Monday, June 2, 2014

Gettin' down with Uttanasana

 How many times in a practice do you do Uttanasana?  If you are doing Surya Namaskar, you might do Uttanasana 20 times? 40 times? 216 times?  Does it feel like it gets better when you do it that many times?  When was the last time you focused just on Uttanasana?  Today is a great day to do that.

So, lets check in and see how Uttanasana is going:
 Ok, there's some things to work on.  I'm leaning back a bit.  I could use some more length in my torso and hamstrings.
So what could I do?  Well, first I could stretch my calves and Achilles tendons.

 Take a blanket and roll it up tight (you could also use your sticky mat).  Place the ball of your feet on the roll, but do not let your heels come up off the floor.  It really is a lovely stretch.

Now lets get some length in the torso.  When you cannot pull with your hands,  you can feel stuck.  Well, let's fix that.

Place two blocks on the floor on top of a strap.

Stand on the blocks and pull yourself further down.

The next fun thing I learned from Anne Schultz, who learned it from Carrie Owerko.  Yoga sometimes works like that.

Take a blanket and roll it up tightly.  Unlike the one under the feet, you have to roll this one up the right amount for you.  For me, it's about half way.  If I roll it up too much, it gets in my way.  If I roll it up too little, it doesn't do much of anything.  Place the roll at the top of the thighs, so it pushes your thighs back.  For me, it also softens my hip flexors.

Now fold deeply, smashing the rolled blanket against your thighs.

Keep yourself folded tight as you remove the blanket.  It's like magic! 

Compare this picture to the first picture.  The camera angle isn't the same, but there is definitely more contact between my torso and my legs.

Here are two more fun things to try in Uttanasana.

Stand about 12-18 inches from the wall.  Lean back to rest  your buttocks on the wall, then fold forward.

Then, turn that around.  Usually, this one has to be entered sideways, so you can get your back stuck against the wall.  It's super relaxing for those that are a bit flexible.  You could always add a block or a cat to rest your head on.

Keep your props well guarded.

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