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Rajalaxmi - 10th February 2020 - Forward Extensions

It's hard to capture the majesty of the tree canopy

A good day off of classes on Sunday, Caren and I went exploring and when we grew weary stopped for some respite at the Mariott Hotel cafe, where - oh joy! - I was able to get an almond milk hot chocolate (friends and family will know how this made my day!). We walked the back route up to the Marriott where we founds pigs snuffling around and a game of cricket which we were enthusiastically beckoned to join in with! Lots of people out on the streets and lots of friendly interactions.

I continued to help in the medical classes today - it's going to be a long time before I get a handle on how things are done here, but I'll just keep sticking with it. It's hard to feel you are a burden to the very people you are trying to assist, as initially everything has to be explained and I'm making lots of errors. Humbling.

Viparita Dandasana

Rajalaxmi's Intermediate 2 class was immediately after the medical and I wasn't sure I was going to have enough oomph left to manage it, as I hadn't eaten since late breakfast and medical class is also quite tiring, but once we got going it was fine. It was a gruelling, sweaty long sirsasana with variations - it's particularly hard to hold a long urdhva dandasana (see pic) and then go back up to sirsasana again, which we did twice - it is gratifying though to feel how all this work is strengthening me as it's so rare to work so intensively back home. I could hear the involuntary breath expressions all around me as we were held to our limit. Last time I was here I wasn't even up in the centre of the room in sirsasana after a prolonged 4 year stint back at the wall to realign my pose, so this is real progress. All the poses in the sequence below, done thoroughly and held for long durations.

Rajalaxmi – February 10th 2020 – Forward Bends

Swastikasana for invocation. Fingers cup shaped to raise up. Armpit chest forward and upward, shoulders backward and downward. As if you have two eyes on upper chest and those two eyes have to look up towards the ceiling. There is a small area between the buttock bones and the tops of the thighs and that area you have to open up – move the buttock bones back – and learn to sit on that area, not on the buttock bones. Where body ends and thighs begin, that area. Spread the spine, the right to the right side, the left to the left side

The next three poses repeated twice on each side. Thorough, long holds and working intensely in each of the positions.

AMSwastikasana – Let the buttock bones lift up so that weight rolls onto the shin bones, to get the freedom of the side trunk to come forward. And then extend the sides of the trunk back, keeping the length you have created in the forward direction also. Stretch back to where the body ends and the thighs begin. The armpits have to travel forwards, otherwise the upper spine rounds towards the ceiling.

Parsva AM Swastikasana (both sides) keeping equal length in the sides of the trunk into Parivrtta AM Swastikasana – – let the left buttock come up off the floor completely to get the turn, lift and turn so that you go beyond the knee and you are extending over the thigh itself, can you lift the body up to turn the abdomen, so that left rib has to roll completely down and come level with the right rib, left armpit has to go down, use the left shoulder blade to push the left armpit down. Then back to AMSwastikasana (other side and then) move the spine into the body to come up.

Swastikasana seated twist – here she showed how the turn was improved by lifting the left hip and buttock flesh UP to turn the body to the right side. Also, not to keep the legs too tightly crossed as this will make the turn less. Lean slightly forward over the knee, push the spine into you and then maintaining the spine in and up, turn further and further. Here she demonstrated how for some people the left shoulder was coming forward when they turned to the right. The left shoulder has to stay back in line with the right, so that the shoulders make an X shape over the legs (diagonally bisect the legs).

AMVirasana

AMSvanasana (long stay intense work) – Work especially the tops of the thighs as of the ropes were kept there. What happens to the knees when you take the front thighs back? Back thigh spreads from inner to outer and this broadens the back knee and enables you to lengthen the calf muscle downward. Do not let the body weight fall towards the arms, push back there and take the trunk towards the legs.

Walk back to Uttanasana – Now take your hands to the area between the top thigh and the buttock bone and use your hands to lift and open that area. She demonstrated to show how lifting that area with her hands, enabled her trunk to flow much more freely downward.

Ardha Uttanasana – take the back ribs into you, armpits forward, ribs and side chest forwards – catch the big toes Padangusthasana – hold the big toes and go down.

Correct action - wrists moving into the wrists