apple blossoms (carolyn grady photo)
Saturday, May 14, blossomed cloudy and rainy – a fabulous day to drive through the vineyards into Westfield NY’s brilliant yoga studio PANTERRA for an afternoon exploring standing poses with teacher, Dariel Woltz. If you missed the poem I posted regarding my classes at Panterra, you may wish to read “body heart and soul” first.
Here are some idiosyncratic notes that I took during the afternoon:
We folded into UTTANASANA with bent knees, what I call the tucked ski jump position, this time with arms stretched forward so we could really feel the spine lengthening. ** Then we hugged our calves while resisting with the inner thighs until we could feel the pelvic floor open. ** After that occurred, we straightened our legs and hung, allowing the belly to soften and release deeply with every exhalation. ** The weight here is on the front of the heels or further forward for a bigger stretch. ** When ready, push into feet to come up.
ARDHA CHANDRASANA : A general measure for the hands is 6 inches forward and 8 inches out to the side. **The NAVICULAR bone – bone on the inside arch side of your foot – should lift in the complete pose. ** If you turn your front foot in, you are more likely to get a cramp in the outer hip. ** If over-arching, go lower, no block, so you don’t compress the kidney so much. ** When teaching this pose, always look at your student from the back of the pose.
TRIKONASANA : Counter-bend the upper torso BEFORE going down and continue to think about being in extension on the top rib side while going down. ** Make sure stance is wide enough; if it’s too short, it will limit hip action and the student will never get to the floor. ** When the right leg is forward, the right hip socket has to move back and away from the right big toe….the back hip must be allowed to move slightly forward.
ALL STANDING POSES Begin and End in TADASANA. Only once you step your feet apart do you tend to lose your back curves.
WARRIOR TWO : Front shin aligned from knee to ankle…knee pointing at 2nd and 3rd toes. Front thigh parallel to the floor…hip socket in line with knee. To find hip socket move finger inward and up a bit from the greater trochanter.
TICTACTOE: all aligned on front leg: knee – hip socket of front leg – sit bone of back leg
Watch for back knee – have it bend down first and then straighten it. Beginners tend to lean forward so practice pose with heel and fingers on wall. In the pose let the back pelvis face slightly forward.
FREE THE PELVIS from the legs!! See Eric Franklin’s Pelvic Power: Mind/Body Exercises for Strength, Flexibility, Posture, and Balance for Men and Women.
PARSVOKONASANA: Use block instead of elbow to get more revolution in upper body
Keep chin in and look at armpit…not off into space
3 Point Adjustment by teacher: Knee goes behind sitbone or thigh….Hand goes through forward arm and holds thigh towards arm…Back arm externally rotates back thigh
Heel to heel alignment OR front heel to back instep.
OTHER VARIATIONS: Ball or chair under front thigh…can put blanket on chair if chair too short
ROTATOR CUFF issues: make sure the shoulder blade goes down the back THEN revolve arm…can also leave top arm on hip!
For this as well as Trikonasana and other standing poses, try palms UP to externally rotate shoulder instead of internally rotating. Most folks invariably rotate inwardly when they raise their arms.
UTKATASANA: lightning bolt or chair pose….knees and heels are apart without rolling onto inner feet. Push into feet to come up. Try to sit with sit bones.
Practice with hands on hips first. No flexion in this pose! Can practice with block between thighs.
SEAT OF POWER POSE AT WALL: for knee and thigh strength….Excellent for warriors and Utkatasana….Place block between thighs…feet facing forward….use big bolster lengthwise on floor below for a landing pad. Try to go at least two breaths beyond when you think you should come out of pose.
PRASARITA PADOTTANASANA: Come out of pose as if in Tadasana…Practice Dog and Cat tilt in half pose….
WARRIOR 2 with mula bandha for more seasoned practitioners…think of energy coming through feet and into the pelvic floor and through head and out…For Beginners say “Try to spread the mat”
WARRIOR 1: Tuck tail, lift thigh…If there is low back pain, the groin is not opening…If student is jamming low back, have them take their torso slightly forward….If balance is an issue, go for a wider stance…
PRACTICE AT WALL: #1: with toes on wall
#2: with foot on angled block at wall without grounding back heel
DON’T LET CHEST CLOSE!!!! KEEP HEART OPEN!!
WARRIOR 1 TO WARRIOR 3 – use chair in front of short end of mat…try not touching the chair as you shift your weight fore\ward…then touch chair….Start in Warrior 1 with arms overhead…it’s actually easier in long run than to try to keep weight steady as you lift the arms from hanging position
Practice Supta Padanghustasana 3 to achieve pelvis position (dropping) in Warrior 3…That will stretch the ITT — ILIOTIBIALTRACT ….you can massage the ITT on roller or with hand—-it is related to colon and helps with related issues.
Also practice Salabasana to gain back strength for WARRIOR 3.
Bridge Pose with Mula Bandha also helps.
Dariel assisting Deb in parvritta parsvokonasana at wall (ckg photo)
In full pose: Front hip a little high to revolve from belly then drop down….
The afternoon ended with a glorious “stonehenge” savasana. On the way out to the car, I noticed glorious freedom in my fifty+ year hips! My pelvis had been freed Standing poses can do that to you ….