Postural Practice Pointer 10 – Forward bends are Paścimatāna Āsana or Back Stretches
Forward Bends are back stretching Āsana in terms of Bhāvana.
Thus in Paścimatāna Āsana one of the foci is on avoiding pushing
from the lower back as you bend forward.
Thus move forward from the abdominal area by drawing it back,
to encourage the lower back to respond by lengthening.
If we push from the lower back in forward bends,
such as Paścimatānāsana, it can tighten this area,
thus inhibiting the focus on the quality of the Apāna Lakṣaṇa,
as well as transferring stress to the sacrum, hips and hamstrings.
Prone Backbends as front stretches are wall to wall Āsana
in terms of Bhāvana, rather than floor to ceiling.
Thus in Sālamba Bhujaṅgāsana the focus is on
the sternum stretching forwards and
the big toes stretching backwards.
Postural Practice Pointer 8 – The Intelligent Leg
“The intelligent leg is the back leg.”
Postural Practice Pointer 7 – Breath and Abdominal Movement
Actively contract the abdomen when exhaling to emphasise Apāna Sthāna.
Actively constrict the abdomen when inhaling to emphasise Prāṇa Sthāna.
Postural Pointer 6 – Staying in Stillness
Making the Breath longer than the Stillness.
Making the Breath longer than the Stillness
means the body needs to be completely still before
the Recaka or Exhale is started and especially before it is stopped.
Equally the the body needs to be completely still before
the Pūraka or inhale is started and especially before it is stopped.
This is harder than it sounds given the propensity to want to tweak or adjust the body
at the beginning and especially when at the end of a movement.
Thus making the breath longer than the Movement
also means making the breath longer than the Stillness.
Postural Pointer 5 – Utkaṭāsana and sequence of movement respecting Prāṇa and Apāna
All these stages of descent are on one long exhalation.
– Lower the backside to the heels whilst keeping the back upright and the arms raised.
– Then stretch the back rounding it towards thighs whilst keeping the arms raised.
– Finally lower the arms to the ground.
All these stages of ascent are on one long inhalation.
– Raise the arms as far as we can keeping hips on the heels.
– Then straighten the back into an upright position.
– Finally lifting the backside off the heels and coming up.
Postural Pointer 4 – Dynamic Movement and the Refinement of the Breath
A longer term refinement of working with the breath in Āsana such as Paścimatānāsana,
is to begin the breath before leaving your departure point,
and finish the breath after reaching your arrival point.
In other words keeping the breath longer than the movement at all times.
Postural Pointer 3 – Forward Bending and the Role of the Abdomen
When moving into Paścimatāna Āsana such as Uttānāsana.
Better to pull back from the abdomen.
Rather than pushing forward from the lower back.
Postural Practice Pointer 2 – Jumping and the Bahya Kumbhaka
Jumping should be soundless and always on the Bāhya Kumbhaka or pause after the exhale.
Postural Practice Pointer 1 – Jaṭhara Parivṛtti and Movement
When coming up focus on on the lower leg lifting up the upper leg,
rather than the upper leg hauling up the lower leg.