Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Day 73 : Sarvangasana mandala (circular ambulation in plough) subroutine from Vinyasa Krama Supine sequence

As a reminder, Ramaswami recommends we spend five minutes in Sarvangasana (first three minutes with the legs relaxed next two with the legs straight in standard Shoulderstand) before practising the sarvangasana vinyasas

Ramaswami would also recommend a counterpose after sarvangasana so as to relieve the strain placed on the neck and shoulders, he suggests bhujangasana (cobra, Day 45) and especially makrasana (crocodile, Day 44) as ideal counterposes, stating that, 'The counterposes, as a rule, should be simple, effective and targeted' (Yoga beneath the surface p105).

Sarvangasana mandala employs reveal of the movements from the previous subroutine, the forward bend halasana (day 72 & 71) in konasana (day 69) the back stretch in the previous uttana mayurasana subroutine  (Day 72) and twisting in urdhva padmasana vinyasas (day 70). 

If we want to practice sarvangasana mandala separately from the previous subroutines then we should make sure we have practiced some foreword bends, back stretches and twisting postures in other subroutines to be sure we are sufficiently warmed up and flexible.


I strongly suggest you practice this subroutine after the previous halasana and uttana mayurasana subroutine (day 72) as the mandala involves a flip over from halasana to uttana mayurasana which is a twisting motion.

The mandala may be best worked towards in stages.

The flip from uttana mayurasana to halasana seems to be slightly less intimidating than the other way around.

First we need to enter the first stage of uttana mayurasana

Uttana Mayurasana (stretched peacock )
From Sarvangasana tuck the tailbone, engage moola bandha by drawing up the anus, bend the knees, expand the chest, arch the back and lower your feet gently to the mat on the inhalation.

Lowering on the inhalation gives more control as does engaging the bandhas.

There is no need to stretch the legs completely for now.

With the knees bent side step your legs to the side as far as possible. 

Now lower your body to the mat onto your left hip, your feet will be on top of each other. Roll your right leg over the left, bringing the left hip over the right and walk shuffle your legs a little further round.

Return your hands to your back, raise your hips and walk/sidestep further around until you are in halasana.

Relax and then do the same movements in reverse.

When this movement is comfortable or at least familiar, the twisting and rolling the hip over, try the movement without lowering to the mat.

From Uttana Mayurasana walk the legs around to the left as far as possible, with each extra step the right hip will rise. When you can go no further in that position, support the back strongly, take a breath and at the end of the exhalation hold the breath and flip your waist bringing the right hip over the left to land on your feet.

Continue walking the feet around into halasana and relax.

Practice going back and forth on one side, flipping from uttana mayurasana to halasana and back again.

Once you are comfortable flipping back and forth on one side practice the same movement on the other.

Now you are comfortable flipping flipping from halasana to uttana mayurasana and back again your ready for the full mandala,

We begin in halasana walk around as far as possible, pause, take a breath, exhale and hold then flip over and continue walking around into uttana mayurasana. Continue walking/sidestepping/shuffling around to the other side, pause, exhale, hold the exhalation and flip over and continue back to the starting position, Halasana.

The Breath
from halasana
Exhalation: move to the right to around 45 degrees
Exhalation: continue on to 90 degrees
Exhale and hold: flip your waist over and land on your feet
Exhalation: continue moving around until you are in uttana mayurasana (180 degrees)
Exhalation continue around another 45 degrees
Exhalation continue around to around 270 degrees
Exhale and hold; Flip the waist over and land on your feet
Exhalation continue around until you are in the starting position

When comfortable with the movements repeat the subroutine counterclockwise.

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