your abs, legs and arms to support your spine, even to release your spinal tensions. This gives you the experience of your Self. From this inner depth, you live your life fully, joyfully.
Our New Year’s sequence ended in a seated pose, to integrate and absorb the changes. Sitting allowed contemplation of where we were and where we were going. What a way to start a New Year!