Urdhva Muka Paschimottanasana
Practicing in LA
Urdhva Muka Paschimottanasana
Practicing in LA
Traditional meditation cross legged sitting postures. The most done and most traditional used all over the world is: Sukhasana. The next is Siddhasana. And only rarely, Padmasana.
Sukansana – sitting “easy cross legged” pose.
This is “easy” because it is simply sitting cross legged.
Siddhasana – sitting with toes tucked into thighs or set the feet side by side keeping the knees wide.
Siddhasana is a little more difficult than Sukasana and is a cross legged pose where you tuck your feet into your thighs (between thighs and calves specifically), or lay your feet side by side (on the floor in front of you) keeping the knees wide: a wide kneed pose. Which means that it can only be done when the hips are more open, and it can help open the hips even more than simply sitting cross legged.
Padmasana – sitting with feet on top of thighs tucked close to hips
Padmasana or lotus pose is the most difficult of the seated “meditation” poses. It is done by tucking the feet up on top of the thighs and close to the hips: a closed knee pose. Which means that the knees are closer together and can be done when the hips are much more open than the other two. It is not easy to get into and takes a great deal of practice to make sure the knees are protected.
These are important distinctions. All three are available to use – but please practice especially the last two, with a GOOD teacher – one who knows the difference between the three poses.
Once you practice all three poses, the differences and the benefits of each will become clear.
Please keep yoga asana names and terms correct.
I go through what’s on the graph in a split second every other day. 🙂 And it continues to be like that no matter how I advance in my practice. Ashtanga is a complex and very layered, deep practice. There’s always room for improvement, and there is always signs of improvement. It keeps me humble and it fills me with such joy too.
I love Ashtanga … no matter what.
Acrobats are NOT yogis/yoginis. Circus freaks are NOT either. Come to think of it neither are ballet dancers or athletes. Yogis/Yoginis are well… yogis/yoginis. It is beyond the physical. Beyond the point of “look at what I can do”. There’s a subtlety and a humility that is expressed through the body when doing asana. Can you see it…within yourself?
I know what you mean, I think. But many dancers and athletes and acrobats I know are also yogis/yoginis… the various practices and arts and sciences do interleaf with each other, all the intersecting influences and balances and movements and stillness add the kind of texture to life that I adore…
You may think so – but the quality of the relationship between mind and body is intrinsically different because of how you approach the physical practice. If you are in a discipline such as gymnastics or dance which focuses on ‘performance’, that becomes a part of the ‘yoga’ you do which is NOT the how or the why of Yoga…
Gymnastics and dance, etc. are just physical. Just because you can contort your body seemingly perfectly into the postures does not mean you are doing YOGA. Yoga is so much more and if you’ve done it long enough say 20 years (yes I think it takes that long and even longer), you will know that performing the postures and enacting asana within your practice are NOT the same thing.
*Bhoga is doing yoga asana for the sake of the self. For entertainment, performance or narcissistic purposes. Yoga asana should only be done for the purpose of worshipping god (universal energy). – Paraphrased from the writings of Mr. Iyengar founder of Iyengar Yoga.
Yes. It has always perplexed me – Urdhva Dhanurasana. Even as I take the pose it is not very comfortable for me. I don’t feel ease and I can’t stay in it long. It took me years of concerted and sincere practice to even get me here.
I never learned from someone who could do this posture well. They are the kind of teacher who can’t believe you can’t do it. You know the teacher that says, just do this, or that, and they think it’s that easy. I had one teacher give up on me. That didn’t feel good.
So I took what I knew – by that time 20 years of practice, and started to practice on my own (doing it for 12 years now), and didn’t rely on a teacher to see me through. What I learned about my body: what it could do when I moved into things the way that it needed to, was a real eye opener. I learned a lot and my body opened up considerably after in the years that I’ve been teaching myself. I always told my students that the people with the most difficulty in postures are the lucky ones. We are the ones that really feel our bodies open and change and even tighten up again. We learn that there is an ebb and flow.
So it taught me that for me, Urdhva Danurasana was always going to be a challenge and the things like Kapostasana, might not ever come. But it doesn’t mean I don’t venture into that realm of back bends – I keep practicing. There are days when I can feel what it’s all about. And then the next day it’s gone. I accept that about my body and that’s what yoga’s all about. Isn’t it?
So absolutely go slow. Ease into it. But most importantly – move as if there was no where to go. No goal in sight. Just keep expressing the energy of back bend, or forward bend, or inversion, or any other type of posture you’re doing. Doesn’t matter if it ‘looks’ like you are in the posture perfectly, it matters how deeply you can go into the feeling of the energy of the posture.
Ask me about anything: If you’re struggling with any posture including backbends, send me a note. I’d be glad to assist.
Most of the time when I search for yoga sites for someone to follow because there is a resonance with their approach to the yoga practice: that, it is true and unencumbered, I can’t find any. Pages upon pages are full of people doing ‘stunt’ yoga like that’s where it’s at or all about.
I’m getting really tired of it. You’re just a bunch of showoffs. Really. Big deal, you can bend over backward and kiss your own ass. Big deal that you can put your leg behind your head. Big deal that you can do a handstand! Any circus freak can do what you are constantly bombarding us with on your websites and your blogs. And I don’t think they’re (the circus freaks) doing “yoga”. They’re creating a spectacle that is the circus.
Yes, I can do most of it. There are still things I struggle with daily. But that’s what teaches me.
Yes – it looks pretty. BIG DEAL. Do you even know what yoga is? I don’t think you get it. Yeah yeah, you’re so impressive, that you can do that. Whoop! But that’s what it’s really all about for you isn’t it? You crave for attention. For people out in the world to look at you and say, oh, I want to follow you. You’re gorgeous or remarkable (because they are saying to themselves, I can’t do that – so you must be great.) And stop blogging the perfect beautiful photo of yoga. Take a picture of yourself doing a pose. Yeah! That’s part of the teaching. Would you dare to show yourself in a not so perfect pretty pose? Would you? The real learning of yoga is to get over that…as a individual, as a business, and as a culture.
Show me you’re not perfect. If you want to keep showing those pristine shots on your website, then that’s fine just don’t call it YOGA! It’s not yoga. For crying out loud. Enough already! It’s fooling around with what looks like yoga postures. And please don’t write me about how a yogini wouldn’t get mad. I am channeling ‘Kali”. You know Kali – the hindu goddess of creation and destruction! Sometimes things must be destroyed to create something new. And it’s about time!
Please send me your not-so-perfect-yoga-asana-pic, I’d love to see it!
I ground my front big toe mound down into the ground and draw the spiral energy of life force up from the earth into my outer front thigh.
I draw the outer right thigh to connect the two hemispheres of my hips together into centre behind me.
I ground my back outer foot into the mat without lifting its inner line but creating an arch and let that energy spiral up into the outer back hip, meeting the inner thighs pressing up into the outer. This energetic action stabilizes the back hip which is met by the front hip drawing in.
I am stable and strong now.
I draw in the front lower belly toward the spine, I fold naturally and easily till my chin rests on my shin. My hands rest lightly on my back and my elbows lift slightly.
I relax into Parsvottanasana with breath and mindfulness.
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