Thursday, July 24, 2008

Back Bends - Circular Rythms to Energize You

My second class was Wednesday evening. The teacher was familiar from my spring visit. His style is quite relaxed and his Patanjali chanting is amazing, with his resounding and perfectly toned voice. His instructions are fast, and he cracks a lot of jokes with his students in Marathi. Almost every class I have taken at the Institute has a theme. Mr. Chandru's insistence on my taking classes at the beginning of the month also makes a lot of sense. There is a sequence to the classes as well.

Each teacher has a sequence of classes, where the first class may start with a sequence of standing poses and then evolve to a class with back bends. Us "foreigners" have the added privilege of 6 classes a week, which the local students are not allowed in order to create room for us to pack in the classes in a short period of time.

We started with Uttanasanas and quickly moved into Adho Mukha Svanasana, Urdhva Mukha Svananasna and Chaturanga Ds. Then came the rapid fire instructions to switch between the three and a lot of emphasis on the Urdhva Mukha pose (upward facing dog). This must have lasted for 15-20 minutes. I was huffing and out of breath, as I had already spent an hour prior to class walking and then did my share of Chaturanga Dandasanas to build my arm strength. My uttanasanas had greatly improved. One class had brought a lot of my flexibility back.

Then came Sirsasana. I did well, between the wall and balance on my own. I wanted to do ropes, but I am learning as I go that the only way you get to the props and the ropes is to get their first and anticipate what your teacher is going to do next. He showed us the three steps to do Sirsasana without wall support. I did step 1 with my legs folded. Wow! From Sirsasana the class split into two, half went to the ropes to perform back bends using the ropes, the other half into Viparita Dandasana on a chair. These were not 5 min poses. They lasted for nearly 20-30 minutes.

I must admit this is the least of my favorite poses and I along with several middle aged men, were repeatedly coming of the pose, hoping to switch to the ropes soon. The teacher kept pushing us to get back into the pose. Though I don't understand Marathi, but his yells to get back sounded quite funny. The back bend cycle concluded with Ustrasana, Urdhva Dhanurasana, and then he instructed us to get completely calm , calm the mind to conserve all the energy that was created with the back bends in a calm child pose. He then discussed the benefits of the circular patterns of the back bends with did in the class. Back bends improve circulation and create energize the body. It was also important it is to conserve this energy with calming poses at the end.

I had a new appreciation of Back Bends. I have a long ways to go to with my back bends. They will come in time, but I have learnt new tricks and techniques, especially performing a Sirsasana without wall support. There is a process and technique. Every time I take classes in Pune, I learn new techniques, which is most rewarding. Looking forward to this week. I went back to work very energized.


The Yogi

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