Practice Lab: Drop-Backs and Arm Balances (from "Light on Yoga")

In our giddy folly of enthusiastic exploration, we decided to have a go at this sequence from “Light on Yoga”, which includes both drop-backs from Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand) into Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward Bow Pose) and arm balances. Kristen did well with the drop-backs but, to be truthful, they scare the crap out of me. I tried it once or twice, once with a spot, once to a Halasana bench, but I wussed out the first time, and had a brain spasm the second and tweaked my shoulder. So I did drop-backs from Tadasana (Mountain Pose) on the ropes instead. I maintain that I’m a 6’2”, 185lb., clumsy guy and that I don’t have the openness in my back and chest yet to do them properly. Kristen thinks I need to just suck it up and own my size and figure it out. I think she’s probably right. Something else to work on.

This sequence is adapted from the one that appears on page 472 of the Schocken edition of “Light on Yoga”. Be warned that it takes a good 2 1/2 to 3 hours to perform.

The Sequence

Shirshasana Cycle:
Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)
Urdhva Dandasana (Upward Staff Pose)
Parshva Shirshasana (Side Head Stand)
Parivrttaikapada Shirshasana (Single Leg Revolved Head Stand)
Eka Pada Shirshasana (Single Leg Head Stand)
Parshvaikapada Shirshasana (Single Leg to the Side Head Stand)
Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose) in Head Stand
Parshva Baddha Konasana (Side Bound Angle Pose) in Head Stand
Pindasana (Embryo Pose) in Head Stand

Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Mayurasana (Peacock Pose)

Padma Mayurasana (Lotus Peacock Pose)

Nakrasana (Crocodile Pose)
• This poses involves coming into Chaturanga Dandasana (Four Limbed Staff Pose) and hopping forward five times, then back five times.

Salamba Sarvangasana Cycle:
Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)
Salamba Sarvangasana 2 (Shoulder Stand 2)
Niralamba Sarvangasana 1 (Unsupported Shoulder Stand 1)
Niralamba Sarvangasana 2 (Unsupported Shoulder Stand 2)
Halasana (Plough Pose)
Karnapidasana (Pressure on the Ear Pose)
Supta Konasana (Reclined Angle Pose)
Parshva Halasana (Side Plough Pose)
Eka Pada Sarvangasana (Single Leg Shoulder Stand)
Parshvaikapada Sarvangasana (Single Leg to the Side Shoulder Stand)
Parshva Sarvangasana (Side Shoulder Stand)
Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose in Shoulder Stand)
Eka Pada Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Single Leg Bridge Pose in Shoulder Stand)
Urdhva Padmasana Sarvangasana (Upward Lotus Pose in Shoulder Stand)
Parshva Urdhva Padmasana Sarvangasana (Side Upward Lotus Pose in Shoulder Stand)
Pindasana (Embryo Pose)
Parshva Pindasana (Side Embryo Pose)

Jathara Parivartanasana (Belly Turning Pose)

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1) head down variation
Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1) head up variation
Supta Padangusthasana 3 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 3)
Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)
• Do the whole cycle all on one leg, then the other.

Anantasana (Vishnu’s Couch Pose)

Uttanapadasana (Stretched Out Upward Facing Pose)

Setubandhasana (Bridge Lock Pose)

Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward Bow Pose) from Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand) and back up into Tadasana (Mountain Pose)
OR
Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward Bow Pose) from and into Tadasana (Mountain Pose)
• Do 12 of these.

Marichyasana 3 (Marichi’s Pose 3)

Ardha Matsyendrasana 1 (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose 1)

Pashasana (Noose Pose)

Bhujapidasana (Pressure on the Arms Pose)

Ashtavakrasana (Ashtavakra’s Pose)

Bakasana (Crow Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Parivrtta Pashchimottanasana (Revolved Intense West Stretch Pose)

Upavishtha Konasana (Seated Angle Pose)

Akarna Dhanurasana (Bow to the Ear Pose)

Padmasana Cycle:
Padmasana (Lotus Pose)
Parvatasana (Mountain Pose)
Tolasana (Scales Pose)
Simhasana 2 (Lion Pose 2)
Matsyasana (Fish Pose)
Urdhva Kukkutasana (Upward Cockerel Pose)
Garbha Pindasana (Embryo in the Womb Pose)
Gorakshasana (Cowherd Pose)
Baddha Padmasana (Bound Lotus Pose)
Yoga Mudrasana (Yoga Seal Pose)
Supta Vajrasana (Reclined Thunderbolt Pose)

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Bhekasana (Frog Pose)

Supta Virasana (reclined hero pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


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