Yoga Exercise Plan – Metamorphosis: The Spiral
Welcome to “Metamorphosis: The Spiral.” A yoga exercise plan or yoga class plan including a mix of ancient and modern yoga practice.
Yoga Class Theme – Spirals
- Spirals (“kund” in Sanskrit) exist both internally and externally, internally in the body and externally off the mat. This principal is essential in Anusara yoga. It can be adapted to provide vinyasa yogis with a new understanding of their body and a new approach to their poses.
- Our body has innate spirals (such as our DNA and the relationship of the bones in our forearms). We also create spirals during poses. Many variations of the Garudasana spirals will be explored in the following flows.
- Spirals also remind us of impermanence. This class will encourage embracing the different stages of life, season, status, etc. as we follow our dharma (path).
These quotes may help inspire your students’ practice and your teaching
- The Spirals are about refining and becoming more sophisticated and more of a connoisseur of life off the mat. You hone your senses, hone your knowledge, hone the artistic expression of the knowledge, so you become more eloquent, and you become more artistic. Internally, the Spirals are the development and refinement of our desire to make creative beauty.” John Friend
- “When the winds of change blow, some people build walls and others build windmills.” Chinese Proverbs
- “To what shall I liken the World? Moonlight reflected in dew drops, Shaken from a crane’s bill.” Dogen
- “You must be a lotus, unfolding its petals when the sun rises in the sky, unaffected by the slush where it is born or even the water which sustains it!” Sai Baba
Beginning Meditation and Pranayama for Spirals Yoga Exercise Plan
Make your way to sukhasana on your mat. Perhaps have the sit bones supported on a block or blanket. This class explores the spiral in our practice, our practice both on and off the mat. Think of your body. Spirals are intrinsic to our body, our DNA, the way the bones in our forearms wrap around one another. We also, though, experience a spiral in life, which never remains constant.
Think of an apple that sits out on a counter too long, or how a seed becomes a tree, or how even a mountain gets larger or smaller over time. You might ask “Am I the same person I was 5?” The answer is undoubtedly “yes”, and simultaneously undoubtedly “no.” Nothing stays the same; with each breath our world changes. Yet, it is precisely the breath that connects to the eternal, a never ending spiral, the divine. Our yoga practice helps us to be more present to ever occurring changes. It also encourages us to observe ourselves to bloom into our best selves, helping us find and follow our dharma, our path in life.
Hasta Mudra Meditation
Close your eyes and begin to reach the crown of the head upward toward the sky. Notice that not even your spine is a perfectly straight line, rather there is a curvature, a spiraling that supports the weight of the body. Place your hands in an Hasta mudra with palms open upward and elbows pulled back in line with the ribs. This is a receptive mudra allowing us to acknowledge the changes which have occurred in our past and be open to the changes which will continue throughout our lives. Bring your awareness to your breath. Notice how the ribcage changes in response. It moves to all sides, to the top and bottom, to the right and left.
Meditation on Impermanence
[This meditation should be done slowly, spend time with each element. Give practitioners time with each aspect of the meditation] Begin to tell yourself the story of how you came to your practice today. Preparing your yoga clothes, your mat, walking/driving/getting in the subway, etc. to the studio. Then take your mind even back further, through your week. Perhaps even to your experiences as a child. Ask yourself who is telling the story? Who is the subject of the story? Every seven years all of the cells in our body have died and regenerated.
Our physical body has completely changed. Notice that neither the story teller nor the subject fully represents our experience. We have changed and will continue to change. Through these changes, though, we can stay grounded in our breath. Staying present with our inhale and exhale as we observe and explore changes. Being open to change will allow us to be open to becoming our best selves. Consider the lotus, as Sai Baba tells us, it unfolds its petals when the sun rises in the sky, unaffected by the slush where it is born or even the water which sustains it!
- Stay seated on your mat and take Garudasana, eagle arms crossing the right arm underneath the left.
- Notice the spiral the forearms are creating. Consider the external spiral as well as the spiraling of our bones, of our DNA! Now reach the arms away from the body and the finger tips up toward the ceiling. Keeping in mind this unfolding of petals, peel the heart upward taking a slight backbend. Repeat with the left arm crossed underneath the right.
- Sun Salutations of your choice
(This is the entire flow, but it’s highly recommended to break the flow into pieces. Perhaps only teaching a portion of the flow at a time, or adding the asanas one-by-one to the flow)
- From downdog the right leg lifts high to a 3-legged dog and then sending the navel to the spine curl the knee in toward the nose. Step the right food to the front of the mat, find Anjaneyasana with eagle arms.
- Option to add in the back bend. Shift the weight to the front foot and then bring the left leg up crossing high on the thighs. Find Garudasana legs and arms. Notice the spiral created throughout the body.
- Bring the torso down, finding the elbows in front of the knees. Place the right hand on a block or the floor open the left leg into Ardha chandrasana. From Ardha Chandrasana bend the standing leg and reach the lifted leg to the back of the mat in Virabhadrasana II.
- Take a moving meditation reaching forward and back between Parsva Virabhadrasana and Uttihita Parsvakonasana. Bring the right hand to the inner edge of the right foot or a block and find Parsvakonasana.
- From here take the bind. Exhale the left arm down behind the back and reach the right arm up and under the right shoulder. (A belt may be helpful in this posture)
- Step the back foot in to meet the front and place the weight into the back left foot. Inhale, lift the torso and the right, bound leg.
- On an inhale extend the right leg coming into bird of paradise. Slowly lower back down. Come to Virabhadrasana II. Cartwheel the hands down toward the earth and step back to Down Dog.
Gardudasana Legs with Tripod Flow For Spirals Yoga Exercise Plan
- From Down Dog step the left foot to the front of the mat. Exhale the back heel down toward the earth and windmill the arms into Virabhadrasana II. (Perhaps insert the Chinese Proverb, responding to the winds of change with a windmill rather than a wall).
- Find Garudasana arms with the left arm underneath the right and take a gentle back bend from your Warrior II. Straighten the left leg and then pivot the left toes in paralleling the feet.
- Place hands on the hips and make your way to Parivritti Parsvottanasana. Walk the hands out in front of you as if in a down dog with the torso. Spend time here connecting with the breath and lengthening the hamstrings.
- Ground into the outer edges of the feet creating two “back warrior feet,” with the arches lifted off the ground. Then come to a tripod headstand, entering from legs in a “v” or with straight legs. Cross the legs high on the thighs and come into Garudasana legs. As you would in any eagle posture, work to align the spiral within the body– bring the legs in line with your spine.
Supta Garudasana Core Yoga Exercise Plan
- Lie on the ground and bring the body into Garudasana. Lift the bottom leg up off the ground. Work to press the lumbar spine into the Earth for a core exercise. Notice how the spiral promotes strength.
- Salamba Sirsasana
- Savasana meditation
- Padma Mudra which symbolizes transformation or metamorphosis, the effect of our embracing life’s spirals
Other Yoga Sequencing Lesson Plans to Enjoy
Thank you for joining us on this yoga exercise plan. We have others for you to enjoy and use within the limits of your entire imagination.
All the best, The Hyp-Yoga Team