Homework 1. Kovalam, India

by Joanna D.

This last week David asked us to write about our experience with some of the principles he has offered in regards to the practice of Ashtanga Yoga. Hatha Yoga. The alignment and awareness of the body in space, in movement, in breath. This was my response. 

THE INTERNAL PROCESS:
POSITIONS 1, 2 AND 3 OF SURYA NAMASKAR

Clunk. Shoulder joint resists the reach to first position. Damn, it’s still there. What to do…? Hands together or not together? Doesn’t matter. Investigate the motion, the rotation, reach OUT —-> extend through the entire wingspan, the entire length —-> better… yet, maybe reach forward, at a diagonal. Yes that’s it. Scapula position? Down and in? Check. Breathe in, full complete extension from feet to fingertips. Opposing forces centered around and over the axis. Spotlights shining, brilliantly lighting up each checkpoint. Where is my pelvis? Snug as a bug in the hold of the bandhas.

UP, OUT, FORWARD, DOWN.

Throw the top half forward, fulcrum–the pelvis. Braced legs; femurs, quads, hams, and adjust for balance. Take care that hamstring. —-> How can I be more prepared? Do I need to be more prepared? —-> Be as prepared as possible and follow through; accept the risk and use it to your advantage. Breathe the breath all the way out. Ahhhhhh… lifted pelvic floor, the lower belly hollowed, flying up and inside. Palms fixed to the floor, drawing a consciously submissive torso securely into an established foundation of leg power. Weightless stability cultivates the sweetest inward, emptiness. A brief moment of, solitary joy.

UP, OUT, EXTEND, BALANCE

Inhale the torso to horizontal. Risk! Keeping the balance, extend the spine forward. The legs! Hold the legs! Don’t lock your knees back (WHY WOULD YOU?!), inner rotation for the upper thighs. Pelvic position unfolds.—-> What?! Wasn’t it like that before? How did I not notice this?! —-> Shift tilt. Fingertips grip the floor and aid in spinal extension. Front of the body exposed and open to the floor, yet protected by the stability of the spine and the grandeur of the in-breath, the power of uddiyana. What a glorious position, it’s the perfect preparation for the jump back. It must be.

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