22nd October - Rajalaxmi Backbends

Had our fourth mock exam on Sunday morning and am feeling a little calmer and more in control each time. Rewarded ourselves with a trip to Laxmi Road market which was crazy busy, noisy and hectic. Somehow in all the chaos we managed to emerge with all the bits we wanted to find and headed out for a lovely thali at Shabree with Lydia to round off the weekend.

Lovely morning routine here - cup of tea on the terrace watching the chipmunk squirrel that tweets like a bird, scramble around the branches of our bottle brush tree and then a walk across the park in the sunshine to get the days fresh fruit and veg from the barrow - 2 big bags of delicious produce for less than the cost of one item back home, followed by practice, practice, practice.

Rajalaxmi opted for more backbends this evening and it was another strenuous but thoroughly enjoyable class, full sequence below and thanks to Lydia for sharing notes.

22nd October – Rajalaxmi Backbends

  • Swastikasana Place whole palm down beside with fingers pointing forwards and inner elbows facing side body. Widen clavicles. Move back elbow to front elbow and inner elbow to outer elbow (resisting outer elbow in) and find out what happens? (Whole back body moves in and becomes alert “You almost lift off”) Join palms without losing back body grip. Invocation and Guru Chant

  • AMVirasana Hands as wide as mat to widen clavicles. Resist bottom elbow UP! And move shoulder bones into you! The elbow that faces the floor has to get injection action, not rotation action!

  • AMSvanasana Maintain those same actions. Hands wide to widen the clavicles. Resist elbows away from the floor and move shoulder bones into you, open armpits but resist bottom elbow UP!

  • Uttanasana Keep the palms apart (off edge of mat if needs be) and keep clavicles open, top chest spread. Descend skin of upper arm down towards the floor to descend side trunk. Widen elbows and further open clavicle space. Lift shoulders up.

  • Tadasana feet apart Extend upper arms downward and move the shoulder blades with the arms down. Hit the inner groins out, inner leg to the outer HIT and find out does that make the space for the tailbone to come inside? Hitting the inner groins OUT resist the outer thigh IN.

  • Step right foot forward upright Parsvottonasana arms extending downward. Quadriceps suck in, move the balance to the back leg by moving the sit bones deeper in and adjust the sternum chest to lift up. Widen the clavicles and make the space come between the abdomen and the ribs. Raise the arms and take the weight to the back heel. Keep the arms apart and take them behind the ears. Come forwards half way only extend side trunk with the arms forward - reach forward with both the arms equally, don’t let that arm get left behind. We held for 10-15 seconds then CCB Parsvottonasana extend side trunk forward and eyes look at floor in front. Head down Parsvottonasana Clavicles wide open. Frontal thigh LIFT back thigh LIFT and back thigh opens from inside out. Tadasana and repeat all on left.

  • Take legs wide for Prasarita Paddottonasansa standing – hit whole inner leg to outer. Inner ankle OUT inner knee OUT inner thigh OUT and resist outer thigh IN. Move tailbone into you. Be on outer edge of legs, be on outer edge of feet. Exhale and take the head down, surrender yourself down there. Press palm into floor. Move energy of the wrist to open palm, press there. Move energy strongly there. After a minute or so, tuck head further under and walk palms further back (even off of back edge of mat). Now keep palms where they are and inhale to raise the head up. Arms straight, elbows firm, clavicles widen, side trunk forward.

  • Sirsasana Take the legs apart. Hit inner legs to outer and take tailbone in. Bend legs and extend the calf towards the heels. Suck the sacrum and tailbone into you, move whole spine into you as if you were going to roll onto your forehead. Maintain the sacrum inward and raise the legs up straight. Repeat. Lift groins up, extend calf down and coil spine in. Keep eyes down and move your vision towards yourself. Take the knees back and draw the spine in.

  • AMVrksasana Kick up and ascend up. Then move your whole spine away from wall, tall front and back, heels leave the wall. Two legs, spine moving away from wall to come down x 3

  • Sirsasana dropping back to wall. Gradually increasing the distance until you’re really having to stretch back to find the wall. Have courage and challenge yourself. Spine suction, buttock suction to reach back with the legs and roll a little onto the forehead. Those waiting for space at the wall, feet apart standing back arch cut bottom buttock / top thigh into you and maintain that firm as you stand up x 5

  • Chatushpadasana x 3 Catch the heels and lift up. Elbows straight, elbows in like prasarita paddottonasana. Buttocks UP shoulder blades UP and move them into you. Tailbone into you. Now swing towards the chest side SWING, buttocks from front to back MOVE. Shins towards the head side SWING.

  • Urdhva Dhanurasana X 5 Hands wide as mat, legs as wide as mat, come up with tailbone to crown of head and lift up to urdhva dhanurasana. Lift up heels and walk in and swing towards chest side, resisting the elbows back and chest swings forward. Swing back and forth maintain elbows forward, head of shins resist. Side ribs comes forward.

  • Urdhva Dhanurasana to Dwi Pada Viparita Dandasana Lift up to Urd Dhan and move head inside to place it down, hands in sirsasana position, lift heels up, become taller. Don’t lift head up, move forwards from the shoulder blades, move shins forwards.

  • Dwi Pada Viparita Dandasana with brick x 3 or 4 Lie down with brick on 2nd height under lower shoulder blade. Lift up into urd dhan, lower into DPVD and clasp brick into back skull. Pressurise with the elbows and find out how to move shoulder blade into you. Keep armpit tall. Swing towards chest side and roll onto forehead, move further.

  • Dwi Pada Viparita Dandasana Repeat above and then release palms on floor like urd dhan and roll. Keep palms away from each other, press wrist and lift shoulders up. Move from the tailbone – same action we had in sirsasana dropping back to wall.

  • Eka Pada Viparita Dandasana Urd Dhan – Dwi Pada VD – Bring legs together and raise right leg vertically upward, don’t let left hip give out. See that you don’t shorten lumbar – extended leg buttock extending away from lumbar towards heel. We looked at someone on stage doing with elbows at the wall and he had to extend up leg to touch the wall (not very successfully and she moved on).

  • Sit on brick Parsva Virasana X 2 when turning to right side, keep right ribs into you to turn. Take hand to navel and draw navel band round.

  • AMVirasana Release your back.

  • Get set up for sarvangasana and stand on edge of supports with heels raised for Uttanasana.

  • Halasana Walk feet further away and rock forwards and backwards, keep shoulders ‘well inside’ (meaning far enough on the mats so neck is supported). Bend knees like utkatasana and rock to release shoulders backwards.

  • Sarvangasana Separate the legs, front thigh move inside, back thigh open inside out. Move spine into you and take legs further back, knees bent, sacrum / buttocks / tailbone sucked in to take the knees further back and then maintain and straighten legs allowing them to stay further back.

  • Eka Pada Sarvangasana

  • Karnapidasana fingers interlocked stretching arms back.

  • Savasana Find out how you exhale, start to be quiet, breath settling down.

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