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15th October - Rajalaxmi Backbends and Elbows!

Had our 2nd mock exam yesterday and it went a little better than the first. Came away feeling extremely determined to practice, practice, practice this week and master the poses that are still eluding me. Woke up this morning all fired up ready to go and went for my weakest poses. Urdhva Mukha Paschimottonasana, Supta Kurmasana, Eka Pada Sirsasana and dropping back to Setu Bandha straight legs from Sarvangasana. After 4.5 hours I felt I'd made some real progress and my internal conscience was satisfied (that Geetaji comment will stay with me forever!)

Urdhva Mukha Paschimottonasana

Enjoyed a superb lunch, courtesy of the cook here on the terrace and enjoyed identifying all the beautiful birds that share the space up in the trees as we are. We saw a red vented bulbul and this green fella that looks a bit like a green bee eater, but didn't seem to be so vividly coloured - anyone?

Was incredibly weary walking to Rajalaxmi's class this eve, my body really feeling the effects of the strong work I'd done this morning, it's really hard to get a truly balanced practice when preparing for assessment. The second I got into the practice hall the sweat began, even before the first pose and boy did she make us work! at one point (some might say a little rashly) I asked a question and so ended up demonstrating for the class, so that they could learn while I learned and I added an extra 2 Urdhva Dhanurasana to the 10 we were already doing. It was an excellent class and I hope you can follow the notes to catch the teaching back home. Thanks to Deb and Wendy for notes.

15th October – Rajalaxmi Backbends

Swastikasana Invocation and Guru chant. Cup your palms beside the hips to ascend fully upwards. Top shoulder blade has to come down, but bottom shoulder blades have to spread slightly apart as you move the back rib in and see how that gives the spread to the front ribs (it also gave space for me to move my pancreas in). Armpit chest forward, dorsal like an arrow penetrating in towards the sternum, sternum bone upward, sides of the neck tall. Imagine someone has stood in front of you using their fingers behind to draw down the shoulder blades away from the neck and move the back ribs in (she mimed this).

Swastikasana palms on the floor, push upper arm down, elbows from back to front like a nail or an arrow, move the bony elbow into you. Shift the buttocks a little back and lift them off the floor (like a mini hand balance) spread the palm, but DO NOT rotate the inner elbow to face forward, see how easily it moves? The inner elbow has to face the side trunk and the back elbow has to press to the front. UH Swastikasana resist with the wrist but move elbows from the back to the front and see how that works to open the armpit.

AMSwastikasana Open wrists, palms fingers and do not allow the bottom elbow to drop towards the floor, resist up there and press armpits / shoulders down. Lift the buttocks off the floor, bring the weight over onto the shins and take the head onto the floor, then keep head down and lengthen outer thigh, outer hip to reach the buttocks back down.

AMSvanasana Open back thigh from the inside out. Lift heels completely off the floor and raise the tailbone right up. Maintain the height of the tailbone, sharpen the arch of the foot, extend heel back and move front leg to back leg to extend heels down maintain