Abhi - February 6th 2020 - Standing Poses
Yesterday Lynda sent me a video from Goa all about the different birds in the region and I found that as I tried to commit to memory all the different distinguishing features and calls I was soothed into a peaceful and restful sleep. Sadly I was awoken at about 5.30am, only 5 hours after I had so optimistically dropped off. However, I found that the film worked a second time and unusually for me, I was able to fall asleep again until a more decent hour - finally some of the jet-lag fuelled exhaustion is subsiding. I woke up feeling good from yesterday's excellent class.
Morning practice on the terrace in the sunshine and I kept a close eye on all the visiting birds, spotting a drongo (distinguishable by its long forked tail) and a couple of red vented bulbuls (though honestly, I think they could more accurately be called a red bottomed bulbul). Inspired by tips in the video, Deeraj has agreed we can install a birdbath as this really attracts the birds in, if it is not situated too close to human activity. I am disproportionately happy about this!
I arrived at the packed practice hall expecting Raya and was surprised to see Abhi. As ususal her manner was friendly and relaxed and we started off with a laugh. As she sat down she said "Why is that the very second I sit down there is silence!! Everyone is talking and suddenly it is cut dead!! Aren’t you in the middle of your sentence? What happens to all those conversations? Do you resume afterwards or are all those questions left unanswered??!!"
The class was exceptional and as I sit and type up the notes, I can hardly believe that all of this was achieved in an hour and a half. The sequence was beautifully put together and she managed to give us a genuine taste of prayatna shaithilya or effortless effort. The class was taught to the background noise of her children playing happily outside and at one point they came up to see their mother, who managed to seamlessly keep the class flowing, while listening to the problem and I heard her say sotto voice "Say sorry!!" - a moment that any of us mothers can instantly relate to. Without wishing to gush, I think she is an absolute marvel.
After class I went for a 'peaceful' evening stroll, see video below for a taster.
Abhijata - February 6th 2020 - Standing Poses
Swastikasana for the invocation - Keep the eyes lifted to the eye level and then raise the inner body to the level of the eyes. Maintain, it is not that there is no work, maintenance work has to be there.
Uttanasana feet apart Now be on the outer edges. Inner foot to outer foot and look with your eyes and see that the inner and outer ankle bone are level. Inner foot to outer foot, inner knee to outer knee, inner thigh to outer thigh. Feel how in uttanasana the inner knee stretches more easily backward, but how much can you feel the stretch on the outer knee? Make it equal.
Prasarita Paddottonasasna be on the outer foot, inner legs to outer legs. Cut the outer edge of the feet down. Get that sharpness of the edges, so that every part of the foot, every part of the legs talks to you!!
Sirsasana to urdhva dandasana – to sirsasana – to urdhva dandasana – sirsasana belt tied tightly around the widest part of the calf, exactly where you curve outward and tie it TIGHT! Now ideal scenario you would have two belts, one around calves and one around thighs, or 3 belts, 4 belts – imagine I had taken the thick ceiling rope and tied it tightly around both of your legs, now even more tightly, squeeze your legs together and stretch them UP. Now feel how that togetherness of the legs enables you to lift up the inner leg better, reach for the ceiling with the inner leg! From your inner groins to your inner ankles, lengthen upward! Now kneecaps suck them into you! Extend your heels AND lengthen your toes, but do not make the toes hard. Lift up through the dorsal spine and move it into you! Urdhva Dandasana – legs straight, we are working the legs like this to prepare for the standings. Roll inner heels to outer heels and feel where does the heel begin? From the arch to the heel extend and from the arch to the toes extend. In both those directions you have to extend, whole sole of the foot open. Grip the knees and thighs, GRIP! Back up to sirsasana. Urdhva Dandasana – backs of the knees and thighs UP!, but toes like savasana and keeping them that way back up to sirsasana. It felt like a long stay and just before we came down, she said now you have shown me the work of the legs / feet, the physical, muscular work that has to be done but before you come down, can you show me the grace of the pose? your face should not show stress – brain, eyes, throat, tongue all have to soften.
AMVrksasana jumping up with 2 legs (optional) – same tightly tied belt around the calves, jumping up into full arm balance (bolster is permissible if you need it for the head). Now your legs have to show off! Squeeze them together and pull the body upward with the legs. As if Guruji was here watching, the legs have to show off! Imagination is a form of knowledge, so use your imagination to improve your pose. Ankle bones, ascend! Squeeze the legs tightly together and LIFT UP! Those waiting while the other group uses the wall for AMVrksasana, go through all the poses that belt helps to improve the work of the legs: Navasana, ardha navasana, dandasana, urdhva prasarita padasana etc
Now fold the sticky mat in half, long ways so that we all had a long, thin strip of mat to maximise the space.
Tadasana – check are your big toes really together. Now imagine you still had the belt tied tightly around the shins. Inner legs tightly together. Suck your kneecaps upward, suck your thighs upward.
Parsva Utthita Hasta Padasana – Turn the back foot in and turn the front leg out. Did you notice the difference in language between the back side and front side? The back FOOT