a week of Supta Padangusthasana, part 1

a week of Supta Padangusthasana, part 1

photo: Yoga Art + Science

photo: Yoga Art + Science

A week of Supta Padangusthasana! Actually, more like two weeks…  As I said in my last post, my goal in practicing this pose is to reach the point where my hamstrings are long enough that I can actually hold my toe in hand-to-toe pose. Lengthening my hamstrings brings all sorts of benefits: balanced hips, relief to low-back discomfort that I get from sitting, resetting of the Sacro-Iliac joint, and lessening of tension in the muscles that are responsible for forward motion. Psychologically, when the hamstrings are tight, then we don’t want to move forward, so for some, tight hamstrings indicates a fear of the future.

My methods of approaching Supta Padangusthasana are three-fold: lengthen the psoas on the leg on the ground, balancing the hips on the Z axis, and genuinely challenging myself to go deeper or finding the tapas in the pose. I’m going to go through each of these methods over the course of three different posts.  The last time I studied Supta Padangusthasana with Aadil Palkhivala, he told us a story about studying this pose with BKS Iyengar. Iyengar would have them practice Supta Padangusthasana for three hours a day, six days a week for three weeks. That’s a lot of Supta P! And after three weeks, Iyengar commented that his students were just beginning to get some semblance of and understand the importance of the pose. Can you imagine? It is in that spirit that I will be spreading this recap post over three posts.

Today, our focus is keeping the leg on the ground in the socket so that the psoas can lengthen and the back of the lowered leg can open in the pose. My method for practicing this action was to bring my right leg up into the pose and then lower it slightly as I brought my pelvis into a slight anterior tilt.  This action brought the back of my left thigh closer to the ground and my femur bone in the hip socket. Then my challenge was to lift the pit of the abdomen while still keeping my left thigh in the socket, internally rotated and rooted down towards the mat. Over the course of two weeks, practicing in this way has changed the distance between the back of the lowered leg and the floor.  My psoas is getting longer and the foundation leg for the pose is getting stronger.  Try this method out today when you practice Supta Padangusthasana.

Next post: balancing the hips.

Letitia Walker
letitia@liveyoganow.com
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