Spirit Flow with Arlene Griffin


This 90-minute audio session is loosely based on the Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga style. It's introduced as a practice supplement, but it turns out to be much more substantial than that. Side A consists of two Sun Salutation (Suryanamaskar) variations and a long session of vinyasa-linked standing poses, including a challenging Warrior (Virabhadrasana) sequence. This side can be done alone, to halve the practice time, or combined with the flip side for the full-length practice. Side B offers a potpourri of (again vinyasa-linked) floor poses, among them: forward bends and hip openers leading up to the split-leg pose (Hanumanasana); Cobra and Locust; Firefly (Tittibhasana); Shoulderstand and Plow; tripod Headstand (Sirsasana II); and relaxation.

Every now and again a tape comes my way that reminds of what kind of yoga I want to teach when I grow up. Burlington, Vermont-based Griffin, certified by the Hatha Yoga Foundation, is one of the most intelligent and inspiring presenters I've encountered over the years. She keenly understands both the physical nuts and bolts of the poses and their broader psychological, energetic, and spiritual dimensions. She knows how to strike just the right balance between effort and surrender, always honoring and celebrating the innate capacities and uniqueness of each of her students. This practice is appropriate for very experienced and adventuresome beginners and all industrious intermediates. I've never met Griffin in person, but you can definitely sign me up for her class the next time she passes through the Bay Area; in the meantime, I'll have to make do with her wonderful tape.