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October 6th - Abhijata Women's Class

Morning class with Abhi was great - interesting and informative I was completely absorbed throughout. It was a fast-paced and varied standing poses class with experiential philosophy beautifully interwoven with asana. Using asana as a Darshana - a mirror which reflects or exposes our flaws. She taught with clarity, authority and humour. We used AMVrksasana with maximum focus on the knees and thighs grip, to cultivate sensitivity and awareness of the legs in the standing poses. I really appreciated her teaching something of the skill of sequencing (beyond the basic sequencing tool of using simple poses to build up to more difficult poses) as this is an area many of us are lacking and is not often taught. I hope there will be more of this in the weeks to come. The notes are my best attempt at remembering and will inevitably be a little jumbled and confused, as we got through such a lot.

After lovely lunch on the terrace (enjoying the wonderful privilege of having food prepared for us), we took notes and then headed for an afternoon swim at the Mariott. Day off from class tomorrow, so we'll do a mock exam, a complete run through with timings of the day's sequence for our exam.

October 6th – Women’s Class Abhijata

  • AMVirasana AMSvanasana – Take the root of the thighs back, open the backs of the inner and outer knee. Take proper distance and use the legs to draw back.

  • Uttanasana

  • Prasarita Paddottonasana – make the legs sharp. Hit the inner thighs out, inner knees out, inner ankles out.

  • Sirsasana – Now are you aware that without looking, in your peripheral vision you can see both of your elbows? Just look straight ahead and be aware of that. Now is one elbow closer to the head and the other further away? Keep it there, don’t shift it and come down to see if your perception was correct? Now bring that elbow in and go up again. Don’t grip the fingers aggressively. They should be interlaced so that they are very, very close – like in a relationship, you are very close, so fully interlace the fingers without each stifling (?) the other. Lift the very tops of the shoulders up. Take feet apart and take your buttocks in and your legs back. Virasana in sirsasana Bend the knees and pump the heels closer to the buttocks to stretch out the knees and thighs. Extend your legs – are they better able to straighten. Take the legs wider (not so wide that the feet turn out, stop before that happens) The inner thigh turns to the front, so roll it inward and LIFT the inner legs up to join them. Now target the kneecaps and 10 seconds maximum awareness on the kneecap. Push back, push back PUUUSSSHHH! Now feel what that does to the thighs the quadriceps – no separation at the knee, so you have 1 leg joined.

  • Tadasana AMVrksasana – Grip the thighs! inner knees! Plug the knees, extend the quadriceps. Open completely the back of the knee and lift the whole body up! Maximum!! Electrify the legs!!

  • Tadasana and see how the tadasana has been improved by the knee work in AMVrksasana where it is easier to feel that awareness there. Now feel how that awareness has translated into your tadasana. Feel the suction of the quadricep up and the movement of the kneecap back.

  • Repeat AMVrksasana as talking wasted time and meant the impression in the knees had been lost.

  • Vrksasana – Lift the quadricep up and take the right knee back.

  • Ardha Padmottonasana – Pump the knee back, get the openness of the groin. When you go down, roll the padmasana leg buttock toward the opp knee (without overdoing and dropping the buttock).

  • Ardha Baddha Padmottonasana catching for those that can. Padmasana buttock away from the anal mouth and turn it down.

  • AMSvanasana – lift the top thighs and spread the buttocks

  • Tadasana are the knees know lifting of their own accord? (they were) Here she talked about sequencing. Often our aim in sequencing is to prepare us for an action – we do uttanasana to improve paschimottonasana – but Guruji wanted us to understand the feeling, how the intelligence could be cultured with sequencing. Now kneecap is lifted of its own accord and we have cultured that intelligence in the knee.

  • Standing Poses no mat. Throughout the standing poses the focus was the same – suction of the quadricep upward and kneecap plugged into the leg. For every pose in the list frequent reminders of this action and interspersed with plenty of AMVrksasana to refresh the action of the knees.

  • Trikonasana – Outer feet down in UH Padasana. Suction of the back thigh to the bone and lift the front quadricep UP as you go down maintaining the suction on the back thigh and the front thigh.

  • Vira 2 – Back thigh connection, back thigh suction MAINTAIN if you don’t pull the pelvis drops.

  • Tadasana Namaskarasana fingers perpendicular (look with your eyes, don’t assume they are vertical, many were not) quadricep suck up, upper arm flesh extend down–

  • Parsvakonasana – Back thigh suction, kneecap backward MAINTAIN. Upper arm extends backwards alongside the torso.

  • Tadasana -Urdhva namaskarasana Lift quadricep up, knees up.

  • AMVrksasana – Knees! Thighs! Grip! Grip! Buttock away from the wall, electrify the legs!

  • Ardha Chandrasana – the top leg – Grip and lift up! suction on the kneecap and thigh. Many of you the upper hip is rolling downward, open up there. Lift the leg higher with absolute firmness X 2 (Youngsters AMVrksasana in between 1st and 2nd attempt).

  • Vira 1 – Back thigh suction AND bend the knee fully.

  • Vira 3 – Those of you that are intelligent, adjust the knee, suction on the thigh on the raised leg and the standing leg

  • Paschima Namaskarasana Parsvottonasana both sides – prasarita paddottonasana 2 (brief stays in these poses).

  • Parivrtta Trikonasna – let the arm do as you choose, focus is on the thigh and kneecap.

  • Parivrtta Parsvakonasana – keep the back-leg heel down to work on the thigh and take the brick if hand is not reaching the floor.

  • Now here wait – Did you find that because the pose was difficult there was a drop in your determination to suck the quadricep? A kind of negativity had crept in? You knew the pose was difficult, so the effort to suck the quadricep became less? Many agreed that yes, that was exactly spot on. Yoga is Darshana – a mirror – it teaches us, it reflects our flaws. We are hypocrites – we would say we are committed practitioners of Iyengar yoga and yet we did not put in our full effort in parivrrta trikonasana, parivrtta parsvakonasana. If when you had walked through the door and I had asked you, were you fully committed etc you would have said definitely, yes. But now we are agreed that in fact this was not the case. So Guruji has taught us that asana is a concrete means of studying the self, of working on the yamas and the niyamas. The honesty, clarity and integrity that we cultivate in the pose spreads into the rest of our lives, it becomes part of our personalities.

  • AMVrksasana and straight into Parivrtta Ardha Chandrasana