Saturday, August 29, 2009


That was fun!

I wasn't feeling overly ambitious today so I did a flow class from YogaDownload: Power Vinyasa Flow #2, 45 minutes, with Dawnelle. I seem to be gravitating toward Dawnelle's classes. I like her voice, her cueing is precise and she's not the slightest bit flakey. This class is another one with no inversions, which makes if perfect for times when I'm avoiding inversions.

I was surprised by how sweaty and vigourous the sequence was. None of the poses were particularly challenging, but there was a lot of up and down, a lot of Chaturanga Dandasana.

Teacher D gave me a couple of pointers on my practice last weekend and both observations were related to Chaturanga Dandasana:
1) My 'middle' is sagging towards the floor in plank position - I need to lift up my hips
2) My shoulders are too close to my ears in Chaturanga.

and here's another one that Teacher D didn't mention, but Teacher V has a couple of times:
3) I'm coming too far down (close to the floor) in Chaturanga.

None of these issues are new to me. I know that Teacher M has mentioned the shoulders before (ad nasuem), but it's a tough habit to get my head wrapped around. I'm always on the lookout for pointers that can help me navigate my *perception* of my body alignment, versus the *reality* of my body alignment.

In plank (and Chaturanga), I have to consciously stick my bum up a bit, even though it feels counter-intuitive to the way the pose is supposed to 'look.'

Coming down too far is an easy fix: don't come down as far (the trick is remembering).

But the shoulders? I've been struggling with the shoulders for years.

In the sequence I practised today, I stumbled across a great pointer for the alignment of the shoulders in Chaturanga Dandasana:

Come into plank, wrists under shoulders, then *lean forward* so the shoulders are aligned over the fingertips before lowering into Chaturanga. This has the effect of bringing the shoulders away from the ears in Chaturanga, but it's easier to do because the alignment is there before you actually come down.

This is totally working for me! I've been trying to pull my shoulders away from my ears while in Chaturanga, and it felt impossible. It's like a difficult puzzle piece has snapped into place and it was so simple!


Jen Stevenson said...

I can totally relate to your Chaturanga woes. Mine went thru a "make-over" after 2 years of practice. My left shoulder was killing me. It took 2 years for someone to catch that I was dropping my shoulders AND my butt was up as yours was.

The final aaaahh moment was when my teacher described coming down like an airplane comes in for a landing. It was only then that I could visualize keeping my butt in line and not dropping "the nose" of my body plane. No more shoulder pain for me!

Just remember...."Practice and all is coming".

Kaivalya said...

My bum is actually too far *down* in plank, which I totally attribute to years of adjusting students with bums too far *up*. I was overcompensating.

I'm fortunate to have only had one shoulder strain from my practice, but I'm pretty sure it was Chaturanga-related.

Glad to hear that your injury cleared up!