Day 27 - Abhi -Pranayama

In years gone by when I have been here in January, the institute has always closed on the Saturday for Republic Day. On the strength of this, I booked a weekend in Goa and had already paid for my flights and accommodation when the notices went up to say that this year the institute would be closed on the Friday only. How annoying. So a bit resentfully, I headed off to the airport on Friday morning, sooooo sorry to be missing a Saturday class.  Still it’s a good chance to replenish my batteries for the coming hard slog as well as check out potential teaching venues and visit my dear friends and teachers from the UK, Gerry and Lynda.

The flight from Pune to Goa is a mere 40 minutes (and having had the nightmare bus journey from hell on a previous trip see – travel nightmare) this was my preferred option.  Jenny and I had become a bit of a team over the month so I felt a tad forlorn saying my goodbyes and heading off solo. 

I’d booked a hand luggage only fare with Spice Jet, but discovered that for just 400 rupees I could check in a great big suitcase (take note Ryanair). This meant I was able to bring my yoga kit including a bolster as well as my liquids, definitely a much better option. I arrived in Goa to a blast of warmer air and booked an air conditioned taxi in the pre-paid taxi booth – not so much that I wanted A/C but I’ve learnt from past experience that this often dictates whether you get a seat belt in a together car, or whether you take your chances in a rickety old bucket.

I arrived in Benaulim for a late breakfast with Lynda and then after hiring a bike, headed straight to the beach for a swim followed by a lovely dinner and a chance to catch up on all the news.  Benaulim still maintains it’s very traditional fishing industry and the road to the beach is lined with fish drying out in the sun. I got up for a sunrise swim in the morning and it was still a little grey as I swam out. As I turned round to head back to shore I saw the sun had just risen high enough to shine a golden path of light along the surface of the water which I swam through with a great sense of glee.

I’m staying at the lovely Palm Beach Cottages – pleasant room with balcony, excellent bathroom and kind, calm, respectful staff. Their welcome was lovely and they were very accommodating for all my needs – not least wanting my complimentary breakfast at lunch time to allow for a good morning practice. Sadly they could not control their neighbour and his unbelievably loud and obnoxious music today during my practice. I was just going up into sirsasana when it began pumping out (and if there’s one time I need peace and quiet during my practice, it’s sirasasna). On and on it went, getting steadily worse – think a combination of the Macarena and Techno and you’ll get the idea. I briefly fantasised about hanging off the edge of my balcony and yelling ‘Shut uuuuuppp!’ at the top of my lungs, eyes popping, spit flying etc. but managed to contain the urge – just. It was actually a relief when they moved to pure cheese (anything but techno) and I found myself doing Raya’s rapid eka pada sequence in sarvangasana whilst pondering the absurdity of the lyrics to ‘By the Rivers of Babylon’  and keeping perfect time to the beat. Seriously though those lyrics….

Amazingly, despite being away I have still got some great notes from Abhi’s Class (Many Thanks to Purnima and Johanna for being kind enough to send them to me). See below.

Day 27 – Abhijata Pranayama

  • Invocation and Guru Brahma in Swastikasana

  • Adho mukha virasana

  • Adho mukha svanasana

  • At the ropes wall or with rope tied to the grill — Adho mukha svanasana Heels down, Lifting the heels against the wall is for beginners!

Those in the middle not finding place at the wall or grills —Prasarita padottanasana final poseKeeping head down, swivel R to Parsvottanasana Back to centre to Prasarita padottanasana Swivel L to Parsvottanasana without lifting head and trunk Back to centre

  • Uttanasana In middle of room .Those at the ropes, stay in Uttanasana in the rope

  • Sirsasana Fairly long hold. Various adjustments in various deshas of the body Comparing R and L sides of the body

  1. Width of the shoulders

  2. Height of the armpits

  3. Distance between ears and inner armpits / upper arms

  4. Length of upper arms

  5. Distance between median line and elbows , noted from peripheral eye sight

  6. Upper half of the shoulder blades near head : they often don’t move into the body in same manner as the lower tips of the blades do. Most of us have more mobility in the lower blades

  7. We were able to identify the weak arm / shoulder

  8. Buttocks: one rolls away more while the other rolls in

  9. Legs: back upper thigh skin rolls inside out but one does more than the other

  10. See which leg and buttock doesn’t roll away from median line and move only that leg outside (keep the other leg in Sirsasana). Adjust and bring legs together

  11. Often the leg opposite of the bad arm compensates and goes wrong; not always but often.

At the end, make maximum efforts in all these areas in final few minutes. Just taking the concept of balance / symmetry between R and L sides of the body gives us so much to study and examine

  • Full arm balance- Kick up with the R, Kick up with the L

Are they the same? NO. Where is there imbalance?

  • Those waiting for place at wall to do Adho mukha vrksasana, do Ardha Sirsasana in middle -Eka pada ardha sirsasana - Lifting one leg at a time, study the body and the asymmetries

  • Dwi pada Viparita Dandasana with chair. Belt tied to outer shins to get the discipline in the legs. Feet apart, not together, legs straight. Heels down, toes up. Hands holding vertical bars of the backrest first. Then arms reaching overhead in Urdhva hastasana .Then elbows bent and palms to floor in Urdhva Dhanurasana position - notice which elbow turns out more, how one palm grasps the floor more .Walk in with the palms , bring forearms and elbows down to the floor and press down. Hold chair legs if possible

  • Chair Kapotasana  - Horizontally-placed pranayama pillows or blankets to support chest on chair seat near the edge. If you can lay back then hook the feet / front ankles once down, that is ideal

But many of us cannot, so can hook feet on horizontal bar under chair seat first and then lie back. But the lumbar will lift up then. If feet are hooked afterwards, the lumbar extends down further on chair seat. Arms overhead holding feet or horizontal front rung.

  • Sarvangasana - Abhi left it to us whether taking chair or doing independently, but she suggested that after our work thus far, we should be naturally inclined towards chair Sarvangasana .Dr. Naik said, “The body wants independent but the mind wants the chair.“

“Don’t fool yourself into thinking you’ve worked very hard,” Abhi said.

  • Halasana - Lift up of the shoulder blades

  • Sarvangasana - Eka pada - Padmasana - We were given liberty to do any variations once fatigue set in. We were asked to study R and L sides of the body in the same manner we did in Sirsasana .

  • Take thick mats

  • Supta virasana - Height as required for head and spine

  • Supta Padmasana / Matsyasana- Knees down to floor required so take adequate height under the back

  • Sit in Padmasana if possible - otherwise Swastikasana

We did Ujjayi II (?)

Then Villoma I

We were asked to imagine a bucket being filled with water

From bottom to top, how it fills up

Imagine the lungs being filled up in that way, in three segments

  1. from bottom to top: bottom, middle, top in three layers

  2. Then from front to back: front, middle, back in same three layers

  3. Then from back to front in those same three layers

  • Savasana

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