|New, blue rug|
Yesterday I practiced 2nd series and and tried to employ some of Richards instruction and noticed a quite striking difference in my kapo.
I posted the video last night and here it is with the description of how I had Interpreted Richard's instruction
Exploring something Richard Freeman seemed to be saying'ish at AYC. I've tended to bring my sitting bones together then nutate my hips as much as possible, tilting my hips upwards before dropping back. Richard talked about bringing the sitting bones together and the coccyx forward but then also attempting the draw the pubic bone back towards the coccyx, bringing all four points towards each other and drawing up mula bandha ...then bringing the sacrum through, so the whole unit comes forward and up...something like that, either way it made a surprising difference to my kapo today which has tended to be semi committed winter kapo's for the last couple of months.
For the last couple of months I've tended to do half hearted winter kapo's, happy to just drop back near my feet and walk in before settling down holding the balls of my feet. I've also mostly focussed on Primary through the winter, it's cold in the home shala no matter what I do, I'm happy to reach spring with some semblance of my practice intact.
Here though is my kapo from January employing some of what I picked up from heather Morton's Backbending DVD, I'm working on tilting the pubic bone up and holding it up there with mula bandha.
I was quite happy with this at the time. I'd had another lay off second series due to my Vinyasa Krama practice book project which had taken three months, I managed to graze my heel with my fingertips coming down, not bad after a long lay off, thank you Heather.
The Richard Freeman one above felt quite amazing though, after no heels kapo for a long time I pretty much drop back straight on to them, it all felt comfortable and relaxed.
So what's different.
As I mention in the youtube description I'd tended to nutate/tilt the pelvis backwards leading with the pubic bone but for Richard that's leaving the coccyx behind, he wants you to bring the pubic bone and coccyx together and then bring the sacrum through.
This seems to keep keep the whole unit further forward ( often the big weakness in our kapo's is to let the hips, the pelvis, come back as we lower taking our hands beyond our feet), the attempt to bring the sacrum through seems to tilt the pelvis but as a whole unit, a whole unit because your also bringing your sitting bones together, mula bandha is drawn up (you can see me thinking through all this just before I go back in the first video).
So everything is more...solid, more space created = better, deeper and more importantly, a more comfortable, secure kapo.
But is that what Richard was saying?
|Image from here|
Richard Freeman's Backbending workshop at Ashtanga Yoga Confluence
I've been waiting all morning for a new rug to arrive (getting irritated with towels) and while waiting have gone through the whole backbend workshop video taking notes which ended up as pretty much a partial transcription of as much as I could catch of what Richard was saying (though mainly the parts about coccyx/pubic bone/sitting bones/sacrum unit).
Here's the first video (the workshop is divided up into four) you can reach the others by clicking on channel.
And here's the transcription. This remember is imperfect as it's so hard to hear (which is why I haven't used quotation marks) but may be helpful if your watching along and want to try some of this out. The section at the end on Urdhva Danhurasana is a combination of all that's said through the first three. For completion sake I'll try and add the last ten minutes of the workshop ( the counter poses ) soon.
Note on the timings: I've stitched the video's together so my timings are based on that
Do you know where your PC muscle is, the kegal muscle connecting the pubic bone with the coccyx?
Chain of muscles running from the rectus abdomens across the pubic bone to the coccyx.
Coccyx bone and pubic bone, they almost touch (?)
'pulling a smoothie up through a straw, between your legs…don't think about it'
...sacrum goes down, the pubic bone goes down the sitting bones go down.
13:21 The pelvic floor in terms of it's movement has four corners, two sitting bones, the pubic bone and the coccyx.
They (the angels ?) are working to anchor the four corners back. When you get four corners anchored back and they communicate, the middle point pops up in the opposite direction. Mula Bandha. that's the only way to get mula bandha. But you have to get the four Darkini's (angels?) to help to help you.
You don't squeeze the buttock muscles because the buttock muscles and PC muscles are different.
you can soften the buttock muscles, keep the mid line of the pelvic floor slightly taut
pull the pubic bone way up to the back
another angel pulls the coccyx back and towards the pubic bone
get those two actions balanced and your spine will lengthen to twice it's normal length
drop the coccyx
pull your perineum up to your tonsils : )
four angles pull the your corners of the pelvic floor back (Oh OK because the want to spread apart, pulling them back towards each other)
16:47 don't allow the elbows to go cross eyed
25:20 Cobra hoodie
29:00 raised arms with twist relaxes the psoas
raise the arm up above your head, rotate the shoulder blade outwards
posterior rotation around the horizontal axis
(BUT keep space between the shoulder blades)
…come up onto the fingertips as if playing the piano, rotate the shoulder blades out i can move the coccyx back, push down the fingers, widening, rolling back the collar bones the pubic bone goes back.
the pubic bone carries the prana pattern, the coccyx the apana and the two become attracted to each other
36:59 Pashasana (arm movement)
47:00 pelvic floor widens, coccyx dives in the pelvic floor
coccyx is like a bumble bee, pelvic floor like a flower
48:08 end of the exhale tones the pc muscle, holding the coccyx down, a bright gold golden tail.
53.14 bhekhasana ? relax the pubic bone, keep the coccyx going back, play the two patterns back and forth.
59:30 We're going to drop the coccyx, let it flow into the pc muscles but we want to get the pubic bone down and back, because the pubic bone, she's receiving the coccyx and the fibres of the PC muscles toned actually bring the coccyx and pubic bone slightly closer together.
if we just pinch the buttocks, push the pubic bone forward, we're making the pelvic floor longer, more narrow, this will create (tension?) in the Si joints and if not there then the lumbar spine.
We trim the legs slightly inwards, spin them downwards, the coccyx drops, pubic bone stays down and the sacrum goes in and up,
The sacrum is not the coccyx, if the sacrum follows the coccyx down and tries to go into the pelvic floor, the pubic bone gets freaked out.
See the sacrum is the mother of the coccyx, the coccyx is the groom and the bride the pubic bone. In yoga time, the pubic bone sets up the width, the right shape of the pelvic floor and the the coccyx comes and everything is OK. then if the mother-in-law of the also follows the little prince, she is huge, wedge shaped, she tries to come into the pelvic floor, the bride sees the mother-in-law and runs out the other side.
In all these backbends, the direction of the sacrum, once the pelvic floor is balanced, the SI joints become balanced in a way in which the sacrum seems to float forward and up out of the SI joints.
But the coccyx drops down and comes forward, pubic bone drops down and stays back
The coccyx and sacrum are going in two different directions (?).
Inhaling lift the kidney wings, reach up Spin the arms inwards rather than outwards, radical and then move your sacrum in and up, spreading the kidney wings, then the head goes back
1:05:21 inhaling, nudge your sacrum up and in, keeping the pubic bone dropped down, the coccyx lights up, put a little bend in the elbows to accentuate the inward spin of the arms so that your kidney wings come up, coccyx drops and comes forward….. head goes back, look down your nose and imagine a cobra hood opening up over your head.
1:07:00 cobra hoodie (comes out of the back of the head when shoulder blades are relaxed)
1:09:15 if you balance the width of your sitting bones you can get the sacrum to sit smoothly in the illium and if you change the width of the sitting bones it makes the sacrum tilt forward or back depending on the forces, forward bend back bend. So you use your pelvic floor to adjust the width of your sitting bones and you can get rid of an SI bone pain by adjusting the width of your sitting bones.
1:14:58 Urdhva Danhurasana (Instruction comprised of all three UD's)
You feel like your psoas is in your arm
EXHALE: Draw your knees up, come on to the tips of your toes,
Pull sitting bones, coccyx and pubic bones to a point between the knees ( pull your coccyx to a point between your knees, let your pubic bone go to that same point (drop your pubic bone back onto the coccyx))
Smile before you go up.
INHALE, up we go, fill your kidneys with a hundred gallons of fresh air, come to a headstand with your heels lifted, bring your elbows back in, so your upper arms are almost parallel. Pull that sacrum up and in, spread the skin of the lower back,
EXHALE, feel the skin of the lower front ribs softening (the skin of the lower front ribs draws down towards the pubic bone), Put the inner heel down but don't lose the golden quality in the coccyx,
INHALE Up to the summit, lengthen those arms to twice the natural length, let the collar bones roll back as the kidney wings spread. spread your lower back, wrap the kidney wings (kidney wings stay wide.), wrap the shoulder blades, push on through the inner heel, the collar bone rolls back,…
Imagine the cobra hoodie stretching all the way up your spine, spreading, you're patanjali
After a number of breaths...
EXHALE Come down , the shoulders, once the sacrum is on the floor, relax the pallet ahhhh
1:28:45 Another UD
Remember this is a breathing exercise. The breath already knows all this stuff, so turn it over to the breath. One more
Deep breath in, still the kidney wings, Exhale, pull the four corners of the pelvic floor to a point between the knees and then when your ready the inhale boots you off, wrap the shoulder blades wides, lengthen the arms, remember the arms stretch the psoas muscles, the coccyx pops up between the legs like a ...tail, your pubic bone should fall back onto the coccyx
Last ten minutes of counter poses to come.
Obviously I'll be coming back to this to tidy it up some more and review it but somebody might be helpful, especially if they attended the workshop and suffered from information overload.
All things Richard
Richard Freeman's website http://yogaworkshop.com/
His Book (left) The Mirror of Yoga
I downloaded this earlier in the week, post to come
His DVD's of course, must practice with his Intermediate series again this week and see if any of this stuff comes up, I remember a lot about the palate last time I practiced with it. In fact here's a link to the store on his website. http://yogaworkshop.com/store/
UPDATE: Nice video of Richard discussing yoga posted on Eddie Stern's blog today http://ayny.org/richard-freeman.html
Now my new rug has arrived, I'm off to practice 2nd and try and put all this into practice.