October 1st - Rajalaxmi Standing Poses
We arrived a few days early to spend a couple of days in Patnem, Goa to recover from flight and get used to the time difference. This worked a treat, as from day one we were going to bed at sundown and waking with the sunrise. We stayed at one of the very few places that were open, Kala Bahia which has rooms just a few feet away from the Arabian Sea and a nice porch area for practice. Goa was intensely hot, humid and stormy. Swinging between glorious sunshine and lashing rain, just catching the tail end of the monsoon. This time I am travelling with my dear friend Sarah as we are studying for our first attempt at Senior 1 in November. Since I expect to be super busy with my preparations for the exam, I'm making no promises on the blogging front, but will do as time allows. We arrived at our apartment just in time to head to the evening Intermediate 2 class and were relieved to find it was Rajalaxmi teaching, who offers a great way to ease into Pune classes. We enjoyed a thorough and enjoyable standing poses class and I marvelled at the way my body responds to the instruction almost of its own accord. Right from the word go my poses feel better - taller, straighter, stronger -a greater degree of sensitivity - high definition yoga asana. Many thanks to Nina for sharing her notes with me.
1st October - Rajalaxmi
X legs bend forwards. Be on fingertips and lift elbows up, so that you can press shoulder blades into the back and remove the hump from your upper back. With the elbows up and fingers cupped, are you better able to move the arm bones into the shoulder sockets and shoulder blades down?
Same side sit up twist. Coil back rib in towards the armpit. Moving back arm further round to fully rotate the back rib. Then repeat both on 2nd leg cross. Long, thorough hold.
AMVirasana – same actions, resisting elbows up and pressing shoulder blades down. Shoulder blades spreading.
AMS – Broaden wrist and open palm, observe where the action to broaden the palm originates from. Don’t overwork the ribs, do not allow them to push into your t shirt at the front – spread them to the sides. Move the femurs at the tops of the thighs deep backward. Move the inner knee towards the outer so that the outer knee doesn’t curve inwards.
Uttanasana feet apart – encircle your heels with thumbs as well as fingers. Move the energy at the back of the legs up so that the skin on the sitting bones lift, enabling the torso to flow further downward. The inner leg has 2 parts, above the knee and below the knee. Both should lift. Release the heels and press the whole palm on the floor.
Prasarita Paddottonasana CCB femur heads in – The legs have to maintain their own energy upward and backward as the trunk descends downward. Release head down and tuck it under more. Legs retain their own character.
Sirsasana (menstruation Viparita Dandasana) –Spread skin on bottom sternum. Shoulder blade skin spread to the sides. Outer hips to outer heels extend upwards. Legs hip distance apart and ascend the inner legs upward. Lift of legs to make your light on the neck. Move front ankle backwards. Repeated bottom ribs should not poke into t shirt. Toe nails parallel to floor and don’t harden the metatarsal (later she added that toes could lengthen once you had extended heels). Join legs maintaining the lift of inner legs.
AMSvanasana – Dorsal in.
Tadasana – Demonstration on stage. Simultaneously front ankle backward and fibula (outer ankle and lower outer leg) moving forward. Inner ankles resisting outward. What happens? It prevents the calf from getting pushed too much backward, keeping the leg bones aligned and spine supported. You get height from the ankles, make them thin (like a horse not a buffalo?). Urdhva Hastasana broaden wrists and extend upwards.
Trikonasana X 2 – First broadening the wrist in UH Padasana, take arms a little backwards so that you can press the shoulder blades in. Use same action learnt in tadasana so that inner side of foot is secure on the floor – cut the front ankle back, simultaneously rolling outer leg forward. Working on the twist, rolling the bottom rib forwards until armpit is in line with the wrist (when you roll top rib back, don’t throw top arm back). Demo on stage on second repeat – take legs much wider and see how this creates space to move the front leg buttock forward (space in the groins) and the back leg thigh and hip backwards. Take your left hand to the back thigh to manually move it backwards. This time keep hand on the waist so that you can work on the rib cage rotation without disturbing the top arm. In Parsva UH Padasana check that the navel faces forward and maintain the bottom rib forward as you go down.
Parsvakonasana – Don’t lose alignment of the ribs in Vira 2. As you bend right knee, descend left sitting bone. Keeping right rib turning to the front, extending outward over the leg to go down.
AMS – Head supported on the brick.
Dandasana – UH Dandasana – Now reach out from the bottom rib to come forward (held in this stretch for long time, not catching the feet and reaching forward, so that when we were allowed to catch the feet we were already well forward with length in the abdomen. Paschimottonasana CCB – Paschimottonasana head down, side ribs forward and spreading to the sides.
Sarvangasana – Hands placed in the back in such a way that the skin moves upwards. Feet hip distance apart to lift the buttock flesh up off of the waist. Move sitting bones inward and resist legs backwards. Tailbone in as if someone has their knee kept there. Toenails parallel to floor.
Halasana – Arms extended up alongside the body, fingertips extending towards the ceiling. Walk the feet further away from you. Bend knees, slightly (not karnapidasana) keep spine in, move the arches of your feet deep inward (try this). Then hands reaching backwards fingers interlocked, followed by palms down. When you roll down, come very carefully, under control and see that the head does not get disturbed – it should not get that jerk when you roll down.
Pasasana – heels on shoulder stand raise. Turn to right side and then re-lift and exhale sharply to bring arm over, armpit to knee.
Malasana – heels raised extending forwards.