Hey! We’re getting somewhere, right? Approaching half-way through the fundamental, standing poses.
As a reminder, a month-long effort to get back-to-basics and try to loosen up some of my intransigent stiffness led me to highlight some of the for-stiff-people modifications I’ve got going on in my somewhat like Ashtanga practice. At least a few people responded positively, so we are keepin’ on.
I’ve had varying degrees of “Bad man” adjustments in the poses up to this point. But now, well, there’s no turning back.
This one involves a yoga block.
For Parshvakonasa, I’ve got a block under the hand that’s on the floor (as opposed to the one in the air; I know, no duh). The point here is to emphasize the alignment. I try to imagine I’m as flat as possible against a wall. (I suppose I could go and move over against a wall for this and Trikonasana, but I am trying to maintain the breath/movement/vinyasa aspect of the practice as much as possible.) Not over-extending down to the floor also seems to have helped with the bandha engagement — I guess moving down too much counters the lifting of Uddiyana bandha?
I also, instead of lifting the top arm over my head and out in front of me, I’m wrapping it down around my back, landing my hand almost near my waist. This, too, seems to be helping with the alignment and stretch or twist of the pose.
Then here’s a neat trick. As you finish the first side and move up with your breath, you can hand off the block from the right hand to the left in a fluid, behind-the-back motion. One thing I certainly don’t like about blocks and other props is that, I’ve found, they tend to disrupt the natural movement of the vinyasas. Here, at least for me, that’s not a problem.
In the twisted or reverse version of the pose, I do something I’ve actually heard an Ashtanga teacher yell at a student not to do — I leverage the lower elbow against my front leg and press my palms together. My fingers are pointed toward my face and I’ve created, more or less, a square with my arms.
Apparently, for some teachers, this is very bad!
For me, though, it helps with the twist and, again, keeps me from over-extending down toward the floor.
Oh, and I should point out — one focus is always on keeping the back foot flat on the floor. If I had a dime for every time Tim Miller has pressed down on the outside of my foot in these poses, I’d probably have a couple more bucks to my name.
As I noted above, this is a pose that I seem to be able to find/isolate both Mula and Uddiyana bandhas. If you’re trying to instruct someone on these mysteries, perhaps this is a pose to work with to that end.
Finally: To finish, perhaps, our coverage of the rape last December in New Dehli: All four men found guilty have been sentenced to death.
Posted by Steve