One Pose—Three Ways

Conor Yates describes himself as a "tune in" teacher. "When I practice, I spend a breath or two with my eyes closed so that I can sense out a posture," he said. YogaCity NYC last saw him as a model for Moon & Son, a Brooklyn-based active wear company just for guys. You can find Yates at New Love City in Greenpoint and Tangerine Hot Power Yoga in Downtown Brooklyn. Here, he explains why he likes side plank:

YogaCity NYC: What pose did you chose and why do you like it?

Conor Yates: I chose vasisthasana, side plank pose. I like this pose because it is about balance and stability which are two aspects of yoga which have changed my life. I also like it because it is named after the sage who instructed Rama in dharma through metaphors and other stories, as told by the poet Valmiki.

YCNYC: Describe the anatomy of the first pose and body parts engaged.

CY: The first pose is the supported version. The bottom knee is down to provide even more stability, while the pelvis reaches skyward due to an engaged core. There is the beginning sense of freedom and lightness in the upper side body

YCNYC: What body parts are engaged in the second pose?

CY: The second pose is the more traditional variation, the legs are straight and held together. You can't see it through my Doc Martens, but my feet are strongly flexed, which is often where I draw my attention to maintain steadiness throughout poses like this which require deep core strength. I am also pressing into my bottom palm (hasta bandha) as a firm root to support the upper body. Mula bandha is engaged, and the upper palm reaches high. This pose extends in all four directions.

YCNYC: What is the overall effect of the third pose on the body, and what does this one add to the understanding of the pose [and mind].

CY: The third variation is simple but my favorite. By lifting the upper leg you create an additional line of energy, and the body can rise up even higher. And by extending the upper arm forward and above the ear, the side body lengthens even more completely. For me, this focuses my breath more succinctly into the space of my rib cage and contributes to the sense of balance I appreciate so much about this pose.

Conor Yates often teaches workshops regarding skills for beginners and headstands. He is always open to one-on-one sessions to help people develop aspects of their practice, regardless of their ability to pay the standard private rate.

Photos shot at Castle Chapultepec and the Museo del Arte Moderno in Mexico City.

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