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October 8th - Rajalaxmi Forward Bends

Had a really pleasant "day off" starting with a mock exam out on the rooftop terrace with Wendy calling out poses and keeping timings - which was excruciating, but a little better than last time. It took 2.5 hours to get through, so by the time we finished, the day was getting far too hot for such strenuous practice. Blissful savasana afterwards though and a wonderful feeling of relief to have got through it. We were visited by a beautiful white-breasted kingfisher (see library pic) which flew onto the branches that surround the terrace, just a few feet away from where we were sitting. We will repeat this weekly until the exam, hopefully seeing a progression each time ....

We had a lovely sunset walk at the quiet park next to the lake - I am completely astonished that it has taken me five Pune trips to find this quiet green space, especially as my normal apartment is a mere stone's throw away. There were lots of young couples enjoying the environment and taking posed photographs of each other and a fair smattering of yogis too. Looking forward to an early morning visit here - it opens for a couple of hours in the morning at 7, then again in the evening from 4 till 6pm and costs 10 rupees to enter. Dinner at Shraavan on FC Road.

Back to business today as we returned to Senior practice with renewed vigour, finally got my own feet crossed in Kurmasana and then teaching practice this afternoon, followed by a great class with Rajalaxmi this evening - continuing the theme of lifting the buttocks off the ground to get freedom in the forward bends and working on padmasana in sirsasana - was so so close to wrapping my own legs in this for the first time ever too. Prasant at crack of dawn tomorrow ....

October 8th – Rajalaxmi Forward Bends

  • Swastikasana Cup your palms beside your hips to generate the lift. See that you don’t sink heavily down into the buttocks. Lift up there, not just the spine, but lift up your core, your inner self has to find that lift. Shoulder blades into the back chest and shoulders, trapezius down so that sides of neck are tall. Invocation to Patanjali and Guru Chant

  • Take 1 thick mat each Supta Baddha Konasana (no equipment) Rest down, tailbone away from lumbar, keep lumbar down. Hold edges of mat and let shoulders roll down.

  • Supta Padmasana (or ardha padmasana if full not possible) Keep length in the lumbar and pump the knees down. Lengthen the knees down, press the knees down. Push there, go down!

  • Prone Padmasana (or baddha konasana if not possible) tailbone lengthen away and breastbone move forward. Lift the knees and lengthen them away from you so that you can press the frontal groin closer to the floor.

  • AMVirasana

  • Seated Virasana, Supta Virasana and Parvatasana sit on floor between feet and get the movement of outer calf down, Be on the outer leg bone (Fibula). Here she showed had to make the turn of the leg so that the inner knee does not drop down – so we went from Vajarasana where the knees naturally roll out into correct position, then gradually separating feet maintaining correct position of knees – inner edge lifting up, outer edge rolling down. Then lying down flat in supta virasana 5 mins and back up to seated to parvatasana.

  • AMSvanasana Open up the back of the knee so that it gets the air, let the back of the knee breathe, inner and outer push back! and root of the thigh lift up. Take the knee squarely back. Open toes well, open soles well. Arches lifting Press inner and outer front ankle straight back. Push patella inside, lift up quadriceps and push back, back of the thigh has to broaden. UMS Move tailbone forward, pubic plate forward, descend sacrum and lift pubic plate up AMS – UMS Lengthen palm down to lift side chest up, tailbone push to push pubic plate forward between the arms and side chest LIFT UP! AMS Shoulder blades suck up and make the arms long, draw the arm bones into you. Make the legs long in AMS for UMS UMS AMS Take proper distance and lift the tailbone up so that the buttock bones lift up into the skin and spread them apart. UMS AMS jump forward to

  • Uttanasana Backs of legs open, push back the knee. Spread back thigh skin and open buttocks to the side.

  • Prasarita Paddottonasana Inner thighs to outer thighs, inner knees to outer knees, lift inner ankle up and move towards the outer ankle.

  • Uttanasana Spread buttock flesh away from spine.

  • Sirsasana Right little finger on the bottom, lift shoulders to place the head down. Feet apart, toes face front, move tailbone inside, control legs. Mid buttock in and abdomen forward. We weren’t getting this, so she made us come down and do it standing with legs apart – thighs resisting backward, tailbone and abdomen forward.

  • Sirasana and Parsva Sirsasana and Parivrrta Eka Pada Sirsasana In parsva when you turn to right you have to really focus on extending the left leg up from the outer hip to the outer ankle - extend UP! When you turn to right, left leg has to be taller. Lift left outer hip so that there is no pressure on left shoulder. Same in Parivrrta Eka Padasana.

  • Virasana fingers interlocked behind and lifting away from the buttocks roll shoulders back and down, press shoulder blades in and coil the spine in to look up on the inhalation, spine deep inward to take the head back more easily.

  • Padmasana in Sirsasana Interlock with left little finger on bottom. Use wall if needed to get into padmasana. Take right leg like vrksasana, then left leg bend and place foot on thigh. Take both bent knees DOWN to bring second foot into place.

  • Your choice AMVirasana or AMSvanasana to recover

  • Dandasana feet apart inner legs down and lengthen them forward, Urdhva Hasta Dandasana into Paschimottonasana Lift the buttocks right up to come forward.

  • Take legs wide Upavista Konasana press hands down, lift the seat off the floor and moving buttocks forward, further widening the legs, spreading the groins as you lower down. Bring the elbows in front and lift the buttocks completely up, rocking forwards and backwards onto the inner thighs. Extend forwards AM Upavista Konasansa come up Parsva Upavista Konasana turning to the right side, lift the left buttock completely off of the floor to extend fully over the right leg. Press right leg back of knee, back of thigh into the floor and lengthen further and further over the leg. Both sides. Repeat AM Upavista Konasana coming forwards and downwards, then sweeping around into Parivrtta Upavista Konasana x 2 stay low down over the leg and bring the armpit inside the shin. She demonstrated how the top elbow is important, not only does it roll back behind the ear, it has to lengthen away from the waist and bring the elongation there. She pointed out a picture of Guruji on the wall behind the stage doing parivrtta janu and it

was remarkable how far back his elbow was and you could clearly see tremendous extension on the side trunk.

  • Janu Sirsasana Move the knee further backward without disturbing the buttocks (It’s not maha mudra, take the knee back). Lift the straight leg buttock off the floor to lengthen the janu knee down, lift the janu buttock to press the straight leg buttock down and come forward catching the outer foot and stabilising with the other hand. Lift the buttocks to come further and further forward. Buttocks have to fly!

  • Trianga Mukha Eka Pada Paschimottonasana Right leg virasana CCB back first and then ribs equal to go forward, don’t drop on bent leg side, lift seat to go forward. Come up and bend the straight leg like marichyasana, lift the abdomen body up the leg and keep it close to the thigh, extend the leg up straight Krounchasana bring leg towards you several times. Move kneecap insdie. Abdomen climbs up, understand the lift of the abdomen. Repeat left side.

  • Marichyasana 1 Move yourself forwards, connect side ribs to inner shin. Lift buttocks up to go forward like malasana. Clasp extend forwards and head down. Release the clasp and catch foot under armpit Akarna Dhanurasana prep hold big toe and lift foot off floor moving the knee back, side ribs have to come forward so Akarna Dhanurasana comes well after Marichyasana 1. This is also good prep for eka pada sirasana. Use back armpit to push top shin back (comes into many poses – malasana, bhakasana etc) Repeat other side.

  • Paschimottonasana

  • Take 2 blankets folded and fold the sticky mat over the top for Sarvangasana and dropping back in one leg to eka pada setu bandha and 2 legs to full setu bandha. You have to use the hands in the back ribs to push them deeply forwards to drop back, otherwise the wrists get compressed.

  • Savasana - settle down, eyeballs move into sockets, relax senses of perception, settle down the breath. Widen the diaphragm, abdomen wide, throat passive.

Thanks to Lydia and Wendy for sharing notes.

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