If you do not follow Carrie Owerko on Instagram or some other social media, you absolutely should. She has so many creative, inspiring videos. Recently, she's posted videos with blanket sliding in poses such as Parighasana, Chatush Padasana, and Virabhadrasana 1; all of which are challenging and educational.
I've been experimenting with other blanket slides. Hope you enjoy them.
My most difficult pose on the Junior 1 syllabus is Lolasana, or pendant pose. I just. can't. get. my. legs. off. the. floor. Almost all the other arm balances, even ones that are considered quite difficult like urdhva kukkutasana I've had better luck with. I have felt some air time in urdhva kukkutasana. No such luck in Lolasana.
There are methods. Two chairs works. Parallel bars on playgrounds. A couple blocks and a strap. Doing the pose on the back. I'm sure if I had enough helium balloons, I'd get up. I'm happy to share these with the Internets if you would like, just send me a line. But I never felt the floating until now.
In the video below, I place my bottom foot in a wall strap, and place my hands fairly close to the wall. I press down on the strap, and voila! air time.
For those not into video watching, here are some pictures:
While I was at it, I played around with Eka Hasta Bhujasana. While not nearly as difficult for me as Lolasana, still has it's challenges.
Again, I push down on the strap to lift myself up.
I know that the action in the pose should not be pressing down with the feet; but it is sure nice to get some air time.
My mentor, Anne Schultz, is working on Junior 3 poses. She was analyzing poses she has difficulty with including Malasana. When I mentioned that I should think of prop help for Malasana, she said, "don't you have a blog?" 😂
This post almost didn't make it. I have a very difficult time looking at myself in this pose. I am usually fairly accepting looking at pictures of myself, but these in particular were difficult. Maybe it's the angle, or the pose, or the extra weight that has crept on this year; it doesn't matter the reason. This is who I am, and this is useful work in Malasana.
You may have tried the following variation of Uttanasana. This really stretches the calves.
Now, try bending the knees, bringing them forward like they would be in Malasana. This really changes the stretch for me, and I think it gets to one of the difficulties I have in Malasana.
My mentor, Anne Shultz, is working on the Junior 3 syllabus while I work on the Junior 1. One of the poses we both have difficulty with is Ardha Matysendrasana holding the foot. As a side note, this pose is on 4 separate syllabi AND has 10 pictures in LoY (more than any other single pose, I believe) - clearly this is an important pose in the Iyengar system.
In the Iyengar system, this pose is practiced sitting on the foot. Not just any way of sitting on the foot. You must sit on the edge of the foot with the bottom of the foot facing the wall behind you. This is uncomfortable for almost everyone on the planet, but is especially uncomfortable if you have stiff ankles or have recently hurt your ankle.
I have recently hurt my ankle. I wish to tell my readers that I hurt my ankle snowboarding, doing amazing tricks on slack ropes, or breaking someone out of prison, but alas, it was walking on a sidewalk in my neighborhood. It just twisted and stopped working the way ankles are supposed to and Ardha Matysendrasana suddenly became even more difficult.
Props to the rescue. Here's the set up:
Three blankets, one folded long, two book fold. Place one book-fold at the end of the long fold.
Place the bottom leg foot between the long and book-folded blankets. Make sure there is some blanket under the little toe side of the foot. As a side benefit, the book-folded blanket reminds the foot of it's correct position.
Because the leg will now be slightly higher than the foot, a third blanket is needed on top of the foot.
Here is the Intro 2 version of the pose, using the wall for support.
This is the Junior 1 and Junior 3 version. I'm holding the blanket rather than my foot. This is another advantage to having the blanket.
Iyengar yogis are sometimes considered the engineers of yoga. Today's blog is for all the engineers out there who love a good pulley system. A pulley makes loads lighter.
You know what? Legs are heavy. So here are a few good-natured students showing two different pulley systems.
The first one is a rope wall pulley. I learned this from Gillian in one of her rope wall classes. It also works on regular rope walls, or just about anything you can attach over your head. You thread the rope through a hook, have your foot in one end, and hoist your leg into the air. Here is Bob demonstrating:
Incidentally, Bob's wife Jane is in the doorway. I really liked to perspective on this one.
As a rope wall isn't always available, you can also use your shoulder for the pulley. As you pull your arm down, your leg goes up. Here is Marisa showing that one: