Posts Tagged ‘back bends’

St Kilda, Australia: October 12 – 14, 2018

February 14, 2019

Workshop at St Kilda Iyengar Yoga Studio

Ustrasana with wall, Chair and Bolsters. Roll outer arms in. Move outer elbows to inner elbows. Keep the navel as close to the wall as possible.

The belt which I placed at the upper back provided tremendous length through the entire spine, and a fulcrum for an upper back curve. I asked her to connect her outer/upper arms back into the backs of the shoulder sockets.

This shape is similar to Urdhva Hastasana in Dandasana.There should be an internal rotation of the arms. Locate them back into the sockets.

Holding a belt between wrists and side hips…

…helped us see the midline. Student is being instructed: in order to avoid dropping the lumbar forward, to roll the buttocks down.

The brightly painted roads are a memory of the victory in the Australian courts earlier this year for same-sex marriage.

The St Kilder theme park is the oldest theme park in the world. Visually, the inside is as wonderful as the outside!

© 2019 Bobby Clennell

Singapore: September 21 – 23, 2018

February 9, 2019

Workshop at Cocoon Studio Pte Ltd

Adho Mukha Svanasana. Practicing with the forearms on blocks provides better access to armpits, and breast and lung tissue.

Adho Mukha Svanasana with Baddangullyasana, arms behind.

Rope Bhujangasana. Here the feet are one ft. apart. Then learn to practice with the feet together. Rotate the inner thighs back, and move the tailbone forward and up. Raise the ribcage and the entire torso up. Curve up and back.

Rope Purvottasana. In this variation, the ropes are doubled over. To curve further back, open them to their full length. See page 89 of Yoga In Action. Intermediate Course -1, for the best instructions for this, and Rope Bhujangasana.

Uttitha Trikonasana on the Ropes

Virasana with upper body curved back over a chair.

Upper Body Back Bend over a chair.

Urdhva Dhanurasana. Press down through the hands, raise the heels, press the tailbone up, and extend and open the top/front groin skin.

Continue pressing the tailbone up, and maintain the extension of the front groin skin while slowly bringing the heels down (outer knees to inner knees).

© 2019 Bobby Clennell

Saddle Street Farm, Dorset, UK: April 10, 2018

July 9, 2018

The plan for this afternoon.

Keep your heels pressed firmly against the chair legs and then lift your pelvis so that it doesn’t drag. This is a chest opener, but while curving over the chair, in order to help maintain a healthy bone density squeeze your tailbone and grip the gluteal muscles onto the pelvis.

When there is no tall stool available, a chair and three bolsters works almost as well. Observe the difference between the two poses: Guruji has supported his chest so that it opens to the maximum.

© 2018 Bobby Clennell.

Workshop in Slovenia. April 25 – 27, 2014

July 5, 2014

Workshop at City Joga Center

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We systematically opened the lungs, chest and breasts; over a block,

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over a bench holding the metal hooks,

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over a chair holding the back legs,

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and with elbows entwined.

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To recover from the back bends we practiced Adho Mukha Svanasana over a chair. This variation enables you to extend the entire spine, anterior and posterior, along with the chest and armpits.

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Forward extention 1) Make a table with two blocks and a bolster for Janu Sirsasana at the wall.

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Forward extention 2) Practicing Janu Sirsasana in such a way as to elongate the spine, abdomen, chest and breasts.

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Forward bend: now you are ready to practice Janu Sirsasana without compressing the front body.

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Supta Konasana in Sirsasana. Lengthan the inner thigh muscles and mobilise the hip joints.

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When menstruation is completely finished it is better to practice with the feet turned forward. Raise the sacrum to the level of the pubic bone to better ‘contain’ the pelvic organs and allow the uterus to recede, rest, and heal.

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Sirsasana combined with Viparita Karani. Press the forearms to the floor and the sacrum to the support.

© 2014 Bobby Clennell.

Back bends with Geeta and Prashant Iyengar

February 21, 2013

The last–but–one back bend class with Geetaji had two strong themes.

The first was the lengthening of the deltoids (the short, fat muscles at the top of the arms). We began the class with three poses: With hands interlocked, we stretched our arms behind us. Then we practiced Namaskar Paschimottanasana and then Ghomukasana. In Ghomukasana, on the raised arm we simultaneously ‘fixed’ the head of the deltoid into the shoulder socket and then took the elbow higher. This had the effect of drawing the neck of the deltoid muscle up, away from the shoulder and lengthening the deltoid.

Several poses later, which included Urdhva Dhanurasana, we did Viparita Dandasana. Geetaji instructed us as we came into the pose, to move the head closer to the feet before finally placing the crown (inside our interlocked hands) on the floor. We returned to the deltoid theme here. We pressed the forearms and elbows down, and ‘fixed’ the head of the deltoid up into the shoulder socket.

Then we practiced Marichyasana 3. Geetaji observed that we were all of us, weak in our spines; very few were lifting the chest. We were instructed to move deeper into the pose from the back body “move the middle back in” to get the turning action and to help lift the front and side chest more fully.

In this morning’s 7am back bending class, Prashantji asked us to think about how we were practicing and what our objectives were. We are going to become how we practice. If we only practice on the physical plane, we will become more physical. (Last week, Prashant pointed out that the fittest people on the planet were probably the Taliban). A physical practice is a great foundation, but, “After 30 years of practice, what have you become; what are you trying to become?” If we want to become more spiritual, or operate on a higher mental plane, “practice for the mind and on the mind,” and that can mean working in the posture with the breath. Prashantji often guides us in the poses through breathing techniques that include ‘exhalative retentions’ and ‘inhalative retentions.’ In other sessions, it may be delicate nostril breathing.

Finally, Prashant talked about the notion of ‘busy-ness.’ We have all become ‘busy.’ “The modern world is busy and we lose the human fabric, our humanity”.

He glanced around the room at his strong Indian following and remarked (to a ripple of laughter) that he had never seen so many retired people so busy, and with no time. “They all have to rush off after the class, because they are so busy.” He himself has never known what it is to be busy or to have no time (more laughter). We were advised to organize our practice sessions a little differently. If we only have one hour to practice, rather than trying to cram everything in to that hour, practice only for 25 minutes, and leave some time at the beginning and end of asana practice for reflection.

Poses (choice of):

  • Chair viparita dandasana: 1st time normal, 2nd time from padmasana, 3rd time, eka pada viparita dandasana.
  • Rope Sirsasana.

From the floor:

  • Parsva Swastikasana
  • Adhomuka Svanasana
  • Standing back arch
  • Ustrasana
  • Urdhva Danuarasana, Danurasana, Dwipada Viparita Dandasana
  • Baradvajasana

Ropes:

  • Ropes I
  • Feet to floor, knees on bolster
This pic of Guruiji was taken by Jake Clennell at RIMYI, in Dec 1998. © Jake Clennell.

This pic of Guruiji was taken by Jake Clennell at RIMYI, in Dec 1998. © Jake Clennell.

Acknowledgements: Many thanks to Sally Rutzky and Jeanne Barkey for their contributions to this blog.

© 2013 Bobby Clennell.