Crédit Photo : Yogi Trupta Siena, Italy – clicked by Stéphanie VK
This morning during my practice I have experimented new sensations.
During the Suraya Namaskara B after placing my right foot front for Virabhadrasana A, I initiated the movement from the coccyx (tale bone), engaging the sacrum second, lumbar spine and by coming up opening the chest using each vertebrae one after another.
Basically I started the movement by doing a posterior tilt using only the core muscle to rise the upper body up. Therefore the feeling of this asana has been completely changed.
The breathing capacity was bigger, no compression toward the lumbar spine and a better thoracic expansion.
Generally during Virabhadrasana I we tend to over arch the lower back in order to expand the chest. However by using the strength from the middle of the body the intention is completely different, the lumbar spine stretches without any pain and the upper back is wide open which allow the arms to rise up without any difficulty and without loosing the balance.
Initiating the movement by the solicitation of the tale bone first allows a better balance, feet are acting like roots, the stability of the pelvis is stronger and there is a better connection toward the back leg. The body weight is then 50/50 on both legs.
From a yogic perspective we would talk about the activation of Mula Bandha followed by Uddiyana Bandha.
From an anatomic perspective the posterior tilt of the pelvis give more space in the lumbar region and authorise the activation of deepest muscles. The rectus abdominis is still part of it but not the leader. Transversal muscles take the full lead of the movement in order to stabilise the pelvis to rise the upper body up.
We then start moving from the inside toward the outside. We move from the center.
The Pilates Method in order to understand the spine motion
The Pilates Method is completely focus and oriented toward the articulation of the spinal column.
The Method allows a movement from the deepest core muscles and therefore during a Pilates class, teacher used to instruct student by rolling their spine vertebrae after vertebrae. Wether the posture is a standing or sitting or lying one.
During a Yoga practice we tend to forget that point even thought the spine is solicited in all asanas.
When we start moving from the center the intention is different than moving from the outside of the body in order to grab the toe, the ankle or else. It does not mean that we shall move all the time with an anterior tilt while folding forward, it will be completely wrong as instead of lengthening the lower back it will be shortened.
The best way will be to move from a neutral spine, the activation of the center will then become more subtle.
In Virabhadrasana I in order to keep the hips aligned the back leg should be active.
In order to engage the back leg we can try to move from the coccyx by initiating a posterior tilt, the right hip will then move forward as the left hip will be moving backward in such a pattern that the two iliac bones should be aligned with an horizontal line.
Adductors muscle will not have the feeling of being stretched but more about contracted, by doing so the body weight will not be only on the front leg. Sometimes students tend to feel only the front leg pushing back which result in knee pain, however by moving from the pelvis both legs will be engaged in the asana.
The pelvis is the connection between the upper body and the lower part. Therefore the energy has to be able to circulate freely in both direction, from down to up, from up to down.
In Yoga we will be talking about the pranic energy versus the apanic energy.
Starting practicing with the concept of pranic energy give more substance to the practice, it becomes more organic. Be able to remove all ideas about what is good, what is bad regarding the “universal” alignment that does not exist is giving the opportunity and the choice for a different practice.
Each asana got its own DNA, however we can decide the way we explore it, because the asana practice is an exploration of our own capacity. Knowing that each day will be different, each practice will be different.
One day we will be able to catch or grab or balance and the very next day we won’t.
Furthermore the day we find ourself in the “no I can’t fold forward” it is our commitment to understand how can we move from another perspective.
The regular asana practice is like “Discovery Channel”. We have to keep an open mind about what we can do and how we want to do it. Solutions and rules are not in book.
That is only by our personal research through the regular practice that we tend to understand the organic feeling of an asana.
All of our obstacles become when the mind is not open to try something else.
So just go on the mat and visit your practice like it is your first practice of your Life.
Have a Beautiful Practice!