By Prema Prudy Costa, Interviewed by Lissa (Yogyananda) Fountain
Having taught Svaroopa® Yoga in New York City for 20 years, Prema has been amazed at her students’ recent breakthroughs. They are due to the Ashram’s Teaching Online Therapeutics (TOT) course.
“All of a sudden, everything clicked for my student. As she started trying to walk after doing both sides, she exclaimed ‘Wow, my legs just swing when I walk. I feel balanced on my feet for the first time in years!’” recounts Prema Prudy Costa. She is quoting a college professor who broke bones in her left foot while tap dancing.
Regarding the tapdancing professor, Prema describes, “This student has extremely hyperflexible joints and extremely tight spinal muscles. In 2019, four months after she broke her left foot, she’d come to my yoga class, remove her boot and try class. But she was very tight, and couldn’t bend forward. So we did Yoga therapy for a while, and she improved.
“After summer break, she returned to class with no boot. But now her other foot hurt. Tap dancing again, she learned she had broken bones in her right foot. Still, she loved the social aspect of my yoga class. So until March 12, 2020 she came sporadically even though she couldn’t do Lunge. Then the pandemic hit, so there were no more in-person classes.”
Prema started teaching regular classes on Zoom and took Teaching Svaroopa® Yoga Online. Her student with the boot Zoomed to Prema’s classes and her boot came off in July. But it wasn’t until the TOT course, which began in July, that a real shift occurred.
Prema describes, “My student had essentially spent a year with a boot first on one foot, then on the other. She said the TOT poses hurt and pulled, especially in her lower back. Still, she came regularly.” Then about halfway through the four TOT modules, the shift occurred. “By October I was in the middle of Module C, teaching a variation on Trikonasana (Triangle Pose). That’s when everything clicked for my student. All that time of wearing the boot had unbalanced her and hampered her gait.”
Prema realized that not all the new therapeutic poses had seemed to work well for this student. Yes, she says, “This Trikonasana variation, building on the others, of course, brought a major shift. Finally, the student herself felt she got something.
“This change encouraged her to try Lunge for the first time since she’d come in with a boot. And she was thrilled to discover that she could do Lunge without pain. It was a huge double breakthrough for her. Of Trikonasana TOT variation, the student declared: “I need to do this pose!” Music to a yoga teacher’s ears.
These poses also provide real breakthroughs for teachers. Prema describes her own miracle story: “Trikonasana TOT has strengthened my ankles. The problems from an old injury have gradually dissolved. Now I can walk without lurching to one side. As it was for my student, so for me: my hips also feel level and my legs swing beneath me as I walk. Trikonasana TOT has helped me develop capacity to lean weight through heels and send half forward. Standing this way is extraordinarily calming. And it’s useful for balancing on a lurching or jerking subway. Best of all, this pose has enabled a more upright posture for sitting. As a result, I am having deep and profound meditations.”
Yes, do more yoga!