26 March 2011

Week 6: Teaching Script

Backbends increase flexibility in the spine, counteract depression, and energize the nervous system. Urdhva Dhanurasana is considered by many yogis to be the “big kahuna” of backbends. It is a challenging pose, and most people can’t press all the way into the full pose on their first try. If that is the case for you, work in the preparatory pose. You can follow the same instructions in the halfway-up version as the full version, so allow your body to tell you what feels best and listen. Work with your body as it is today.

Lie on your back. On your next inhale, extend your hands overhead and your legs strongly to the front wall as you feel your body fill with air and stretch out fully. Exhale, lowering your arms and bringing your legs to a bent position, feet flat on the floor, hip distance apart. Your heels should be as close to your sitting bones as is comfortable. Bending your arms, place your hands on the floor above your shoulders, fingertips widely spread and pointing towards your shoulders. As you go up, remember to keep your knees hip distance and your elbows shoulder distance apart – don’t allow either to splay outward.

Grounding down through all four corners of each foot and both hands, press your hips and chest into the air high enough that you can gently rest on the crown of your head. Lift your shoulder blades upward into your chest, widening across the collarbones. Press the tailbone toward the pubic bone while maintaining strength in the core of the abdomen by drawing the top of the frontal hipbones to the front of the low ribs. Firm the buttocks flesh but try not to tighten or stiffen in this area. Keep pressing into the hands and feet as you push yourself all the way into the pose. Focus on lengthening the spine from tailbone to neck: extending and getting longer with each inhale. Allow your inner thighs to roll downward slightly toward the floor to protect your lumbar spine.

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