Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Day 80 : INVERTED : Urdhava Padmasana (inverted lotus) from Vinyasa Krama Inverted sequence

VIDEO LINK
HINTS/TIPS/SUGGESTIONS

Padmasana (lotus) can be a challenging posture and there are many places to work towards it in Vinyasa Krama.

In Asymmetric Sequence: Padmasana doesn't appear as such but there are several hip opening postures, janusirsasana in particular, that prepare you for ardha baddha padmasana (half lotus).

In Lotus sequence : The lotus sequence picks up where Asymmetric leaves off with more vinyasas in half lotus before moving on to full lotus.

In Seated sequence : Padmasana (lotus) follows the deep hip opening subroutines of upavishta konasana and badha konasana.

In Supine sequence : More half lotus variations, this time in dwipadapitam (table pose). In shoulder stand we have the half lotus vinyasas of Day 68 but also the extreme hip openers of the previous (Day 69 ) Urdhva Konasana subroutine.

In Inverted Sequnece : As with Supine and Seated the lotus vinyasas in headstand follow, konasana and badha konasana subroutine.

In all of the above sequences we can see that padmasana (lotus) follows hip opening postures, this is because padmasana (lotus) is a hip rotation rather than a twisting of the knees.

CAUTION
Don't twist the knees to get into padmasana, rather the knee is relaxed slightly and the femur head rotated in the hip joint allowing the knee to come out to the side like turning the page of a book bringing the foot up toward the opposite thigh. We bring the foot to the opposite groin by rotating the hip joint further to bring the foot into place.

Once one foot is comfortable on the opposing thigh we do the same for the other leg, relaxing the knee slightly, rotating the femur head in the hip joint but here in the inverted postures of shoulder stand and headstand we can allow the first leg to drop back a little to allow the second foot to come up smoothly on to the thigh, working the foot deeper into the groin.

Allowing the first leg to drop back to allow the second foot to come up onto the thigh more easily is something that's only available in the inverted postures. For this reason Supine and inverted may, surprisingly, be an easier option for developing padmasana.

In Sirsasana

Come into lotus via urdhva konasana. Spread the legs wide, on the exhalation, bend the right knee and rotating the femur in the hip joint bring the right foot up on to the left thigh (you may drop the left leg back a little to counter the weight of the knee coming forward to stay balanced pic.3). Inhale and on the next exhalation take your right knee back which will cause your left knee to bend slightly. Rotate the left femur head in the hip joint to bring the left foot onto that right thigh. 

You may need to shuffle your feet slightly to settle into your lotus, try to do this by working from the hip joint rather than from the knee.

Twists
twist on the exhalation, a gentle twist at first, twisting a little further on each exhalation.

Anchor the head and elbows

Press the opposite elbow to the direction your twisting firmly into the mat.

Viparita yoga mudra - Lowering your lotus

These become progressively more challenging.

Version 1 (pic.7) bend at the waist while exhaling bringing the knees to the chest . 

To raise your lotus, engage your bandhas and lift on the inhalation.

Version 2 (pic.9), bend at the waist on the exhalation, to the previous position, but then, while continuing your exhalation, round the back slightly to bring your feet to your chin.

To raise from there, engage the bandhas and while inhaling, straighten the back and then the waist.

Press into your elbows as you lift.

Version 3  (pic.11) on the exhalation, bend at the waist then round the back to bring your feet to your chin ( the previous position). Your knees should be almost tucked into your armpits and resting at the top of your arms.

Take an inhalation here and then on the next exhalation slide/lower your knees down the backs of your arms to rest on the mat touching your elbows.

To lift back up from here, exhale fully, engage the badhas and pressing firmly into the mat with your elbows draw your knees back up the back of your arms to your armpits.

Take a breath and on the next exhalation, straighten the back to bring the knees to the chest and then straighten the waist to bring your lotus the last of the way up.

Lifting the lotus is challenging, once lifted, pause to take one of two breaths, then when you are ready, allow your knees to draw apart, releasing your lotus back into urdhava konasana, finally bringing your legs back together into sirsasana sthiti.

Lotus to Sirsasana VIDEO LINK

The final vinyasa called for a tight lotus and you may wish to work towards this as a separate subroutine (see Lotus subroutines -to come).

From seated padmasana, lift up onto your knees, bend forward and place your hands on the mat with the fingers interlocked ready for headstand. Place the back of your head in the cup formed by your hands and bring your knees forward so they are touching your elbows.

To lift back up from here, exhale fully, engage the badhas and pressing firmly into the mat with your elbows draw your knees back up the back of your arms to your armpits.

Take a breath and on the next exhalation, straighten the back to bring the knees to the chest and then straighten the waist to bring your lotus the last of the way up.

Follow the directions above for the 3rd version (pic 11) to lower and raise your lotus to and from the mat. 

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