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Day 6 IYNAUS Zoom Intensive - Supported Backbends

Penultimate day of Abhi's teaching and today we focussed on supported backbends. She reminded us not to go all out in terms of strong muscular action at this time, we should not be doing unsupported urdhva dhanurasana, dwi pada viparita dandasana. Now is the time to use props to become comfortable and find an ease in the breath so that we can stay longer and receive the benefits of the poses more passively. Guruji used to stay in DPVD unsupported for 10 minutes, because he could BREATHE. For better immunity the adrenals should be stimulated without tiring the muscles.

She told us "We are not here to just do more and more asanas, we want to improve our perception, our sensation in asanas. Props help us to become more sensitive. The emotional centre is in the chest – once you go into back bendings, you go into that vastness, once you go into that vastness, you can withstand any kind of pressure and strain. Emotional strength comes with the practice of back bending – you can meet any kind of calamity with a calm mind – that is the beauty of back bends".

After class I headed for Westonbirt Arboretom -where my partner works as a woodland coppicer - for an evening walk. Quiet and serene and over-flowing with bluebells and wild garlic in full bloom. Its always beautiful there, but never more so than now, as it is closed to the public and foot fall is much less so it's really burst into life and there is a strange kind of hush where nature has once again been able to come to the forefront.

We spent the evening with our remaining 3 daughters - 2 at university in London and Exeter respectively and one reluctantly furloughed in Bristol - playing an online pictionary game which gave us all a good laugh. Looking forward to our last day with Abhi tomorrow, where I am going to be one of the panelists, so under the spotlight!

Day 6 IYNAUS Zoom Intensive – Supported backbends

Swastikasana invocation With each inhalation from the bottom sternum, ascend up.

Supta Tadasana arms over the head. You feel a length, an elongation in your trunk. As you inhale, let the bottom chest move away from the stomach. Demo - Legs bent, brace the feet against the floor and use the push of your heels, to lengthen the chest away from the legs. Create a traction where the upper back moves downwards and the anterior body rolls upwards, pubis towards the sternum.

Trikonasana facing wall, top arm bent, hand on the wall - Demo – Standing poses with the backbend action. The habit of the body is for the chest to sink downwards and the back body to rise upwards into the neck – the exact opposite needs to happen. Upper back needs to move toward the lower back and right buttock take it deep inward. On the front body, move the pubis to the bottom ribs, bottom ribs to the sternum, bottom sternum to the top sternum, let the anterior body get unfolded in that direction and take the head back – chin back, eyes towards the forehead, as if the back of your head is going to come back and touch your own buttock (don’t turn the head to look at the ceiling, it should be like a neck curvature). Complete extension of the front body, that is known as Purvottana.

Parsvakonasana facing wall - Similar action. Lengthen the entire anterior body, keep the buttock deep into the body and take the head back, move the chin away from the chest. Open up the sternum, open up the pelvic area. If you feel pelvic area, pubic area is still not opening, bring the hand in front of the bent leg and go for that anterior body opening. Learn to search for the neglected area.

Baddha Konasana back to the wall. Guruji taught us yoga - and asanas and pranayama happened to be the medium he used to teach yoga. We need to establish a communication. Where do the skin / muscles /tissues get caught, you have to search your own body to find where you get caught, what part is not opening? Where is your anterior body having a resistance to this extension?

Ardha Chandrasana facing wall - Left toes anchored on the wall. Read your body. From lower abdomen to the navel, am I moving towards the head side? Navel to the bottom ribs, am I moving head side? Bottom sternum to the middle sternum, middle sternum to the top sternum, open UP in that area. Develop the perception to find out where the body is locked, then you will be ab