Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Day 52 : Meditative : Ushtrasana ( camel ) to Kapotasana (pigeon) subroutine from Vinyasa Krama Meditative sequence

This is an extended Ushtrasana subroutine (Day 51) that continues on into Kapotasana (pigeon), kapotasana is a challenging posture, it's wise to work on becoming comfortable and stable in Ustrasana then advanced Ustrasana before moving on to Kapotasna for which they prepare you.


These are the same as for yesterdays ushtrasana subroutine (Day 51)

The danger in kapotasana is to put too great a strain on the lower back, to avoid this we want to create a strong and stable base, ushtrasana allows us to focus on developing that stability.

Press the toes into the mat, all of them

Press the feet into the mat

Press the whole of the lower leg from the toes to the knees into the mat

Keep pressing into the mat from the moment you begin to raise your arms above your head, throughout your stay in ustrasana and until you return to vajrasana stithi

Engage your bandhas, draw up your anus and suck in the belly, imagine the muscles of the bandhas holding the base of the spine firmly, (Ramaswami's fishing rod example).

Engage the front of your thighs ( make the most of any postures that engage the quads so as to develop strength).

Most important of all bring the hips forward and keep encouraging them forward throughout all the way back into ushtrasana and throughout your stay in the posture.

With every inhalation raise up your chest and with every exhalation push your pelvis a little further forward.

As you raise your arms and lift up of your knees lift out of your pelvis and try to keep lift ion out of your pelvis throughout your stay in ustrasana.

Ideally your legs and thighs should be together, this may be something to work towards as it is  less stable

Advanced Ushtrasana (picture 6)

Remembering all of the above, the lifting out of the hips and keeping the legs from the toes to the knee firmly into the mat, engaging the thighs and pushing forward the pelvis, arch back and take your arms over your shoulders towards your heels.

At first you may only be able to reach the mat behind you and may have to work towards taking your heels or ankles over time.

To avoid collapsing as you arch backwards it's necessary to keep your thighs strongly engaged and your hips forward and keep lifting out of your pelvis.

To reach your heels: one way is to land your hands on the mat and then walk them in towards and up your feet.

Ideally you will want to reach your heels from the air, this will take time but the trick is to keep the pelvis forward and the thighs engaged.

Work on strengthening the thighs and keeping the hips forward in other Vinyasa Krama postures, particularly the table subroutine in the Supine sequence.

If Kapotasana is beyond you for now you will bend to come back up from advanced Ustrasana. To do so press your legs from the toes to the knees into the mat, engage the thighs strongly and most importantly lift from the hip pushing your pelvis forward.

From Advanced Ustrasana inhale, press your palms, engage your thighs and tighten your buttocks, push your pelvis forward as if you were going to come back up to seated but instead lower your head to the mat as near your feet as is possible for you.

By acting as if to lift out of the pose when lowering you give your self more control in lowering into the deep back bend.

You may wish to stay in this version of Kapotasana for a number of breathes, lifting the chest on the inhale and pushing forward the hips on the exhalation.

The depth of your kapotasana will depend on your Ushtrasana, if you begin to lower while your hands are on the mat, your toes or half way up your feet that will be the extent of your kapo. To go deeper into the posture you will need to take your feet, ankles of calves in Ustrasana and then lower.

It is harder to deepen your Kapotasana once you have lowered your head to the mat although it is possible to take a rest and then straighten the arms and lifting the head and walking back in.

The depth of your kapotasana seems to be directly related to how far your able to push tour pelvis forward and keep it forward.

On the exhalation take your arms around to the side and hold your thighs.

To come back up return your arms to your heels on the inhalation and return as in Advanced ushtrasana above, pressing your legs from the toes to the knees into the mat, engaging the thighs strongly and most importantly lifting from the hip and pushing your pelvis forward.

The ideal is to perform this subroutine with your feet, knees and thighs together, this is challenging as it gives you a less secure base and there is the danger of toppling over to one side, good bandha control is necessary as well as smooth and steady breathing.

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