10.08.09

A forward bending sequence with teaching notes

Posted in Personal Practice, Teaching Yoga at 11:24 am by tracichildress

Focus: forward bends, strong action of legs to give lift to spine, & length to front body

More philosophical focus: to integrate in seated foreword bends: creating a  a platform for the heart that you bring the heart to with ease rather than aggression. Yet you create a firm foundation or space to place the heart on.

 

 

  • Virasana

    • Press the shin bones and tops of the feet down into the floor

    • Press the fingertips down into the floor and roll the inner upper arms away from your body.

    • As you press down with the fingertips and shins, ascend the sides of your body and the center of your chest

  • Dandasana (with hands cupped at your sides)

    • Now the backs of your legs are your base—so fully extend out through the heels as you move the thighs into the floor.

    • Press the finger tips, roll the arms as you did in Virasana (away from center)

    • And using these downward actions to ground you, lift the sides up off the floor, ascend the spine and allow the center of your chest (sternum) to lift

    • Now, for those without low back issues, in order to feel the importance of the leg/base action in lifting and extending the spine, release your legs and compare the lift of the torso without the legs.

    • Now reactivate the legs, extend through the heels and move the thighs down towards the floor & LIFT the chest!

  • Supta Padangusthasana I and II (to bring life into the legs and hips for forward bends, as well as waking up the feet)

    • I: At 90 degrees: Holding the belt in two hands, extend through both heels strongly. Press the thigh on the ground down towards the ground, and again stretch through the heels.

    • II: from position above, take belt in one hand

    • Stretching through both heels and strongly stamping the floor leg thigh into the ground, slowly bring the leg out to the side

    • Keep the right leg pressing into the floor as you stretch out through the left heel. Do not allow the thigh to lift of the floor

  • Adho Mukha Svanasana

    • Press whole hand

    • Extend from hands up to hips

    • Fully activate legs as you did in dandasana: move inner thighs towards wall behind you as you reach the inner heels towards the floor

    • Allow center of chest to move towards floor

 

  • Step into Uttanasana (feet apart)

 

  • Tadasana

 

    • Press the four corners of the feet firmly into the ground, as you lift the knee caps up towards the hips

    • Maintaining this upward action, move the inner thighs towards the wall behind you.

    • Now lift the arms into Urdhva Hastasana—the arms extend fully and bring an extension to the sides of the body

 

  • Uttanasana (feet apart)

    • From Tadasana (as above), bend forward to bring the fingertips to the ground.

    • Now pressing the four corners of the feet firmly into the ground, pull up through the legs by lifting the kneecaps. Maintain this as you cut the inner thighs back.

    • The action of the legs allows the spine to release forward. The legs are so active that they become like a mountain that allows the spine to flow forward like a waterfall. (Starting to plant the seed for the idea that forward bends require both ease and effort)

 

  • Uttanasana (feet together)

    • Repeat as above with feet together

 

  • Paschim Namaskarasana (to plant the seed in the body for spine in and chest lifted)

    • In Tadasana (as above) bring hands into P.N

    • In pose: Press the palms evenly together as you bring the edge of the hands into the spine. Bring the spine into the body to ascent the sternum bone upward as you resist the rib cage back.

  • Parsvottanasana

    • Hands on hips, rotate legs so hips are correctly positioned and then look up (both sides)

      • (In position) Fully activate your back leg: extend through the back heel and move the inner thigh towards the wall behind you

      • At the same time, lift the knees strongly up

      • Now lift from the pelvis up to the chest, bringing your head back to look up

      • Imagine your hands in PN (previously)—as you bring your elbows back, recall the sensation of your hands at the back– bring your spine in as your chest ascends

    • Concave (both sides)

      • From above: now maintaining the strong hold of the back heel on the floor, extend forward, reaching the sternum away from the back heel

      • Pull up on the front knee as you reach the fingertips down to the floor.

      • Now move your inner back thigh towards the wall behind you and your sternum away from the back leg to create length in the front body

      • Look up

      • (2nd side I said to imagine an extra pair of hands – I showed p.n—to help to bring the spine in and chest lifted)

    • Final pose (hands on floor)

      • From above: again, reaching through the back heal continue to extend forward with the sternum, bringing the chin towards the shin and the abdomen towards the thigh.

      • Maintain the strong action of the legs as you release the head towards the leg.

  • Adho Mukha Svanasana

    • As above

  • Dandasana

    • As above

    • Here I shared the idea of forward bends being a mix of ease and of work–

  • Janu Sirsasana

    • All stages: Utthita: sit evenly on your left and right side, press the straight leg thigh into the ground as you lift the chest upward

    • Urdhva Hasta: lift the arms up beside the ears, maintaining the downward pressing of the thigh, lift the sides with the stretch of the arms

    • Urdhva Mukha: holding the sides of the feet: press the thigh down into the ground, stretch the arms fully and lift the chest away from the thigh.

    • Roll the inner arms up towards the ceiling and look up to extend the front of your body

    • Janu: Now maintaining the action of the leg and the length in the front body, reach the sternum towards the foot

      • Before the 2nd side: I shared the idea of the forward bend being an act of offering your heart to the alter of your legs—“you wouldn’t set a statue of a god or a precious item on an alter in a violent manner; in the same way, you bring your heart towards a resting place without violence”

 

  • Triang Mukha Padha Paschimottanasana

    • Basically the same directions along the way as above:

    • Utthita: bring both thighs parallel to one another, use a blanket to even the hips

    • Press the straight leg thigh, the shin of the bent leg, a nd the finger tips down into the floor, as you ascend the spine upwards

    • Urdhva Hasta : Now extend the arms upwards to bring more lift to the torso (remember you are preparing to bring an offering to your alter, so take care as you approach your destination)

    • Trianga Mukhaikapada Paschimottanasana: taking the feet, lift the chin and turn inner arms up towards the ceiling to create maximum length in the front body, then exhale and extend the trunk forward

  • Paschimottanasana

    • Same main points as above but now both legs extended and both thighs pressing down

    • Here I shared the idea of the forward bend being an act of offering your heart to the alter of your legs again

  • Upavista Konasana

    • Extend out through the heels as you activate your knees and press your thighs down into the ground. The action of the legs is circular—extend out through the heels, and then pull up through the knees, press down into the floor. As you work with these actions to ground you, lift your sides and spine.

 

  • Baddha Konasana (in the position)

    • Move your heels close into your body

    • Extend from the hips out and down towards the floor

    • As you do this, lift the chest and lengthen the sides.

 

  • Halasana (in pose)

    • Press your elbows and upper arms into the blankets

    • Lift the back with the hands as you

    • Move the thighs up towards the ceiling

  • Sarvangasana

    • Support your back with your hands as you press the upper arms into the floor

    • As you lift the back with your hands, bring your legs up one at a time.

    • Fully extend the legs towards the ceiling.

 

  • Savasana

  • Swastikasana