"Urdhva Dhanurasana Variation"
In lieu of recent Teacher Training topics, let me test myself-
Look at a picture of myself before I knew how to backbend correctly, and self-adjust. Here goes… a shitload of bad alignment (bad skeleton! bad!):
1. This first point is going to be my qualifier: In any yoga teacher training I can imagine, you realize very very quickly that some either refined actions or movements you’ve been doing or gross actions or movements have been incorrect and are hurting you, or you learn the way your skeleton ACTUALLY curves or is shaped, and even your real pain tolerance or edge! Very quickly in my YogaWorks 200-hour Teacher Training which just started a month ago I realized that my shoulders are so tight to the point that in Utthita Hastasana in Tadasana (Standing in Tadasana with your arms raised above your head. Simple. We do it all the time), I have to bring mine about 5 inches in front of me to make my front ribs not stick out and not arch in my lower back (over-compensating). So essentially, I shouldn’t even be doing this pose because although my lower back is very very flexible (my downfall!), my shoulders are not. No matter what, I will be dumping all of the energy into my lower back. And that is a no-no and a ow-ow. Same goes for my hip flexors. Ari, you are a runner. You run 3-5 times a week, 90% of the time it is before a yoga class because you are addicted to both levels of endorphins and energy from both activities. You will most likely NEVER have as flexible of hip flexors as you’d like. And that is okay! Just don’t do damn backbends until you’ve sufficiently warmed them up!
2. K now the real adjusting starts. I’m going to start from the area that I see currently has the most risk, which is my low back. Everything is collapsing in my low back in this picture. Both lines of energy running from my feet and from my hands stop directly in my low back. I need to have one long line of energy, and the backbend more evenly distributed throughout my spine. First thing I’d say to do: Activate lower abdominals to lift frontal hip points and drop tailbone away from back!
3. (From looking at the picture) I need to shift everything to the right to get my shoulders more over my wrists and knee tracking directly over ankle.
4. I can tell from here that my left foot is turning out to the left and I am putting my weight on my outside edge. I need to make sure my second toe cuts directly through to the middle of my heel and then distribute my weight evenly throughout my foot and spread my toes.
5.. Activate my quadriceps and squeeze my two thighs towards the midline of my body. Spin my inner thighs towards the floor, and go back to the action of dropping my tailbone away from my back.
Phew, okay I’m done with yoga talk. This was my mini-test for the night. Hope you enjoyed it if you took the time to read it haha :) And take this knowledge with you whenever you go into your backbends!