Tuesday, December 09, 2014


Pashasana is the first core asana of the second Ashtanga series. It's a deep twist. In addition one has to balance.

Many face two challenges:
- First challenge is to reach the wrist with the one hand
- Second challenge is to keep the heels on the floor.

I practice this pose now since 2008 with not so much progress. It's overtime to reflect what went wrong.

1. It's important not to hook the finger. When I hook my finger the shoulder moves forward. Exactly the opposite is intended. The shoulder shall move backwards. All twists aim at making the shoulder girdle flexible, too. I got few adjustments  in the last year and I was able to do it almost at once. One must only get the right instructions sometimes. I had worked in different directions.
These days I always move the shoulder backwards and so my other hand can reach the wrist.

2. The next mistake that I did was to get on the balls of my feet. When my arms were bound I rolled back and often I rolled out of the pose. This is why I use a blanket. I tried to make the blanket less high with time. Nevertheless the wished success didn't come. Then I found a YouTube video by Maria Villella. She explained that she made the same mistake for years. She recommends to get into the pose while the heels are on the floor. I think this is a good tip.

3. The next tip I got from the book by David Keil. We always think and speak of stretching the back side of the leg. Yet on the front side above the feet is a muscle, that can be engaged to support this pose. Try it, this makes a difference.

All these tiny adjustments add up.
If I had very long arms the pose wouldn't be an issue probably, but my understanding wouldn't go rather deep either.
My issues that I face when I practice are indeed opportunities to learn. The Ashtanga community is generous and shares a lot of knowledge.

I'll check progress in a year again.

PS: I think it's known: all twists are easier with a pound or more less.


mikeintonbridge said...

Isn't it frustrating that the first pose of second series so so hard to master? I'm not sure that the long arms would help so much. What seems to matter is the angle at the ankle and how far forward the centre of gravity of your body can move. As you say an extra pound in the hips is a big disadvantage here. However, if your movement at the ankles is restricted by the shape of the bones then there is very little you can do to change that.

Ursula Preiss said...

Thanks for commenting Mike.

I know that I'll be able to do this pose as I can hold it with heels on the floor when an experienced teacher helps me to get into the pose. And when my weight is perfect. Haha.

I don't believe in limitations. Too quickly we come to that conclusion of 'it's not possible because of my bones and so on....'. There is always more possible than we think.

Usually if one can bind one can go on in the series. It's for most people not such a challenge once they have mastered the twists of primary.
First really big Himalaya is supta vajrasana. Hahaha........