Monday, 5 December 2011

Day 65 : Sarvangasana (shoulderstand) preparation subroutine from Vinyasa Krama Supine sequence

Ramaswami states in The Complete Book of Vinyasa Yoga 

'Even though all the vinyasas we have considered so far under the category of supine poses can be reckoned to be preparatory for the shoulder stand, three of them are considered essential before going in for the shoulder stand pose in the Vinyasa method of yoga practice.' p122

The three are 

Anapanasana (pictures 2-5) see Day 59

Dwipadapitam (pictures 6+7) see Day 60

Leg and arm lift (pictures 8+9) see Day 62

Ramaswami also recommends the hand and arm variations in tadasana (Day 1) from the On your feet sequence, as useful for relaxing and loosening up the neck and shoulders.

The practice sheet above represents my default preparation, I like to do all three of the pavamuktasana, neck tilts, bringing the chin, nose and then forehead to the knee (anapanasana pose is when the head remains on the mat, pavamuktasana when the head tilts). Here I've done the both legs together version but you could just as well do the single leg version on both sides instead.

The same goes for the arm and leg lifts, here too, I've gone for the both legs together version but you could do the single leg vinyasas, either same arm/same leg or cross body.

In Dwipadapitam any of the vinyasas would be acceptable or even a long stay in just the ankle hold, lengthening breath and engaging bandhas.

Anapanasana (pictures 2-5) see Day 59

In all the anapanasana vinyasas the head stays on the mat, the hip lifts to bring the knee or knees to the chest.

In all the pavamuktasana vinyasas the head lifts off the mat to bring with the chin, nose or forehead to the knee or knees.

It's acceptable to raise the head when catching the knee in anapanasana but once caught lower the head, and tighten the grip around the leg or legs and press the thigh(s) against the lower abdomen.

In the pavamuktasana vinyasas be careful not to strain when bringing your forehead to your knee, stretch up through the length of your spine and drop your shoulder blades down your back.

Engaging uddiyana at the end of the exhalation may also help to allow the forehead to reach the knee.

Dwipadapitam (pictures 6+7) see Day 60

Keep the legs strong throughout, push the feet into the mat especially the toes and stretch though the whole length of the leg(s).

Explore nutation, tilting the pelvis upwards, to create more space for the spine to arch.

Take the weight on the shoulders rather than the neck, make sure the shoulderblades are dropped down the back and not hunched up and compessing the neck

Push the chest up and almost over the shoulders.

Leg and arm lift (pictures 8+9) see Day 62

Raise the arm(s) over the head on the inhalation, raise the legs on the exhalation

Hold each posture for three to six breaths

Ideally we want to keep the sacrum, the small of the back on the mat while lifting the legs, difficult, engage mula bandha to anchor.

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