Photo courtesy of YoGeek
I don't remember if I got the idea of "measuring sticks" from aikido and it translated into my yoga practice, or vice versa. In any case, the idea crops up in both artforms.
What I call a measuring stick is a reference technique or asana that is repeated periodically throughout a workout in order to see what effect your workout is having on your posture or technique. For example, I might do a sukhasana (simple cross-legged position) with a forward bend at the beginning of class in order to observe where I'm tight or tired. Then I'll repeat it some time in the middle of the workout to see what the intervening postures have done for me this day. At the end I might repeat it again, this time settling into it for a prolonged breath count.
Other common asana that you might see used as measuring sticks include tadasana (the mountain posture), trikonasana (triangle), adho mukka svasana (down dog) or uttanasana (forward bend). I particularly like to do malasana (deep knee bend) as a measuring stick.
By repeating the same posture throughout the workout, you can gain some insight into what each set of postures is doing for you in relation to the measuring stick technique. Do you find your hips more flexible the second time? Is it easier to breathe the third time, etc...
Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮
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