Inspiring Body Works Iyengar

Richard Agar Ward: how to practice with restraint

Planned carefully my 3 day workshop in London last week. Tried Richard Agar Ward 90 min class a month ago just to check I could cope for 12 hours. Found out how I could clear my headache, stiff neck, shoulders and shoulderblades and why not – some of my insomnias. All that, just by keeping my arms up , upper arms close to my ears for a few minutes.


Then spent three days practicing seriously.
First day, shoulders and shoulderblades.


Work in ado mukha svanasana with you fingertips against the wall , fingers widely spread, feet widely apart. Then rest in adho mukha virasana.

Back on your feet: hastasana, with your upper arms close to your ears. Then uktasana, sacrum against the wall, trunk upright, shoulders away from the wall.


Trikonasana: lift the inner knee of the opposite leg (restraint)


Virabhadrasana II: work on the arms, take them higher than the shoulders to lift the heart.


Parsvokonasana (lateral angle): lift the back groin of the straight leg (restraint) _ inner knee as in Trikonasana. Work in one go on bones, muscles and skin.


Warrior I: lift mid buttock of the back leg


Tadasana, uttanasana, ado mukha svanasana, ado mukha virasana, supta badha konasana, arms behind the head, breathe.



Supported baddha konasana,

Sirsasana (watch the gap between the elbows, not too close, not too wide apart), bringing inner elbows towards the ground, don’t let the foreamrs shrink, broaden the armpits.

Sarvangasana, take the shoulderblades in, belt around the upper arms, rotate upper arms out. Halasana, same work on shoulders and arms. Chatus padasana (take the sacrum up, grap the ankles, first taking hands under heels.





I. Pranayama (1h30)

Supported on bolsters + folded blanket for head, legs long, abdomen goes down. Locate 3 regions on your front (abdomen, thorax and chest   apana, samana, udana), put a weight on the legs. Breathe in the 3 areas individually. Then focus on one and start viloma (interrupted breathing) trying 7-9 interruptions on inhalation, none on exhalation. Then the samed on exhalation.


Supported on two blocks under shoulderblades and blanket for the head. Focus on breathing in side chest. Explore the whole body. Feel weight in the groins.


Sit cross legged. Pranayama, abdomen in, chest lifted




II. Asanas

Tadasana: brick between feet, outer ankles towards inner ankles, then brick between knees to feel the lift in the inner knees), bricks between thighs



Ado mukha svanasana with brick between thighs. A partner pull on the brick from behind. You feel the back groins opeing and thighs turning inwards


Uttanasana with brick between thighs open the back groins, lenghten the spine


Standing preparation for chatturanga dandasana. Against the wall, Toes tucked up agaisnt the wall, fingertips against the wall at breast level. Sacrum lifts, coccyx held in by the buttocks. Feel the muscles in the mid-buttocks. Top of buttocks comes down, bottom of buttocks comes up. Chest lifted, thighs tackled back


Urdhva mukha svanasana with chair or bricks. Same work with the sacrum and buttocks as in chatturanga dandasana. Walk towards hands and lift your head

Ado muka virasana (rest)

Ustranasana. Same work, lift the front of the thighs, keep sacrum lifted and coccyx in, hands slide down the back of the thighs, chest lifts, shoulderblades absorbed

urdhva danurasana, come onto tiptoes, abdomen open and stretched like a drum, come up quickly to lighten the lift.

Supta pandangustasana without going towards maximum strecth, focus the attention on opeing the chest and breathing


Sirsasana, sarvangasana, halasana, parsva halsana, setu bandhasana, sarvangasana,





Part I – Pranayama

Lying flat in savasana with blanket folded in three (or half bolster) under back ribs (transversal).

Stretch and relax the upper abdomen, stretch and relax the legs keeping the heels close to each other. Keep breathing in the diaphragm area without fiilling the lungs excessively. Explore successively the breathing in lower abdomen, upper abdomen and chest areas.


Sitting cross legged the folded blanket of the half bolster in your back,forearms and elbows forward, head bowing forward. Explore again three levels of breathing. Then viloma breathing with several interruptions on each inhalation, on each level (abdomen, thorax, chest). Same process on the exhalation.



Part II  – Asanas

Ado mukha svanasana with the head supported on bolster, feet widely apart, abdomen open to ease digestion.

Ado mukha vrksasana (hand balance)

Sirsasana (stretch big toe, open soles of the feet), turn feet inwards.


Tadasana and watch the variations in the spine when your feet turn in (spine relaxes), are parallel (spince starts working), or turn out (spine works a lot).


Same work of the feet in sarvangasana

Supta padangustasana (watch your big toe, mind relaxed)

Baradjvasana (twist with breathing awareness- kriya-). Watch the breath in lower abdomen, upper abdomen, chest and collar bones area).

Parvritta trikonasana with kriya)

Janu sirsasana with kriya

Paschimottanasana with kriya










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