Practice Lab

Side Bharadwaja's Pose over a bolster
This practice is a continuation of the ideas of a few weeks ago where we were releasing the ribcage. In addition, we will be dividing the trunk into four different segments, creating softness and fluidity in each.

The Sequence


Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose) on ropes
• Come into the pose clasping the elbows with the arms and head resting on the support of a bolster and blankets stacked up to a comfortable height.
• Soften and widen the wall of the latissimus dorsi across the back ribs. Lengthen the outer armpits towards the elbows.
• With each exhalation, allow the rib cage to retract inwards, separating away from the latissimus in a soft and even manner.
• Soften the intracostal muscles
• Hold for 3 to 5 min.

Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)
• Come into the pose with a bolster across the back, supporting the lower back ribs.
• Soften and widen the wall of the lower front ribs away from the xyphoid process (the bottom tip of the sternum).
• With each exhalation, allow the rib cage to retract inwards, separating away from the wall of connective tissue between the front ribs and the skin.
• Soften the intracostal muscles
• Hold for 3 to 5 min.

Rope Shirshasana (Hanging Head Stand)
• Soften and widen the walls of the front ribs and the latissimus.
• With the exhalations allow the entire ribcage to retract inwards away from the front and back walls of the body.
• Soften the intracostal muscles
• Hold for 3 to 5 min.

Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)
• As above.
• Hold for 3 to 5 min.

Supta Virasana (Reclined Hero Pose)
• As above.
• Hold for 3 to 5 min.

Viparita Karani (Upside Down Pose)
• Allow the exhalations to soften and lengthen, getting slightly longer than the inhalations.
• Observe the diaphragm and allow it to release completely as you exhale so that the inhalations can be completely reflexive.
• Soften and widen the very top band of the chest below the collarbones.
• Hold for 3 to 5 min.

Parshva Bharadwajasana (Side Bharadwaja’s Pose)
• Soften and widen the upper back, spreading and releasing the wall of soft tissue between the shoulder blades.
• Hold for 3 to 5 minutes on each side.

Adho Mukha Shavasana (Downward Facing Corpse Pose)
• Soften the entire back body, but especially the full expanse of the latissimus, from the back of the sacrum to the outer armpits.
• As you exhale, allow the back body to fall away from the wall of the latissimus as a whole.
• Hold for 5 min.

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)
• Allow the exhalations to soften and lengthen, getting slightly longer than the inhalations.
• Observe the diaphragm and allow it to release completely as you exhale so that the inhalations can be completely reflexive.
• Do this for 2 to 3 minutes.

Ujjayi Pranayama 4 (Victorious Breath 4) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose)
• Ujjayi 4 is a full and expansive breath in a reclined position where the exhalations are slightly longer than the inhalations.
• Place a belt loosely around the waist with the buckle just below the navel. Narrow it just enough to give you feedback, but not enough to restrict the breath.
• Without pushing the breath into the abdomen, observe how the waist expands and releases into and away from the belt as you breath. Soften the circumference of the waist to allow the movement to be completely even in all directions.
• Allow the lower and upper abdomens to separate out in your awareness on either side of the belt.
• Do this for 3 to 5 minutes.

Ujjayi Pranayama 4 (Victorious Breath 4) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose)
• Reposition the belt so that it is around the rib cage at the level of the xyphoid process. Soften and balance the movement into and away from the belt as you breath.
• Allow the upper abdomen/lower rib area and the mid chest to separate out in your awareness on either side of the belt.
• Do this for 3 to 5 minutes.

Ujjayi Pranayama 4 (Victorious Breath 4) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose)
• Reposition the belt so that it is around the top chest, just under the armpits. Soften and balance the movement into and away from the belt as you breath.
• Allow the mid and upper chest to separate out in your awareness on either side of the belt.
• Do this for 3 to 5 minutes.

Viloma Pranayama 1 (Interrupted Breath 1) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose)
• Viloma 1 is a full inhalation broken up into 3 to 5 separate and equal volumes with a brief and easy pause before a long, easy exhalation, done in a reclined position.
• In this case, divide the breath up into 3 segments, expanding into each of the three areas we worked on in Ujjayi Pranayama.
• Do this for 3 to 5 minutes.

Viloma Pranayama 2 (Interrupted Breath 1) in Shavasana (Corpse Pose)
• Viloma 1 is a full exhalation broken up into 3 to 5 separate and equal volumes with a brief and easy pause before a full, easy inhalation, done in a reclined position.
• In this case, divide the breath up into 3 segments, releasing away from each of the three areas we worked on in Ujjayi Pranayama.
• Do this for 3 to 5 minutes.

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)
• Allow the exhalations to soften and lengthen, getting slightly longer than the inhalations.
• Observe the diaphragm and allow it to release completely as you exhale so that the inhalations can be completely reflexive.
• Do this for 2 to 3 minutes.

Ujjayi Pranayama 8 (Victorious Breath 8) in any comfortable seated position
• Ujjayi 8 is similar to Ujjayi 4, except that it is performed seated upright.
• Practice this in 3 stages, just as when reclined, with the belt in each position.
• Practice each stage for 3 to 5 minutes.

Viloma Pranayama 4 (Interrupted Breath 4) in any comfortable seated position
• Viloma 4 is similar to Viloma 1, except that it is performed seated upright.
• Practice this as you did when reclined, in 3 segments expanding into each band and maintaining the independent separation of each part.
• Do this for 3 to 5 minutes.

Viloma Pranayama 4 (Interrupted Breath 4) in any comfortable seated position
• Viloma 4 is similar to Viloma 2, except that it is performed seated upright.
• Practice this as you did when reclined, in 3 segments releasing each area and maintaining the independent separation of each part.
• Do this for 3 to 5 minutes.

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)
• Allow the exhalations to soften and lengthen, getting slightly longer than the inhalations.
• Observe the diaphragm and allow it to release completely as you exhale so that the inhalations can be completely reflexive.
• Do this for 2 to 3 minutes.


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