Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Closing the gap in Parivrtta Parsvakonasana

In Parivrtta Parsvakonasna, I'm working to close the space between the thigh and the torso.

Here's what it looks like with no warm up - large thigh gap!

In Light on Yoga, there isn't a gap between his chest and his leg (and his back foot is on the ground, and his back thigh is more lifted, and his torso is turned more; you get the idea).
Clearly, I have a long way to go.

So one of the difficulties for me in the pose is "seating" the front leg.  I feel a strong grip on the front thigh, which makes it more difficult to turn.  The following are some ways that help me relax that grip.

Starting on the floor is always a good idea.  If I take the work out of the front leg, it won't grip as much.  Some organ squeeze is lost due to the hand being on the inside of the leg.   However, I can stay for a very long time on the floor, allowing my body to relax into the pose.

Next, I put a block under my front foot.  I often think of this as magic: foot goes up, thigh goes down.

Then, I put a block under my back foot, giving me the lift in the back leg that I need.  Foot goes up, extension increases, groin softens.

I placed a dowel on my front hip crease.  When I go into the pose, I press down on the dowel with my top arm.  This softens the front groin as well as keeps the back hip lifted.  This also gives feedback on the levelness in the hips.

One of my favorites is the strap on the hip crease.   The strap does so many things for me: relaxes the groin, pulls the front hip back, gives the back heel something to press into (which lifts the back thigh); however, it does take some measuring.  Most people will need an 8 foot strap for this one.  Now, the thigh gap is almost gone!

Watch out for cats that like props!

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