Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Standing asanas are balancing asanas

The standing asanas are balancing asanas. 

The most challenging ones for me are utthita hasta padangusthasana (pic 1), utthita parsvasahita (pic 2) and utthita eka padasana (both hands an the hips, one leg is stretched forward).

Let's get grounded, let's press the feet in the floor, let's engage our muscles (leg muscles, bandhas).

Balancing poses are easier when I have strength. They are easier when I apply the correct technique, then I need less strength.

Picture 1: It is possible to bring up the leg stretched. I bend it first, grap the outer side (it's classic to hold the toe) and then I stretch it. When I bend it first I can bring the leg a bit higher. In India they consisted that the nose touched the leg. That's why I always do it that way.
I hold the outer side of the foot at home because
- this gives me more stability
- it is as if it's easier for me to keep the hips parallel
- before the last post I can grap the feet with both hands and can pull it to my body. Important! I do not have to change how I hold my foot.
(In classses I grap the toe.)

Picture 2: With an even inhaling the upper body comes up and with the next exhaling the leg goes to the one side, the head turns to the other side. Especially in this pose dristi (the side) helps to balance. Don't move the eyes. Look at one point. Ignore everything else, especially the other yogis and yoginis who are wobbling and falling out of this pose. Be a lonesome wolf, only you and your asana counts, nothing else. The breath is deep. I imagine that the breath goes up to the sky when I inhale and it goes down to the floor, through my body that is like a pipeline made of metal. The breath holds me. The bandhas give me stability, the usual suspicious.

Picture3: After 5 breaths I bring the leg back to the middle, each movement brings the danger to wobble. Move slow, breath remains evenly Then I grasp my feet with both hands and I pull it to my upper body (standing split) with a long inhaling.

Utthita eka padasana: Last but not least both hands go to the hips, one leg is stretched forward. This is now a challenge to hold the leg. Don't give up, become stubborn, dedicate it , curse, what ever you might think, but hold, hold it, hold this asana. To engage the muscles is it and they start burning. This shapes the body. This is for the beauty I think, and hold the pose for another deep breath.

Next side, left leg.

These 3 asanas are the reasons why I like to practice with the CD by Sharath when I practice the standing asanas. I hold the asanas longer than when I practice on my own.

More than in other asanas, the dristi helps to balance and visualisation. Imagine your body as a statue. I imagine myself as a pipeline for the breath.
In small rooms it is easier for me to be stable. It is as if the walls hold me. I see how important thoughts and psychological factors are.

I am curious: What makes your asanas stable?

Stay tuned: Tomorrow comes a video about a sitting balancing asana? What? Sitting and balancing?
See you tomorrow! :)


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Tom said...

Ich finde es auch immer hochinteressant wie unsicher wir doch in der Mysore Klasse sind. Zuhause stehe ich relativ sicher im Raum und kaum sind andere Leute da, welche ja auch mit sich selbst beschäftigt sind, fängt man an zum Wackeln...

Ursula said...

Ja und genau das ist die Herausforderung, dann eben auch einfach zu stehen.
Ich wackle auch immer in geführten Klassen oder Mysore-Stunden: verdammt denk ich dann immer, verdammt. Aber so ist es eben.

C.K. said...

Dear Ursula,
The way I understand it, only one hand is used on the big toe (not foot) during this sequence. Two hands is not correct, according to the way I learned it from Guruji (2000-2008). One vs. two hands is addressed in Matthew Sweeney's book also.

Ursula said...

Thank you Cara, when you say this I believe you. Will check Sweeney's book, too.

So, it's the big toe again...:)