Postural Practice Pointer 29 – Bhāvana on the rear leg when moving in and out of Parśva Uttānāsana
In keeping with the Bhāvana in Parśva Uttānāsana
around the intelligent leg being the rear leg.
Consider when entering and leaving the pose dynamically
paying attention to the rear leg remaining a working leg;
within the tendency for the front leg to increasingly
become the supporting leg as the body lowers and
the bracing leg as the trunk is raised upwards.
Postural Practice Pointer 28 – Bhāvana when staying in Ardha Matsyendrāsana
In terms of weight bearing pressure on the front foot and rear hand.
Keep all the toes on the front foot as if nailed to the ground, and the
ground contact weight in the rear fingers, as if as light as a feather.
Postural Practice Pointer 27 – Bhāvana when working with Vīrabhadrāsana
Front Leg Focus on Toes Down
Rear Leg Focus on Heel Down
Front Knee Bent Forwards
Rear Knee Straightened Backwards
Front Leg Hip Lifted Backwards
Rear Leg Hip Lifted Forwards
Front Leg Shoulder Drawn Back
Rear leg Shoulder Drawn Forward
Upper Back and Chest Arching Forwards
Resisting the Lower Back from Bending Backwards
Postural Practice Pointer 26 – Bhāvana when moving or staying in Dvipāda Pīṭham
When lifting or staying within the Pūraka focus on
drawing upwards, as if raising from the chest,
rather than just raising as if from the hips.
When lowering or staying within the Recaka focus on
not collapsing down, but drawing in from the abdomen,
rather than the body just dropping as if from the hips.
Postural Practice Pointer 24 – In Dvipāda Pīṭham a key Bhāvana is on the arms.
With regard to Dvi Pāda Pīṭham, a key Bhāvana is on how we use the arms.
In the beginning try exploring leaving out raising the arms as you come up,
as shoulder movement means that people can start to move about on the mat.
Here we need to focus on lifting the body upwards as many people slide backwards.
Also many people will push up too much from the buttocks and distend the belly,
which in turn will increase the abdominal pressure and disturb the Apāna Sthāna.
So initially when learning this posture the Bhāvana of lifting from the feet is enough.
Then adding the engagement of a Bhāvana on the arms, by making the arms active.
Thus whilst lifting engage pushing the full length of the arms down firmly on the floor.
Once the legs are active and the arms are active, the neck can lengthen more naturally.
Postural Practice Pointer 23 – Bhāvana for the Hips in Parśva Uttānāsana
When moving into Parśva Uttānāsana.
Lift the forward leg hip up and
draw the rear leg hip forward.
When coming up from Parśva Uttānāsana.
Keep the forward leg hip lifted and
the rear leg hip drawn forward.
Postural Practice Pointer 21 – Backbends disturb the exhale
Backbends disturb the length and quality of the exhale,
in that they impact the Apāna and push the Mūla downwards.
Thus we need to consider an appropriate Pratikriyā Āsana
to compensate for this disturbance to the Apāna Sthāna.
Hence Pratikriyā such as Apānāsana to restore the Apāna.
Postural Practice Pointer 19 – In Dvipāda Pīṭham a key Bhāvana is on the feet.
With regard to Dvi Pāda Pīṭham, a key Bhāvana is on the feet.
A common approach is people not working from their feet.
Instead they are primarily using their buttocks to push up.
Desikachar taught that we both lift and lower from the feet
Thus Two Foot Support is controlled by using both feet.
Postural Practice Pointer 17 – Bhāvana for moving into Sālambana Bhujaṅgāsana
1. Keeping the chin in Jālandhara Bandha till the effect is felt
in the lower back will support extending the upper back.
2. Keeping the abdomen firm as you inhale will help to concentrate
the breath into the Prāṇa Sthāna, as well as minimising the
effect of the downward pressure on the Apāna Sthāna.
Postural Practice Pointers 16 – A little movement in a lot of places
One principle taught to me by Desikachar,
related to our relationship with our spine from a Yoga perspective,
whether on a physical, energetic or psychic level.
It is the notion that we are looking for a little movement in a lot of places,
rather than a lot of movement in a few places.
Postural Practice Pointer 15 – Forward bending and Prāṇa to Apāna Breathing
When moving away from the lower limbs during forward bend Āsana,
move firstly by as if arching from the arms and upper back,
before ultimately arching from the lower back.
In terms of a Bhāvana during the movement,
the focus is on inhaling from Prāṇa Sthāna towards Apāna Sthāna.
Thus breathing as if from the upper chest towards the lower abdomen.
Postural Practice Pointer 14 – Forward bending and Apāna to Prāṇa Breathing
When bending towards the lower limbs during forward bend Āsana,
move firstly by as if rounding from the lower back,
before ultimately rounding from the upper back.
In terms of a Bhāvana during the movement,
the focus is on exhaling from Apāna Sthāna towards Prāṇa Sthāna.
Thus breathing as if from the lower abdomen towards the upper chest.
Postural Practice Pointer 13 – The Lakṣana of Parśva Trikoṇāsana
The Lakṣana of Parśva Trikoṇāsana, or side triangle pose,
is as a movement OF the spine to the side over one leg,
rather than as a bending or arcing IN the spine towards the side.
Thus the aim is for the spine to stay straight relative to the leg,
with the intention of extending it from crown to coccyx.
Postural Practice Pointer 12 – The Viniyoga of Daṇḍāsana
“The starting point determines the journey.”
- Legs are together unless some anatomical reason why this is not possible
- The sides of the feet are maintained together, stretch the back of the heels
- A key point here is having active hips, releasing the knees can activate the hips
- Someone who is stiff in spine and legs will certainly need to release the knees
- Release the knees as much as is required to extend the spine towards vertical
- Someone who is flexible may also need to release the knees so as to activate hips
- The mortar (hips/pelvis) must be strong for the pestle (spine) to work strongly
- Shoulder blades are back, feel the channel between the shoulder blades
- Back of the neck drawn up to help lift chest up
- Hands or fingers on the ground back by hips but not weight bearing
Postural Practice Pointer 11 – Vinyāsa for Jaṭhara Parivṛtti
This is a suggestion for a Vinyāsa for approaching and leaving Jaṭhara Parivṛtti.
When lowering from the upward raised legs position use one long exhale,
but through two distinct stages of movement.
The first part of the exhale is to lower the knees over the chest.
The second part of the exhale is used to rotate the trunk into the twist.
The exit is the exact counterpart with one inhale and two stages of movement.
The first part of the inhale brings the knees over the chest.
The second part of the inhale extends the legs upwards.
A suggestion for Bhāvana is to gradually increase the stay.
For example stay one breath each side the first time
and then increase the stay next time to two breaths each side
and finally stay three breaths each side.
As to breathing a suggested ratio of 18.104.22.168. during both movement and stay.
Postural Practice Pointer 10 – Forward bends are Paścimatāna Āsana or Back Stretches
Forward Bends are back stretching Āsana in terms of Bhāvana.
Thus in Paścimatāna Āsana one of the foci is on avoiding pushing
from the lower back as you bend forward.
Thus move forward from the abdominal area by drawing it back,
to encourage the lower back to respond by lengthening.
If we push from the lower back in forward bends,
such as Paścimatānāsana, it can tighten this area,
thus inhibiting the focus on the quality of the Apāna Lakṣaṇa,
as well as transferring stress to the sacrum, hips and hamstrings.
Prone Backbends as front stretches are wall to wall Āsana
in terms of Bhāvana, rather than floor to ceiling.
Thus in Sālamba Bhujaṅgāsana the focus is on
the sternum stretching forwards and
the big toes stretching backwards.
Postural Practice Pointer 8 – The Intelligent Leg
The intelligent leg is the back leg.
Postural Pointer 6 – Staying in Stillness
Making the Breath longer than the Stillness.
Making the Breath longer than the Stillness
means the body needs to be completely still before
the Recaka or Exhale is started and especially before it is stopped.
Equally the the body needs to be completely still before
the Pūraka or inhale is started and especially before it is stopped.
This is harder than it sounds given the propensity to want to tweak or adjust the body
at the beginning and especially when at the end of a movement.
Thus making the breath longer than the Movement
also means making the breath longer than the Stillness.