Sunday, 25 November 2012

Jumping back - a helpful tip...

So I've been working a lot of strength building in my practice recently...and it's really damn hard! 

But in order to balance out the flexibility of my spine it needs to be done. I'm used to lifting my sternum and my lower ribs away the pelvis, creating lots of length in the lumber spine for drop backs / kapo etc. So the whole feeling of contracting the body in the opposite direction for jump-backs and jump-throughs / navasana to handstand etc feels very alien. 

Nevertheless, I'm really working hard to find this strength and to achieve a balance in my practice. 

Found a good video about jumping back the other day which said to keep the head lifted, eyes looking up when you go to jump back. It kind of helps engage the back more I think as well as bringing the weight forward more so the feet can scoot back. I'm visualising a tortoise, back rounding like its shell but neck and chest lifting out and up!! 

David Swenson said the same thing about jump-throughs at his workshop, keep the gaze lifted and the hips will follow through the arms. So I spent a good 20 minutes extra today just jumping back and through and I'm so close...This tip could just be what enables me to build the strength to pull off the jump-back. 


Just another thought...there's kind of the same action in bhujapi, I might practice this a bit more and see what happens :)

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Tittibhasana to bakasana revelation!

Whilst I don't seem to have time to blog so much recently, it doesn't mean that my practice is at a standstill... it continues to flourish.

Today I learnt from Ben that if you press your thighs into your arms in tittibhasana, this engages the bandhas and lifts the bottom high enough to be able to draw the legs back into bakasana. For years I have been struggling with this, concentrating more on trying to straighten the legs and point the toes which just kept the weight in the bottom which then meant I wasn't getting that lift of the bottom needed to bring the knees high enough onto the back of the arms for bakasana.

My knees still aren't in a comfortable position in bakasana straight away and need a bit of adjustment before I can jump out safely, but I only 'got it' today, so I'll give myself a break!! :)


Sunday, 4 November 2012

Hop up to handstand, done!

Literally just finished my practice and could not wait to get on here to write about it! 

I knew that once I'd find my bandhas the practice would open up for me, but I didn't realise how quickly this would happen. If it hadn't have been for the post by Nobel on the 'Anal Breath' I would never have found mula bandha and never achieved the full forward bend. Without the full forward bend I would never have found uddiyana bandha, and without uddiyana bandha I would never have just got up to handstand by a little hop 3 times in one practice...

Mark Darby's post on paschimottanasana is also a fantastic post about how to 'find' the bandhas. The curling under of the tailbone, the sucking in of the lower abdomen, the reaching out of the SI area, the drawing in of the arms completing that contracting movement of the whole body. 

This morning's practice was one of those ones which you don't think will come to much. A nice home practice extending the breath, watching the body, just stretching out. I managed to do my knees in last weekend and they've taken 5 days for the swelling to go down, but since Friday they've been good. So I thought I'd throw in a little handstand practice. Try and form some new positive samskaras, then hopefully they would stick and handstand would be part of my practice each time. I had about 4 attempts before I finally got up! I came down, ecstatic! Where has this been hiding? I tried another 4 times and got up again...came down and lay on the floor, gasping. I thought, right, I need to do this one more time, 3's a good number, so had another 4 goes and got up again...and again I came down, laughing to myself with joy, turned to my statue of Ganesha, hands in prayer and and thanked him again and again. 

Now I just have to stay there. I can stay in handstand but only with the top of my head on the wall as some kind of stabiliser, but it feels good and you can kinda work on on sucking in the ribs and pressing the hands into the floor, that kind of thing whilst you're there. 

....Ganesha must really like 3 candles lit around him and some Nag Champa burning!! (The first time I've done this little ritual, must do it every time now ;).....