Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Matthew Sweeney Workshop, Sunday July 13

I have my notes with me now and I can quick recap a couple of points from Saturday’s session (this was the full primary series with the jumpback workshop in the afternoon) that I will be bringing back to my practice and classes:

Do the EXACT same thing on both sides for symmetry.
Govinda urged this as well when I attended his workshop. This is a long-term approach to the practice. If always work on the side that is easiest (ie - looser) and do not bring the tight side to that same level, it puts your body “out of wack” so to speak. It is highly recommended you do the exact same thing on both sides. Which means you are catering to your tight or weaker side and bringing it into alignment with your loose or strong side.

No more “watching TV” pose for Marichyasana B and D.
Apparently this does nothing to work on those hips. Do modified seated pigeon instead.

To further work on those hips, do baddha konasana against a wall.
Start with 5 minutes and work up to half an hour. Counter balance with hero’s pose (supported as needed) for 10-15 minutes maximum. Further, if you cannot bring your knees flat in baddha konasana, it is not recommended to do the Marichyasana poses B and D.

When you become strong in a posture, your chances of hurting yourself are less.

It was recommended that if you cannot do full lotus in garba pindasana, to work on hip openers instead.

Okay, I think that’s enough re-capping. I took more notes than I realized!


Sunday’s sessions were just as fantastic as Friday and Saturday. We started with the Standing Sequence of the Primary Series and moved into the Secondary Sequence. He moved us through about ½ of the Secondary Sequence, then stopped, went back and began breaking down each posture individually. I really appreciated this approach. It allowed me to get a feel for how each posture flows into the vinyasa and then into the next asana. Then I was able to see what the modifications were for each posture.

This then moved right into back bending: from the floor and down the wall. Much to my great surprise, I was in no way sore after doing an hours worth of backbends. We worked on a variety of techniques and methods to move into and out of backbends safely, and a lot revolves around the use of ones thighs. Now those ached by the end of the day!

Sunday afternoon we looked at headstand and handstand. His message here was: “The bits in between are more important.” Matthew also felt that you need to have established jumps in the vinyasa’s before you can work on HAND stand. He demonstrated....wow...this guy can truly float.

But back to headstand. He emphasized three levels:
1) Rock to lift over hips. Keep knees bent. Work here.
2) Curl over hips. Keep knees bent. Work here.
3) Lift over hips - now with straight legs.

This was rather a sub-theme throughout the whole weekend - make everything a progression. It’s a journey where you don’t know where you are going to end up so you might as well enjoy the ride.

I know I certainly enjoyed this workshop!

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