Saturday, June 18, 2011

You shall not betray yourself.

Picture 1: I was lying on the canopy swing half of the day. Lazy days were on the schedule. Then I had the idea to take a picture of myself doing paschimottanasana. The body was not warmed up, I had 10 sec with my self timer. What can be seen is NOTHING. The knees are bend. This also means that the legs are not engaged. The back is rounded. The soles of the feet are not parallel or pointed. The head hangs forward. I even think it does not look nicely. This pose will improve nothing. When I want to relax it's even better to be on my back. At least I couldn't injure myself that way.

Picture 2: This pose shouldn't be a pose, nevertheless it shows much more how it goes to bend forward than the picture on top. The legs are stretched. Muscles can be engaged and they are supposed to be engaged. The upper body lengthens. I look forward towards the direction in which I want to go. Bandhas? It cannot be seen if I engage them or not. Surely I do! Haha. The back is straight. Feet do not fall to the sides sloppily. Practicing that way the hip movements enlarge.
When the legs are engaged the hamstrings can be stretched safely. I do not make an attempt to reach the feet which could mean to stretch the shoulder forward. The shoulders remain down in almost every asana. The chest remains open.

A good question: When I practice an asana I ask myself of the goal of that asana. Where must I feel this discomfort that can be felt when I approach my limits.

Paschimottanasana strenghtens the legs and bandhas, it enlarges the movement of the hips, it lengthens the back side of the legs (hamstrings). It makes modest.

The benefits of this forward bending asana: It's good for the inner organs. It allows to relax the spine from the upright position.

Seeing myself on pictures helps to adjust myself. I think I'm often between the too extremes: totally sloppy or perfect. I engage my legs, but I want to fold my hands in front of the legs. This might cause a rounded back (not like in picture 1, but yes, rounded). I will check it again next time when I take pictures.

And here the master Mr Iyengar himself: 

What is true for paschimottanasana is true for every pose. It's so easy to betray oneself, but then we're likely to remain the same, not so much will improve.

Strength, flexibility, endurance, concentration, modesty, daily practice, fun, related notions. 


Anonymous said...

I love this pose, forward bending. I ALWAYS practice it in the bathtub.. the body is very flexible while warm from the water. My body begs for it while imersed in warm water..
I always glean something from your posts.. you create awareness in me,
Namaste, dear U..

Anonymous said...

Oh, I always respect that you take the courage to show a pose done "incorrectly".. think how much there is to be learned from this though? "There are no mistakes, only lessons"..

Ursula said...

:) Sitting in the bath tub is also for me paschimottonasana time. How funny.

It's so true, I often learn more from the mistakes of others than from what is correct.

A bit of a critical mind is necessary in order to learn. My yoga classes are a bonanza of yoga topics. Wink.

Quentin said...

You should have seen me doing asht practice while stranded in the Atlanta airport. Revised fly takes us to stuttgartt Germany then to Dublin, missing day of rest at Dublin hotel this morning. Not good to practice wearing jeans!

Ursula said...

Wow, super, you arrived in Dublin. Yoga will make you fit quickly after such a long flight. I'm sure you've some comfortable yoga clothes in your bag.....wink.

Have fun...and take care.