Abhijata - 13th February 2020 - Padmasana
A quiet day practicing on the terrace, relishing the time and space to get deeper into things. Although I'm feeling a lot better, I'm still finding that going up into full arm balance, instantly causes prickles of sweat to appear on my forehead. Abhi's evening class focussed on padmasana and repeated a lot of the work that I had done in my own time today.Towards the end of the class I was elated to fold my legs into padmasana in sirsasana for the very first time. Abhi assisted me into my first side and then I was able to get into the second side independently. Hurrah! I spotted Caren observing the class and thought that she would take notes so that I didn't need to remember the sequence, but alas she arrived late and left early and was too tired to take notes, so below is my best attempt at remembering. A thoroughly enjoyable class and a great balance between thorough work and good humour.
The bad knee group focussed on poses that worked on the hip and some straight leg poses too: vrksasana, baddha konasana, upavista konasana, supta padangusthasana 2, variation of supta 3 where 1 leg is bent like marichyasana and the other is bent a little like ardha padmasana with the foot on the bent leg thigh, prasarita paddottonasana, AMSvanasana.
The padmasana group focussed on movement of thigh bone into hip socket, but flesh moving towards the knee like bhekasana and the movement of opening the groin to take the padmasana knee back / down by contracting the buttock / sacrum / tailbone and pressing it forwards.
We finished with a wonderful supported matsyasana with excavational breaths in the abdomen and a sublime savasana where we had to caress the forehead skin with the exhalation as tenderly as we wash a newborn baby's face with a sponge surrendering into the Mother Earth with along with that out breath.
Abhijata – 13th February 2020 – Padmasana
Swastikasana invocation – Move the back ribs into the body and before ascending the front body, descend the thighs, knees down. Thighs, knees a downward force, against which you have to raise yourself up. Join the palms properly, the centre of the chest, from the bottom to the top, the sternum has to be lifted. With the eyes closed, get ready mentally, to become attentive, to become focussed - we have to move from the scattered mind move towards the one-pointed mind.
SBKonasana classical pose holding the ankles from underneath, press the heels and open the toes the arches (like an English ‘V’ shape) and with that bony connection between the heels draw the hips deeper inward and lengthen the thigh to take the knees downward. You can lift the buttocks and work that way, contracting the buttocks to take the knees further down. Try to notice which side is the stiffer side and become aware of the differences between the two sides. From where is the stiffness coming?
Baddha Konasana seated.
Supine ardha padmasana – hold the foot there and lengthen the knee down – press and release and unless there is knee problem, you can use some force. Repeatedly pressing the knee down – touch the floor. Even if the opposite hip comes a little up, see if you can touch the floor with the padmasana knee.
Group 1) Baddha Konasana brick between the feet, press the heels into the brick and lengthen to take the knees down. Then try the legs individually, completely take one knee down and let the other come up. Then maintaining that knee down, lengthen the side that has come up towards the floor.
Group 2) Upavista Konasana – Press the hands and lift the buttocks up and then press that area where the thigh meets the hip forward, to spread the groins and open further, moving the pelvis forwards as you take the legs wider and place the legs down. A few times make this adjustment – the flexible group, it’s still upavista konasana not Samakonasana! Open the backs of the thighs, the knees, open up there.
Group 1) Supine padmasana
Group 2) Brick setubandha padmasana. Youngsters! - see if you can throw the legs into padmasana (without the use of the hands).
Standing Padmasana – ardha padma padmottonasana – right leg – you can raise the right arm up to urdhva hastasana so that right side of the waist does get shortened there. First of all, the action is to lengthen the flesh towards the knee, then the action is to take it back. See if you can move beyond where it pains you. Don’t stop there, you have to go beyond this stopping point, and make some movement there.
Group 1 – 1) Face the wall standing ardha padmasana – every so often you can lift the heel off the floor and make the actions like urdhva mukha svanasana – take the knee away from the wall and press the sacrum / tailbone / buttock crease towards the wall so that the front groin opens and lift and open the chest.
Group 1 - 2) Moving towards Vatayanasana. Stand in ardha padmottonasana facing the wall, reach up and grab the ropes (if you
have) and bend the standing leg knee, so that you are bringing the padmasana knee closer and closer to the floor (see pic). We were not doing the arm work.
Group 2 - 1) Prone ardha padmasana – the work was to lift the knee away from the floor and press the sacrum / tailbone / buttock crease toward the floor.
Group 2 - 2) Repeat prone ardha padmasana and lift up the chest and stretch the arms back – arms like salabhasana, tailbone / sacrum like salabhasana and 1 leg stretching backward like salabhasana.
Simhasana – starting from lying in prone savasana – Press the hands into the floor and lift the chest up pressing the sacrum / tailbone forward like UMSvanasana and pressing the hands to lift up the chest and roll the shoulders back like UMSvanasana.
Then you can go for padmasana pose of your choice: full arm balance padmasana, elbow balance padmasana, chair back arch padmasana, goraksasana facing the grill, repeat brick setubandha padmasana, backbender padmasana, vrksasana to work on opening that hip – your choice, we are working towards padmasana in sirsasana, so go for the pose that will help you to prepare for that.
Sirsasana padmasana and parsva padmasana sirsasana – Go to the wall if you need it for the padmasana folding.
Group 1) Chair sarvangasana padmasana
Group 2) Padmasana in classic salamba sarvangasana plus any variations you know – pindasana, parsva pindasana, padmasana in parsva sarvangasana. But before you go for pindasasana you must first have managed urdhva padmasana – find that length upwards and then pindasana will come.
Matsyasana bolster for spine – does it come more easily?
Imagine the shape of the abdomen in supta baddha konasana and sutpa virasana and feel how matsyasana gives a greater depth of the abdomen. Now with the inhalations explore the layers in that area – the top layer which faces the ceiling down to the sea bed. Inhale along that sea bed, excavating there. And then with the exhalation go even lower, so that what you thought was the seabed, was not and there is a deeper sublayer.
Savasana bent leg, back of the knee supported on the bolster - When you were trying hard for these contractions (in simhasana etc) we contracted the buttocks the sacrum, buttocks - but these contractions were not confined to the body level. Your brain also contracted. The skin, the nerves also got contracted. With your exhalations let go of that contraction, let loose. So softer exhalations, massaging the brain away from the skull. Away from the skull the brain cells have to recede. Exhale as thoigh you are gently brushing . A new born baby is given a sponge bath - what is that care with which that is done? In that manner, your exhalation has to be a gentle brush for the brain. Flushing out all the tightness that you accumulated. All the contractions. Let the skin on your body spread all over as though you belong to the ground. As though you belong to the Mother Earth. Your body does not belong to you, but it belongs to Mother Earth. That is the ultimate reality. But in your savasana, can you express that? Surrender your body completely to the floor. Face - throat - chest - arms - shoulders - fingers - abdomen - pelvis - thighs - groins - let them all melt and go into the floor. Just be quiet there.
For those of you for whom the knee is paining, this is an indication that you were making the movements from the knee itself, rather than from the hip joints. But until I see you again, see that you rest the knees in bent leg savasana lying on the floor legs bent resting on the chair or the sofa, so that they get some rest.