Picture courtesy of Caron Maso Murray
Another beautiful class from Sunita this morning and perfect for those of us who were feeling a little ragged after a week of strenuous backbend classes. It is really interesting to witness how her teaching has evolved - the sequence was expertly put together and engaging, with some particularly effective adjustments for those of us with tight hips and groins. Once again we honed right in on some areas that I really need to work on. The work that I found especially effective was coming from upavista to half upavista / half marichyasana and then once the bone had descended into the socket, bringing the leg from marichyasana to baddha konasana followed by extending forward over that leg so that it surrendered to the floor. We came up quietly so as not to make the leg aggressive and it actually stayed on the floor. Many repeats of this. See also the work below in ardha chandrasana and supta padangusthasana 2. Really helpful. At the very end of the class after we'd done our sarvangasana and mentally we thought the class had finished, she asked us to sit on the edge of the supports and go for upavista forwards - well it was like a knife slicing through melted better - amazing! chest on the floor and no resistance or hardness anywhere.
Within minutes of the class starting, I knew that I wouldn't be able to remember the sequence, too many similar sitting poses repeated at various points in the class, so you'll have to settle for the gist of the class (thanks to Jilliana Burgess for being so helpful in trying to help me to unscramble the jigsaw!). Best case scenario for me is when one of the note takers shares the sequence with me so that it like the outline of the drawing and I just have to fill in the colour without having to waste time whether this pose ot that pose came here or there, but there were no notetakers at all today. People have begun heading homeward as we now head into restorative / pranayama week.
We had a sociable evening over with the London crowd, who hosted a 'party' so a nice evening of eating, drinking and sharing experiences of travelling in India and the yoga world.
Sunita – 22nd February 2020 – Groins opening
AMVirasana - Someone who was showing an obvious discomfort in the shoulder was told to turm her palms to face each other, rather than palms facing the floor.
Tadasana - facing Patanjali, arms extended, elbows firm, jump to
Trikonasana – She took some time to observe our trikonasana and could see that we all were stiff and not opening well.
Upavista Konasana – Best pose for opening the groins when there is stiffness. When the body is stiff and standing poses are not coming, it only takes a few minutes to do this preparation. First we have to make space – if the soil is hard, the roots cannot penetrate the soil, so we have to till the soil. In the same way in asana we have to make the outer surface of the body soft in order to be able to penetrate to the deeper layers, to do the work inside. A couple of minutes here and then 1 leg baddha konasana, lengthening the inner thigh to take the knee down and other side. Raise the arms to Urdha Hasta half baddha konasna / half upavista konasana. Approx 60 second hold each side.
Upavista Konasana - Bend right leg to Marichyasana – press the foot and let the thigh bone descend DOWN into the socket. First that bone has to descend and THEN bring the leg out to Baddha Konasana. Lift the knee slightly up and then LENGTHEN THE THIGH AWAY TO TAKE THE KNEE DOWN. Are you getting that? Now turn to face over the right knee and extend forwards over that leg (my opposite buttock came up a little and this was not commented on, one way or another). Does the knee descend down? Now staying absolutely quiet there, come up to vertical, maintaining the length of the thigh and the knee down X 3 or 4 each side - Better? It definitely was.
Tadasana - Do your legs feel different? is there a better sealing of the inner legs? (the inner legs were completely glued together and the back of the legs were well spread)
Trikonasana – Lift the toes up and pivot on the heel to turn the foot, so that whole leg turns in its socket - otherwise afterwards you have to have separate instructions to turn the knee, turn the thigh etc NO! if you lift the toes and turn on the heel, whole leg is already turned. Extend outward to go down to trikonasana and the right thigh bone has to get sucked upward there. Now roll the pelvis open.
Parsvakonasana – Pause with the arm bent on the bent leg thigh to open that groin and cut the buttock forward. Then extend side trunk so that it is placed along the thigh and take the hand down (in front if you need to, to keep the groin opening or behind if you have that action).
Ardha Chandrasana – Cut the right buttock deep into you. Lift the left leg HIGHER Lift it UP!! LIFT IT!! And the roll the top hip bone backward. So if you are in the assessment and they say that your alignment is out, tell them you are doing it for better pelvic opening!!
Prasarita Paddotonasana -Buttocks should not point upwards but spread out wide to the sides – Prasarita means wide spread so make sure you get that spreading action.
Virasana and Parvatasana – Lift up onto the knees first of all and when you sit, see that you lengthen the back thigh from the back of the knee TOWARDS the buttocks.
Tadasana - Urdhva Hastasana - Uttanasana - AMSvanasana – UMSvanasana – AMS – UMS – AMS - UMSvanasana - AMS -Uttanasana.
Supta Padangusthasana 2 – To get the freedom in the groins start by bending the floor leg and allowing it to fall a little to the side like baddha konasana and find out how this gives you more freedom in the groins to bring the sideways leg further down. Then to straighten the floor leg “LISTEN!!” you have to first lift it 6 inches off the floor, extend the back thigh away and opening the pelvis from the right to the left side place it down on the floor by taking the THIGH downward. And now can you see your ardha chandrasana here? (like earlier when we had lifted the up leg in ardha chandrasana to get the freedom to open the pelvic by rolling the top hip backward as the lower buttock cut forward).
Anantasana – Lie down on the right side and make the right side of the body SHARP. Take the heels back, take the elbow back, take the head back. Bend up the left leg like vrksasana and pressing the right side of the body sharp into the floor, raise the left arm straight upwards. Here we stayed for a while just feeling a nice stable balance. Then catch the right big toe with the left fingers and extend the right leg straight up. Cut the right buttock into you and move the whole back of the body to the front of the body. Now at the front of the body move the abdomen towards the head side. MOVE THE ABDOMEN TOWARDS THE HEAD SIDE. When we came down she talked about this instruction and asked us what that meant the pose would be good for. In my own head I thought pelvic abdominal problem / prolapse. The answer she was looking for was hernia. (Gulnaz pointed out that it was good for creating space in pregnancy when the proper supports are taken bolsters, halasana box etc). We looked at one of the local students doing the pose with the wall support behind and a belt to hold the foot.
Upavista Konasana – Bend right leg like baddha konasana but don’t keep the foot too near the body. Take hold of the leg and swing it outward and inward a few times to get the movement going there. Place the left foot on the right foot - do NOT swing in! Keep the knees WIDE.
Bend right leg like baddha konasana but don’t keep the foot too near the body and then place the left foot on the right knee- do NOT swing in! Keep the knees WIDE.
Baddha Konasana – You know how in Light on Yoga he interlocks his fingers around the feet and stretches upward? Like that do, but use your hands to peel open the feet. NOT rigid, keep them SOFT you have to be gentle, they are like your two babies, how gently you will handle them!
Supine padmasana prep bend both legs, place right foot on left knee / thigh / root of thigh according to what is possible and holding the foot with the left hand. Insert the thumb into the right knee to further press that knee away. We pressed and released several times before swapping the side. Again we folded the right leg and this time we brought the left foot also on top, so that we were in a supine padmasana (or variation of depending on where the foot could reach) with the knees facing the ceiling, not releasing down onto the floor. She made the point here that in this variation there is no weight on the knees, like in seated posture
AMSvanasana - Is it a different Adho Mukha Svanasana? Lift the heels fully upward to create the height and then take the sides of the legs BACK – inner edge and outer edge of the leg backwards, maintaining the height to extend the heels back and down.
Prasarita Paddottonasana – Tuck the head in between the palms.
Sirsasana – Separate the feet hip distance apart, move the buttocks AND the abdomen forward (do not have that hollow area in the abdomen). – Upavista Konasana – Baddha Konasana
Sarvangasana - Upavista Konasana Feet point forward in Upavista Konasana - Baddha Konasana - Supta Konasana – catch your feet - Halasana
Upavista Konasana forwards
Baddha Konasana forwards – Exhale and go there