Abhijata - February 21st 2020 - Backbends (again!)

Man I had a dreadful night's sleep last night! The mattress was great, but the lack of libre arm sensor for measuring blood sugars, is taking it's toll on my blood sugar control. Having only got to sleep at 1am, I was unceremoniously dragged from a deep, peaceful sleep state to wide awake sweating and trembling with a hypo, meaning I needed a fast acting sugar to bring my levels back into the safe zone. This involved getting up, and crunching on glucose tablets (obviously the last thing any sane person wants to do in the middle of the night, Yuk!) I had planned to get up for Abhi's 7.30am class but I could see now there wouldn't be enough time for sleeping, so turned off my alarm.

However just as the sun was rising I was woken by a hauntingly beautiful male voice singing outside my window. Of course I had no idea of the words, but it was clearly a song of devotion sung straight from the heart. If I hadn't been so groggy, it would have moved me to tears. Since destiny had other plans for me than a lie in, I got up and headed for Abhi - any feelings of self-satisfaction at my virtuous early morning diligence evaporated on seeing the serene faces of the students who were just leaving as I arrived, having completed Raya's 5.45am class!!

In came Abhi and BAM! we were off! Honestly there should have been a starting pistol, such a pace and energy she kept up throughout, right the way until sirsasana close to the end of class, where she fell silent to allow us to experience a wonderful quietness in the pose, you could have heard a pin drop. Within a matter of minutes of getting out of bed, there I was feet up on the platform, hands on the floor, up in Urdhva Dhanurasana! After many, many backbends she said to the group "Anyone back is paining? Come here I will remove your pain" and then as an afterthought "Or if I don't remove your pain, I'll give you a new pain so that your forget about the back pain!!".

After class I headed for chai with the London clique (so called because I'm still sulking that they didn't invite me to Shabree which is my favourite place to eat) but only teasing, as they of course have been nothing but charming and friendly. The lack of sleep got the better of me (even the tiffin delivery guy told me I should get some rest) so I was only fit for some pranyama followed by breakfast for myself and the birds. Today's class is below, but as it was a class with many, many poses there is not too much teaching to relay to you today. Heading into the last week of classes tomorrow, not sure if we'll get pranayama or hand balances and jumpings.

Abhijata – 21st February 2020 – Backbends

Thanks to Catherine Coulson and Katie Davidson for notes

Swastikasana invocation – hold onto your knees to pull your chest upward.

Urdhva Baddangullyasana – Upper arm “make them long and go BACK” buttocks in, whole body upward, elbows back, open armpits, weight on heels.

Ardha Chandrasana X 2 – GO UP! Lift the left leg, bring the life there, open the toes and now the entire back body has to search the front body. MOVE! Have that courage to move the chin away from the chest, dorsal curvature and press the right buttock INTO the body, groin has to move FORWARD. Show the backbend!!

AMSvanasanaUrdhva Mukha Svanasana “Chest up, bring the body forward, press the feet. Lift the legs!!” – AMSvanasana – jump to Uttanasana Tadasana fingers interlocked behind and pull down – Paschima Baddangullyasana “Use your hands to push the dorsal IN and roll the shoulders completely”

Now here is where it became perfectly ordered chaos! So many groups running at one time, each one a different order of doing, so I’ll report in the order I took (at one point I became a group of only one, so not sure what happened there)

Platform dorsal curvature – arms extended and then elbows folded, pressing and releasing to take the arms further downward and inward.

Platform Urdhva Dhanurasana X 3 – Walk the feet in and LIFT UP.

Viparita Dandasana on the chair starting with hands pressing back rest, dorsal curvature and then progressing to sacrum curvature, where crown of the head was on the floor and hands in open palm sirsasana position. Long spine / tall people horizontal bolster on the chair so that spine can elongate.

Eka Pada viparita dandasana on the chair

Ustrasana X 4



Parsva Dhanurasana – Pull the feet away from the head side.

Virabhadrasana 1 – “Arms back MAXIMUM and LOOK UP!”

Virabhadrasana 3

Trestler curvature – Come over more so that you can hook your elbows under and roll over the trestle, looking back behind.

Rope 1 standing

Rope 2 kneeling on bolster, toes up the wall, Prachi helping by pushing dorsal and then sacrum with foot.

Urdhva Dhanurasana – straighten arms X 3

Viparita Dandasana X 3 “Keep doing the asanas and they will come to you over time – Keep an open mind – Don’t allow your complexes to get in the way”


Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Period Supta Pad 2, keeping the leg bent if pain is bad)

Supta Pavanmuktasana

Bent leg Jathara Parivartanasana, knees on the floor, turning body to opposite side, press the legs down with the other hand as you exhale to turn the body away.

Rope AMSvanasana, walk hands further and further away to extend the lumbar.

AMSvanasanaUttanasana ParsvottonasanaPrasarita Paddotonasana Uttanasana

Bharadvajasana 1

Sirsasana – Retain the memory of the backbends in the shoulders, dorsal region and how the buttocks had to grip. Know that those of you with the lumbar pain, this is because you have overworked the lumbar and underworked the buttocks.


Choice of: Sarvangasana, Chair Sarvangasana, Halasana, Supported Halsasana, Setu Bandha on bolsters. Whichever posture you choose, you know the nature, the character of that pose? Aim to enhance that character with the adjustments that you make -so sarvangasana “LIFT UP” Ardha halasana “Release the legs further” Setubandha “Press the outer corners of the shoulders down”

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