Rajalaxmi - 24th February 2020 - Restorative and Pranayama
I thoroughly enjoyed my day off yesterday - had a luxuriously unpressurised practice on the terrace and an afternoon swimming at The Marriott with lots of other yogis, staying until the sun went down. Judy and I then headed off to Tien for supper - my first time there and I was delighted to be able to get wonderfully healthy juices and salads (hummus, avocado and olive) plus a nice big side of cooked spinach, a great place for yogis to go and eat.
I was suprised to wake up this morning with 'Monday morning anxiety' which I haven't had for such a long time now and a little unusual given that I'm basically on holiday! In the last year or so I have managed to overcome this by drinking home made kefir daily. I discovered this coincidentally as my intention had been to improve my gut health and it hadn't occurred to me that it could affect my mental health positively too - even though there is tons of research out there now linking mental health and the microbiome (read 10% human by Alanna Collen).
I make my kefir with coconut milk as I prefer not to have dairy (it has to be a specific type of coconut milk that doesn't have any stabilisers or additives) and although the grains survived the travel, they don't really thrive on the coconut milk that I have been able to buy here, so they are producing lower quality kefir, hence the unwelcome return of my almost forgotten anxiety. I guess I am mentioning it because it has been so unbelievably beneficial to my quality of life and this is a good platform to share this information along with the yoga notes!
Our first restorative class with Rajalaxmi this evening, notes below.
Rajalaxmi – 24th February 2020 – Restorative and Pranayama
Swastikasana invocation - Sit on your thigh bones, take your sitting bones back. Fingers cup shaped, lift up the armpit chest and widen the clavicles. Pubic plate has to lift up. Dorsal has to connect the back body to the front body. Inhale dorsal penetrating like an arrow from the back of the body to the centre of the front of the body and then at the front, that energy has to spread from the centre to the sides. Breath by breath the space will increase. Inhale in the armpit region and exhale the brain cells downwards.
AMVirasana – Extend the arms and push buttock bones back.
AMSvanasana - Move EVERYTHING backwards from the crown of the head to the tailbone from the armpit to the outer thighs you have to PUSH back. Lift the heel bones up, so that the sitting bones have to tear the flesh so much you lift up there, now energy of the arch of the foot upwards, but calf muscle, heel extend downwards – but such arch energy straight upwards. Walk the hands back to
Uttanasana – Sides of the neck releasing downwards.
Here we split into groups, the possibilities were:
1) Platform Purvottonasana – The length of 2 bricks on their 2nd height supporting the length of the spine incl. tailbone, legs extending to simhasana box (unless you are tall) and head / neck releasing down onto the platform, no blanket. Stay for 10 breaths.
2) Thick mats in centre of room, arching back to matsyasana, paryankasana and baddha konasana same arch – all with no supports, crown of head to floor.
3) Facing the grille seated in Baddha Konasana on the floor, toes touching the wall and rope around the back ribs, looped through the grille so that by pulling the two ends of the rope with your own hands you create a lift on the back ribs, lifting the chest up at the front and taking the head back to look up at the ceiling. Rope knot in the dorsal region.
All groups instructions, gather the back ribs into the body so that back of the body, lifts and grips towards the front of the body. Breathing to open the armpit chest from the back to the front and from the centre to the sides. 10 breaths in each variation. If finished all variations, baddha konasana seated while others finished.
Sirsasana – Push the heels up and then backward so that the backs of the heels line up with the sitting bones. Sacrum, tailbone and dorsal push into you. Outer sides of the buttocks lift up. Energy is not linear – not in a straight line – energy can spread too. Move your shoulder bones INTO you – I am NOT saying shoulder blades – shoulder BONES, it is different – so move them forward towards the elbow and the shoulderblade will also go in and upper arm becoming more vertical. Eyes remain stable looking only about 4 feet straight in front of you, do not look here and there. Watch to see if you are shortening the upper arms when you come down.
Get the Sarvangasana supports.
1) Paschimottonasana – roll the blanket for the head and widen, widen, widen the elbows.
2) Halasana – Be restful, let there be softness in the back ribs. Interlock the fingers and stretch them back and walk the feet away from you, so that there is separation of the upper arms and side trunk. Walk the feet out so that you experience the jalandhara bandha. Breath in that back body.
3) Now extend the arms upwards palms facing the legs Nirlambe Sarvangasana 2
4) Then extend the arms over the head for Nirlambe sarvangasana 1 and find out how the back ribs have to lift up.
5) Salamba Sarvangasana
Paschimottonasana – head supported and elbows wide.
Viparita Karani (Periods bolster setubandha) Using wall, brick, bolster and 2 blankets – Brick on its 2nd width at the wall, bolster and 2 folded blankets (not 3 fold) on top so that when you are in the pose in creates a tilt down towards the brick, the abdomen has to get pulled down into that space. Roll into it from an open palm headstand position and then slide the buttocks down the wall.
There are 72,000 nadis in the abdomen so we have to breathe in that area so that the power that gets accumulated there has to spread out. She demonstrated with her hand the pathway, the shape the breath had to take, so that it dipped down behind the navel region towards the spine, before coming up again in the bottom rib / chest. Science tells us that when we inhale, we take in oxygen and when we exhale, we expel carbon dioxide. But the ancient Rishis realised that the energy that we take in during inhalation stays in the body, it does not get expelled. Instead it gets delivered to the vayus; samana, apana, vyana, uddhana and prana. Inhale in the armpits, exhale in the abdomen, let the diaphragm quieten.
Seated pranayama – if you’re at the wall use it to support the spine. Lean forwards and use your hands to draw your buttocks right the way back to the wall and then sit straight. Soften the abdomen. Inhale within, up to the armpits and find out how it opens that armpit region, then exhale. Take supplementary inhalations and supplementary exhalations and find out how that breath was not yet complete. Keep the pelvic rim up. Breathe in again until you are full and keep the shoulders rolling back – exhale and further exhale. Inhale and further inhale and let the energy get absorbed. Everything is done by that energy so you have to watch it spread everywhere – from the pelvic rim, like a fountain, breathing in more and more towards the armpit. Approx 6 cycles of ujayii with a slight anta kumbhak. Bring the palms together at the centre of the chest in namaskar and say a short silent prayer.