Class Reflection #7
Kim’s Level 3-4
Tuesday February 14, 2017
1. belted adho mukha virasana
This is the one that at least one or two people in class always need special help with, because it’s a confusing set up and difficult to explain. The buckle end of the belt is kept very short at the pelvis. The belt goes under and around the ankle. I want to take a life drawing class so I can illustrate stuff like this, wouldn’t that be fun?
In the end the belt keeps the ankles pressing in to the sides of the pelvis and presses the tops of the femurs down.
Then we took this as a forward fold, which seemed like a lot to ask of my “early morning” (it was 9:45 am) stiff self. Whew! I used a tall block to rest my little forehead on.
The main instruction: broaden the pelvis into the containment of the belt.
2. baddha konasana with a rolled blanket under the ankles (toes point toward floor), as a forward fold
Main instruction here: sitting bones together; i.e. lengthen the spine from the pelvic floor.
Use both instructions from the previous two poses, i.ee both broaden the pelvis and contain it by activating the muscles of the pelvic floor.
Also, this was very intense as a third pose in the practice, hoo boy. I was noticing I was *ehem* avoiding some of the muscular work instructed because of the yelling of the calves, spine, back of the skull, etc.
4. adho mukha svanasana
Ah the sweet saving grace of adho mukha svanasana!
5. virabhadrasana one
We did this twice, with much the same focus as the class from the previous day. The first iteration of the pose focused more on the internal rotation of the back leg, the second focused more on “sitting bones in” which helps to activate the pelvic floor.
On the second side Kim instructed to bend the back leg as a device that could help draw the outer head of the front leg femur back (creating nice length in the short side of the trunk).
This is the opposite of the approach we took in a parsvakonasana (with one foot up the wall) from yesterday’s class, where the outer thigh of the front leg was allowed to come out as far as needed while bringing the inner head of the extended leg femur back.
In this trikonasana the bend of the back leg helps to keep the inner head of the femur from falling forward as you draw the outer head of the front leg femur back. Then you resist the inner head of the back leg femur back as you straighten the leg not from the knee joint but rather the inner head of the femur!
7. a tricksy hasta padangusthasana to uttanasana threesome
Two partners “draw and halve” your pelvis in this one. It’s tricky because there’s no way the partners can know how much pressure they’re giving on the belt relative to one another (it’s basically bound to be unequal at some point) until you tell them. Then the pressure is difficult to maintain consistently over time and the strung up partner ends up being pulled back and forth like some kind of windblown reed or something (hopefully not so much, but there was an element of that happening).
That said this was a cool one to explore and the intensified pressure on the back side of the belt (encouraging internal rotation of the femurs) was nice, very nice.
Coming to uttanasana, the exploration is how to disallow the pelvis from resting back too far. Can this be done with the shins? Mine tried. (Ah, burning shins!) I think it’s more in the quadriceps, ultimately.
8. half a handstand
Lift out of the shoulders, lengthen the pelvis upward!
9. adho mukha vrksasana with backbending tendencies!
Set up half a met length (ish) from the wall. The challenge (as always) is to keep the weight of the body from sinking into the shoulders, kidneys, etc.
10. half a handstand with a partner assist
Avery and I did a pelvis-lift assist which added inches to our poses! Woohoo! Felt totally different. We could really see how far there is to go with this.
11. tripod handstand
The third “leg” of the tripod is, of course, the head at the wall.
12. vrschikasana ish at wall
Whoo! Touch and go with this one. I got skeered of collapsing everything and falling onto I don’t know what. So I left right quick. Next time, maybe stay longer.
Interesting! I was feeling outer knee pain (lengthening, stretching sensation and not really in a good way—this same pain appears in dhanurasana) so Kim gave me some instructions that were helpful. I think the instruction was: lift the inner head of the lifted leg femur.
Here’s the conclusion to which I have come: “Knee in, knee in, knee in” is not an adequate mantra for this pose. Knee pain still appeared even with that running through my head (and leg). Avoiding that pain has more to do with broadening the back of the lifted leg groin (also helps to square the pelvis forward). This concept of broadening the back of the groin is something Avery has talked about in her classes (also Manuoso Manos in a discussion of sirshasana or sarvangasana, probably sirsasana).
Whee, so a cool thing to explore in backbends!
14. downward facing dog
The great neutralizer of all things!
I did paschimottanasana! Deviant yoga-class taker, me! 😐
Just feeling the droppy-downy-ness as we’re being instructed to come out of the pose! Ah, cruel clock! Oh, cruel fate!