108 Postural Practice Pointers – 10 – Forward Bends are Back Stretches

 

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.

With regard to Āsana where the hands are placed on the ground……

“With regard to Āsana where the hands are placed on the ground,
the weight should not be on them.
So always weight on the feet not on the hands.”
– TKV Desikachar

One should move the spine as you would inhale and exhale.

“One should move the spine as you would inhale and exhale.”
– TKV Desikachar

Traditionally legs remain straight with thighs contracted and knee caps lifted…..

“Traditionally legs remain straight with thighs contracted and knee caps lifted.
Practically the idea is to bend the knees when strain is felt.
This can be observed in several areas.
In the knee caps by movement,
thigh muscles by contraction and resistance in the hamstrings.
When coming up straighten the legs after half way.”
– TKV Desikachar

Once you lose the breath in Āsana……

Once you lose the breath in Āsana, effort becomes force.

If I had a student I would give more respect to the exhalation……

Of the Four Aspects of the Breath which is more important

“If I had a student I would give more respect to the exhalation.
The course would be based on the observation of the exhalation in Prāṇāyāma and Āsana.
This would give the type of Prāṇāyāma and for which Āsana.
One should see what is the response of the exhalation in the posture or when sitting.
When fixing Prāṇāyāma, even if you are reducing the length of the exhalation,
if any problem then the cycle should be completely changed.
One must give respect to the exhalation.
One can get an idea by the position of the stomach.
One should keep 2/3″ in hand on inhalation and exhalation.”
TKV Desikachar Switzerland 1978

Always raise and lower the arms in the plane of the movement…….

Āsana_25b

“Always raise and lower the arms in the plane of the movement.
This helps the forward movement by causing you
to arch the back slightly before you bend forward.
Traditionally arms are straight and placed behind the ears.”
– TKV Desikachar 1980

Know the Breath from the feelings in the Āsana……

seated_pranayama_2

1. Know the Breath from the feelings in the Āsana.
2. Choose a ratio close to that used in Āsana.
3. Choose a technique to suit the day.
4. Choose a proper posture for the spine.
TKV Desikachar Switzerland 1978

For standing Āsana it is not necessary to close the eyes…..

Āsana_64

“For standing Āsana it is not necessary to close the eyes.
As standing Āsana are usually at the beginning of a practice,
it can sometimes be distracting to close the eyes,
because of all the visual activity proceeding the practice.
Having the eyes open can also stop you becoming unbalanced as you move.
The eyes can be useful for checking alignment within dynamic movements.
You may not observe this with the eyes closed.
However, the attention with the eyes open should be passive and aware.”
– TKV Desikachar 1980

Where are we starting from?……

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“We must consider the direction of one’s Āsana Practice.
Where are we starting from?
Where are we going to?
Is this journey of Pariṇāma working with immediate needs in mind?
Is this journey of Pariṇāma working with long term needs in mind?
Is this journey of Pariṇāma trying to integrate both immediate needs and long term needs?”
– TKV Desikachar 1980

You put your mind in one place during an Āsana……

Āsana_14a

“You put your mind in one place during an Āsana,
the body compensates and places the escape elsewhere.”
– TKV Desikachar 1980

The action of a posture may be delayed……

Āsana_12a

“The action of a posture may be delayed
because the student has tried to force the body into a posture.
Never measure something by its immediate effects.”
– From study notes with TKV Desikachar England 1992

108 Postural Practice Pointers – 9 – Back Bends are Front Stretches

Āsana_63

Postural Practice Pointer 9 – Back bends are Pūrvatāna Āsana or Front Stretches

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.

These problems in our observation are related to the mixing of…..

tkv_6a

“These problems in our observation are related to the mixing of:

Vikalpa:
Imagination is already there operating when we begin to observe.
All the more that we are better and better informed about what we should see, etc.

Viparyaya:
Because of the past Saṃskāra, there is a sort of perversion in observation.

Smṛti:
Memory is, unfortunately, never factual.

Finally, we should never forget that all conclusions are wrong, because things change.
Hence the importance of private lessons, which allow for more flexibility.”
– TKV Desikachar 1981

Observation must have a direction and be complete….

TKV Desikachar teaching at Gaunts House

“Observation must have a direction and be complete.
We always have a tendency to tell more than what we see, which is a mistake.
If we tell somebody that he has a problem, yet we know that we will not be able to give him a solution because of a lack of time or any other reason, maybe we are going to hurt him.
Therefore, we should first make sure that we have a solution to offer.”
– TKV Desikachar 1981

108 Postural Practice Pointers – 8 – The Intelligent Leg

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Postural Practice Pointer 8 – The Intelligent Leg

“The intelligent leg is the back leg.”

Students need to be aware of which parts of the body to……

tkv_6a

“Students need to be aware of which parts of the body to bring attention to,
without the teachers hands to remind them;
so by reminding them in another posture,
they will be aware of which part to move.”
From study notes with TKV Desikachar England 1992

What can be done can be easily established if we observe our breath in Āsana.

asana_15a

What can be done can be easily established if we observe our breath in Āsana.”
– TKV Desikachar ‘Choosing a Ratio and the proper technique for Prāṇāyāma’
Religiousness in Yoga Chapter Twelve Page 163

Any posture far removed from the normal posture is a problem and……

Āsana_12

“Any posture far removed from the normal posture is a problem
and therefore risky if there is any problem with the body.”
From study notes with TKV Desikachar England 1992

It is possible to be aware of the state of the mind by observing……

Āsana_35

“It is possible to be aware of the state of the mind
by observing the body during an Āsana practice.”
From study notes with TKV Desikachar England 1992

108 Postural Practice Pointers – 7 – Breath and Abdominal Movement

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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.

Sometimes the Vinyāsa Krama or special placing of steps from is more……

vinyasa

Sometimes the Vinyāsa Krama,
or special placing of steps from,
is more important than the steps to.
At other times the Vinyāsa Krama,
or special placing of steps to,
is more important than the steps from.
In our life as well as our practice.

To give the right thing to the right person at the right time is Sat viniyoga……

tkv_6a

“To give the right thing to the right person at the right time is Sat viniyoga.
Don’t look at the file, look at the student!”
TKV Desikachar France 1983

Planning should precede practice….

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Planning should precede practice,
fix your goal, building step by step
and there should be check points along the way.”
– From study notes with TKV Desikachar England 1992

We can recognise which of our Guṇa is dominant by observation in Āsana practice.

guna

“We can recognise which of our Guṇa is dominant by observation in Āsana practice.”
From study notes with TKV Desikachar England 1992

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