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February 3rd - Rajalaxmi

The day started with a delicious early morning swim in the Arabian Sea in Benaulim, Goa. I flew here from the UK to see my teachers and dear friends Gerry and Lynda and to take a few days to get over the worst of the jet lag, so that I arrive in Pune refreshed and ready to receive the teaching. I've had a lovely few days of practice, cycling, swimming in the warm sea, eating freshly caught fish from the tandoori oven and even a bit of birdwatching thrown in. Our guide Shiva took us on a tour around the backstreets and backwaters of Benaulim where we saw bee eaters, kingfishers, herons, bronze winged jacanas, little egrets and purple moorhen to name but a few. I also learnt, to my surprise, that many of

the fruits that we think of as native to India, were infact brought over by the Portuguese - pineapples, papayas, guavas, custard apples, chiku and passion fruit!

It has been a really last minute trip this time - I booked my flights at 2am on Monday morning and was flying by Wednesday afternoon. The amazing getting my visa to me in less than 24 hours! The reason for this sudden decision? Finding out that there will be no Senior 2 Assessment in November 2020, thereby removing the incentive for me to go in October as exam prep. February is a MUCH better time for me to be escaping the UK. I arrived in Model Colony just in time to head straight over to the insitute for 6pm intermediate with Rajalaxmi. Lots of familiar faces all around, which is great as I've come without any of my normal buddies. It was a pretty straightforward class but it immediately struck me how we went straight for building up strength and withstanding suffering! Holding the concave back standing poses half way down with arms extending fowards and twisting to one side for interminably long times and Rajalaxmi as ever, seemingly immune to the puffing and groaning of her students. The local guy next to me unable to reach the floor in the standing poses and struggling away valiantly. Welcome to Pune! Class sequence below.

Rajalaxmi – 3rd February 2020 – Standing Poses

Swastikasana – Don’t take your arms too much back as this takes the shoulder blades out, instead bend the elbow so that you can move your shoulder blades into you. Exhaling from the brain cells downwards. Exhaling so that the abdomen releases away from the ribcage.

Tadasasna – Bend knees like utkatasana (repeated this adjustment 3 or 4 times) and move the sacrum/tailbone into you, lifting the pubic bone up at the front. Take your fingers to the very tops of the thigh bones – they shouldn’t go forwards, but move into the body and get sucked upward. Learn to be sensitive and feel them – heads of thigh bones IN. To straighten the knees suck the quadricep up and release the buttock flesh down, spreading the back thigh.

Urdhva Hastasana – The abdomen should not fall forward. Urdhva Baddangullyasana

Prasarita Paddotonasana x 2 1) Arms extending forwards at the half way point – why? a) So that you don’t sink the lumbar down b) So that you use your legs. Hold 30 secs or so 2) Arms extend forwards like Adho Mukha Svanasana, so sides of the trunk long, but legs stay back in Prasarita Paddottonasana. 3) Keep length of trunk, walk hands back to palms down concave back. Be on the outstep! Press the outer foot bone down. 4)Then walk hands further back and release onto the back crown – not where you are for sirsasana but a little further back, so that head is a little tucked under. Palms pressing the floor and press the wristbone down – spread the wrist – press and spread! – Then move from the shoulder to the elbow so that the upper arm is long and anti-gravity lift of shoulders upwards. 4) Now keep the hands there and lift the head up, back to concave back. Wristbone should NOT lift away from the floor, press down there. If wristbone is lifting then only hands a small bit forwards, until you can really press the wrist down.

Uttanasansa – Feet together

Adho Mukha Vrksasana - Elbows back towards wall and buttocks, sacrum forward and upward. Buttocks should not drop back towards the wall.