Gary Kraftsow Presentation

What a two week whirlwind I’ve had.  I started off at SYTAR (Symposium on Yoga Therapy and Research) in Reston, VA for 4 days followed by a short hiatus to Mt. Vernon and then onto Yogaville to assist my teacher, Nischala Joy Devi, with her Healing Relationship course. My experience at SYTAR was awesome, with an eye opening Who’s Who of Yoga Therapy presenting at various keynotes, plenary sessions and practice workshops.  One discussion on yoga therapy that bubbled up to the surface is the tendency to showcase the physical aspects of yoga therapy by conditions and treatment plans, aligned with movement, i.e. Yoga for MS, Yoga for Back Pain, Pelvic Floor, without including the other koshas or sheaths of a person. The conference presenters were divided 50/50, physical conditions and koshas.

While the plenary sessions may have gravitated toward the gross body, the keynote speakers kept bringing us back to the history of yoga, the scriptures, the sheaths of a person, the full physicalpsychosocialmentalspiritual dynamic of a who we are.  We need the full understanding of what yoga is about and how it came to be, through the study of the scriptures and the practices, in order to really help our clients.  This entails years and years of study, picking up a book on a particular aspect, putting it down, and then picking it up again for a fuller study.  Full and complete immersion.

What we provide our students in our yoga classes may just be the tip of the iceberg. What we can provide to our yoga therapy clients is a richer, fuller understanding of the depth of these practices and how it can translate to their goals and intentions for healing.

I have much to digest from my time away as well as a few more books to read and study.  I think my beach read will have to wait.


Props: blankets, including one for warmth, stuffed animals or eye bags for hands
Benefits: gently stretches the lumbar spine and para spinal muscles, and gives a release in the diaphragm, quiets the mind and comforting. Gives a sense of security.

2 bolster fold blanket placed lengthwise on mat on top of each other. Make one blanket roll at end of mat for ankle support. Rest of that blanket fills in gap where shin does not meet the floor. Knees will rest on the floor. Top bolster folded blanket roll towards you in a wider roll to fit in chest and shoulder area. One more blanket folded so that its height is the same as the two bolster folded blankets.

Come to all fours straddling the props, release to forearms and then fully recline on props. Ankles rest on small roll at end of mat, shins supported by the rest of that blanket. Rest the rest of your body at hip crease on the bolster fold blankets and lay chest on wider roll of top blanket. Head rests on additional blanket at top, turned to the side. Arms come out to the sides, releasing shoulders down the back and away from the ears. Placing an eye pillow or stuffed animal in palms as they face floor is very grounding and comfortable. Additional blankets for pillows tucked in as needed with student to create boundaries or make more comfortable.
New Version includes laying tops of ankles over padded blocks for further draining of the legs.

Reclined Bound Angle (low version)*note in class we extended legs over blocks but his is also a nice version to do.

Props: 2 blocks (or firm cushions, pillows or rolled-up blankets), 3-4 blankets and one extra blanket for warmth, strap and eye pillow
Benefits: opens the hips and groin facilitating blood and energy flow to the urinary tract and reproductive organs. Opens the chest and abdomen benefiting breathing problems.

*This week’s class featured a foot wrap, adding comfort and support for the feet, as well as a way to bring the feet in closer to your groin, opening the hips a little more. Hope that you enjoyed.

Set up the blocks next to each other and place a folded blanket on top to cushion the knees. A long folded blanket along the mat and a blanket as a pillow for the head. Sit with your back to the blankets and lower down. Ensure that your pelvis is on the floor and not the blanket. Bring your legs into Bound Angle position with the soles of your feet together. Wrap a blanket around your feet to create a feeling of containment. Stay in the pose for 10 to 15 minutes.