Tag Archives: meditation

Yoga Sequencing: Building towards the Peak Pose

When I first began yoga, for many years (yes years) I had no idea there was a rhyme or reason to the practice. It was because I was totally out of my depth and element. The teachers would say things in sanskrit, I was battling a mindful of distracting thoughts and at some point I usually just prayed we would get to the “laying down” part at the end ( I LOVE that part, perhaps more than most).

However, there was one thing I did extraordinarily right. There was one thing I achieved in yoga that most people never have or will.  And that was my attitude.  I have the best attitude when it comes to yoga. My attitude was, and always will be, zero expectations.  I do not wander into yoga demanding anything from it that day.  I don’t care about seeing results, I don’t over analyze what I can and cannot do. I do not hold any hope or expectations  for my teachers. Just carry simple gratitude that they are there to maybe show me just one thing I didn’t know about myself or about yoga before that day. This humility provided me a limilitess enjoyment and engagement with the experience and still provides me the same wonder and awe today.

So as I ventured on to my mat, in this realm of an unknown experience I tried to make sense of it all.  As I got into my certification and training I realized that practice wasn’t just some random poses strung together said by a teacher in half english. There actually was a course to navigate and a linear path.  Each pose helps lead to the next.

In my previous blog I broke down the warm up. Here I will explain what happens after you’ve dropped in and begin to flow.

Sequencing in yoga is a strategy that is implemented to help take all the component parts offered in warm up, to guide you consciously and subconcsioculy towards a peak position.  So basically 1/3 of the way through you’ve already built this pose bit by bit and towards the apex you put it all together.  So it’s not just chaos! It’s a systemic approach.

Hence why there should be zero expectations at the beginning of your journey. Do the work and all will come together.  No matter the time. So an example of a peak position (which could be anything, which is why the practice is so limitless and exciting) let’s choose Handstand.  A good way to sequence a practice around handstand is to break down what exactly is required for this pose.

07/18/2015 Kyle Lardner Beach Shots

Shoulder strength

Fearlessness to go upside down



With these  component elements in place, there are tangible parts of your warm up which have already started incorporating these parts. For example during warming up, downward dog is a wonderful way to build shoulder strength. In addition you are already going halfway upside down (since you are raising your hips above your head). The mind is already experiencing in a very safe way, life upside down.



The Surya A’s and B’s (as mentioned in my warm up blog) are also wonderful series that work nearly every muscle group as well as start incorporating balancing and flexibility.


So even if you don’t put it all together for the peak pose, eventually after repetition and practice, you will have already done everything it takes to take it a step further and begin raising your legs up over your head for handstand.  I’ve noticed in practice that eventually poses reveal themselves to you, through proper breathing, practice and instruction from the teacher.  Which is why having no expectation is the best way to approach yoga.

After one has achieved the peak position, the practice then typically shifts towards cooling down.  We cultivate a lot of heat and energy working towards this goal. In my next blog I’ll go through the details of the cool down.

This is a typical break down for a beginner and intermediate yoga class.

Let your work be the expression of your commitment and all will come. Or as I like to say “Do the work and all will calm.”



Learning Basic Standing Poses

Before I go further into the breakdown of a practice let’s talk about poses. This week I would like to share with you basic standing positions and their benefits.

All standing poses help bring balance back into the body.

Tadasana- Standing mountain pose


This pose is basically standing savasana (you know the final laying down position everyone covets) focusing on the subtle alignment in this pose helps correct posture over time.

Ukatasana -Chair Pose


This pose is a lot harder than it looks. I often tell students to pretend they are sitting on the edge of a chair but still remind them to reach up to the sky like they’re trying to hold on to the sun. It is excellent for strengthening the back arms and legs. It also helps protect the lower back if you inhale the navel towards the back of the spine (not shown in this diagram.)



This is a standing forward fold. It is perfectly ok to have your knees slightly bent in the back. This helps lengthen and stretch tight hamstrings as well as reverse blood flow towards the head.

Ardha Uttanasana


It is the same position as Uttanasana except on the inhale we place our hands on the shins, open the chest as if we are offering our heart to the earth,  simultaneously  lengthening through the crown of the head creates more space in the spine.  As we exhale and lower into Uttanasana we can then surrender more deeply into the pose.

If you begin with these poses, you will have achieved 1/2 of Surya Namaskara. The sun salutations.

Tips from the Top: David Lynch (Part I)

I’ve been really excited to write this particular article featuring David Lynch. His classes are popular because his method works. He immediately takes one into the present moment. Few people possess such divine humility. Although he has ethereal abilities it’s his moments of reality and referencing pop culture that adds a perfect comedic release during the apex of the practice. He has an exceptional play list and command of the room.  As well as angelic presence. He is a very special kind of  teacher. A spirit guide.

I was so happy when he responded to my weekly column with not only enthusiasm but a books worth of guidance.  So much so I had to I’ve decided to break his answers in to parts.  (I know readers are short on time). He is such a vast source of knowledge and depth it is incredible.  All of these teachers are and it has been so humbling having them open up and respond to the weekly question:

What is your advice for beginning Yogis?


Be strong enough to shed your preconceptions and step onto your mat each day, out into this world and into your own head with a nakedness born of mature innocence, a willingness to be present to the true nature of the immediacy of the moment and if you can, freed from the fetters of your past triumphs and traumas and unburdened by the unknowable unknown you will live in fluctuating moments of serenity that one day will bloom into tranquil permanent impermanence.
– David Lynch

Yoga and Listening to Your “self”

Listening to your “self” may be the hardest and the scariest thing we ever do. Our whole lives we are taught to listen to others and conform to their idea of what we are and should be. You’ve had moments when the “self” spoke up, but if you weren’t ready to listen you pushed it away.

This voice tells you how you look every day. How to dress. What to worry about, it compares you constantly to anything and everything “better than you” this voice keeps you paralyzed by fear, doubt and drama. This voice is so busy occupying your mind, that  your wisest part of your being your higher concsciouncess is often never heard.

Do you want to go through your whole life bombarded by your ego voice, or silence it and let the real you shine through? The one that knows you are unlimitedly blessed and talented and can help you focus on  the gifts which contributes to you achieving your dreams. The direct line to your higher power and being. Your guide inside. Listen to that voice.

“But I’ve never heard it.”

That’s because you never mastered quieting down your ego. We live in an egoitiscitcal society. Look at  social media, everything is an “enhanced, perfected and un true” super state of reality we want the world to believe we exist in.  These images can can crush our inner true voice.  The part of our being that rings out with hope and purpose.  We need to hear that part of ourselves in this noisy outside and inner world.

Since we were little we were conditioned by our parents, siblings, peers and teachers at school, programs, expectations, commercials, television all telling us how we should think, feel, look, act and “be.”

Silence. Is. Golden.

Have you ever stilled your thoughts so deeply you heard true silence of the mind? I have. I was floating under water with sunlight pouring all around me, surrounded by leaves that fell from a tree.  Time did not exist. I was never the same after that deep meditation. To experience true silence from the inside was such a mind altering experience.

Go to yoga and connect to your breath, calm your mind, quiet the frantic voice of the ego and listen to your “self.” That is the most powerful essence of your being.  The world is excited to meet the true you! Let the light shine from behind your eyes, glowing with inner wisdom and confidence, beauty and strength. Namaste.


Tips from the Top: Chandresh Bhardwaj

Continuing the series of Tips from the Top (top tips from instructors) I would like to introduce Chandresh Bhardwaj.  He hails all the way from India and has a spiritual center on Long Island and a huge following all over the world.  Chandresh is often busy traveling so I was happy and honored we had the chance to catch up.  Unlike some of the other yoga  teachers I’ve interviewed, his class is a meditation class and bases a lot of his teaching on Tantra.  Meaning one can just go and sit or lay down and connect to the divine.  He comes from a long lineage of Spiritual teachers and one gets the sense this was quite literally something he was born to do.


I asked him the same question:  could you lend me a quote or advice  you give to help beginner students understand yoga?

Hi Kyle,

Here’s my advice

“Do not fight your anger, ego, greed, and desires. The more you fight with them, the more they will come after you. These elements are part of you. You cannot experience your higher self if you keep running away from these elements. Once you start to meditate, these emotions channel into higher consciousness. And your real self starts to bloom. Meditate and continue to discover this world with a childlike curiosity!”

– Chandresh Bhardwaj, spiritual advisor and founder of Break the Norms Movement (www.iamChandresh.com)