Thursday, 27 October 2011

Day 27 : Maha mudra (great seal) subroutine practice notes from Vinyasa Krama On one leg sequence

Ramaswami mentions mahamudra as a key posture in Vinyasa Krama and encourages us to include it in our daily practice.

Ramaswami also advises us to stay in the pose 'a long time, say about five or more minutes'.

Because we are encouraged to stay in mahamudra for a significant amount of time we may choose to practice just janusirsasana in this subroutine and then later, at the end of our practice, dwell in mahamudra as preparation for pranayama.

I like to practice it in this subroutine for the usual three to six breaths and then do an extended stay at the end of my practice followed by badha konasana before entering padmasana (lotus) for my pranayama practice.

Maha mudra is an excellent posture for working on mull, uddiyana and jalandhara bandhas.

As we take hold of our toe we have sit forward on our sit bones, grounded in this way it becomes easier to focus on exploring mula bandha, the holding of the toe, gives a sense of stability when engaging uddiyana bandha

Mula and Uddiyana bandha
'The other two bandhas, however, should be practiced in most of the asanas, especially after exhalation. The first is mula bandha, which means "constricting of the anus" It is done after a complete exhalation. After the exhalation is over, the abhyasi (yoga student) should anchor the body in the asana he or she is in and then slowly and deliberately close the anus and draw in the rectum by contracting the perineal and surrounding muscles of the pelvic floor. Then as if in a continuous movement, the abdomen, including the navel, is drawn in, pushing up the diaphragm into the now almost empty chest cavity, which is then called uddiyana bandha ( drawing in of the diaphragm)... This technique is one of the specialities of yogic breathing" p127

Leaning forward to grab our toe we allow our head to tilt forward bring our chin down. the chin tilted down is almost the default positing in Vinyasa Krama for the beneficial effect it has in the spine. We can practice it lightly or bring the chin tighter into the breastbone for Jalandhara bandha

Jalandhara bandha
'There are three important band has. the first is jalandhara bandha, or locking the chin against the breastbone. This may be done during kumbhkas and whenever the the posture requires the chin to be locked, which is normally the case during forward bends and when keeping the back erect. In backbends and twisting postures it is not possible to do jalandhara bandha'. p127

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