The Ashtanga Practice Artwork
Season 3 - Episode 5

Flow Towards Bhujapidasana

40 min - Practice
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Description

Maria guides us in a practice designed to prepare us for arm balancing, moving towards the challenging transition from Bhujapidasana (Shoulder-Pressing Pose) to Bakasana (Crow Pose). We begin with Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) A and B and standing posture variations with an emphasis on hip and shoulder opening, to warm-up and strengthen the body. You will feel strong, focused, and clear.
What You'll Need: Mat

Transcript

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(waves crashing) Hello and welcome back. Today we'll be practicing Bhujapidasana. So the entire practice is preparing the body for Bakasana and Bhujapidasana, and then the transition from Bhujapidasana back to Bakasana into Chaturanga. So let's get started. Let's come to standing.

So coming to the front of your mat, bringing the feet together, hands to prayer position at the heart. Gently bowing the chin down, lifting the chest up, relaxing the shoulders. And starting your Ujjayi breathing, inhaling and exhaling through the nose, creating a soft sound, a focal point for the mind. And Surya Namaskar A, release the arms down alongside the body. Inhale, arms up.

Exhale and fold forward. Inhale, look up and lengthen. Exhale, step or jump to Chaturanga. Inhale to Upward Facing Dog. Exhale back to Downward Facing Dog.

One. First Down Dog you may need to soften the knees. Two. Relax any tension in the neck or shoulders. Three.

Four. And five. Look forward. step or jump. Inhale, look up and lengthen.

Exhale, fold. Inhale, come all the way up. And exhale, arms down. Inhale, arms reach. Exhale and fold.

Inhale, look up, lengthen. Exhale, jump back. Inhale, Upward Facing Dog. Exhale, Downward Facing Dog. One.

Two. Three. Four. And five, looking forward, stepping or jumping. Inhale.

Exhale. Inhale, all the way up. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale.

Inhale. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale. One.

Two. Three. Four. And five. Inhale.

Exhale. Inhale. Exhale. Surya Namaskar B. Bend the knees, inhale.

Exhale. Inhale. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale.

Right foot forward, left heel down. Inhale, Vira I, right side. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale.

Left foot forward, right heel down. Inhale. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale.

One. Two. Three. Four. Five.

Inhale. Exhale. Bend the knees. Inhale. Exhale.

Inhale, Utkatasana. Exhale, fold. Inhale, head up. Exhale. Inhale, Upward Dog.

Exhale, Downward Dog. Right side, inhale. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale.

Left side. Inhale. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale.

(steady breathing) Looking forward, step or jump. Inhale. Exhale. Bend the knees, inhale. Exhale.

One more time with a variation. Bend the knees, inhale. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale.

Inhale. Exhale to Downward Facing Dog. Pause here. Make sure you have enough room on the right side of your mat, between your hand and the outside of the mat. Your gonna step the right foot forward, outside the hand, and we'll pivot the left heel down.

Wrap the outer right hip in, and reach your right sitting bone towards your inner left thigh. And make sure your right knee is over top of your ankle. Keep the right shoulder pressing into your right knee. And then we're gonna open this up into Parsvakonasana. So zero variation.

Note the knee isn't collapsing in, the right hip is staying firm to midline, and the left hip isn't going to open up completely, it's gonna stay a little bit more at an angle. Stack left shoulder over top of right. And then maybe reach the left arm up. Pull the front ribs in. Another option is we'll take the left arm, spin it in and see if you can reach for your hip, then pull the left shoulder back, press the right shoulder into the knee, and open the chest.

One more option is to take the right arm, thread it through and reach for your left wrist, or fingers. Hold here for a few breaths. Press your left leg straight. Press the outer edge of the left foot down, and lift the chest. And we'll release our bind.

Set the hands down to the floor. Plank Pose. And just step to Plank, and lower down. Inhale, Up Dog. Exhale, Down Dog.

Pause here, look forward. Just move you left hand in a little, so there's some space outside of your left hand on your mat. And we'll step the left foot forward, outside of the left hand. Pivot the right heel in. Press the outer edge of the right foot down to the floor.

Firm your outer left hip in, so you're rotating the left thighbone out from deep in the hip socket. And your left knee is gonna be directly over top of your ankle. It's not gonna collapse in, and you're not sticking the hip out. Direct the tailbone toward your right heel, and the hips will stay just as they are, they're at a slight angle not opening up completely. Stack the right shoulder over top of the left.

Have the option to raise the right arm up, or spin the right arm in and reach back for your left hip. Press your right leg straight. Press the outer edge of the right foot down. And then we have another option to take it into a full bind, reaching for your right wrist or fingertips. Hold and breath, lifting the chest.

And then releasing. Setting the hands down on the floor, stepping to Plank and lowering. Inhale to Upward Facing Dog. And exhale to Downward Facing Dog. And do the exhale, look forward, and step or jump your feet to your hands.

Inhale to look up, lengthen. Exhale to fold. Bend your knees, sit the hips back. Inhale to Utkatasana. And exhale to Samasthiti.

We'll step open. Take your hands to your waist for Prasarita Padottanasana. Inhale, lift your chest. Exhale and fold. Set the hands flat on the floor.

Inhale, look up lengthen. Exhale and fold. With time, your heels of your hands are in line with the heels of your feet. Elbows, squeeze in, so they're directly over top of the wrists. Shoulders wrapped down, away from the ears, and you start to lean the weight forward.

If the head is in contact with the floor, start to bring some weight into the top of the head. So the weight is in the feet and the head. Breathing. And inhale, look up, lengthen. Exhale, pause.

Hands to your waist. Inhale, come up. And exhale. Inhale, arms out to the side. Exhale, we'll interlace the fingers behind the back.

Inhale, straighten the arms, lift the chest up, tip the head back. Exhale, and fold forward, reaching the arms up and over. And breathing. You can keep the arms like this, the palms facing the body, or you can flip the hands around in the opposite direction. Inhale and come up.

And exhale, and release, and step back to the front of your mat. Inhale, arms reach up overhead. Exhale and fold forward. Inhale, look up, lengthen. Exhale to Chaturanga.

Inhale, Upward Facing Dog. Exhale, Downward Facing Dog. Side Plank Pose, we'll inhale, come forward to Plank. Tuck the tailbone under, pull the belly in. And we'll transition to the outer edge of the right foot, inner edge of the left.

If you need to, you can bring right knee to the floor. Otherwise, you'll bring the weight to your right hand. And we'll either take the left hand alongside the body, or the left arm up to the ceiling. You also have the option to stack the left foot on top of the right. We'll hold here.

One. Two. Three. Four. And five.

Release the hand down to the floor, and either push back to Down Dog, or take Chaturanga. Up Dog. And Down Dog. Side Plank, left side. Inhale, coming forward.

Exhale. If you need to, you'll bring your left knee down to the floor, and turn onto the inner edge of your right foot. Otherwise, it's just rolling over to the outer edge of the left foot, inner edge of the right. Raising the right arm up. And maybe stacking right foot over top of left.

One. Two. Three. Four. And five.

Releasing the right hand down. And taking Chaturanga. Up Dog. Exhale, Down Dog. From Downward Facing Dog we'll step the right foot outside the right hand once again.

So if you need to move your right hand a little more to midline, go ahead and do so. This time we're prepping for Vasisthasana, which is actually in the third series of Ashtanga. So we'll inch the right foot a little more towards the center of our mat. And we'll start to snuggle our right shoulder inside the knee. And we'll take the right hand outside the foot.

So some of us will need to bring the left knee down to the floor, and then we bring the shin bone parallel to the back of the mat. And we're making like a ledge here, so that the shoulder, the knee rather, can rest on top of the shoulder. Then from there we tuck the outer right hip under, belly in. And this may be our pose, or we can start to straighten the leg, and maybe raise the arm up. So you're gonna attempt this with he back leg straight.

We pivot the left heel down, again, we heel, toe the right foot towards the left of our mat. Bring the shoulder underneath. The right hand is pretty much in line with the left heel. You'll get a sense of it. And then we start to drop the hips.

Scoop the outer, upper... The outer right hip underneath. Bring the right foot up. Then you straighten the leg, Resist the right shoulder into the knee, and raise the arm up. To come out of it we bring the left hand down to the floor, lean forward, and exhale to Chaturanga.

Inhale, Upward Facing Dog. And exhale, Downward Facing Dog. Take a few breaths here. And then looking forward, bring the left hand a little more to midline, so there's space to step your left foot forward. Inhale.

And we'll start with the right knee down on the floor. And we'll bend the right knee, and take the right shin bone parallel to the back of the mat, and from here we'll snuggle the left shoulder underneath the knee. So notice this left hip isn't sticking out, we wanna keep it firmed into midline. Then you'll heel, toe the left foot toward the right side of your mat. Bring your shoulder underneath your knee.

Set the left hand down on the floor, then start to lift your left foot up, and as you do so, wrap your outer left hip under, then straighten the left leg, and press the hips forward. Reach the arm up. With shoulders pressing into the knee, and the knee is pressing back into the shoulder. And then we'll release that down. And if you're gonna try the other variation, the full pose, we bring the right heel down, heel, toe the left foot towards the right of our mat, come down low to bring your shoulder underneath your knee, set the hand flat, first bending the elbow.

Then you press your right hand to lift the left foot up. Scoop the hip underneath, reach the tailbone towards your right heel, and then straighten the left leg, and maybe raise the right arm up. And release with right hand down to the floor, lean forward, inhale. And exhale, Chaturanga. Inhale, Up Dog.

And exhale, Downward Facing Dog. And from Downward Facing Dog we'll jump the feet outside the hands for Bhujapidasana. If jumping isn't available to you you just step one foot at a time outside the hands, otherwise you practice jumping and transferring the weight into your hands, and lightly landing the feet outside the hands. So this is about where you're gonna land. We're doing Dasana prep, so first we're gonna take a little opener.

We'll take the right hand behind the ankle, and just work the right shoulder back behind the knee. And then if you can, we bring the heel down again. You can stay here. Your knees might even be a little more bent, or you can reach the right arm around, spin the arm in, and reach back for your left wrist, and then start to straighten the legs. Now the idea is you wanna keep your knee over your shoulder.

So you can keep that contact of shoulder pressing into the knee. And pull the left shoulder open, the chest through. And then we'll release that. And we'll take that on the other side. If you need to shake out your legs in between, go ahead and do so.

And then we'll lift the left heel, bring the left shoulder back behind the knee, and you may stay here just holding onto the back of the ankle as a way to bring the shoulder deeper behind the knee. Or you can press the heel down, let the left arm spin in, reach the right arm up and over, grab ahold of the wrist. And then you start to straighten the left leg, as you resist the shoulder back into the left knee. And you can turn your head to look over the right shoulder. And this is also a prep for a pose in second series, Tittibhasana, a variation of Tittibhasana, where you take both arms back, and then you straighten the legs.

And then you walk. (laughs) But for now we're working on Bhujapidasana. So we'll just set the, you can go ahead and shake out your legs, give yourself a little break. And then we're gonna bend the knees. This time we'll take the fingertips back so they're inline with the heels, bring the shoulders back behind the knees, just as we did. And the elbows are bent, and then you start to sit the hips back inside the elbows.

Look forward. Now Bhujapidasana, Shoulder Pressure Pose. So the knees squeeze the shoulders, the shoulders resist out into the knees, and then you start to lift the heels. This may be where you stay, sometimes you fall back, that's okay, just get back up. Look forward.

Then, if you can, you lift the feet, and cross the ankles. Then reach the chest forward again. This may be where you stay, or at a certain point you start to round the back, point the toes, and lower down to your head. And then you can hold there for five breaths. And then we practice coming up.

Using your fingers to lift yourself up. And then squeezing the knees in, taking the hips back, feet back, lift the heels up, and exhale back to Chaturanga. Inhale to Up Dog. And exhale to Downward Dog. And we'll do that one more time.

So I can show you another option for folding forward, from Down Dog, and also for jumping in, actually. So from Down Dog, you can jump right into Bhujapidasana. So you look forward, press the hands, and jump. Cross the ankles, point the toes, and lower down to the chin. Inhale, come up.

Exhale. Inhale. And exhale. Inhale, Upward Dog. And exhale, Downward Facing Dog.

From Downward Facing Dog we'll look forward, and jump through to seated. And then we'll lie down for Bridge Pose, just to counter that sequence. So lying down on your back. Separating your feet hip distance, working the shoulders underneath you, the outer arms underneath you, press your feet, with inhalation lift the hips up. Lift the chest towards the chin.

Interlace your fingers, and breath here. Doesn't have to be your highest bridge today. It's really just to counter and balance out the practice. (deep breathing) And we'll release the hands, lower the hips down, and rest. From there we'll just take the arms out to the side, cross the right leg over top of the left, slide the left hip over to the right, and then drop the knees over to your left.

You can turn your head to look over your right shoulder. Now bring the knees back to center. Uncross the legs. Then cross the left leg over the right, slide the hips over to your left, and then drop the knees over to the right, and you can turn to look over your left shoulder. And coming back to center.

Uncross the legs, straighten the legs out, take the arms alongside the body, the palms open, and take Savasana. Deep rest. Relaxing any tension in the jaw, the cheeks. Relaxing the eyebrows, and the eyes. Relaxing the abdomen.

And relaxing the mind. Focusing it on either the third eye, the sound of the breath, or the sound of the heartbeat. And stretching with your fingers and toes, reach the arms up overhead, take a deep breath in. And then bend the knees, roll over to your right side, and from there press yourself up to seated. And we'll bring the hands up to prayer position at the heart, gently bow the head.

And thank you and Namaste.

Comments

1 person likes this.
Wonderfully sequenced approach to some challenging arm balances! I was especially delighted at the knee on the floor variation for vasishthasana! It was possible - so maybe, in time, I will find a pathway to the full pose! Thank you Maria!

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