Practice Lab: Working with an Advanced Practice from "Light on Yoga", Part 2 [Light on Yoga]

[Part 1 of this series, in which we pick apart an advanced sequence from “Light on Yoga”, can be found here.]

Let’s look a little deeper at our advanced practice and see how it is broken down:

[Inversions]
Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)
Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)
Halasana (Plough Pose)


[Arm Balance/Back Bend Vishamanyasa]
Urdhva Kukkutasana (Upward Cockerel Pose)
Viparita Chakrasana (Inverted Wheel Pose)
Parshva Kukkutasana (Side Cockerel Pose)
Viparita Chakrasana (Inverted Wheel Pose)
Bakasana (Crow Pose)
Viparita Chakrasana (Inverted Wheel Pose)
Parshva Bakasana ( Side Crow Pose)
Viparita Chakrasana (Inverted Wheel Pose)
Dwi Pada Koundinyasana (Two Leg Koundinya’s Pose)
Viparita Chakrasana (Inverted Wheel Pose)
Eka Pada Koundinyasana 1 (Single Leg Koundinya’s Pose 1)
Viparita Chakrasana (Inverted Wheel Pose)
Eka Pada Koundinyasana 2 (Single Leg Koundinya’s Pose 2)
Viparita Chakrasana (Inverted Wheel Pose)
Eka Pada Bakasana 1 (Single Leg Crow Pose 1)
Viparita Chakrasana (Inverted Wheel Pose)
Eka Pada Bakasana 2 (Single Leg Crow Pose 2)
Viparita Chakrasana (Inverted Wheel Pose)


[Inverted Back Bends]
Dwi Pada Viparita Dandasana (Two Leg Inverted Staff Pose)
Mandalasana (Mandala Pose)
Eka Pada Viparita Dandasana 1 (Single Leg Inverted Staff Pose 1)
Eka Pada Viparita Dandasana 2 (Single Leg Inverted Staff Pose 2)
Chakrabandhasana (Wheel Lock Pose)
Kapotasana (Pigeon Pose)


[Advanced Baby Back Bends]
Eka Pada Raja Kapotasana 1 (Single Leg King Pigeon Pose 1)
Eka Pada Raja Kapotasana 2 (Single Leg King Pigeon Pose 2)
Padangustha Dhanurasana (Big Toe Bow Pose)
Bhujangasana 2 (Cobra Pose 2)
Rajakapotasana (King Pigeon Pose)

[Groin and Hamstring Openers]
Hanumanasana (Hanuman’s Pose)
Samakonasana (Straight Angle Pose)
Supta Trivikramasana (Reclined Three Strides Pose)


[Deep Hip Openers]
Yogadandasana (Yoga Staff Pose)
Mulabandhasana (Root Lock Pose)
Kandasana (Knot Pose)


[Twists]
Ardha Matsyendrasana 1 (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose 1)
Pashasana (Noose Pose)
Paripurna Matsyendrasana (Full Lord of the Fishes Pose)


[Deep Forward Bends]
Yoganidrasana (Yoga Sleep Pose)
Dwi Pada Shirshasana (Two Legs Behind the Head Pose)
Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)


Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


Break Down
  • The inversions go first, getting the important business of the practice out of the way, toning and balancing the nervous system while activating and integrating the various body parts into a stable whole.
  • Following that comes the Arm Balance/Back Bend Vishamanyasa, which is vigorous and challenging and relatively basic and superficial when you take into consideration the much deeper back bends, forward bends and twists that are to come. Many of the basic ranges of motion that will be practiced later on are included here in the context of strength and cohesion.
  • Then come the deep inverted back bends. In some ways, these are much more challenging than the advanced baby back bends that follow. Having the arms and legs on the ground, however, does make it easier to organize the organs of action to support the trunk, using gravity against which to arch the back and extend the spine.
  • In the advanced baby back bends it is then possible to take advantage of the organization and openness of the previous section to go deeper into these poses which requires more active use of the spinal extensor muscles to lift the trunk against the pull of gravity.
  • Hanumanasana (Hanuman’s Pose) and the other deep groin and hamstring openers then act as a bridge between the back bends and the forward bends to come. The front of the body is still being lengthened while the backs of the legs and the buttocks are beginning to be opened up.
  • The deep hip openers require extreme outward rotation of the thigh in the hip socket. This acts as both a release for the back bends that came before, softening up the buttocks and lower back, and a preparation for the deep twists and forward bends to come.
  • The three twists get progressively deeper, requiring more fluidity across the back of the pelvis and lower back, and deeper suppleness in the rib cage until the final twist requires the addition of the single Padmasana (Lotus Pose) leg. This is, in turn, a preparation for the deep forward bends.
  • The deep forward bends involve both an extreme outward rotation of the hip coupled with an extreme flexion of the spine to get the feet behind the head. The final forward bend lengthens the spine out again before Shavasana (Corpse Pose).

A Simplified Sequence

Here is a super-basic expression of the above schema, simplifying and limiting the scope of the poses, to get a general sense of the ranges of motion exercised in the practice:

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Salamba Shirshasana 1 (Head Stand 1)
• 5 minutes.

Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)
• 5 minutes

Halasana(Plough Pose)
• 3 minutes.

Malasana (Garland Pose)

Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Viparita Dandasana (Inverted Staff Pose) over a chair

Bakasana (Crow Pose)

Adho Mukha Vrkshasana (Hand Stand)

Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward Bow Pose)

Dwi Pada Viparita Dandasana (Two Leg Inverted Staff Pose) with the feet on blocks or a chair

Kapotasana (Pigeon Pose) over a chair

Ushtrasana (Camel Pose)

Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)

Eka Pada Raja Kapotasana 1 (Single Leg King Pigeon Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 1 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 1)

Supta Padangusthasana 2 (Reclined Big Toe Pose 2)

Hanumanasana (Hanuman’s Pose)

Adho Mukha Sukhasana (Downward Facing Comfortable Pose)

Adho Mukha Ardha Padmasana (Half Lotus Pose)

Ankle to Knee Pose

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

Pashasana (Noose Pose)

Bharadwajasana (Bharadwaja’s Pose 2)

Ardha Baddha Padma Pashchimottanasana (Half Bound Lotus Intense West Stretch Pose)

Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Pashchimottanasana (Intense West Stretch Pose)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


Related Posts:

Practice Lab: Working with an Advanced Practice from "Light on Yoga,” Round-Up


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