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October 11th - Raya Eka Pada Sirsasana and Hand Balances

Woke up feeling as weak as a kitten, but no other symptoms - no temperature, no stomach problems, no headache and no aches and pains - so proceeded with a very careful restorative practice. Eventually feeling confident enough to run

through my much more active Diabetes programme. Always a dilemma - this practice is strenuous and stimulating so not ideal when you're trying to support your immune system to fight something off, but at the same time referring back to what Geetaji said yesterday - there is a blockage in my energy, whole back body and spine turns to sludge when I haven't done this work, so I feel much, much worse when I haven't done it. Slept again afterwards (daytime napping is absolutely unheard of for me). Got up in time for Raya's 6pm Intermediate 2 - I know, I know - ridiculous right? But just couldn't bear to miss it and could obviously revert to head supported forward bends if needs be.

Turns out it was a good call. It seems I am a special type of sick, where I can't do normal things like walking, but my body is making an exception for yoga! I sweated buckets and buckets but managed to do the class and came out feeling a new woman. Won't be running up several flights of stairs anytime soon, but almost back to my normal self AND did invaluable Senior 1 work in eka pada sirsasana and supta kurmasana. The preparation was so direct, intense and thorough that it made me realise how much we pussy foot around and then wonder why we can't get into these poses!

October 11 – Raya Eka Pada Sirsasana and Hand Balances

  • Invocation in virasana with feet cup shaped.

  • AMS Don’t immediately push the front ankle and knee back (after the virasana fold) instead use the arms to shift the body weight back to the legs.

  • Step to Parsvottonasana RL AMS Parvottonasana LL

  • AMS feet together Eka Pada AMS walk forward to Uttanasana and Urdhva Prasarita Eka Padasana

  • Prasarita Paddottonasana Take the hands further back beyond the line of the feet. Those of you who get the head down, bring the legs a little closer and lift the sides of the body slightly up don’t just go for the linear stretch. Back has to broaden, buttocks have to broaden, back thighs have to broaden.

  • Eka Pada Sirsasana Heel fixed under seat of chair, setu bandha bench etc according to ability, so if your top leg cannot straighten fully, take a higher height. He asked the helpers to stand on the benches and stools to provide a heavy weight whereby the students could really push the heel into the underside of the chair to solidify the leg and make the thigh work properly.

  • Uttanasana

  • AMS Feet on the high raise (chair, stool, setu bandha bench etc) hands on the floor.

  • Eka Pada AMS on the high raise and heels extending towards the wall.

  • Urdhva Prasarita Eka Padasana with wall - Start with standing leg a few feet away from the wall. Go into the pose with the head down and then hop the standing leg closer, to touch the wall if poss. Both legs straight and head down (a bit like standing splits). Several repeats each side.

  • Supta Padangusthasana 1 - Pull leg closer and closer, lift head to shin. Several repeats each side and then take the up leg slightly out to the side and bring the foot to the floor next to same side shoulder (bend down leg to marichyasana if this is not coming). Several repeats

  • Supta Padangusthasana 2 - Foot to floor, arm that is catching the foot should be straight not bent. Repeat.

  • Supta Padangusthasana 4 (What we call Supta 3 in UK) 10 times! Catch big toe, bend knee out to side and lift your head into the gap between leg and elbow. Once you have got into position, elbow that is behind head has to grip slightly towards the foot that you have caught – move it across. Elbow a bed for the head to rest in. Several Repeats. Make sure you are not gripping your abdominal muscles “Chill!”

  • Go to wall for Eka Pada Sirsasana No sticky mat, you don’t want to get caught, if you need padding take a blanket which can slide. Facing wall, starting with legs up the wall, Bend left leg to Marichyasana or higher with foot on the wall. Then put right foot behind head and use marichyasana leg, pushing foot into wall to roll buttocks forwards and back many times. He made the point that the leg behind the head, that knee should be completely widening to the side (there is a reason we prepared with supta padangusthasana 4, it’s the same action).

  • Those that knew they could not attempt the eka pada sirsasana - You have to decide whether it is a realistic attempt, don't make decisions according to your complexes, your superiority complex, your inferiority complex - bolster under shoulders in centre of room, working on karnapidasana widening inner groins away from each other, feet turning in towards each other like the virasana we started with. Then parsva karnapidasana, supta konasana, parsva halasana, pindasana, parsva pindasana.

  • Eka Pada Sirsasana seated on bolster in centre of room, bent knee extending out to the side and down leg in baddha konasana type position, much easier that straight leg.

  • Dwi Pada Sirsasana both legs behind the head and hands down pressing the floor to lift up into the arm balance.

  • Kurmasana and Supta Kurmasana Take it in stages, do not go straight to supta kurmasana. Work in kurmasana, legs as wide as you like to begin. Extend the legs, to press the shoulders down, rolling outer thighs/knees inward to grip and pump the legs to press the head to the floor. Learn to lift the feet, learn to lift the buttocks, learn to lift both. Supta Kurmasana hands clasping around the back and feet crossed.

  • Bhujapidasana Tittibhasana going from one to the other without coming down.

  • Bhujapidasana swinging to one leg in Bhakasana - those that need to retire, all the forward bends inc the parivrrtas, then all the twists.

  • 3 methods of bhakasana 1) From uttanasana 2) From Malasana 3) From 3 point headstand. This is NOT about muscle strength and arm power it’s about distribution of weight, balance and counterbalance. Keep palms wide. Don’t go up one foot and then the other – this is an incredibly hard habit to break, better not to start it all.

  • Padmasana in Sirsasana 2 to Urdhva Kukkutasasna

  • Early retirees to one bolster setubandha

  • “The absolute key balances to learn first are Bhakasana and Urdhva Kukkutasana before you learn any others”

Urdhva Kukkutasana

Urdhva Kukkutasana

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