Dynamic Yoga Shala Ibiza class at Galleria Elefante
I’m waiting outside of the beautiful La Galleria Elefante for my first Ibicencan yoga class. It’s 9am and I can already feel the warmth of the sun on my face, it is so beautiful here and feels so good to be back in Ibiza again! I have moved here two months before my very first teacher training with Jacqueline at Yoga Shala Ibiza, to get to know yoga on the island.
Corina taught the class to us today and I really enjoyed it. At first we closed our eyes and started to become aware of our breath; she asked us to follow it in through the nose, swirl it around in the throat and lungs, all the way down to the diaphragm and then follow it back out again through the nose. This was a great meditation to do and I felt my mind go totally quiet as all I focused on was the sensation of the breath moving at the tip of the nose. We started to do a Pranayama (breathing exercise) with a three phrase mantra of, ‘Calm’ on the inhale, ‘Myself’ on the retention at the height of the inhale, and ‘Down’ on the exhale. This was very pleasant and calming to my nervous system and I felt my body relax into the class. We then began to put our hands over our bellies to breathe into this area with deep abdominal breaths. After that we moved our hands to do the same over our chest and then over the side-ribs. Corina mentioned that breathing through the chest is harder to do but is very useful during forward bending when we need to keep the belly in at the same time. Breathing throuhg the ribs is good to do when backward bending. It was really surprising how much all of these breathing exercises actually warmed me up, and when it was time to start the Asanas (postures) I felt more than ready to jump right in.
Corina spent a while going over the details of the Sun Salutations (also called ‘Vinyasas’) as we were going to be doing these a lot in the class. I personally love a good Vinyasa as it limbers up my whole body and makes me feel as if I have sorted of ‘wiped the slate clean’, ready to bring on what the world has for me during that day. The rest of the class was a challenging set of dynamic yoga postures, moving through flows with Sun Salutations all the way through. It got sweaty at various points! With challenging postures such as Chair Pose (Ukatasana) and King of the Dancer’s Pose (Natarajasana). In between these difficult postures we would stand still in Mountain Pose (Tadasana) with our eyes closed and hands together in prayer. Corina told us to feel for the pulsing ‘Prana’ energy flowing through us due to the practice of these Asanas, and it was great and invigorating to feel this.
Corina spoke about the difference between an ‘active’ and ‘passive’ downward dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana). The ‘passive’ version of this pose is used as a rest between other postures. The ‘active’ kind is where the fingers of the hand are splayed and pushed into the floor with the palm of the hand, whilst the wrist lifts up. The arms are straight but not hyperextended, and they are contracting actively. At the same time the shoulder blades and trapezius muscle need to sink down, the sit bones lifted up to the ceiling and the heels sinking down towards the floor. The ribs can’t fly out though! It’s very tricky to keep it all in mind whilst doing it, but soon it becomes natural and easy.
The class finished off with some lovely words from Corina during the Savasana, and she played us some music from her Tibetan singing bowl instrument. She talked us through a brief meditation, and mentioned how this exact peace and calm that we were experiencing right then was what we all need to bring through with us during the summer months when the island really becomes alive and incredibly busy. The class was thoroughly relaxing and everyone had the look of ‘yoga-bliss’ on their face by the end. I loved my first experience of Yoga on Ibiza with Yoga Shala Ibiza, and look forward to the many more to come.
31st March 2015