There was a time where I didn't really understand some asanas. I wondered: What is the aim of this asana. I could imitate the form, but it was a superficial form.
We struggle first to bind in marichyasna A i.e. But is it really the goal simply to bind? When it's possible to bind, what then? There is much more in that asana. The bended leg moves backwards and enlarges the flexibility of the hip. It's even a preparation pose for the "leg behind the head pose". The hamstrings of the stretched leg shall be stretched. The flexibility of the hip here shall improve, too. And not to forget the chest opens. This allows a deeper inhaling. It's not to round the back to force the nose to the chin. The body moves forward, dristi is the foot. I was told from a reader that it's enough to look in that direction. The face remains relaxed.
Yesterday I deepened my understanding and I learned a systematic how to understand the asanas. I studied the book Anatomy for vinyasa flow and standing poses by Ray Long.
Here is the systematic described in the above mentioned book page 20 ff:
1. There are always joints involved in every asana. The first step is to identify them. It's often the hips of course.
2. There are muscles that stabilize the form and help to precise the asana when engaged.
3. There is always an antagonist. This is the muscle that is stretched. (Bend your arm and you understand: one muscle on the backside of the arm is stretched the biceps is shortened and engaged.)
4. The chest always expands. This is also something I discovered rather late. Also in all the forward bending asanas the chest opens. Here it becomes also clear that the binded arms that move backwards or even upwards if possible give an adjustment to that goal, they are not the goal itself. I also learned from the above book how to support to open the chest. To move the shoulder blades together supports this. There is always a front side and a back side of the body. If they work together, it's possible to deepen into a pose.
5. The next step is to engage the bandhas. This helps a lot to go deeper inot poses, or to balance.
This knowledge also helped me to improve and understand such simple poses like uttanasana. It's not only to move the chest to the floor only. The important joint is the hip, The trunk moves to the legs. There are muscles that support this and there is an antagonist. Go into the pose and test it. I discovered new muscles that way. I didn't know that there are so strong muscles on my hips (front side) so to say with so much power.
I'm enthusiastic about the book. It's amazing how knowledge can help to improve your yoga practice. This book helps to understand future asanas on my own.
Today is my yoga free day. Yepeeeeeeeeee. :)
Picture is taken by Mahesh in the Indian ocean. I love these ocean pictures. Thx a lot.
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