Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Groins Away: A Way To Firm The Tummy, Lengthen Spine, and Try Bakasana

This shape of spine is key throughout the sequence

Here I give you some key instructions that can support a beautiful transition from kneeling plank to down dog to bakasana.

Watch the video first.  You can see the a side view and the front view in the same video.  I have sped this video up so this whole sequence actually took 2 minutes in real life.  I am really trying to emphasis some good slow mindful movement. 

The instructions below should help firm the tummy and armpits while giving a sense of length in the spine (neither stretching nor tightening).  

The key instructions here are to push front of groins to armpits and armpits to front of groins.  Then, if you can add something else, press your hands forward and your knees back.  You should start with feeling relaxed in your tummy.  You should be able to breathe naturally into your belly throughout although it will become firm through the instructions (but not by sucking it in). 

Kneeling plank
 In this kneeling plank make sure knees are behind hips, shoulders over wrists.

Sitting bones move down towards backs of knees, front of pelvis lifts to the lower back to lengthen the lower back.

Lift lower ribs towards the back of chest to lengthen around the middle and upper back.

Press front of groins towards the armpits and armpits towards the front of groins without moving the body forward.  This should bring a postural firmness to your tummy.

If you can manage, press hands forward and knees back while you maintain groins and armpits moving towards one another.

Half child pose
Quite honestly I did not know what to call this position.  It is halfway between kneeling plank and balasna (child's pose).

I move very slowly back into this position.  I am not trying to get my bottom onto my heels.  I am thinking about maintaining the key actions I established in the previous position.  As I move back my challenge is to keep feeling as though I am moving my groins forwards.

See the spine stays the same shape.

Partial lift
Here I focus on keeping the groin-armpit connection then go back again to pressing hands forward but toes and heels backwards.  This combined effort causes my knees to become light.  They start to lift of their own accord.

Downward dog
I keep with those four actions:
  • armpits to groins
  • groins to armpits
  • hands pressing forward
  • feet pressing backward

Walk forward
Maintaining those actions (you might need to let up on pushing feet back because they start to be less on the ground), bend your knees and walk your feet forward.  I tip-toe forwards trying to stay as light on my feet as possible. 

If I keep pressing armpits to groins and vice versa, press hands forwards, lift knees up to chest, rest them lightly on the back of my arms, press elbows back and towards one another and just keep breathing and leaning forward then you might find yourself floating.  Maybe you stay on tip toes.  Wherever you are be happy wherever that is.  Keep working on being where you are and staying for a little bit longer until you feel comfortable moving to the next stage.  

Remember, nothing should hurt.  If you have not developed the correct strength and actions around the wrists then you need to work on clawing with your fingertips and pressing the wrists into one another and just have less weight on the wrists until you are ready to shift more weight there.

Have fun.

Remember, these videos are primarily intended for my own students so I can give adjustments and comments and personal feedback.  It is always best to go to an actual teacher rather than learn off the internet.

Oh, and don't forget about my retreat in Sri Lanka this April 2016.  Come along if you can!

Much metta,

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