Jivamukti Spiritual Warrior Curriculum
This is a brisk, guided, led vinyasa class in which the teacher calls out the asanas and provides the breath count, but gives minimal instruction as to how to do the various asanas. The class offers a well-rounded practice as a set sequence that includes a warm-up, the setting of an elevated intention, chanting, surya namaskar, standing asanas, twists, balances, backward bending, forward bending and inversions, as well as meditation and relaxation, and is designed to be completed in one hour. Thus, it is suitable for those who have limited time to devote to a yoga practice, for those who are looking for a workout to "shape up" physically, and for those who are looking to include a robust asana practice in a manageable daily routine. Because it is a fixed sequence that is always the same, a student has the opportunity to progress to the level of mastery by committing to a consistent, steady, regular sadhana.
The first few classes may seem overwhelming, but with time and steady practice, progress will inevitably come. The Jivamukti Spiritual Warrior 1-hour sequence is a comprehensive yoga class that transforms, invigorates and energizes, while at the same time grounding and leading the student inward on an exploration of the deeper spiritual aspects of the self.
Notes to Teachers:
- Because as the teacher, you will be talking for most of the hour, it is best to create a musical soundtrack comprised of instrumental music and/or soothing Sanskrit chanting.
- Because the class is only 1 hour long and there is a lot of material to cover, there is no need to give advertisements or promotions for events at the beginning or end of class.
- Because this class is meant to be taught as a led vinyasa sequence, the students' comprehension of what they are expected to do is primarily dependent on the teacher calling out the names of asanas. It may be helpful and is permissible for the teacher to demonstrate along with the class, while at the same time providing verbal instruction.
- The "sound" of the class should begin and be sustained by the teacher's verbal vinyasa instruction but taper off towards the last 20 minutes of the class to little or no verbal instruction, thus allowing the student to relax into the inner-dependent, peaceful state of wordless quietude.
1. Jivamukti Warm-Up Sequence: "The Magic Ten"
(should be completed within 10 minutes)
- Downward Dog - 10 breaths. Then keep hands where they are and walk feet forward until shoulders are directly over the wrists and hips are directly over the feet.
- Uttanasana variation - 10 breaths. With legs and arms extended, press equal weight down through hands and feet and simultaneously lift up out of wrists and ankles (with blocks under hands, if necessary, in order to extend legs).
- Squat - 10 breaths. Feet mat-width apart, knees tracked over middle of feet, spine extended, hands in prayer at heart, using elbows to open inner thighs, press heels down into floor or into folded blanket or sit on a block.
- Teepee Twist - 5 breaths each side Seated with soles of feet on floor, feet and knees together, twist to the right, bend left elbow and embrace both knees with left arm, right hand on floor behind supporting vertical lift of spine, breathe 5 breaths; do left side, then extend both legs straight.
- Ardha Matsyendrasana - 5 breaths each side Bend right knee and cross right foot over extended left leg, placing right foot adjacent to the outside of left knee or further down near left foot. With left elbow bent, press outside of left arm against outside of right leg (or those who can, hold right instep with left hand); breathe 5 breaths, repeat to left side, then extend both legs straight.
- Table Top - 10 breaths Separate feet hip-width apart and bend knees, place hands behind you on floor, fingers pointing toward feet, chin to chest, inhale lift up, exhale extend head back, hold for 10 breaths (pelvis should be lifted as high or higher than knee level, with ankles under knees and wrists under shoulders).
- Handstand - 5 to 25 breaths Place hands on floor about 3-5 inches from a wall, and leading with one leg jump up and follow with the other, then rest heels on wall, feet flexed, and drop head between arms; or start on hands and knees and walk up to a 90 degree angle; or practice jumping with one leg in center of room. Finish by simply hanging over in uttanasana (no need to rest in child's pose), then stand up for posture alignment.
- Standing Posture Alignment - 5 breaths Standing in tadasana (feet parallel, together or apart), interlock fingers together behind back, pressing palms together, lift arms away from pelvis, aligning pelvis and rib cage-pelvis is neither retracted nor tucked under, upper chest lifts as armpits expand, chin drops to meet lifted chest.
- Standing Side Bends - 4 breaths Extend arms overhead, interlock fingers, pressing palms together, inhale lengthen spine, exhale bend to the left side, inhale to upright position, then exhale bend to the right, repeat once more to each side for a total of 2 rounds. Inhale come to a upright standing position.
Standing Spinal Roll - 16 breaths
- Exhale: place interlaced hands behind head .
- Inhale: in upright position, spread elbows, lengthen spine, expand chest - Exhale: arch back 1
- Inhale: lengthen spine - Exhale: lean back further 2
- Inhale: lengthen spine - Exhale: lean back further 3
- Inhale: come to an upright position - Exhale: draw elbows towards each other, chin to chest 4
- Inhale: breath space into back body - Exhale: roll down, nose toward upper chest 5
- Inhale - Exhale: roll down, forehead toward sternum 6
- Inhale - Exhale: roll down, forehead toward belly 7
- Inhale - Exhale: roll down, forehead toward navel 8
- Inhale - Exhale: roll down, forehead toward pubic bone 9
- Inhale - Exhale: roll down, forehead toward mid-thighs 10
- Inhale - Exhale: roll down, forehead toward knees 11
- Inhale - Exhale: bend knees, touching forehead to or toward knees 12
- Inhale: keep knees bent, open elbows, lift torso (like in utkatasana) Exhale: stay 13
- Inhale: straighten legs, lift to upright position Exhale: stay 14
- Inhale: in upright position, lengthen spine Exhale: lean back 15
- Inhale: come to upright position Exhale: release arms, tadasana 16 (Take 16 counts for the entire sequence)
2. Intention Standing dedication of practice
- (make this very brief - approximately 30 seconds) Examples: Think of someone you love and dedicate your practice to them, or think of someone with whom you are having difficulties and dedicate your practice to them, or think of someone who is suffering and dedicate your practice to them
3. Chant OM, OM, OM Shantih, Shantih, Shantih Hari OM
4. Surya Namaskar
- Ashtanga A, 3 rounds - Jivamukti, 1 round
5. Standing Asanas Standing Asana Sequence:
- Utkatasana (inhale) Uttanasana (exhale) Warrior I (start with right foot forward) - 5 breaths
- Warrior II - 1 breath Trikonasana - 5 breaths
- Warrior II - 5 breaths
- Extended Angle A - 5 breaths
- Chin to Shin Parsvottanasana - 5 breaths
- Lift back heel, bend front knee for Lunge Standing spinal twist - 5 breaths
- Step the back knee to outside of front foot to sit Ardha Matsyendrasana - 5 breaths
- Ankle to Knee - 5 breaths
- Lolasana (crossing right ankle over left ankle) Jump back into Chaturanga Dandasana-Upward Dog-Downward Dog
- Repeat standing sequence on left side, but after ankle-to-knee, open legs into: Seated straddle split - 5 breaths
- Lolasana (crossing left ankle over right ankle)
6. Balancing Vasishthasana Sequence
- from Lolasana, jump back; exhale Chaturanga Dandasana; inhale Upward Dog; exhale Downward Dog; inhale Plank Pose; exhale onto the right hand and outside of right foot, extend left arm up Vasishthasana - 3 breaths; repeat on left side; inhale to Plank Pose; exhale knees, chest, chin to floor; inhale Cobra; exhale onto the abdomen, relax
7. Back Bending
- Shalabhasana - once, 5 breaths
- Dhanurasana - twice, 5 breaths each
- Roll over lie on the back Half Wheel - 5 breaths
- Urdhva Dhanurasana - 3 times, 5 breaths each (on last exhale of 2nd Urdhva Dhanurasana, bend elbows, placing top of head on floor, walk hands closer to feet and push up again for 3rd Urdhva Dhanurasana)
- Pull knees to chest - 5 breaths Reclining Eagle Twist - 5 breaths each side
- Pull knees to chest and rock backward and forward to a seated position
8. Forward Bending
- Paschimottanasana - 15 breaths
- Janu Shirshasana - 5 breaths each side
- Tarasana - 5 breaths
9. Shoulderstand Sequence
- Spend 5 minutes on entire sequence (using timer) or hold for 50 breaths, counting out breaths in the following order: Shoulderstand - 35 breaths Halasana - 5 breaths Karnapidasana - 5 breaths Matsyasana - 5 breaths Roll over and push back into Child's Pose
10. Headstand Sequence
- Spend 5 minutes on entire sequence (using timer) or hold for 50 breaths, counting out breaths in the following order: Headstand - 40 breaths Child's Pose - 10 breaths
- Meditation with minimal instructions, mostly silent practice - 5 minutes
- Relaxation - 5 minutes (or longer if there is time)
13. Closing OM, OM, OM Shantih, Shantih, Shantih Hari OM