Friday, 3 February 2012
Drop the sitting bone!
The above photo shows the A version, where you try to bring the chin to shin. You then bring the leg out the side for B, then back to centre for C, then release the leg, point the toe and hold leg elevated in the air for D. All need a great strength in the psoas muscle located at the been of the top of the thigh and the front of the hip.
UHP is a balancing posture first and foremost. My balance has always been ridiculous, ever since I started the practice. Balance is a funny thing, sometimes it's all right, a bit wobbly, other times I'm surprised I can even stand up on my own two feet it's that terrible! I personally put it down to focus, but also the time of the month has a lot to do with it, the moon cycle.
For ages I've just tried to rush through this posture, but because there are 4 elements to it it's hard to rush without your teacher spotting you! The first advice I had on how to hold UHP was from V, who said 'drop the hip back into the socket'. This did make a difference, but I'd find myself physically drawing the leg up, holding it steady, then letting it drop into the socket, which whist had its benefits, on its own used to put me off balance slightly. So I continued hopping around on the mat, putting myself and anyone around me off their balance!
But last Sunday I asked B to give me an adjustment / assist in UHP, which was amazing! Firstly he said 'drop the sitting bone', which whilst not sounding dissimilar to 'drop the hip into the socket', made a complete difference. This is where physical cues are important as I obviously wasn't 'getting' 'drop the hip'. B physically put his thumb in the crease of my outstretched hip/leg and pushed it towards the ground whilst holding the leg up. It brought the awareness to the sitting bone, equalising the force of the sitting bones drawing towards the ground in both the straight and the lifted legs. By pushing the sitting bone of the lifted leg towards the ground it immediately gave stability, from which you could then move the ball of the hip within its socket. Even from A to B, keeping the sitting bone dropped enabled me to get a massive external rotation in B and when brought back to centre for C and D, the strength was already held in the muscles around the hip joint to hold the outstretched leg higher for longer!!
The difference between dropping the hip into the socket and dropping the sitting bone is that with dropping the sitting comes an engagement and straightening out of the sacroiliac joint, which enables you to stand up straighter (coccyx to crown) and attain an overall better posture. You may even get an extra contraction of the anus increasing mula bandha strength.
Hoorah - another posture nailed. Give it a go, it's all about dropping the sitting bone. Think APANA VAYU, the downwards force, drop everything from the navel downwards towards the ground and its opposite force lifting everything from the navel upwards towards the sky. Great place to start for all standing AND sitting postures!