A very sociable last day for Jenny (I’m here till next Wednesday). We had Annie and Cleo over for lunch and it was really nice to chew over our varying experiences of the month here and make plans for coming back again. We set off to Raya’s class with a little trepidation as the last two weeks have been mega-challenging. This week the class was also very challenging, but at an attainable level for me, so I really thrived on it. A whole month of Pune has made me feel strong and capable and I wish I could hold onto that feeling for ever!
After class we joined Cleo and Kari-Ann for dinner at the Ambience Hotel and sampled a very non-Indian avocado and feta salad. Yum. Relatively expensive meal out, but really enjoyable and we had a good giggle at our communication problems with the waiters there, despite Jenny having brought along her Marathi phrasebook. The month here is like a little pocket of time out of the ‘real world’ and I’m very sad that it’s coming to an end, as all my commitments beckon. I’m heading down to Goa for the weekend and when I come back for the last few days of classes, both Jenny and Kari Ann will be back in the UK.
Invocation in Padmasana – Release the groins towards the knees. Raise the upper body, anterior spine vertically up. Head floats over the spine. Don’t take the folded palms too high up but position in such a way that the upper arms can lengthen and freedom in the armpit, side trunk. Exhale quietly and do not collapse. Maintain a steady, quiet pose.
Supine Padmasana arms extended overhead 2 mins each side.
Eka Pada AMS X 2 – A very, very, very long stay here. Learn to straighten the leg from the knee cap not by hardening the foot. Don’t shorten the distance because it is convenient for you (some of you are almost in uttanasana). Left outer thigh towards right foot, don’t drop outwards there.
Urdhva Prasarita Eka Padasana x 2 – A very, very, very long stay here. Right leg up. Lift higher and higher, taller and taller and get the beautiful descent of the trunk. Hold the left ankle with the right hand. On the second repeat he instructed us to go into the pose and hold the pose without strain. Synchronise the descent of the trunk with the lift of the leg and become like one of those weighted mechanisms that continually moves as the weight is distributed on one side or the other without any further input of energy (he couldn’t remember what they are called but we all got the idea) Can you release the facial tension and do a lot less while still maintaining the pose. This really made a big difference in my ability to sustain the pose- the extra work we give ourselves!
Padangusthasana – Feet hip distance, create traction – big toes pressing down, fingers pulling up, inner arms to outer arms and inner legs to outer legs, centre body soft, not hard.
Janu Sirsasana – Don’t take your bent leg back – observe how this completely distorts the back body so that one side rib twists up and bulges and the other side of the body is short. This is a misunderstanding of the pose, keep the bent leg foot pressed into the thigh. Take the extended leg slightly angular across the centre line and extend forward like paschimottonasana. More freedom in left rib cage. Broaden right side. Observe the natural length of the breath. Feel how the slight turn of the trunk brings a slight twist in the back body, important for those who have diabetes. Release one hand, bend the arm and take the fingertips to the floor to lift up, turn and lengthen further along the leg. Keep the length on both sides, exhale in abdomen and broaden, churn. What is the inhalation / exhalation of the pose? Exhale slowly, the breath has to trickle, find it's own space.
TMEPP slightly angular so that the extended leg crosses in more and you go forward straight like paschimottanasana. Slight turn of the abdomen (like parsvottonasana) and find out what is the exhalation. Krounchasana Try both modes of doing - the leg making the lift and the trunk a little back and find out what the heaviness of the back body. Then lift the back body more and bring the trunk to the leg and climb up there. Become lighter. Long time here both sides. Down into…..
Trianga Mukha Eka Pada Paschimottonasana
Urdhva Namasakarasana –Wrists on the head and then synchronising with your exhalation slowly take the arms up with the length of your side ribs. As if there is a walnut between your palms, crush it! And if it suits you to imagine your head as a walnut, crush your brain also. Looong stay here and then straight into…
Utkatasana feet together and then feet apart – Hands in Urdhva Namasakarasana If you are making a six pack it is wrong action. Try taking feet apart and soften the abdomen. Even if you don’t bend the legs so much make the length in the side trunk and sides of the ribs. Back rib and front rib longer.
Virabhadrasana 1 Hands in Urdhva Namaskarasana or Urdhva Hastasana (arms behind the ears)– Find out what length you can bring to the abdomen with the arm action
Virabhadarasana 2 –Make it your personal best! Connect your left arm and left rib to the platform. Spread the chest from the centre to the sides and then find out can your inhalation touch the upper side chest and your exhalation touch the base of the abdomen.
Supta Virasana arms extended over head.
Dwi Pada Viparita Dandasana and eka pada viparita dandasana
Supta Bhekasana – top of feet over the bolster, so that feet are up and knees are down, then lie back with the chest rolled open and shoulders down. If the knees lift up and you cannot do, supta virasana as an alternative. This pose is not often practiced and deserves more love
Chatushpadasana Don’t suck the outer knees in, but instead lengthen from the outer hip to outer knee. Eka pada chatushpadasana – both hands catching one ankle, then you have to hop that foot away again to get the traction.
Place the hands in the back Setu Bandha and walk left foot more to the centre, raise the right leg up into eka pada setu bandha. Repeat left side..
Supta Baddha Konasana – tightly rolled blanket under the centre line of the tailbone and sacrum and feet up on the bolster. This (slightly precarious) arrangement makes it really obvious if there is discrepancy between left and right side. Get that even placement, opening and spread. The muscular body gets some grip from active poses but here you have to completely let that muscular grip release and soften. The lower pelvic abdominal area has to have an open flow of energy, if the pubic bone is tilted towards the abdomen causing it to sink slightly backward, the energy is caught there like a stagnant pool.
Savasana –The bottom of the ribcage is the shoreline and the breath like the ocean from the lower pelvic abdomen to the bottom of the ribcage, let it flow. It's really only in your own savasana that you can fully explore it's depths, that's why Guruji said that meditation cannot be taught - it's impossible to go truly inside when someone is blathering on.