A private

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The culmination of my week in Lisbon was meant to be the workshop with Dena on Saturday morning, alas Dena’s travel plans were changed at the last minute and it was cancelled. But Isa kindly offered to give a couple of us who had come especially for Dena a private with her, the closest I’ve come to doing a “private” was a few years ago when I was the only one to show up for what turned out to be the last ever Friday night led primary with Easter. I had already learned a lot from Isa and jumped at the chance, it turned out to be 3 of the most informative hours I’ve spent on that old blue mat.

Isa basically took us through a led primary but with stops to show us things and for us to ask questions. Afterwards I tried to write down as much as I could remember,the little nuggets of wisdom that I hope come to mind when I’m back home or at AYL.

Prasarita poses– to put more weight towards the toes, rather than the heals.

Parsvottanasana– wider stance to give more stability

Purvottanasana– visually check to see the hands are parallel and slightly behind before lifting up

Forward bends tilt slightly to be more in line over the straight leg

Janus when entering bring the leg up with the Knee facing up, then hold the foot to put it in lotus, this helps protect the miniscus. Janu A 90 degrees, Janu B 85 degrees.

Marichyasana’s – palms should face outwards once the hands are able to bind at the wrist.

Navasana – hands at same level as knees, for the lift between the head/chin should be up, so the weight doesn’t go so far forward.

Bakhasana – in the exit from Bhuja / Supta K, toes and ankles touch before jumping back. Ok I probably should have known this, but in a Mysore room you tend to get adjusted in the crossings, then left to exit alone. With my arm’s situation I haven’t been trying Bakhasana jump back and if I had would probably have been doing it with just the big toes in contact. I was amazed to be able to jump back with so much control, I was fully expecting nose splat.

Supta K Isa assisted each of us individually, as it was the other persons “last” pose, she can’t bind or cross, Isa did it with me first to show her what it looks like. Deepest Supta K ever before Isa talked me through the exit, lift in Dwi Pada, Titibhasana, my arm isn’t strong enough for a no foot down in to Bhakasana, but got the jump back, as I landed the other student actually applauded!

Baddha Konasana – my thighs go to the floor quite easily, so I needed to use the for arms to press down on the thighs more.

Upavistha Konasana – hold sides of feet, wide legs, arms should be straight, thumb presses between big toe and next one. Pelvis up and over to get chest lower, head to floor! Upavistha up, shoulder blades comes towards each other, look up. Isa actually got my chin on the ground which is something I’ve never done.

Supta Konasana – wide legs, in Mysore and at AYL my legs are always narrow because of the space available, she told us to have them wide which did make the coming up and over seem much easier.

Supta Padangusthasana– chin to leg, opposite hand lower down on thigh, leg to side hand comes higher to press the pelvis down.

Ubhya and Urdva P– to come up with straight legs really press the toes in to the floor on exhale, then inhale to come up, when you get to the point of balance point the toes, this helps to put the brakes on. Shoulder blades move towards each other once balanced. Toes point.

Isa has helped my backbends a lot this week, it really shows how much getting daily assistance can make progress much better. She may be a traditional Mysore teacher, but this week she has had me using blocks to push up every day in to Urdva Dhanurasana, not so much to make the pushing up easier for my arm, but for me to then work towards taking my chest towards the wall and really opening the thoracic spine again from its 15 months of hibernation. The difference has been amazing.

Her method of dropbacks without stretching the arms overhead has also been a huge change, mentally and physically, but once I began to trust the method I really started to feel the difference, I just need to relearn to keep my arm straight for landing. That’s been hard, with my original straight arm dropback the arms were already stretching and ready for touch down, but with this new method of incrementally moving the arms past the ears it’s an extra stage to remember to get them straight in time.

She taught us far more, but those were the points that resonated with where my post injury recovery practice is at this time. Hopefully I will be able to repeat this week with Isa again sometime soon.

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