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Hands On Adjustments Artwork
Season 4 - Episode 6

Urdhva Dhanurasana (Wheel)

5 min - Tutorial
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Rosemary, with the help of Lori, looks at Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward Facing Bow Pose)—verbal cues, fundamental alignment, and hands-on adjustments to help deepen the experience of the posture.
What You'll Need: Partner, Mat

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Mar 16, 2019
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Welcome back, Lori and I are here to take a look at Urdhva Dhanurasana or upward-facing bow pose. There's quite a lot to look at in this posture. We'll try and break it down slowly and look at a few different hands-on adjustments. But before that, we'll cover just the essential alignment of the posture. So as you're ready, Lori, and take your time coming in and out of this, we want to move mindfully and use your breath.

Good, nice. Okay, let's start with the foundation. We see Lori's feet are nice and firmly rooted, essentially parallel to one another. Often we see the toes turning out, heels buckling in. Ultimately, we want them essentially parallel and essentially in line with the hips.

They can be slightly wider, but we don't want too wide of a base that destabilizes the pose. It's a little sloppy for the sacrum. Legs are engaged, tailbone is moving towards the feet, heart is moving towards the hands or the top of the mat. We see her arms nice and strong, her shoulders rolling open, heart lifting, and a nice even arc through the whole body. So her head and neck are relaxed.

Good, take your time, come out of it when you feel ready. Good, and just rest for a couple of breaths. Okay, so once we have a fundamental alignment in place, we can play with a few different hands-on adjustments. One is going to be at the base of the body, one is going to be up towards the shoulders, and then one kind of comprehensive opening the whole pose. As you're ready again, take your time, come on up.

Good, okay. So for this first variation, I'm going to step one foot between Lori's feet, giving myself a nice steady foundation. And then I'm simply taking my hands kind of on the outside of her hips, fingers rolling around to the back near the sacrum, and then bracing myself and just gently drawing back to help lengthen Lori's spine and extend the pose, okay? I'm releasing it slowly just by easing my weight towards her and then gently letting my hands go. From here, I'll move up to the top of Lori's body to check in with her shoulders.

So if there's scrunching happening, I just come right to the back of her shoulders and do a slight opening, yeah? And then just a little hands behind her heart around her ribcage drawing towards me while I say root through your feet, okay? That's just lengthening her the other way. Good, Lori, come on down for a moment and rest for a few breaths. So both are really solid adjustments, if you notice your student kind of pitching towards the upper body, then probably you want to focus on pulling the hips back, that first adjustment and vice versa, if they're moving more and towards the legs, you can do the shoulders or the upper back adjustment, right?

This last one sort of combines the two, lengthening the whole spine, opening the whole pose. As you're ready, come on back. Again this is an adjustment that I wouldn't necessarily do with a brand new student. I would want to know their body, know their practice and feel familiar with them, make sure that they were comfortable with me, okay? So as I'm coming into it, I'm going to touch Lori's legs so that she knows I'm here, doesn't kick me in the face or come out of the pose haphazardly, okay?

So I touch her, she knows I'm here, I'm coming down and then kind of scooching myself under her body. My hands are coming just behind below her knees and my foot is going right to the back of her heart, slowly and gently I'm pressing her heart towards her hands and I'm pulling back with my hands, okay? And then to release it, I ease my foot off of the back of her heart, I touch her thighs so she knows I'm coming out and I let her release down, excellent. Just rest for a few breaths and let that settle, okay? Play with those.

Again, work with somebody who can give you a little bit of feedback, see how it feels. Thank you so much and thank you, Lori.


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