Abhijata - 12th February 2020 - Forward Bends and Twists
Woke up still feeling ropey and a bit hot, but not a fever , so plodded off to class for 'kill or cure'. I felt exactly on the borderline of needing to do a special sequence - too well to be confined to supine group but perhaps not quite well enough for multiple full arm balances. Opted for sticking with the class and hoping for the best. The subject reminded me a little of a class I did with Guruji and Abhijata back in 2013 - this method of super- concave bottom back rib is the correct way of working for Diabetes (which I have). It's hard work and we had to "Lift UP until the back muscles begin to CRY!!". In the long sirsasana, my tshirt was wet and sweat was falling into my eyes (only ever in Pune!) We worked intently throughout and towards the end of class, Abhi's son came up with Sunita to visit his Mum. So as we stayed in a long sarvangasana, we had the background noise of his chatter and play and I could hear the guy next to me chuckling at his antics (of course us westerners couldn't understand a word). Such a relaxed vibe and I love that Abhi's children aren't forcibly kept away while she is teaching, much happier all round.
After class I headed to the Mariott with Ewa and Svietlana for notes in the sunshine and some swimming. It was really quiet - there's something so delicious about cutting through the soft, still waters of an empty pool. Back in time for a long stretch on the backbender before medical class at 6pm where I was able to work with the same student as last week, so at least I had a good idea of how her programme was to be done and thus felt more useful. Slowly finding my feet.
Got home to find that there is a water problem in the apartment block, so I may be calling around to my near RIMYI neighbours for a shower tomorrow! Also realised that I had completely forgotten about being unwell, so class was 'cure' after all. As usual apologies for mistakes, muddles and omissions, these notes have to pass through the filter of my memory and my own understanding, which may be not what the teacher actually intended Special thanks to Albena who was observing, for sharing her notes with me today X
Abhijata - 12th February 2020 - Forward extensions and twists
Swastikasana for invocation and use the back to lift the back. No part of the back body should fall or drop downwards. Become tall from the back body, either side of the navel there are indentations, lift those indentations UP. Eyes in the eye level.
Adho Mukha Virasana
Adho Mukha Swaskikasana
Adho Mukha Svanasana
Fold the sticky mats in half longways for standing poses
Tadasana paschima namaskarasana – press the palms completely together and roll shoulders backwards, eyes in the eye level.
Now a fairly rapid standing pose sequence, not long holds in the poses and not time for much instruction. So I want you to make the borders of the body FIRM, SHARP, ALERT! Fingertips! Elbows! Knees! Borders of the body, FIRM! (Throughout the sequence, reminders to keep the borders FIRM!) Everything on the right side and then Prasarita Paddottonasana followed by everything on the left.
Jump the legs apart to Utthita Hasta Padasana. Now the moment we take the legs apart, there is a dropping, so now lift upwards from the inner thighs and raise the arms up to urdhva hastasana. Inner thighs lifting! Become tall on the sides of the body! Now maintain that height and arms in line with the shoulders, go to Utthita Trikonasana – left leg outer thigh has to press back, roll back there and open. – Vira 2 – look with your eyes as you go and see that the bent leg knee is not rolling forward, keep that knee rolling from the inside out and push back there! release the right root of the thigh to go down there – Parsvakonasana – the right knee has to push the arm back, not the arm pushing the knee – Ardha Chandrasana now whatever is on the back of the body MOVE FORWARD! And whatever is on the front of the body ASCEND UPWARD to the ceiling and roll back there! Lift the right chest to the left chest! – Now land in Parsvottonasana head down, adjust the body to be straight and push the right frontal thigh backwards, front leg becomes heavy, so don’t drop the left leg forward, push back there! Now raise the arms for Virabhadrasana 1 bottom sternum to top sternum, LIFT UP! – Vira 3 hands to the floor, but can you come up onto the fingertips to keep the pose light and trunk parallel to the floor? Raise the head up so that trunk is parallel to the floor and look forwards – Parsvottonasna – now bring the left hand across for Parivrrta Trikonasana – bottom of the sternum chest, move it towards the top of the sternum chest and then rotate! Roll the back side of the body to rotate – Parivrtta Parsvakonasana – Parivrrta Ardha Chandrasana – Urdhva Prasarita Eka Padasana – Parsvottonasana – Pras Pad.
Sirsasana – From the armpits ASCEND UP! Upper arms LIFT UP!! Inner thighs ASCEND UP!! Sharpen the pose from the borders!! From the outer upper arms, roll forwards! Spinal column is the centre, but as if you had 3 spines, one either side of the central spine, the muscular body has to move into the chest. Move your lumbar spine towards the skin and take the middle buttock into the body. Now for the organ body -the back of the leg ascend up and the front of the leg draw down, from the groins you have to sit down. Eyes looking in front and from the top sternum to the bottom sternum, ASCEND UPWARDS!! Legs slightly apart, roll the inner thighs backwards and spread the back thigh from the inner to the outer. Metatarsels roll from the outside to the inside and now with that rolling action join the legs. Keep the mind stable – mental stability has to be there or the body will start to shake. So we use the body action to keep the mind occupied in the moment for that mental stability. If mind wanders, body shakes. Now when the time is coming close to come down and body is getting tired, you are going to recharge the pose from the 7th cervical vertebrae. When body becomes tired 7th cervical becomes convex. Those of you who have used the stump or neck curvature, like that MAKE IT CONCAVE!! The brain becomes light. Physical body has to cooperate or mind becomes lethargic and sirsasana should be light. Elbow, wrist, inner edge of forearm bone CUT DOWN! Everything else LIFT UP!! The skin on the outer body lift it up completely and as long as you are able to maintain that skin lifting completely, you stay up in sirsasana – the moment it wavers, the action is lost, you come down. You decide, not from how it looks from the outside but from your inner reality.
AMVrksasana – Again sharpen the borders of the body, body extending UPWARDS!
Take a thick mat and put sticky mats away, I don’t want the body to be caught on the sticky mat.
Adho Mukha Svanasana
Adho Mukha Virasana
AMSvanasana – Now without lessening the distance, put the head on the floor and reach back with your hands and hold the ankles (very glad to have a thick mat here). Now can you feel those shoulder blade lines? Press them IN to the body!! INJECT them IN to the body!!
Bharadvajasana 1- legs to left, turn to right – now you have a clear imprint of the muscles either side of the spine? PUSH FORWARDS there and the front body, feel how it is light, say compare to marichyasana 3 or 4? Do Marichyasana 3 right leg bent to get the comparison – make your observations – the rib cage is heavy compare to the Bharadvajasana? so see now in Marichyasana 3 can you make it light like bharadvajasana to lift and turn. Repeat Bhara 1 for the comparison. Followed by Maricyhyasana 3 left leg and Bharadvajasana 1 legs to right, turning to left.
Padangustha Dandasana – take the groins down, root of the thighs down, how we would put the weight there to take that area DOWN, then the trunk becomes light. Sides of the navel UP!! Urdhva Mukha Svanasana action with your trunk – you need to learn to move UP! LIFT UP UNTIL THE BACK MUSCLES BEGIN TO CRY!! Lumbar spine extended! Paschimottonasana, from the ribcage, from the sacrum go forwards. Now like, parivrtta paschimottonasana go more to the right side, so that left armpit goes on outer side of right leg. Now outer left hip, CUT IN!! go over and turn, chin away from the chest, ribcage away from the abdominal cavity and turn! and turn! back ribs IN!
Now paschimottonasana and feel what is the lightness, the freedom in the right side of the trunk? (All repeated on left side and then paschimottanasana feeling now both sides of the trunk equal).
Repeat Bharadvajasana 1 legs to left, turning to right - Now the height should have increased, the crown 2 inches higher up. Exactly that part of the back body you had to lift up in the concave forward bends, locate it and LIFT UP there Even you can look up a little. Now without compromising at all on that lift, you have to rotate the body to the right side. The pose has to have both – the lift and the rotation.
Keep the right leg in Virasana and go for Trianga Mukha Eka Pada Paschimottonasana. The root of the thighs DOWN! Even the virasana thigh must go down and ascend up from the anal mouth – be forward bend crazy, not head downward crazy! The back body concave so that upward action contributes to the forward action and the forward action contributes to the upward action. Now how much you go downward I’ll leave up to you – some of you will be more active keeping the back rib completely inside or you can bring the head down more.
Bharadvajasana 1 legs to right, turning to left – don’t allow the bottom ribs to clinch, don’t harden the groins, don’t compromise the height when turning, there should be no heaviness of the ribcage. Keep left leg in virasana and go for Trianga Eka Mukha Pada Paschimottonasna.
Paschimottonasana – Again the two sides of the spine and the ribcage MOVE FORWARD! Moving towards Parivrtta Paschimottonasna - Both hands on the outside of the right leg and try to bring the symmetry. Left armpit should come in line with the right knee and move the ribcage forwards, head down. Back to paschimottonasana and compare the two sides of the body. Now both hands on the outside of the left leg and repeat.
Bharadvajasana 2 Don’t sink down in the pose, you should have the grip of the hips to lift up like you do in Ardha Matsyendrasana. OK Ardha Matsyendrasana sitting on the right foot - hips grip and body flies upward, ascend to turn (don’t take the foot across if there is some problem). Same sharpness has to come in Bharadvajasana 2. Right leg in padmasana, left leg in virasana. Right buttock should not go to the left buttock, from the pubic bone be upwards. Don’t let the virasana heel fall into the hip, keep that gap there. Ribcage UP to turn! Concavity and height versus rotation – match them!
Paschimottonasana –ribcage forwards and imagine a heavy weight on the dorsal and move forwards from the ribs, even from the buttocks, go!
Ardha Baddha Padma Paschimottonasna – First priority is padmasana knee down and then the trunk learns to move forwards. Take the padmasana hip inwards to move forwards.
Marichyasana 3 – Right leg bent - Take the left leg slightly to the left side so that you can keep the left hip inside. Sides of the navel UP! UMSvanasana action with your trunk. Repeat left side.
Janu Sirsasana Bend your left leg and extend outside the straight leg (the opposite way to Parivrrta Janu) not a little but more, so that the head comes down, rotate so that right shoulder blade outside right leg, hold the dandasana foot like parivrtta paschimottonasana back ribs in and move the ribcage away from the abdomen, sternum bone towards the chin and that way rotate. Now classical Janu sirsasana - feel the lightness in your back body? understand it. Bend your right leg to janu and repeat all actions on that side.
Paschimottonasna feet together – sides of the navel lifting, sharpen the back, those indents on the side of the naval to move forwards. Take the roots of the thighs down and waist corners forward – here we are going for a long stay, 5 minutes and you decide to what extent active and to what extent passive, alternate the two. First take down the imaginary weight, fondle the body the way you fondle a child to get the desired action and go for complete soft and passive paschimottonasana. Then again go for the charging when the back body becomes dull. Backbends excite us – forward bends should also excite us, we have to cultivate a taste for it. Now go for a mild concave back to come up.
Concave back twisting to relieve back pain from the long stay – you decide which one, it can be swastikasana or padmasana legs, virasana etc
Uttanasana long stay (unless there is unbearable pain in the back, in which case go for AMSvanasana and more twistings) widen buttock inside to outside and don’t keep the fingers on the floor – go for backs of hands resting or catching the heels or elbows folded. Take the ears down. Now when you come up, listen to what the body dicatates, if there is stiffness etc.
AMVrksasana – Now feel how the quality of full arm balance is different from your earlier attempt, body has different culture.
Sarvangasana – long stay - after the work in the seated poses feel the freedom in the body for sarvangasana, use these changes to make a better sarvangasana. After a long stay in the pose we could do the variations if the body was in need of the relief, so that you recharge the pose and as long as you are able to maintain the actions in the pose you stay, once the actions are lost, come down with bent legs.
Paschimottonasana – to alleviate back pain from sarvangasana