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Day 2 - Pranayama and Standing Poses

Upon first arriving at the institute I was momentarily disorientated as instead of walking around to the back of the building, we were herded off to the right and into a brand new entrance. Past new shoe racks and into a new lobby area. Gone are the tiddly little changing rooms and bathroom - replaced with bigger, brighter spaces, with western style toilets and a shower cubicle. The institute is still extremely quiet for in-person classes and class numbers are down to 25-45 rather than the huge numbers seen pre-pandemic.

Today started off early with a pranayama class with Rajalaxmi (details for yoga readers below). After class I left the others who were heading for refreshments and practice and headed back to our apartment to capture the notes while they were still fresh in my mind. This year I'm staying in the rather luxurious Pawar residence which is in a quiet and peaceful back lane over near Senapati Bapat Road, so we like to choose a route back that takes us through the shanty town (though we could stick to the main road). This makes for a very interesting walk home, always loads to see and I often get a bit lost trying to find my way through. I am not sure that it is advised to walk through this area, but I always find it relaxed and friendly.

I'm staying with Judy Waldman and Sue Forde and I think all three of us feel we have really landed on our feet here after having problems with the accommodation that we had booked. All the bedrooms are ensuite and have private balconies and upstairs is a wonderful terrace in the treetops, overlooking Hanuman Tekdi Hill. Our hosts have made us a living space up there with a seating and kitchen area. The palm trees are so close, you feel like you could practically reach out and pick a coconut. I opted to use this space for practice today and enjoyed that rare feeling of peace that comes when what you should be doing, what you are doing and what you long to be doing are all one and the same.

In the evening we had another fast-paced standing poses class with Gulnaz who was as cheery as ever and I headed back to an absolutely delicious supper kindly provided by our host's mother who lives in separate accommodation in the residence. Bliss.

Both classes detailed to the best of my recollection below

Day 2 – Rajalaxmi 7.45am Pranayama

  • Sit in virasana or swastikasana.

  • Take a seat that is broad enough to support your buttocks and the under side of your thigh, so that there is no pull created by the knees – so instead of sitting on one bolster, sit on two (one in front of the other) or sit on a broad stack of blankets so that you create a stable, undisturbed base.

  • Do not sit on your ‘sitting bones’, sit on the front of your sitting bones and the backs of your thighs.

  • Move the flesh of the buttocks towards the thighs, roll the thighs from inner to outer with an outer thigh grip and moving the tailbone and sacrum forwards, gather up the inner body. Almost as if the sitting down is uncomfortable – but don’t get fixed on the word, it is the action you have to find, the lifting upward. (This reminded me of Guruji teaching us one year that we had to sit as if sitting on a crown of thorns, ie not sinking downwards, but rising upwards). Sacrum / tailbone and pubic bone are part of the same structure and as you adjust one, the other is also adjusted.

  • To remain in the present moment, keep the back bottom two ribs staying vertically upright.

  • Clavicles and shoulder blades are part of the same structure, it is not the shoulder blades that you descend, but the flesh of the upper back. From the bottom outer shoulder blade lift up towards the arm.

  • Breath observation.

  • Sides of the neck have to remain tall when you go for jalandhara bandha.

  • Move the jaw towards the ears and the tongue towards the throat. The moment you bring the jaw forwards the whole face changes and creates tension.

  • Take the hyoid bone, which is not connected to the structure - it floats - backwards towards the spine.

  • We looked at pictures of Guruji standing practicing uddiyana bandha – she was not asking us to do uddiyana bandha but explained that he was keeping the obliques and the rectus (she said as we now call the six-pack!) separate as in the practice of nauli. The abdomen has to be kept absolutely soft for the practice of pranayama, but the structure and tone should be there.

  • Ujayii inhalation.

  • Viloma inhalation and later with kumbhak – retaining the inhalation for the energy to be received.

  • Savasana – blanket folded in half widthways across the back chest to create a slight uplift on the back ribs. 2nd blanket 3 fold to support the length of neck and skull.

  • Viloma exhalation.

Day 2 Gulnaz – Standing Poses

  • Swastikasana invocation

  • AMV – AMS – wide UTT x 3

  • Urdhva Baddangullyasana come onto tip toes and lift higher, then extend heels down maintaining the height.

  • Extend the arms out to side, take them back, back, back and then maintaining the arms back, take the left arm below and the right arm above for gomukhasana. Then spread the arms and take them back (3 times back) and take the right arm below and the left arm above for gomukhasana x 3 times each side.

  • AMS jumping to UTT feet apart.

  • Trikonasana rapidly moving from right to left side multiple times – after 3 or 4 goes each side, staying in the pose hand on waist, eyes looking in front, not at ceiling. Back to Utthita Hasta Padasana , extend the arms up to urdhva hastasana and extend forward to AMS in Prasarita Paddottonasna up and down X 3.

  • Parsvottonasna– Turn to right side, raise arms up and extend forwards to touch the floor x 3 and then stay in CCB Parsvottonasana. Urdhva Hastasana and repeat all on the left side.

  • Vira 2 Up and down 3 times and then stay in Parsvakonasana top hand on waist and eyes looking in front.

  • Ardha Chan via trikonasana x 2 (looking at floor if new to the balance, looking forwards at Guruji’s pictures on the wall if experienced)

  • Baddha Hasta Uttanasana – Fold the elbows and catch right then left elbow (or wrist for those who had a real problem) above the head. Take upper arms back, back, back and then extend forwards with the arms folded behind the ears and lengthen down in baddha hasta uttanasana

  • Baddha Konasana

  • Upavista Konasana – Urdhva Hasta Upavista – AM Upavista lengthen up and forwards touch the floor and up x 4

  • Bend right leg like a very wide Janu Sirsasana – Urdhva Hasta and forwards x 4 – repeat left side. Keep buttocks and backs of thighs grounded as you extend forwards.

  • Turn mats narrow ways and sit in Dandasana. Take right leg to Janu and left leg wider so that it is just outside the mat. Urdhva Hasta Janu Sirsasana and forward to touch the floor x 4. Repeat left side. In total 3 times each side.

  • Trianga Mukha Eka Pada Paschimmotanasana also wide, extended leg out to side. She was very particular about how to come into the pose to protect the knee. Bend right leg to virasana and left leg to marichyasana and then lean forwards to lift the seat and place the folded blanket under BOTH buttocks, before extending the marichyasana leg out straight. Urdhva Hasta TMEP Extending up and reaching forwards to touch the floor x 3. Repeat left side.

  • Baddha Konasana no props – lift up and move closer to the heels, descending the knees further down x 3 and then sit with the buttocks grounded.

  • Sirsasana (Menstruation seated twists and chair viparita dandasana).

  • Halasana - Sarvangasana (Menstruation setubandha on bench).

  • Supta Baddha Konasana – on thick mat, no props.

  • Savasana

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