Yoga In Times of Crisis

Friday, April 19, 2013 :: 4:30 pm

Dear Students,

This week has been extraordinarily difficult for all of us, filled with sadness, grief, uncertainty, and chaos. The images from the Boston Marathon on Monday were terrifying and heartbreaking, and today the whole city is on lockdown with the ongoing manhunt for the perpetrators of Monday's violence.

At times like this, we would like nothing more than to be able to come together as a community: to practice together in our regular Friday evening class, and to share each other's company and the healing practice of yoga. Unfortunately, due to the ongoing police investigation, state and city authorities have asked that residents of Boston and its surrounding communities shelter indoors, and because of this, we have been forced to cancel Friday class this evening. Patricia is deeply disappointed to be unable to see you tonight, but even if we can't be together in the same room in this difficult time, we are all still connected by our love of yoga.

Patricia suggests that at times like this, yoga practice can be our refuge, helping us to connect with our inner light and to find equanimity. Yoga helps us to remain seated in ourselves. When we practice, we are practicing for our own wellbeing, but we can also offer our practice to others, to make of our soul a lighthouse.

Several years ago, a yoga sequence for times of crisis was given to us by Guruji. We share the sequence with you now in the hope that it may be of help to all of us. (Please refer to BKS Iyengar, Yoga: The Path to Holistic Health, (revised edition, 2008), DK Publishing, for supported versions of the asanas). 


  1. 1.The emotional strength in these students need to be built up and that is what we need to work [on].

  2. 2.No standing poses. No backbends.

  3. 3.All poses should be done with eyes open (including savasana). [Students] can focus their eyes at any point in front or on the ceiling.

  4. 4.Ask the students to imagine [that] their eyes are located at the temples and ask them to "open" these eyes.

  5. 5.Do not insist on a perfect pose in the current situation.

  6. 6.While breathing in any asana (especialy supine) -- ask [students] to breathe in such a manner that the breath touches the lateral side of the chest during inhalation.

Here is the sequence:

  1. 1.Savasana (corpse pose; can be done supported on a bolster or blankets)

  2. 2.Supta baddha konasana (reclining bound angle pose; can be done supported on a bolster or blankets)

  3. 3.Supta virasana (reclining hero pose; can be done supported on a bolster or blankets)

  4. 4.Prasarita padottanasana (with head support; wide-leg standing forward bend pose)

  5. 5.Uttanasana (with head support and legs spread apart; standing forward bend pose)

  6. 6.Adho mukha svanasana (with head support; downward facing dog pose)

  7. 7.Viparita dandasana supported by a chair (with head support; inverted staff pose)

  8. 8.Sirsasana - viparita karani (headstand; if you're unfamiliar with the viparita karani version of this pose, do regular sirsasana)

  9. 9.Setu bandha sarvangasana (supported bridge pose)

  10. 10.Sarvangasana- viparita karani (shoulderstand; can be done supported on a chair; if you're unfamiliar with the viparita karani version of this pose, do regular sarvangasana)

  11. 11.Pranayama: Antara kumbhaka with a very short kumbhaka on the inhalation

om, peace, peace, peace.

Patricia, Jarvis, Nancy, & Phyllis