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Richard Rosen (USA)


HOLLOWS AND DOMES

Conventional wisdom tells us that each of our feet has three arches, one running along the inner edge, one along the outer, and the third across the foot from side to side. This isn’t though entirely accurate. On the inner foot, what’s commonly called an arch is actually a half-dome, so that when we stand with our inner feet touching we create a full dome. This foot dome isn’t the only one found on our body. There are in fact domes everywhere, at our perineum (and inner groins), armpits, palate, and cranial vault (or dome). Our diaphragm, the most important breathing muscle, is a double dome. 

Along with these domes, we also have dome-like areas I call hollows. These are found in the backs of our knees, the center and base of our palms (which become domes when our hands are pressed to the floor in Downward Dog, for example), above and below our sternum, and at the base of our skull where it meets the back of the neck. 

These are natural domes and hollows which serve a variety of functions in everyday life, and they can also be enlisted to expand and improve our yoga practice, not only asana, but pranayama and meditation as well. In our practice we also create intentional domes. There are several asanas that have a dome-like shape, either with the back of the torso, such as Crane (bakasana) and Tortoise (kurmasana), or the front, such as Fish (matsyasana) and Bow (dhanurasana). Intentional hollows like the Flying Up Valve (uddiyana bandha) play a central role in traditional pranayama. 

This three-class workshop will investigate the major and minor domes and hollows of the physical body, both natural and intentional. We’ll approach the subject through three major areas: 1) feet and legs, 2) torso, arms and hands, 3) and neck and head. We’ll also include as supporting material a survey of the body’s major imaginative energy circuits (based on the work of Mabel Todd in her The Thinking Body).

The workshop is open to all levels of students, though at least six months to a year of regular yoga practice is recommended. The individual classes are open to drop-ins, though since the second class builds on the first, it’s recommended that the workshop be taken as a whole. 

1. HOLLOWS AND DOMES PRELIMINARY: THE BODY’S IMAGINARY ENERGY CIRCUITS

In traditional Hatha Yoga, the body’s vital energy (prana) is said to circulate through subtle channels (nadis) numbered in the tens to hundreds of thousands. These channels make an interesting study, but are not readily accessible by most modern students. This first workshop will, in effect, set the stage for the four to follow by mapping and then integrating into practice what we might consider a 21st century version of the nadis. Most run across the surface of the body and are relatively easily accessible. The work is based on the teaching of Mabel Todd in her classic study of human movement and posture, The Thinking Body.

2. HOLLOWS AND DOMES

This first H&D workshop will address the feet and legs, including the inner groins where the legs join the base of the pelvis (perineum). The asana focus will be on standing poses, the breathing practice will focus on the hollows and the bottom and top of the breast bone (sternum).

The second H&D workshop will address the torso in forward bends and twists, in particular those poses that accentuate dome the shape of the sided and back torso. Asanas will include the Gate Latch (parighasana), Crane (bakasana), and Tortoise Poses (kurmasana). Breathing practice will focus on the hollowing of the lower belly. 

H&D workshop three will take the torso in the opposite direction from number two. Here we’ll move into poses that dome the front body, the back bends, including the Camel and Bow Poses. Breathing practice will focus on the hollowing.

Schedule

Tuesday 18 September - 2-5pm : Feet & Legs

Wednesday 19 September - 9-12pm - Torso forward bends & twists

& 2-5pm - Back Bends

Location : Brussels Yoga Pilates - Rue Fosse aux Loup, 38

Price : 45 euros / session

120 euros Full program

Biography - Richard Rosen began teaching in 1987, after training at the Iyengar Yoga Institute in San Franciso. He’s the author of five books, most recently Yoga FAQ (Shambhala, 2017) and countless articles and reviews. He’s also president of the board of directors of the Yoga Dana Foundation, which provides grants to teachers working with underserved populations in the San Francisco Bay Area. He counts himself fortunate to reside in a cottage built in 1906 in beautiful Berkeley, California.