Abhijata - 19th February 2020 - Backbends
A great start to the day with a backbends class taught by Abhi. Today the focus was on recognising and correcting imbalances in how we perform poses - the obvious ones like how we kick up into full arm balance but also less obvious, such as how the dominant side tends to pull the weaker side up in urdhva dhanurasana. We also looked closely at how we came OUT of things, which is just as important to observe and correct. This class was just right for what I needed, as my left side has begun to bulge out and the class helped me to understand what is causing this and showed me how to begin to correct it. We did TONS of preparation for tadasana drop backs and kapotasana and I was disappointed not to have a go at the full poses after being warmed up so well. I do now have buttocks of steel however, definitely an imprint that will stay for a while!
After the class I had a lovely sunny afternoon at the pool with Ewa, followed by assisting in the medical class. Time is going so quickly and I realised that this coming weekend is my last one here, as I'll be flying home after the class a week on Saturday.
My arm sensor should be arriving on Friday evening, thanks to Dheeraj - whose apartment I am staying in - for following it up for me with India Post. So I have a couple of days with no blood sugar readings (I bought a back up finger prick testing system, but cannot get it to work - I'll try it with another new set of batteries tomorrow). This is not ideal, but should manage ok.
Abhijata - 19th February 2020 - Backbends
Swastikasana for the invocation – Gather yourself, get ready.With your palms folded in front, raise yourself up and become tall. Shoulders, shoulder blades well positioned, back ribs towards the front ribs.
AMVirasana – Extend the arms, walk your palms forwards. Back ribs down, front ribs forward.
AMSvanasana Straighten the arms, straighten the legs, move the fronts of the thighs upwards, open the fingers and check that you are equal on both sides. The weight should be equal on the right hand and the left hand. Weight distribution between right leg and left leg. Study the behaviour of the 2 sides of your body.That is a big lesson in itself.
Urdhva Baddangullyasana X 2 – From the armpits, LIFT UP, from the upper arms ASCEND UP. Lock the elbows and move the upper arms back. Do not bring the head forwards. Head forward and arms backwards are two different things - you can't subsitute one for the other! Middle buttocks into the body and ascend up! Learn to take the upper arms back, but keep the palms forward.
Virasana Parvatasana – Adjust your calf muscles, thigh muscles, heels. Now the arm stretch in parvatasana and the arm stretch in baddangullyasana are separate actions. First bring the arms forward and now lengthen the upper arms away from you. Now that cut where that wrist and the forearms meet, that cut has to become sharper, and now lengthen the upper arms away from you and take the arms up. Now after lengthening the arms up, shoulders, shoulderblades should sit down. From the upper arms go BACK. Look up with your eyes - thumbs side wrist, little finger side wrist of equal height, fingers open, knuckles open and now, move the upper arms BACK. Lift the upper arms up and move them BACK. Go on opening the knuckles, DON'T GIVE UP! The palms underneath your knuckles, they have to go UP to the ceiling. Now look to the front and once again take the upper arms BACK. These simple asasnas are the ones that will teach you about the deeper layers of your body. Do not let the interlock become loose, The fingers have to go into the pits- if the interlocking is loose, you can't reach your upper arms, so let that interlocking be firm. Bring the arms down and increase the interlocking grip, maintain this completely and go up. Outer upper arm, inner upper lift up! So looking straight infront, find out if you can move the upper arms BACK.
Adho Mukha Svanasana – you have to lift up and push back at the ROOT of the thighs and upper arms, deltoids, biceps, triceps, trapezius you have to lift up and move them into you.
Adho Mukha Vrksasana – Now we have a usual leg to kick up with and an unusual one? Go up first with your usual leg and observe how the weight falls. Then go up with the less familiar one and again observe how the weight falls. When kicking up with the right leg, the weight fell to the outer side of the left palm (and I also felt that the left elbow gave way slightly). See also that the opposite hip / ankle has the grip inward, not to get pushed out to the other side. Now you are going to go up with your right leg and come down with your right leg and this time I want you to observe how the weight falls as you come down (repeat left side up left side down). Then I want you kick up with both legs and find out who is the leader? Who touches the wall first? And then again observe the coming down. Each of these we did a few times, first of all to observe the imbalance and then to correct what we observed to become more even.
Virabhadrasana 1 – Working on the arms, keep the elbows properly gripped or take the belt a little tight and hit out into that. Now extend the arms up and maintain that grip. Lift up, up, up and then upper arms take them back, back, back and then only the palms a little forwards, maintaining the upper arms BACK!
Adho Mukha Svanasana
Ustrasana – Be grounded in the shins, front ankles and metatarsals – take a blanket those of you that need to, so that area can press. We did a few times and we had to notice how one side the hand always caught first. Then we had to observe that side of the body. What was the difference between the side that caught first and the other? Side that caught first, that side of the sternum was broader and that shoulder blade, back rib gripped better. And then when you come up, what side leads? Understand just doing this once or twice, not a problem, but a whole lifetime of building up one side at the expense of the other, then you are inviting a problem. That is why yoga asana is superior to other physical disciplines – tennis, badminton, even football- all on one side getting stronger as the other grows weaker. The footballer may run with both legs but s/he still has their kicking foot and all the intelligence, the action is on that side. One side over-developed, one side under-developed.
Virasana Parvatasana – same actions – extending the upper arms upward, gripping the elbows and taking the upper arms further and further backwards. Go beyond the normal barrier.
Ustrasana – fingers interlocked so that the hands can reach at the same time. Notice how when you undo the interlock the elbows widen outward? Minimise that bulging of the elbow.