Asana Studies Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 7

Harmonized Backbending

20 min - Practice
17 likes
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Description

With dynamic and exact precision, we apply the pelvic shaping instructions in a short and effective back bending practice, peaking in Ustrasana (Camel Pose) and cooling in Supta Padangusthasana (Supine Hand to Big Toe Pose). Chris’ rhythmic cadence communicates deeply into your bones. You will feel fluid and open.
What You'll Need: Mat, Strap, Block

About This Video

May 09, 2015
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Transcript

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(water rushing) Now we'll bring some pelvic shaping movements into the back bends. I'm sitting on the block in virasana. In virasana I'm letting the heels roll away from each other. Top of the thighs internally rotate. Hip points narrow.

Groins deepen. Sacrum widens. Tail drops. The heart opens as the upper spine begins to move. Exhale, top of the thighs internally rotate.

Hip points narrow, groins deepen, sacrum widens, tail drops, on the way to the inhalation. Upper spine moves. (breathing) So when you're doing this, you want to wait for the shape change of the pelvis to affect the movement of the upper spine. So I'll wait, we'll wait. Exhale, top of the thighs internally rotate.

Hip points narrow. Groins deepen, sacrum widens, tail drops. Upper spine moves, heart opens. (breathing) Feeling that your head is moving back to look up from the movement in the upper spine. Top of the thighs internally rotate, hip points narrow, groins deepen, sacrum widens, tail drops.

Upper spine moves, heart opens. One more time. As you exhale, top of the thighs internally rotate, hip points narrow, groins deepen, sacrum widens, tail drops. As the tail drops, the upper spine moves forward. Backbend over there.

(breathing) Exhale. Come back to center. As you do that, you'll feel your upper back, you'll feel your whole back begin to work in a very strong way during the sustained backbend. Take the arms out. We use the thumbs, the movements of the thumbs, to go into the internal rotation.

The spiral goes from the hand through the arms into the shoulders. Namaste. (breathing) Deeply lunge. Sit down, firm the hand, left hand up, exhale, step the right leg up, shape the foot, keep the weight down. Fingertips come slowly up and in.

Take care that you put your foot up far enough so that when you come up your knee is over your heel, maybe a little bit in front of it. Bring the upper back back. Take the left hand on the hip, all five fingertips pointing forward, exhale soft from the groins. And with this movement of the left hand on the hip point, feel the sacrum widening, the right thumb is in the hip crease. Take your left arm up.

Take the right arm up. Take the left hand forward, palms pressed firm, exhale, top of the thighs internally rotate, hip points narrow, groins deepen, sacrum widens, tail drops, heart opens, upper backbend happens, head comes back to look up. Hands to namaste. Anjali mudra. Shift the weight back down.

Exhale, step down. Right hand firm, scruff the right hand up to the top of the mat to sit down, keep the weight down. Exhale, step only the left leg up. Place it where you think it needs to be. Make sure it's about as wide apart as where the knees come out of the, thigh bones come out of the pelvis.

Fingertips on the right hand. Exhale, come up and in. As the weight comes onto the heel, drag the right heel back to bring, drag the left heel back to bring the right hip forward. Sink the pelvis, raise the back up. All five fingers on the right hand enclosing the right side of the pelvis.

Soften the groins. Right arm up, left arm up. Take the right hand forward. Press the palms, jipura mudra. Exhale, top of the thighs internally rotate, hip points narrow, groins deepen, sacrum widens, tail drops, heart opens, upper backbend happens, head drops back, goes back to look up.

(breathing) Hands to anjali mudra. Fingertips of the right hand light, shift the strong weight in the left foot forward and up to move the weight down. Right hand flat, firm, exhale, step down. (breathing) Plank pose, hover, chataranga, lay flat. Reach the arms down.

The shape of the hand is simple, the knife hand mudra. Reach the toes, the fingertips, a lot of spacial intent from the fingertips reaching down towards the wall below you. (breathing) Exhale, top of the thighs internally rotate, roll the heels apart. On an exhalation, top of the thighs internally rotate. Roll the heels apart, hip points narrow, groins deepen, sacrum widens, on the inhalation, tail drops, heart opens.

Exhale, top of the thighs internally rotate. Hip points narrow, sacrum widens, groins deepen, tail drops, heart opens. (breathing) Head back to look up. (breathing) Exhale, float back down. Walk the knees into each other, roll the heels apart.

We then bring the hands in front of the shoulders, from the hands, drive the scapula down the back, reach the toes, roll the heels apart, top of the thighs internally rotate, hip points narrow, groins deepen, sacrum widens, tail drops, heart opens from the support of the hand scapla. The head comes back to look up. Resist looking up, head back to look up. Exhale, top of the thighs internally rotate, hip points narrow, groins deepen, sacrum widens, tail drops. (breathing) Top of the thighs internally rotate, exhale.

Hip points narrow, groins deepen, sacrum widens, tail drops. Head goes back to look up. (breathing) Exhale. Lower the elbows to the floor. Firm the elbows and scruff the elbows apart.

Hover, the elbow skin sticks and the elbow bones go wide away from each other. Curl the toes, scruff the elbows apart, drive the scapula down the back, press the hands and knees, elbows and knees, bring the hands to the floor, walk the knees up. (breathing) Rest for a moment in anjali mudra. Even here, during the rest, feel that the movement of the pelvis happens from the heels rolling apart as they sit in vajrasana. When you sit in vajrasana, let the heels roll apart, so the feet sort of sickle.

The heels roll apart, the top of the thighs internally rotate, the hip points narrow, the groins deepen, the sacrum widens, and just feel the tail dropping as if you were going to go into a backbend here. So the shaping of the pelvis creates a little undulation up the spine. Ustrasana. Make sure that you take ustrasana, have your feet, your knees about as wide apart as where your thigh bones come out of your hips, maybe a little wider, almost hip width apart. And try to establish a very clear, strong shin foot on the floor.

Take the thumbs, scruff the sacral flesh on the exhalation, top of the thighs internally rotate. Take the hands and do the shaping. Top of the thighs internally rotate. Hip points narrow, groins deepen, sacrum widens, tail drops, spine moves forward, upper spine moves forward, heart opens, exhale. Top of the thighs internally rotate, hip points narrow, groins deepen, sacrum widens, tail drops.

Head back to look up. Exhale, top of the thighs internally rotate, hip points narrow, groins deepen, sacrum widens, tail drops, spine moves forward. Head back to look up. Breathing easy. Waiting for the upper back to respond.

Letting the body take the breaths it needs, and on the wave of exhalation, feel the top of the thighs internally rotate, the hip points narrow, the groin deepen, the sacrum widen, the tail drop, and the upper spine going forward spacially and up and then backbending over that. (breathing) The spiral goes from the hand on the heels to the wrists to the forearm to the upper arm to the shoulders going into the shoulder girdle. Draw the scapula along the back on the exhalation. Bring the head forward. Exhale, top of the thighs internally rotate, hip points narrow, groins deepen, sacrum widens, tail drops.

Head goes back as the upper spine moves from the tail dropping to look up. Watch out for this, head goes back to look up. (breathing) Bring one hand firm on the sacrum. Brace yourself. Exhale, other hand firm on the sacrum.

(breathing) From the shin foot, hands in jansali mudra, interlace the fingers, top of the head, palms facing the ceiling, now shape the hands very clearly here, as you exhale at the scapula of the shoulders, the groin and the shoulders soften, the scapula sink down the back, top of the thighs internally rotate, hip points narrow, groins deepen, tail drops, hip points narrow, tail drops, and then from there, lengthen the waist. (breathing) Exhale, bring your hands back down. Change the interlacing. Second side with the second interlacing. Exhale, top of the thighs internally rotate, hip points narrow, groins deepen.

Sacrum widens, tail drops. Heart opens. So you can do this movement even when you're not doing an actual backbend just to feel the undulation of the pelvic shaping that comes from the thighs internally rotating. Up the spine. Virasana.

Let's come to hands and knees, let's cross the ankles. Sit back. Extend the legs out from virasana to a madasupavista. Shape the feet, push the heels away, press the back of the heels down into the floor, and feel that you can get as much of the back of the leg down onto the floor, the top of the thigh bone down onto the floor. Take the tall sit for a moment.

Shaping the feet, pushing the heels in the direction that they're pointing to draw the energy and clear out the lines of energy in the knees and the legs. (breathing) Suptaparangustasana. Now, remember when you lay down, use your hands and arms, have your knees bent. On the exhalation, rolling like a wheel. (breathing) I'm going to use a strap for suptaparangustasana.

(breathing) It's a very healthy way to finish backbends. Bring your spine back to neutral grounded energy. (breathing) Shape the feet. A lot of energy in the legs. On the exhalation, when the belly hollows, push with the left leg like you're stepping up a high step, keep your left leg strong and extended.

Take the strap around the front of your right heel. (breathing) Soften the groins. On the wave of the exhalation from the left heel pushing down onto the wall below and the back of the left heel pressing back into the floor, the top of the left thigh bone moving back to the floor, extend the right leg. (breathing) The hands on the strap, just enough to create connectivity with the leg. Take care with your hands on the strap, you don't override the primary support that your spacial working leg, the right leg, is getting from the supporting working leg.

The hands on the strap are just to provide some connectivity around the front of the spacial working leg, the right leg heel. And a little tactile spacial place in which to push the left heel. (breathing) Exhale on the belly hollow. Chin to the collar bone. Move your supporting leg thigh bone back into the floor to sit up.

Second side. On the exhalation, when the belly hollows, push the right heel towards the wall below you, press the right heel, the supporting working leg heel, back into the floor, like you're stepping up a high step. Take the strap around the front of your left heel. Continue to do with the supporting working leg, the right leg, what you did to the get the left leg where it is. Push the right heel toward the ceiling, move the top of the right thigh bone below the buttocks back to the floor behind you.

On the exhalation, belly hollow. Extend the left leg. Try to soften the groins. Let the weight of the body sink back into the floor. Remember, the floor is supporting you, you're not supporting yourself, you're merely shaping your body along the floor as it supports you.

(breathing) Take care that you don't override the support that the left leg is getting, your spacial working leg is getting from the right leg, the supporting working leg. On the exhalation, belly hollows. (breathing) Chin to the collar bone to bring your head forward to look down. (breathing) Shavasana. Just noticing the movement of your breath as you allow the bones to rest heavily on the floor.

And be aware that the wave of the exhalation is the, perhaps the most appropriate moments to emphasize letting go. Let go throughout the inhalations and the exhalations, that the exhalation as it releases the body, releases the breath. Allow it to be complete, and softening to occur with it. Softening of your throat on the exhalation, your jaw, your belly, your chest, your torso. Now you can stay as long as you like in shavasana.

When you get up, and if you're ready to get up now, and when you get up, just give each leg its own breath. On the wave of the exhalation when the belly hollows, the throat softens, the sternum softens, bend the leg up. Place the foot flat on the floor, the knee pointing to the ceiling, and give the second leg its own breath. On the wave of the exhalation again, when the belly hollows, the throat softens, the sternum softens. Bend the left leg, the second leg, up.

And then on another exhalation just roll to your side. Rest your head wherever it's comfortable. Just resting, allowing the body to be heavy. You can stay here as long as you would like. When you get up, take the hand that's further from the floor, place it in front of your chest, and firm it into the floor in a very active way.

On the exhalation, push the floor away, hang the head, try to leave your legs passive. Use your other arm as it becomes available. (breathing) Thank you.

Comments

3 people like this.
I LOVE this class! Amazingly feel good!
I'm glad that you enjoyed it and it feels good.
Aya
2 people like this.
Man, oh man! You rocked it! This made my back feel extra groovy! Thank you!!
Hi Aya, That's fantastic. I'm very happy to hear that it's feeling so good!
1 person likes this.
Thanks Cris! Feels great!
Hi Frederic, thank you for taking care of you!
2 people like this.
So clear. Beautiful. Feels perfectly balanced.
Hi Eric, Great. I’m glad to hear that it’s so clear and feels balanced!
1 person likes this.
Is there ever a negative comment on this entire website? I liked the practice but the cues are mumbled and I'm having to look at the video too often to see what Chris is up to. I like to glance at the video every once in a while but I feel I should be able to follow pretty much just from the audio cues.
Hi Wynter. We are grateful for your feedback as we are always working to deliver better content. Yes, Chris has a style of cueing that is sometimes more of a rhythmic beat. His dance background takes over. But, gosh, I love his particular genius. I have found that these practices for sure require some time with his tutorials.
Chris was early to film with us and my lack of experience as his "yoga director"at that time is to blame for lack of clarity. Thank you for being here. xo Kira

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