Sunday, September 21, 2008

Energy flow into an asana - Its the breath!

This Friday with Nuvana was eye opening. My yoga practice goes through these up and down cycles every few months. I am currently in a down cycle - though for once I could perform an Ardha Chandra Asana (Half Moon Pose) completely balanced in my Monday night class with Nina. I received many corrections from Nina for which I am very grateful. How can you not know your knees are bent in Uttanasana? I guess when your brain is disengaged and deep in thoughts that happens ! :)

In this session I wanted to just focus on improving my inversions - Adho Mukha Vriksasana and Sirsasana - just these two poses. We started off with an interesting variation. A transition to Uttanasana (Intense forward bend) by spreading the arms out sideways, rather than the Urdhva Hastasana pose, and the gradually bending forward to get into the pose. I could touch the floor immediately....She remarked "observe how your energy and breath as you get into this pose". As you breath out, the energy starts to gradually dissipate, just as you turn on the tap on a water bucket. I had to try it a couple of times to really understand this concept. Eventually she said you will feel more energized rather than tired after an intense asana.

Quickly we moved into some very intense Adho Mukha Svanasana. The idea was to help me increase my energy levels while I performed such intense asanas, especially in the inversions, where you need incredible amount of energy and abdominal strength to stay up and balanced. Having your hips and tail bone completely uplifted and backs straight help provide the space and energy to maintain the length in your body and room to kick up. Aligning of your breath along with it, and release of breath as you try to remain in the asana controls the energy you need to maintain in order to stay in the asana.

It will be sometime till I experience the re-energizing post asana. I was completely spent in the dog pose (variations) and panting like a dog. A stump pose break was necessary to get my breathing in control.

Next thing I know I had kicked up into the hand stand and my older kid started clicking pictures. It was the first time in a few months since I have done this pose and stayed up for more than 5 seconds. It felt good and we did it at least three times. Then there was an intense leg spread forward bend against the wall. It really helps stretching out those tight hamstrings.

It was on to Sirsasana balancing after that. Face towards the wall, with a distance of the feet and hips. We normally face away from the wall, if trying a sirsasana with wall support. This is the opposite and it prevents one from bending their backs, as the body tends to do that knowing there is a wall for support. I am able to balance much better with this practice.

Practice, practice, practice - that needs to be my mantra if I am to improve my inversions....
The Yogi

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