Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Getting Creative – Using Your Walls

I have always been a do-it-yourselfer. I approach my asana practice the same way. I began my asana practice years ago studying yoga guides, watching yoga videos, and finding just about any other resource available. When I took my first class, I was blown away at how much I had to learn. We all need someone to tell us to soften our eyes, lift our chins, or assist us in finding proper alignment. It took some time to get over my feelings of inadequacy when I was adjusted, but once I got beyond that, I wondered how I could get those adjustments at home.

The best home yoga prop, by far, is the wall. It is good for the obvious things, like learning inversions and sitting upright, but it also provides a guide for alignment.

One of my favorite poses to do at the wall is Garudasana (Eagle Pose). I often catch myself leaning forward in this pose, so I utilize the wall to help achieve the goal of keeping my torso vertical.

  1. I press my hips, spine, shoulders, and the back of my head against the wall.
  2. I walk my feet about 1.5 feet away from the wall - far enough away so that I can bend my knees to a 90 degree angle.
  3. I bend my legs to 90 degrees and wrap the right thigh over the left thigh – then attempt to wrap the right shin behind the left shin (sometimes it will, sometimes it won’t).
  4. I do a scan of my upper body – did my hips, spine, shoulders, or head come off of the wall? Then I reassert the contact with the wall at each of these points.
  5. I wrap my right upper arm under my left upper arm and wrap my right forearm behind my left forearm – contacting my right fingers to left palm.
  6. I take note of how the arm wrapping has affected my shoulders. I try to be careful not to let the wrapping of my arms pull the shoulders off of the wall.
  7. I reassert the contact of the shoulders to the wall and ensure that my arms are docked in their sockets.
  8. I hold for 30 seconds and switch sides.

After trying each side, I practice the pose away from the wall and note the effects.

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