Thursday, 18 April 2013
We had a great time and the hip and arm balance workshop last Saturday. It was pretty tiring but fun at the same time.
One of the poses we looked at was parsva bakasana. We spent a lot of time doing variations of this pose in different orientations to gravity so that the final pose felt (almost) effortless.
This pose requires a combination of squatting, twisting, and arm balancing. Below is one of the ways you can get yourself flying into it! Before you try, warm up with general squats, twists, planks, side stretches, and some down dogs.
You definitely need to employ 'scooping' of the shoulders in this pose. Take your arms out in front of you and bend your elbows. Your fingers will point up to the sky, fingers spread.
Now, imagine and feel your armpits. Press them down towards your waist, forwards, and towards one another. Your shoulder blades should come around the side of your ribs and your upper back should feel broad.
Bring your feet together, ankles pressing together but heels apart. Lift the heels high and press the toes down. Bend the knees slightly, as you do so, tighten behind the knees.
Keep bending the knees more, making sure to stay firm behind the knees and keep lifting the heels.
Lower until your bottom almost touches your heels. Don't let the bottom 'sink'. This is an active squat where your body feels light and as though it is moving up.
In the squat, press the sitting bones down and forward, as though you are scooping them towards your heels. This will bring a firmness to your lower belly without you needing to pull the navel to the spine.
Twist and turn
Keep the scooping shoulders and pressing the sitting bones forwards then turn to one side and fold forward, trying to get your opposite elbow and outer thigh touching. They need to stay stuck together.
Once you have the connection between the arm and thigh, continue to scoop the shoulders and scoop the sitting bones.
Hands to Floor
Keeping all of these actions, take the hands to the floor so they are flat. The hand closest to you will have more weight on it at this stage. Move sitting bones forward, scoop the shoulders. Hands pressing down.
Once the hands are on the floor, shift your body weight sideways so there is more weight through the outside hand. You won't feel the weight is even between both hands but you will need to shift weight from the near hand or you won't get left. As you swing to the side your bottom will float away from the heels a little as the pelvis comes with you. You will need to keep the thighs and arm bones connected though. Keep scooping arms and pressing sitting bones forward.
Once you have swung to the side you need to go forwards as well. Keep shifting the weight more and more forwards until your feet start to feel irresistably light. Sitting bones move forwards, shoulders are scooping. You can move your top hip towards your top shoulder as though trying to shorten the top side waist and, voila, the feet should lift off!
May your practice be happy, safe, and free!