Thursday, 4 August 2011

The importance of foundations..

This morning I practiced along with the Richard Freeman Primary Series DVD...with Richard in his lovely grey shorts against the oh-so-eighties blue and pink mountain-range backdrop (clip above)! Anyway, I haven't practiced with a DVD for a long time as I mostly self-practice and lately along with some music, such as stuff by Craig Pruess and other chants which sets a nice rhythm. However, I really enjoyed Richard's talk through and pickd up some lovely phrases and tips, especially one which clicked with me for the first time.

The cue to is whenever a leg is outstretched, so in samasthti, seated or lying postures, push away through the instep of the outstretched leg. I find this 'switches on the lights of the posture' (think is this actually a Freeman saying) by turning on more of the core muscles of the leg (don't ask me which ones!) which are important in keeping that 'strong' feeling and also stops the foot from rotating outwards.

I then thought, this also internally rotates the thighs slightly, which when bending forwards allows the sit bones to open more; this combined with scooping out the lower belly using uddiyana bandha allows for a really deep and comfortable forward bend.

The tip complements the cues I learnt in Portugal using spiral dynamics in downward dog. Slightly spiral the hands towards each other, almost imperceptibly; this externally rotates the arms so that the arm pits are turning to face each other; this then flattens the shoulderblades which are then free to slide down the back. I saw that I had a small curve in my thoracic spine in downward dog and by utilising this cue it irons out the curve perfectly. The little twinges I used to have in my right shoulder have also disappeared since using this technique, it's magic! Also, in downward dog, pushing into the instep slightly rotates the thighs towards the midline of the body to create space at the sacrem allowing you to push the tailbone to the sky! You just have to try it!

I think people underestimate the importance of the correct foundations and even now, 4 years from the beginnings of my practice, I find these techniques which have transformed my practice unbelievably! Every day I am amazed by the subtleties of a yoga practice!

Does anyone else find RF's 'lip licking' a bit off putting?! :)

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