Monday, October 6, 2014

Variations in Virasana

Long time no blog.  Life gets in the way sometimes.

I've been thinking about Virasana variations for the past month.  There are so many; this topic may have a part 2 at some point. 

The first place to start when thinking of a pose is the book.  There are many variations of Virasana in "Light on Yoga", which if you were took Anne Schultz's classes last year, you would have permanently etched on your feet:
Look at plate 85 (upper left).  His feet are going out to opposite sides.  Much like the bottom foot in Ardha Matsyendrasana.  He says this is the starting place! for those that cannot get their buttocks on the floor in Virasana.  Toddlers are very good at this, adults not so much.  By all means try it though.  Then move through the cycle: foot on foot, big toes touching, feet facing in, feet facing back.

This isn't the only way to torture your feet!

Here are some more:
Sit with your feet together, place a block between your feet and your hips.  This will warm your feet up for the next one:
Sit in Virasana with your knees up.  One, two, three folded blankets.  Arun taught this in preparation for Vamadevasana 2 in Dallas this year.  Wowouch!

To get your feet back to normal, turn them the other way:

Try to sit between your heels.  If this is too much, have your feet under your hips.  Tuck your toes under as much as possible.

Here's one for the ankles:

Strap your ankles together and sit down.  Sometimes you feel this one more in the ankles sometimes more in the feet.  You might notice I'm leaning forward.  This is me trying to have less weight on my ankles and make the pose less intense.

If the toes have had enough, time to get the calf smashing tools out.
Here they are arranged from most intense to least: rolling pin, sticky mat around a dowel, rolled sticky mat, skinny dowel, rolled blanket.

Do not use the cat.  He doesn't like to be smashed and is way too sharp.

Place the prop as close to your knee joint as possible and sit as close to your heels as possible.  Here I'm using the rolling pin.  My cats are wondering why I'm whimpering.

You can also move this prop back along the calf.  I didn't get a picture, but the roll has different effects on different parts of the calf.  I like it in the middle of the calf behind the two heads of the gastrocnemius muscle.  It does something nice for my hamstrings.  Someday you may learn to love calf smashing as much as I do.

The next two variations for today are to help the thigh descend. 

This first one I learned from George Purvis:

Rather than using the block under the buttocks, use it under the backs of the thighs.  Make your thighs descend to the block.

The second one I learned from Ramanand Patel:
 Notice the placement of the strap.  It goes on top of the thighs and under the ankles.

 The buckle end is a shorter length, so that when you tighten the strap, the buckle ends up on top of the thighs, not near the ankles.

The final variation for the day is an experiment of mine.  I really like the internal rotation I get when doing Trianga Mukhaikapada Paschimottanasana with a blanket under the Virasana leg outer buttock bone.  So I'm experimenting with doing that same action in Virasana.  Let me know what you think.

Happy Sitting.

1 comment:

  1. I tried the two blocks at a diagonal so they move the heels out more. I see why the one you are doing broadens the sacrum more.