Pumped Up Utkatasana

A week ago my lovely roomy Reshma and I traveled far, far away (aka: took the T to the airport) to watch Foster the People perform.  Although I was upset I missed Kimbra’s set, the music was great and I was in chill mood, so I loved having my own assigned seat and space to dance like crazy in. The highlight of my night was definitely running into a storm trooper with dreadlocks.

The yoga-nerd in me sneakily stuck around during the concert, because I had a moment when I thought about how artists/bands arrange their sets similar to how a yoga teacher arranges sequences in a practice in order to create the optimal experience and leave the audience/students with a specific state of mind at the end.

FTP brought people from an excited (or, to be more nerdy, “rajastic state“) to sudden moments of stillness and calm with slow songs (“tamasic states“) and finally finished off on a positive, charged note with their most popular song, Pumped Up Kicks. And with all the ups and downs we experienced, I definitely left the stadium in an uplifted, content state (almost “sattvic” in its nature).

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Granted, I’m using the three gunas very loosely here for my own selfish purposes of making this blog a tad bit cohesive. The three gunas (click here for a brief download on the stuff) are three qualities that emerge from the very basic elements of nature – energy, matter, and consciousness. 

Coming from Harvard and also from Hong Kong, both of which are places people can work themselves to the extreme, living off of caffeine and all-nighters (throw in an occasional rage fest), I’ve noticed there is a trend for the modern day society to lean towards more rajastic tendencies. Again, this is just for those places.

In many yoga classes (especially the kick-your-assana ones), teachers like to build the rajastic qualities up by “warming up” students with intense sun salutations and standing poses. It’s important to build in the more calming poses towards the end of a practice in order to neutralize the students and bring them into a sattvic state.

A common misconception is that the yoga warm-up must be solely based on sun salutations. Actually, this is not necessarily true. There are 101.25 ways to warm up.  I’ve been led through classes that didn’t even touch a sun salutation, yet I was definitely sweating and felt my heart rate elevated after 10 minutes. One classic way to do this is to immediately jump into utkatasana, chair pose. Here’s my silly doodle for the week:

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Filed under postures, yoga

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