The day started with a delicious early morning swim in the Arabian Sea in Benaulim, Goa. I flew here from the UK to see my teachers and dear friends Gerry and Lynda and to take a few days to get over the worst of the jet lag, so that I arrive in Pune refreshed and ready to receive the teaching. I've had a lovely few days of practice, cycling, swimming in the warm sea, eating freshly caught fish from the tandoori oven and even a bit of birdwatching thrown in. Our guide Shiva took us on a tour around the backstreets and backwaters of Benaulim where we saw bee eaters, kingfishers, herons, bronze winged jacanas, little egrets and purple moorhen to name but a few. I also learnt, to my surprise, that many of
the fruits that we think of as native to India, were infact brought over by the Portuguese - pineapples, papayas, guavas, custard apples, chiku and passion fruit!
It has been a really last minute trip this time - I booked my flights at 2am on Monday morning and was flying by Wednesday afternoon. The amazing www.visagenie.co.uk getting my visa to me in less than 24 hours! The reason for this sudden decision? Finding out that there will be no Senior 2 Assessment in November 2020, thereby removing the incentive for me to go in October as exam prep. February is a MUCH better time for me to be escaping the UK. I arrived in Model Colony just in time to head straight over to the insitute for 6pm intermediate with Rajalaxmi. Lots of familiar faces all around, which is great as I've come without any of my normal buddies. It was a pretty straightforward class but it immediately struck me how we went straight for building up strength and withstanding suffering! Holding the concave back standing poses half way down with arms extending fowards and twisting to one side for interminably long times and Rajalaxmi as ever, seemingly immune to the puffing and groaning of her students. The local guy next to me unable to reach the floor in the standing poses and struggling away valiantly. Welcome to Pune! Class sequence below.
Rajalaxmi – 3rd February 2020 – Standing Poses
Swastikasana – Don’t take your arms too much back as this takes the shoulder blades out, instead bend the elbow so that you can move your shoulder blades into you. Exhaling from the brain cells downwards. Exhaling so that the abdomen releases away from the ribcage.
Tadasasna – Bend knees like utkatasana (repeated this adjustment 3 or 4 times) and move the sacrum/tailbone into you, lifting the pubic bone up at the front. Take your fingers to the very tops of the thigh bones – they shouldn’t go forwards, but move into the body and get sucked upward. Learn to be sensitive and feel them – heads of thigh bones IN. To straighten the knees suck the quadricep up and release the buttock flesh down, spreading the back thigh.
Urdhva Hastasana – The abdomen should not fall forward. Urdhva Baddangullyasana
Prasarita Paddotonasana x 2 1) Arms extending forwards at the half way point – why? a) So that you don’t sink the lumbar down b) So that you use your legs. Hold 30 secs or so 2) Arms extend forwards like Adho Mukha Svanasana, so sides of the trunk long, but legs stay back in Prasarita Paddottonasana. 3) Keep length of trunk, walk hands back to palms down concave back. Be on the outstep! Press the outer foot bone down. 4)Then walk hands further back and release onto the back crown – not where you are for sirsasana but a little further back, so that head is a little tucked under. Palms pressing the floor and press the wristbone down – spread the wrist – press and spread! – Then move from the shoulder to the elbow so that the upper arm is long and anti-gravity lift of shoulders upwards. 4) Now keep the hands there and lift the head up, back to concave back. Wristbone should NOT lift away from the floor, press down there. If wristbone is lifting then only hands a small bit forwards, until you can really press the wrist down.
Uttanasansa – Feet together
Adho Mukha Vrksasana - Elbows back towards wall and buttocks, sacrum forward and upward. Buttocks should not drop back towards the wall.
Sirsasana 1) Classic Pose 2) Open palm sirsasana (3 point head stand) she gave a demo with palms open under the mat which should make an equilateral triangle with the head. Bring elbows towards each other, extend flesh of the upper arm from shoulder towards the elbow and press root of the wrist downward, anti- gravitational lift of shoulders (all the same instructions as prasarita paddotanasana) 3) Mukta Hasta Sirsasana – one after the other extend the arms forward and place the back of the hand on the floor. 4) Baddha Hasta Sirsasana – Elbows folded sirsasana, both folds 5) Sirsasana 4, palms together, elbows
together, see pic for ref. 5) Then finally repeat ‘normal’ sirsasana and find out what is the lift of the shoulders?
Tadasana – step right foot forward, spread buttock flesh away from the spine and move front leg hip back. Turn the pelvis – TWIST! A little like a dance! Don’t turn chest and leave pelvis behind, pelvis has to turn.– Parsvottonasana – Urdhva Hasta Extend upwards and even a little backwards. Weight on the back foot. Then reach forward with the arms, stopping half way and extend both arms slightly over to right side, keeping both sides of the waist extending. HOLD and then both hands down Parsvott concave back making sure not to shorten the right side of the waist by allowing the right hip to move towards the armpit. She demonstrated on a student how this hip has to go back, back, back.Parsvott Head down walk the arms forward, forward, forward. Repeat both sides x 2 same method (once before, once after demo).
Parivrtta Trikonasana from tadasasna, RL forward, urdhva hastasana – Now bend the elbow and don’t go down with the hand at all, but go with the ribcage. Elbow folded so that hand doesn’t come down at all. Bring the ribcage DOWN! And turn it to the right side, bring it down and turn! And then only bring the palm down. Spine extend and head back to move the back ribs in, move the sternum chest towards the head side.
Repeat parivrtta trikonasana as before, but this time with the top elbow like Gomukhasana, so that the ribs come down and turn well before placing the hand and see how the whole palm easily comes to the floor.
Dandasana - Janu Sirsasana CCB move the bottom back rib inside and then head down. Parivrtta Janu Sirsasana X 2 bring the elbow inside and use your other hand to bring it forwards. Bring the shoulder blade inside the leg. Take the top arm up and take it back, back, back to turn and then only straight arm over the ear.
Paschimottonasana – Find out how much you can extend the trunk.
Salamba Sarvangasana Throw the legs back and move the buttocks forward. Take the hands from the back and extend them backwards Nirlambe Sarvangasana Can you balance? Halasana arms over the head and back up to Nirlambe Sarvangasana and Halasana arms extended up along torso, palms facing thighs and back up into Nirlambe Sarvangasana. When rolling down from Halasana, see that you come vertabrae by vertabrae so as not to jerk the body.
Pasasana x 2 each side Heels on the mat, raise right arm to extend the side trunk and turn to the right side, bring elbow over the outside of the knee so that there is no daylight between armpit and leg.
Malasana head down, hold heels.