Sunday, July 29, 2012

Natrajasana - take three

Last week, we focused on a lot of backbends and hip openers with backbends in prep for Natrajasana. We worked toward the version pictured below with both hands on the foot, in the overhead plane. This sequence is a spin off of my dear friend Justicia's kapinjalasana sequence from her advanced group practice in Philly. She and I trade sequences often to share ideas and keep things fresh. I tweaked her sequence a bit to target more toward Natrajasana by taking most of the hand balance shapes out and replacing them with hip openers and a few more standing poses. Thanks for sharing your wisdom, Justicia. It definitely helped me see this shape from a new point of view.

Also, several folks in class had some pretty big breakthroughs with a simple assist.  Have a friend lift your back thigh up while you are facing the wall with one hand forward for stability. I think that helped students realize how high that back leg has to go to get both hands on the foot. Also, we did the version where you face the wall with your elbows at the wall, moving the arm bones and head back toward the foot. Basically, to find stability, you have to use your strength to get more open in this pose. You can't do much softening here. You will fall over. For this pose, the opening comes from strength. Kick the back leg up as high as your head. Once you get your hand to your foot, use your upper body strength to lift your foot.  ENJOY!

Darren Rhodes in Natarajasana

Adho Mukha Svanasana
High Lunge w/twist arms in T
Bujangasana on fingertips
Salabasana 2x
High Lunge w/twist arms in prayer
EPRK prep > twisted thigh stretch
Makarasana x2
Makarasana/Bhujangasana alternating
Virabhadrasana I
Ardha Chandra chopasana
Utthita hasta Padangusthasana
Dwi hasta Padasana
pavritta hasta Padangusthasana
(standing) Ardha Bhekasana > Baby Natarajasana
Adho Mukha Vrksasana
Pincha Mayurasana, hands clasped
Sayanasana w/partner (or solo)
EPRK prep w/thigh stretch (same hand to foot)
Dhanurasana x2
Low lunge at wall - block work
Adho Mukha Svanasana
Supta Virasana > Paryankasana
Brigid's Cross
Ardha Matsyendrasana
Agni stambasana

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Natarajasana - take two

This sequence works toward the version of Natarajasana in Light on Yoga with the front arm parallel to the floor & back shin perpendicular to floor. We worked a lot on splitting the legs in preparation because the higher you can get your back leg, the more accessible the action is in your shoulders. If your back foot is too low, its almost impossible to work the shoulder actions clearly.  The back foot has to be about level with your head to rotate your shoulder with ease.

- standing leg straight
- back leg thigh parellel to floor, shin perpendicular to floor
- front arm parallel to floor
- top hand to big toe, arm behind head
- torso vertical
- hips square

Surya A 3X
Surya B 5X
AMS – split at wall
Twisted monkey
Ardha chandrasana
Ardha chandra chopasana
Standing split
Standing split to press handstand (w/partner if needed)
Anjaneyasana w/thigh stretch
Runners stretch
Pigeon with thigh stretch
Dhanurasana – shins perpendicular to floor
Ardha bhekasana
Baby dancer – shin perpendicular to floor
Eka hasta ustrasana
Urdhva Dhanurasana 3X
Eka pada urdhva D
Dwi pada viparita dandasana
Eka pada viparita dandasana
EPRK I – shin perpendicular to floor
EPRK II – shin perpendicular to floor
Natarajasana I – 10 min
Ardha matseyendrasana

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Natarajasana - take one

(nata=dancer; raja=lord, king; asana=pose)

This month's project pose for the advanced group practice is Natarajasana.  This is one of my favorite poses of all time.  I love this pose because it requires equal amounts of stability and flexibility.  Plus, its a pose of grace.  In Light on Yoga, Mr. Iyengar says "This vigorous and beautiful pose is dedicated to Siva, Lord of the Dance, who is also the fountain and source of Yoga."  To me that means that this pose represents the pure joy (the dance) inside all of us.  The stance is strong, the heart is wide open and the hands hold the foot above the head.    Pretty symbolic if you ask me!  

There are a few versions of this pose: 
1) both hands holding the ankle with arms bent
2) One arms holding big toe with the thigh parallel to floor and shin perpendicular to floor
3) teardrop version - arms straight overhead

This particular sequence is leading toward version number 1, as described above.  As always, I highly recommend practicing with Light on Yoga and Yoga Resource by your mat.  Invaluable guides for your practice.

Sequence from 7/8/12:

Sirsasana I - 5 min
Surya A w/Salabasana 3x
Down dog with split at wall
Surya B 5x
No hands lunge
Ardha bhekasana 
Twisted monkey
Ardha chandrasana 
Ardha Chandra chopasana 
Eka pada Dhanurasana prep - on all fours
Baby dancer
Baby kapinjalasana 
Gomukasasna with shoulder work
EPRK - fwd fold
EPRK w/thigh stretch
Supta virasana - with block in upper back, 1 min hold 2X
Eka pada supta virasana 
Eka hasta Ustrasana - one leg in low lunge
Natrajasana - one hand at wall, with strap, middle of the room ( at least 10 min of play)
Bhairadvajasana I
Bhairadvajasana II