The first thing on my mind when I woke this morning was FRUIT. I love the daily ritual of walking down to the fruit seller next to the park and stocking up on locally grown, ludicrously tasty fruit. In season at the moment are figs, strawberries, pomegranates, chikus and pineapple. The small bananas they sell here, we don't get at home and they have a firmer texture and and a more punchy, piquant - almost pear drop flavour. Yum. I carried on through the park to pick up a bolster and some study materials from the shop at the institute so that I can get set up with everything I need here for my practice and a month of learning.
I am in a new apartment, near the old Post Office with a fabulous huge terrace in the treetops where I can watch the birds, sip tea and practice to my hearts content. There is a choice of sun or shade and even a bathroom and shower up there. It's a really modern well-eqipped apartment and our host Dheeraj is super helpful and responsive to sort out any problems that arise. Highly recommended.
Class this evening with Rajalaxmi again, this time intermediate 1 so a more basic, but no less thorough class. We began with a sequence of arm work with super long holds - you know the scenario, you're just at the very limit of what you can endure and the teacher's attention gets pulled to someone who needs correcting, for what will be a completely unknown length of time, you start to quake and shake and pray that this will come to an end soon - there were a few fallen comrades around me. Sequence below pic, armwork looong holds, standing poses brief and simple with little or no recovery time between repeats.
Rajalaxmi – Intermediate 1 – Standing Poses 4th February 2020
AMVirasana – getting the length on the sides of the trunk. Lengthen the breastbone forward by moving the dorsal spine into you.
AMSvanasana lengthening, lengthening, lengthening. After long hold, bend knees a little and feel the abdomen that is closest to the legs – that soft part there – lengthen it and draw it back with the legs action. Move it towards the legs. Knees bent, sides of waist lengthen, sides of the body, back of the body, front of the body – move it towards the legs side and lengthen, lengthen, lengthen. Maintain that length and straighten the legs.
AMSvanasana Now lift the heels and feel how the buttock bones can lift. Now maintaining that height, extend the heels downwards.
Tadasana The frontal thighs have to press back and the tailbone has to press forwards, simultaneously. Urdhva Hastasana palms facing forward and take the arms back. Resist the wrist forward and take the hands further and further backwards, shoulder blades pressing in and arms lengthening, get taller and taller. Palms face each other, then spread arms out to sides spread them wide, don’t move the shoulder blades in towards the spine, but spread them outwards along with the arms and fingers extending, then take the arms further and further backwards, armpits opening. Just when we could hardly take any more Urdhva Hastasana repeat.
Trikonasana Lengthen right side of waist, extend away, away, away and at the same time as you lengthen down, right armpit forward, right shoulder rolling backward. Extend so much and then catch the ankle. Then release the leg and once more extend the lower side of the waist further, before recatching the ankle.
Vira 2 Bend the leg and make a square
Parsvakonasana Make a square and go down, extending the top arm straight up. Now take it back, further and further take the top arm back. Then in that line only, turn the palm and extend it over the ear.
Vira 1 Extend the arms up and turn. Now lengthen the sides of the waist, extend the arms further upward and take them further backwards. Bend the front leg to make a square.
Ardha Chandrasana X 3 Go to parsvakonasana, now place the hand and hop in with the back foot, now STOP! WAIT! No hurry! Press the standing leg foot down, heavily, PRESS! Now when you lift the leg, first you have to make it HEAVY. Make it dense, make it heavy, make it firm, make it straight.
Demo She showed the pose from behind, how when you straighten the standing leg, you have to roll the buttock / top thigh backwards away from the armpit and move that buttock bone into you, move it forward so that the groin moves forward. The inner thigh, inner knee and inner ankle all in one line. Groin has to press forward.
Repeat Ardha Chandrasana facing support (wall / column / grill / trestle) so that you can fully move that buttock bone into you.
Repeat Ardha Chandrasana in centre of room – 1) weight in the front foot, pressing 2) back leg dense heavy to lift with resistance 3) buttock bone deep inward and then 4) the upper leg thigh should not face the floor, you have to lift it and roll back there so that it faces the front of the room, not rolling downwards.
Uttanasana into Vira 3 x 2 Feet together, fingertips to floor raise the right leg. Now fingertips touching, but not touching so that you can raise the arms and extend them forwards (stupidly difficult).
Eka Pada Adho Mukha Svanasana – lift the leg and extend it straight. Take it higher, extend it further and lengthen both sides of the waist.
Uttanasana into Vira 3 repeat
Vira 3 hands to wall / ledge / column – but don’t let the hands touch- lift the arms up and extend them forwards, but take the trunk down parallel with the floor.
Baddha Konasana fingers cup shaped behind to get the length on the sides of the trunk and buttocks should not drop backwards - Now the buttock bones are like those ardha chandrasana buttock bones, how they had to move into you. Lift up and move them deep into you, descending the knees further downward. From the inner groin to the inner knee extending outwards, but from the outer knees to the back of the hip, the energy has to feed back in towards the socket and find out how if you press heel on heel, that energy is fed back. Long stay and then catch around the ankles and stretch up tall.
Upavista Konasana – Come off of the sticky mat, or you won’t get the feel of how the backs of the legs have to extend away from the groins to the heels, you have to lengthen there. Lift up and open the groins, extending the backs of the legs away and feel the contact of the back of the leg on the floor, inner seam of the thigh has to press the floor. Now hold the big toes, move the back rib inwards and look up Padangustha Upavista Konasana Concave Back.
Eka Pada Sirsasana Everyone at the wall, so that knuckles are touching the wall. Eka Pada, walk in so that the sacrum comes to the wall, sides of the waist extending fully upward, but note that shoulders are not falling back on the wall and dorsal is inwards. Your sacrum needs to be touching the wall, otherwise you will be too far away to be able to raise the leg up where it can touch the wall. Lower trunk extension X 3 each leg.
Turn around AMSvanasana heels to wall and lift up, up, up – extension of side waist.
Open palm sirsasana (3 point headstand) Same method using the wall.
Back into the centre for regular Sirsasana 3 minutes only, straight pose.
Chatushpadasana – Halasana – Sarvangasana – Take feet apart and bring right leg down in line with shoulder, so more like parsvaikapada than eka pada, all the way to the floor, keeping the up leg straight and facing forwards. Several times up and down each side.
Halasana feet apart, now repeat from the floor, raising alternate legs to eka pada sarvangasana
Virasana in Sarvangasana Bend the legs and raise knees and thighs vertically upwards, pressing the buttock / sacrum / tailbone deep inwards. Now press feet towards the buttocks and kick the buttocks with your heels several times. Kick! Now bring the knees towards the face, hold and then unfold the legs to halasana. Supta konasana, walk left leg to right leg and bend the knees parsva karnapidasana and repeat on left side.
Paschimottonasana Head supported on the blanket.
Marichyasana 3 x 2 each side, heel up on the edge of the thick mats, elbow over knee so that there is no gap between armpit and leg.