Distinguishing between static and dynamic yoga postures when using it in therapeutic means.
Dynamic yoga postures are the moving versions of static yoga postures. We use dynamic yoga postures for a number of reasons:
· As a preparation for holding static postures
· For specific remedial application (loosening a joint or set of muscles)
· Remove stagnant blood
· Help circulate the lymph through the body
· Strengthening the lungs and
· Encouraging movement in the digestive and excretory systems
By working with dynamic yoga postures, it allows the body to get used to the static variation in a gentle and gradual way. This is an ideal way to work if there is extreme stiffness in a particular muscle group like the hamstrings for example. By doing a few dynamic leg raises first, warming up the hamstrings and gluteals, one is able to hold the static version of Viparati Karani, (Candle Pose) with greater ease. Dynamic yoga postures also give us the possibility to bring the breath to particular parts of the body which can then help to deepen the stretch or effect of the posture.
On the other hand, static yoga postures allow us to go deeper within ourselves and to observe how the body, mind and emotions feel while one is in the posture. There is little or no physical movement of the body and the breath is guided to a specific area of attention. This can do one of two things:
1) It allows for a more meditative and restorative practice where the internal organs and glands are gently massaged e.g. holding a lying twist, (Jathara Parivartanasana).
2) It can build strength and stamina e.g. holding Virabhadrasana II, (Warrior II).
When creating an integral or therapeutic yoga class or session, always ensure that you are warming up or preparing the body with a few dynamic versions of the static asana first. This will allow the body to respond with greater ease and comfort when going into the static version.
Nina Saacks is the founder of Yoga Awakening Africa and has been teaching integral hatha yoga, (Sivananda yoga) since 2003 in Cape Town. She loves spending time in her yoga studio with her students, up the mountain with her hiking buddies, travelling the world, around a dinner table with her friends, and when she can, spending time in bed reading a good book with Kat and a green smoothie. She believes that health equals balance in life, enjoying what you do and doing what you enjoy, and to never take yourself too seriously! firstname.lastname@example.org | www.saacks.com
Images: Angus Maresh
Model: Jennifer Stephens