A story of how Iyengar yoga has helped a student with severe back issues become…
Liza Skaria of Calgary AB shares more thoughts on the online intensive with Abhijata Iyengar, this time on the fourth day of the sessions…
18 JUNE 2020 ; 6aM- 8aM
Clearly I was in love with last night’s practice, that I jumped straight into the next class this morning after waking up. I slept with such ease and comfort that I woke up rested although I didn’t have more than 6.5 hours of sleep. I’ve experienced this once before where I went for a neck and shoulder massage before bed and just felt incredible without the strain in the upper body. Hmm…must keep this in mind for the future!
Oh and the photo – a great memory with a lovely friendship made in Mexico:) Can’t believe that this was just over a year ago. Feels like a long time ago indeed.
PART 1 – PELVIC SPREAD
Supta Baddha Konasana
- Lying flat on the floor with no support we rested in supta baddha konasana.
- Abhi talked about the poses we choose to start a class – they help us to change the channel from the outer world oriented attention toward the body which ultimately leads toward the soul. My biggest take away in these days has been to once again let my body do some speaking for the time that I practice – taking me away from the head oriented daily rhythm we are in now.
- So staying here, I tried to see right hip and back to left and notice the lack of mobility in the right. It may be that my left side is actually too lose and needs somemore connection to the hip and leg. But in some poses this helps the mobility such as Padmasana.
- Observing this, we then came out and repeated this with the toes at the wall. Allowing that dorso lumbar area from yesterday to extend away from each other. Lifting our head to get the lumbar further away.
Supta Baddha Konasana with rolled conical blanket
- We rolled our blanket like a mysore masala dosa and placed the tip of the blanket at the sacrum. It provided a clear cue as to which groin was releasing less than the other. We lifted our buttocks off the blanket with the feet on the floor and as we extended the buttocks away from the lower back , we also spread the skin on either side of the sacrum away from the centre. We then placed one foot at a time back to Baddha Konasana starting with the less mobile side.
- Interesting that immediately I could go down lower.]
Supta Padang 2 with same conical blanket
- Feet at the wall and rolled blanket at the same sacral spot we went for supta 2 using a brick to support our extended right leg shin.
- And in this supine pose, we learnt how to extend the dorso lumbar area away from each other and keep the left inner thigh rotating down to the floor. And then learnt to keep the spine steady, while rotating the right abdomen toward the left.
- This was our cue to learn this action, as this pose resembles ardha chandrasana, eka pada sirsasana etc. Interesting!
- We sat facing the wall with legs in upavishta konasana. The intent was to have only the inside edge of feet touching the wall and rolling the metatarsals toward us. I.e. getting the feet to face away from the wall to either side. What groin work.
- Then we attempted to move closer to the wall. I think this is great exercise for my normally dull inner thigh area.
- And focusing on sitting tall and getting the sacral area in.
- Without this practice I am very sure that my sacrum would be completely jammed and coming out all the time. Even now, I constantly have to remind myself when I sit at work to maintain that posture.
- First we did it in the middle of the room learning the same focus as we learnt in supta 2 and supine baddha konasana – spread pelvis away from each other on both sides and rotate the abdominal area away from the standing leg. But of course, our focus was on maintaining balance
- So we repeated it facing the wall, with the lifted foot at the wall. Raise it higher. Get the connection of thigh to hip. Spread the sacral area. Get closer to the wall. Extend the lumbar area away from dorsal. Get this area in. Rotate the abdomen away from the standing leg while keeping spine neutral. So many actions! So much work. But the mobility that comes through. The observation.
- Or even the realization that there is a dullness somewhere in itself is a study and a yoga practice. I do feel a heaviness within my abdomen that doesn’t give me too much ability to rotate that away from the standing leg.
- She then had us sit down and talked about how she was amazed when she first did this pose with this attention. Each repetition revealed a deeper layer of her body. She talked about how it revealed each inner kosa.
- So although the class moved on, I paused it and repeated ardha chandrasana. It really felt deeper and more accessible.
- She had also talked about how we could try to insert our baddha konasana and supta padang 2 in trikonasana or parsvakonasana. Interesting work! She did say though that ardha chandrasana opens up the body more than any other standing pose which is why it is better than the others for alleviating depression or back ache.
Now on to PART 2 this evening!!
Ardha Uttanasana with belt at wrists
- Coming forward, lift the arms up trying to keep shoulder blades in place. Remember not to over rotate. Inner face of elbows must be forward, not outward.
- With no support and just observing the space in our back area . I felt so flat on the floor it was wonderful!
I admit that I was not as bubbly enough to do my best practice or observation. But I left feeling that deep recuperative feeling behind my eyes which is a treat for me as i often feel hardness here. And my shoulders felt wonderful, which is also probably why I feel so relaxed right now. Good to have this practice to go to when I need shoulder lengthening and work in this area!!