29th October - Rajalaxmi Backbends (again!!) and Pranayama

Had a super day off, mock exam in the morning (did we ever spend Sunday morning's doing anything else?) followed by Marriott in the afternoon - last few days in the sunshine, it would be rude not to! Feeling relaxed

and quietly excited about going home. Lots to do in last couple of days, had the obligatory trip to the incense shop and trial pack and weigh to see what equipment I can bring home. You can buy very reasonably priced slanting planks (600 rupees each made from wood) from Dimpex Batik so I am taking a full set home, along with chumbals, 3 bolsters, knee rods etc etc - you get the picture - 2 very full suitcases, thanks to Jet Airways generous baggage allowance (2 x 23kg on economy ticket, plus hand bag). Had another great class from Rajalaxmi tonight, again backbends but in preparation for Pranayama - never in the UK have I been taught Chakra Bandasana as preparation for pranayama! As I was in Ladies Corner I got double long stays in chair back arch and chair setu bandha which has done me the world of good. Thanks to Wendy for notes X

29th October – Rajalaxmi Pranayama

Swastikasana Invocation and Guru Chant

Come a little forward so that you are on the back of the top thigh, so you can understand tailbone in for spinal ascension and sacrum, dorsal, cervical concave – only area to stay straight is lumbar. Flesh on pelvic rim ascends. Armpit opening, shoulder blades deeper in to you. The opening has to come from within – open from the inside out. Feel from within tailbone lift and dorsal in action. Lift base of skull up and take frontal face a little backward so that the neck gets the curvature. Abdomen away from thighs, mobilise from behind the navel and bring the heart forward. Have that space behind the sternum bone, palms folded at seat of the soul, lift up there.


We spent quite some time here, really finding the opening and spinal extension. Lift your head up and draw the roots of the thighs back towards the sockets so that you can find the freedom of the side trunk to move forwards. Move the whole spinal body in to you with the head up and breastbone reaching forwards and understand shoulder rotation. Side ribs / armpits forwards.


Maintain that for AMS. Connect from crown of head to tailbone. Do not push your floating ribs into the t shirt at the front – move them towards the t shirt at the back. Side ribs straight up to hips, don’t push in the centre. Upper arm, forearm muscles LONG. Shoulder bones into you, shoulder blades away from neck and press into you for armpit opening. Breath there and find out if the breathing is going straight passage or disappointing?

Walk back to Uttanasana Spread ribs wide, spread buttock bones wide apart and catch the heels to lengthen down. Take a rolled blanket to the abdomen and repeat Uttanasana and find out how it makes the abdomen to move inside. Sitting bones spread to the sides as well as up to ceiling. Let abdomen match that lift. Side ribs extending, move from ribs down, find out how you release armpit skin.

Ardha Parsvottonasana

To ledge or pillar or platform. Loooong stay here three times each leg. Move front thigh back and extend, opening heart section, eyes looking forward between the hands for full spinal extension. Press palms and move away from wall, para-spinal muscles moving forwards. Armpit has to open, so move from the shoulder bones, maintain palms but walk out further with the back leg – extend bottom 2 ribs, make them long and find out how they can extend. Before 3rd attempt we looked at someone who was not taking back leg far enough. When she was instructed to take the back leg much further back, we saw how the lower abdomen got the freedom to extend and then she broadened the para-spinal muscles around the lumbar / upper sacral region. We repeated with this action “Find out how the breathing changes, can you find that involvement?

Sirasana (menstruation prasarita paddottonasana abdomen supported on bolster on platform ‘now rest there’)

Separate legs and extend inner and outer in such a way that you extend from the bottom two ribs. Press wrists, press elbows down and lift shoulders up. Move buttocks, sacrum and pelvic rim into you. Lengthen legs back and lift from thigh ligaments to ankles. Inner heels to ceiling outer heels to floor. Maintain lift of spine to come down. AMV arms back along side body if exhaustion is there.

Here we split into 2 groups, taking it in turns to do:

Group 1 Chair Viparita Dandasana with tri folded blanket for spine

Tuck back ribs up more on front seat of chair to improve armpit chest opening, shoulder blades caught and moving deep into you. After some time she encouraged us to roll further down.

Group 2 Dwi Pada Viparita Dandasana 5 attempts with elbows braced against wall. Lift heels up and walk in! Lift head off the floor to coil dorsal further and take chest to wall, lift there and push chest to wall! Lift! Chakra Bandasana Lift head completely off floor and forearms down to coil chest to wall.

And then:

Group 1 – Chair Setubandha

Legs extended to platform, head / neck / shoulders on same level – I used 1 bolster and 2 folded blankets. Leg action so abdomen moves away. Shoulder blades in to sternum, arrow action. Ribs extend and diaphragm broadens. Look at picture of Guruji’s chest in setu bandha.

Group 2 Nirlambe Sarvangasana

2 bolsters head distance away from wall, enough room for head. Ascend legs and move from pelvic rim forward.

All Drop backs from Sarvangasana to setubandha sarvangasana (a few repeats)

No equipment. Move ribs into you so no pressure on wrists at all. Shin to chest side. Shoulder blades away from mat. Some people were helped with the rope behind chest being pulled towards head side, helpers feet feet fixing shoulders in as rope pulled chest forwards “Lift up whole shoulder girdle so properly on shoulders”.

Supine Pranayama

Take 3 blankets and tri-fold 2 of them, placing them vertically in centre of mat (not on top of each other, but in one long continuous line) and 3rd blanket folded to support head and neck. So tri-fold support the entire length of spine and legs either side of the blanket. “Spine supported in a different way, so para-spinals and sitting bones spread to the sides. Demo to show extending down vertebrae by vertebrae. Head blanket comes to shoulders but not under shoulders so entire neck is supported. The very top of the chest had to lift more, as if the bandage had been placed in the very upper thoracic to take those vertebrae in. Hold the outer edges of the mat and lifting the top chest up, find that opening there. Thoracic junction moves in, collar bones broaden. Windpipe should lift up and open, do not allow it to sink in. The windpipe opens into the left and right lung, must lift so that breath becomes free. Like a garden hose, if it gets flattened the flow is stopped there. Separation between chest and abdomen and bottom ribs well spread. Sacrum and back of the legs move towards the heels but front thigh towards the sockets to soften abdomen and energy moves into you. Sides of navel to lumbar. Forehead skin away from hairline, tongue rests in lower palate.

With exhalation move abdomen away from face, away from ribs, with inhalation create space in side ribs. Side ribs ascending, bottom ribs widening. Watch breath, watch space in thoracic region. Recovery breaths. Next inhalation, open space behind sternum, wait and even you can take a supplementary inhalation if you feel you have more space. Exhale. Several cycles followed by:


Normal breathing, exhale from your brain cells, clavicles, centre chest. Exhale into the abdomen.

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