I’m going to assume that you’re capable of executing all the strength and flexibility building exercises discussed in part 1, or just don’t care, and want to try anyway. Ok, here we go!
Being that this is a transition from the static starting point of Urdva Mukha Svanasana via a complex, multi-chain movement to the static ending point of Dadasana, it is best to break it down in three phases. It can be useful to practice each one with the seriousness and attention to detail you would any asana.
- The setup
- The entry
- The execution
The setup begins in your Urdva Mukha Svanasan, or downward facing dog. Raise your heels off the floor as high as possible. Now, flex your knees, and lower your hips so that your hamstrings and gastrocenemius, or calf muscles, touch.
Flex at the pelvis, tucking the hips forward just as you would to eliminate any extension of the lumbar spine in Tadasana. Round the back and use the strength of the pectoralis major and anterior deltoids to pull the scapula apart as in the cat portion of a cat/cow stretch.
Engage both the Mula and Uddiyana Bandhas. This will help maintain core stability and engagement through the next phase.
Ensure that the fingers are spread wide, the arms are straight and extended. Look straight ahead, about 30cm past your hands, on a spot on the floor.
Lightly push off the ground with your legs, just enough to push your shoulders slightly past your wrists. Having the confidence to move into this position will take some time, so feel free to put a pillow on the floor in front of you, just in case things don’t go as well.
As soon as possible after launch, cross your ankles and squeeze your still bent legs into your chest. The knees should flex tightly, the hip and spine should continue flexing, and the pectoralis and deltoids should remain as engaged as possible.
Come to a lifted position at the top of the movement. This is where all those Lolasana lifts come in to play. Keep everything contracted, and only once achieving stability, extend the legs forward. Make sure to keep leaning forward until the legs are fully extended.
Once the legs are straight, slowly allow the body to relax and the legs and hips to come to rest on the mat. Huat ah!
Michael Thompson – 200hr YTT Weekend Warriors