Preparation for Urdhva Dhanurasana step 2
Urdhva – Upward
Props: Block and belt
Now we are on our way to a safe and wonderful backbend. It´s very important to warm up and open up the body before you do a deep backbend. Parts that especially need to be warm and open are upper back, shoulders and psoas. After your sun salutations focus on twists and cobras/up dogs to get the upper back warm and to understand how to work the upper back. Psoas is often forgotten and they play a crucial part in our backbends. If they are not open our lumbar spine (lower back) will get crunched as the psoas muscle attaches in to the lumbar spine. Postures for opening the psoas could be anjaneyasana, virabhadrasana A, half beckasana, virasana, ardha mandalasana and more…
Remember all the work you did with arms upper back and shoulders in step 1
Don´t forget the key points
- The backbend comes from the upper back
- Our psoas needs to be open in order to take away tension from our lumbar spine· Shoulders and arms have a very important role in a full bridge
- Hipbone and pubic bone in the same line
Measurement and our last step…
We tend to think we have wider shoulders then we actually have…
- Make a loop with your strap and measure it from shoulder head to shoulder head.
- Place the strap just above the elbows
- Lay down and place the top of the head against the wall hands alongside the ears and fingers spread. Turn the little finger slightly out, this will help you keep the elbows in. Press into the 4 corners of your palm, especially root of the index and thumb.
- Move the elbows away from the wall. You will see that your chest gets open when you do this action. The same action goes for the arms as you practiced in step one. Outer shoulders moves up and outer arms firms in. Your shoulder blades are now going to move away from each other so your upper back will be wide and open. Elbows will be inline as you have the strap.
- Place the feet in line with the sitting bones. Second toe inline with centre of the heel, we often turn our toes out to make it easier to go up but that hits the lower back. Inner thighs are releasing down, buttock is moving towards the heels.
- On an inhalation slowly lift up from the outer hips and come on the top of the head. Keep the neck long.
- Bring the forearms and wrist to the wall.
- Lift the shoulders up, move the upper back in spread across the collarbones and bring the chest towards the wall behind you. Because you have the elbows bent it’s okay to move the chest towards the wall behind you but never with straight arms because that will put stress on the shoulders and can create and injury.
- Press into the heels, keep the action on the legs and now the buttocks moves towards the knees and relaxes. As you are lifting from the outer hips the pubic bone is dropping. That’s means hipbones and pubic bone is in the same line. It’s easy to push the pubic bone out which leads to our inner thighs roll open and that will put stress into our lumbar spin. The buttocks and upper back is moving away from each other create a long lumbar spine. Chin presses back.
Work on this until you feel all the actions and this becomes easy. Then we will continue to the next step…
When you work on the proper alignments you will not only keep your body safe the energy will flow and you will faster come to the full position.
Be a wise student. A wise student knows her/his body and brings all the aspects of yoga into their practice. Yoga is not in the position you do, it is how you live outside of your mat.