I think I might have written about practice for study before. I learned it from Margaret Carr and Mary Obendorfer.
The big idea is that you pick a pose to work on, and then you think about what other poses are related to the target pose, and in what way, and you alternate the target pose with the related poses. In this way you deepen your understanding of the target pose and increase your ability to do it.
This morning I decided to use Malasana (garland) as my target pose. Unfortunately, my cool yogafont pics don’t include Malasana. You can see it on yogajournal.com. The picture there doesn’t show the part where you bend forward and wrap your arms around your back. When my shoulders are not acting up, I can get around my ankles.
I love Malasana. It’s such a deep hip bend and back stretch, and it feels great. Until I got arthritis in my knees last March, I used to do it often in my morning shower. Finally, my knees are bendable again.
I started with Sukhasana (easy cross-legged pose), of course, to do my centering and invocation to Patanjali. Then I did a sort of silly wall sun salutation because my shoulders aren’t up to the shoulder-intensive parts of the sequence. Then I thought I should just warm up and open up a bit, which is why I did a few standing poses.
Normally I think you are supposed to start from the base up, but my choices were a bit more of a hodge-podge. I was looking for asanas that would open up my hips so I could get down between them more, and that would help my knees to loosen up. Between each pose I did Utkatasana (chair) and Malasana. Utkatasana is the way I’m used to dropping into Malasana. I forgot as I was practicing that I wanted to work on getting my heels closer to the floor too, so none of the poses here focus on that.
By the way, I didn’t do Dvi Pada Viparita Dandasana the way it’s shown in the picture here. I did it over a chair, with a mat on the chair seat, and my feet on a footstool. Nor did I do Supta Baddha Konasana flat on the floor. I used a bolster.
4 thoughts on “Practice for study – Malasana”
Holly has taught a class on releasing the ankle joint–I think she calls the action talar glide. It is a little hard to sense it, but something seems to happen, even when I just think it through. It helps me get my heels down further in Malasana and to fold my ankles a bit more.
Thanks, I’ll ask her about it, and if I can I’ll write about it here. Even a millimeter lower would be good.
I really enjoyed this post! This is a very useful way to put together some interesting sequences to practice at home AND start working toward those ‘holy grail’ poses. Thanks for the inspiration!