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Day 23 - Rajalaxmi Dog Pose, Dog Pose and more Dog Pose

Long practice in the morning and was interrupted by the doorbell. As I went to answer it, thinking it was Jenny, I got a push from Sushila, tapping me sharply (not unkindly) on the shoulder to tell me it was NOT acceptable to answer the door to a gentleman caller with my shoulders exposed in a vest top. It turned out it was Vasant, who I politely sent away as I was mid practice and not interested in buying anything. At 7.30am UK time I had a snapchat from daughter telling me she was ill and off school for the second day so had a sympathy video call to send some motherly love her way.

Once lunch was over I hot footed it over to Shalgar in the hope of finding a saree for my daughter, but no joy – nothing was quite right - either over the top Disney Princess shiny pink or very plain or heavy wedding sari. Nothing for a 10 year old with highly sophisticated taste (she takes MUCH more care over her appearance than her mother!) I went home empty handed and will try something else tomorrow, maybe I could get something at the weekend down in Goa.

Class this evening was an astonishingly long run of Dog Pose. Dog Pose for starters, Dog Pose for main course (with a side order of Dog) and Dog Pose dessert, with an after dinner mint of sirsasana and sarvangasana. At one point she was showing us the correct method of raising leg into eka pada and she asked if we would like to do it in uttanasana or Adho mukha svanasana and as one, we gratefully replied “Uttanasana!” and she looked mildly affronted and told us to do it in dog pose anyway!! She asked “Don’t you like Dog Pose?!” I’m wondering if in fact she didn’t know that she had just kept us in dog pose for 45 minutes solidly!

After class went over to Rima to try on the choli (fitted belly top for under saree) and it was perfect. Very excited to (accidentally) be getting my first ever saree.

Rajalaxmi – Dog pose, Dog Pose and More Dog Pose

  • Invocation in Swastikasana – Breathe with understanding, inhale in a way that you are able to make space for that inhalation. Lift the sides of the ribcage up and release the abdomen down so there is separation there, clavicles wide and upper arms long,

  • Adho Mukha Swastikasana – Elongate the fibres of your upper arm and forearm muscles. Bring the weight forward onto the knees so that the buttocks lift up off of the floor and use that freedom to completely extend forward. Maintain that extension and stretch the outer hips backward to take the outer buttocks down. Groins descend down, outermost thigh reach back and press down.

  • Adho Mukha Virasana – Now opposite action – stay completely grounded on your sitting bones and from there only, extend forwards. There are currents from your tailbone to the crown of your head and from the crown of your head to your tailbone. Extend the armpits forward, extend the fibres of inner and upper arms.

  • Adho Mukha Svanasana – Take feet to the outer edges of the mat to align the outer edges of feet and extend from small toe to outer heel. Inner edge of heel and outer edge of heel parallel and front ankle to back ankle. Have you understood this instruction or not?

  • Adho Mukha Svanasana - Wall support for hands and toes up on tightly rolled mat. Loooooooong stay.

  • Adho Mukha Svanasana – Heels supported against wall, press heels back into wall and toes up on rolled sticky mat. Another looooong stay.

  • Come up. Can you feel why? what this does ? Various answers – Takes the front ankle to the back ankle and deepens the crease in the front ankle, lengthens the calf, opens the back of the knee etc.

  • Adho Mukha Svanasana - Tightly rolled sticky mat under fingers and mounds of fingers, so wrist is down and fingers are up.

  • Adho Mukha Svanasana – Wrist up on rolled sticky mat and fingers down. See especially that the hollow between thumb mound and little finger mound is spread wide open from the centre to the sides – open that hollow. Bony shoulder into you, ascend the side trunk.

  • Adho Mukha Svanasana – in centre of room. How is the pose? Take care not to let the inner elbows collapse inward. Outer elbow has to press in, but inner elbow has to resist out.

  • Adho Mukha Svasasana – Palms turned outward so that the fingers turn out completely to the sides. Spread the index finger away from the thumb and resist the inner elbow.

  • Adho Mukha Svanasana – Turn palms opposite way so that fingers turn in towards each other. This made the elbows hard to straighten “Shoulder blades in!” “Elbows in!”

  • Adho Mukha Svasasana – Turn hands completely backwards so that fingers point towards toes (If not possible stay on all fours and work on the hand action only).

  • Demo – Some people had elbows dipping in towards each other. For those people they need to work with the brick between the inner elbows to prevent them from collapsing inward. We stretched out our arms in front with the inner arm facing upward to observe whether the wrist extended straight out in line with the upper arm – it’s a structural problem, just as some people are knock kneed for example. She said this is much work that can be done to improve this, if this is your problem. Guruji would take the iron rods (like we use the knee rods either side of the patella).

  • Adho Mukha Svanasana Eka Pada – Feet together and lift from the inner leg, extending from the shoulder blade to lift the leg up. Back to feet together and walk hands back to

  • Uttanasana – Connect the tailbone to the crown of the head.

  • DEMO – She took the shape of someone about to swallow dive into a pool, buttocks sharply up and trunk extending diagonally downward, legs straight - You know how the diver dives into the pool? Tailbone has to dive down. Uttanasana Take your feet apart so that you can feel the action. Lift the buttock bones up and spread the buttocks to the sides. Dive the tailbone down and lift the buttocks up. This action made me feel very strongly grounded and present in my legs. Urdhva Prasarita Eka Padasana As Guruji put it, the leg has to remain ‘poker straight’ DEMO of poker straight leg. No wobbling or bending. Do you want to try it in uttanasana or AMS? Everyone said Uttanasana. She looked affronted and said what is wrong with AMS? we’ll do it there!!

  • Adho Mukha Svanasana Eka Pada – From the shoulder blade the leg lifts up POKER STRAIGHT. No wobbling anywhere, leg is full of energy, move the heel away from you.

  • Ardha Sirsasana – Dandasana measurement from wall, you may need to come in a small bit closer as sometimes the measurement is slightly wrong. Dorsal in and up.

  • DEMO – Ardha Sirasana. She adjusted student who was moving her heels off of the wall causing her dorsal to round outward and her shoulder blades to drop. She instructed her to keep the heels on the wall to keep the weight that way and then gave her the feeling by moving her dorsal in. This made the forearm lengthen towards the elbow and more weight to come onto the elbow itself and the upper arms, frontal armpit and pectorals lifted up.

Here she spoke about Guruji – he practiced sirsasana for 10 – 20 minutes at least every day throughout his 80 year practice and sometimes during demonstrations 45-50 minutes standing on his head and never once did he ever experience cervical pain. 10000 hours of sirsasana! There is nothing wrong with sirsasana to cause a neck problem, but your practice itself may be faulty.

  • Ardha Sirsasana – Whole sole of foot inc. heel at wall and take dorsal and shoulder blade deep inward. Eka Pada Ardha Sirsasana bend the knee in toward chest, then take the knee straight up towards the ceiling and from there only straighten the leg (not foot on the wall).

  • AMSvanasana back of heel to wall

  • Tadasana fingers interlocked behind look up and take knuckles directly down to pull heads of shoulders directly down. Coil upper spine in and look up to ceiling. Both interlocks, long hold. Pull the wrist down.

  • Ardha Sirsasana – Now the other way round, so head at the wall side, interlocked fingers against the wall and lift up taking the buttocks (not spine shoulder blades) to touch the wall. Then Eka Pada Ardha Sirsasana both sides, change interlock and repeat.

  • Ardha Sirsasana in centre of room and up briefly into Sirsasana

  • Set up for sarvangasana and when your equipment is ready, wait in uttanasana toes up on supports, heels down – roll over with the sitting bones towards the ceiling.

  • Chatushpadasana – Neck supported, don’t let it hang off there. Roll the outer shoulder / outer upper arm down, but don’t overdo – inner upper arm cut down too. Cut the whole upper arm into the support CUT!! And see how the shoulder blades lift up. Move the head of the shin towards the head side, don’t allow the knees to drift over the fronts of the ankles. Shins have to push back there to open the chest. DEMO of Chatush. Student had to fix her shoulders while she pushed and released the knees several times so that you could clearly see how the shin moving toward the head side, pushed the chest open too. So you move energy from the legs to the chest side of the posture. Repeat Chatushpadasana long stay, working on pumping shins towards head.

  • Halasana – Do not over rotate. Inner and Outer arms cut down. Extreme tip of the elbow press down – how Guruji used to keep iron bar there to weight the elbows down. DEMO on student whose elbow tip didn’t reach the support. Roll sticky mat enough to fill the gap between the elbows and the support and fix them completely down. Then shoulder blade responds and back lifts up.

  • Sarvangasana with elbow support. Move the tailbone forward and take the legs back. You should not see your legs in Sarvangasana. Eka Pada Sarvangasana keep the edge of the leg lifted as the leg comes down. Repeat Eka Pada Sarvangasana but this time bend the leg towards the chest, knee towards the face (Akunchanasana) and then maintaining the thigh in that position, unfold the lower leg into eka pada, it will come down..

  • Halasana

  • Karnapidasana

  • When you come down come very carefully so that the head does not get that jerk. Sarvangasana is the mother energy (Sirsasana is the father) so don’t jerk the head, elongate the spine, extend back of neck and keep head pressed down as you carefully lower the legs.

  • Savasana

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