Day 17 Vinyasa Krama subroutine practice notes : Vrikrmasana ( tree pose )subroutine On one leg sequence
I tend to practice One leg postures at the beginning of my practice along with the other standing poses in the Triangle and Tadasana subroutines but this may be the influence of Ashtanga, force of habit. I try to mix up the subroutines Standing marchi one day, the one legged virabhadrasana another, Again, with my Ashtanga background I tend to practice the bound vrikmasana and Utthita para paschimnottanasana postures daily but will turn one of them into it's Vinyasa Krama subroutine, squatting in the one posture one day the other the next.
I tend to practice Natarjasana as part of a group of back bending subroutines, Bow and Meditative with eka pada raja kapotasana as preparation for the subroutine.
I practice the standing leg behind head as part of other leg behind head subroutines, usually those from the Asymmetric series.
Ramaswami refers to the On one leg series as tapas (heat) or austerity postures.
One legged postures build strength in the legs, protecting the knees by strengthening the muscles above and below. However, while building up those muscles the knee is at risk in the one legged squats, especially coming back up so caution is advised.
Quietening the mind
No other postures seem to quieten the mind as much as balancing on one leg postures, if your having a sever attack of monkey mind one morning a One leg subroutine might be just the thing.
Balance can be improved by fixing the gaze on one point. In most postures in the On one leg sequence the chin is down as is the gaze.
Slowing and regulating the breath can help with balance as well, make your ujjayi a little stronger a little more forceful by tightening the throat, the glottis a little more.
Engaging the bandhas (see practice guidelines DAY 1), drawing up the anus and sucking in and up the belly but not too strongly which might send you off balance.
Gripping the mat with the standing foot as if trying to make fist, pushing down with the heels and big toe while drawing up the instep can also improve stability.