The Blog title poster above forms part of a series of posters I made up for a book, 'Krishnamacharya's original Ashtanga Yoga', based on the public domain translation from the Tamil edition of Krishnamacharya's Yoga Makaranda (Mysore 1934) . It's available for free on my Free Downloads page above. There is a print edition on Lulu.com ( Note: It's best to buy it in print from Lulu as I can reduce the price down almost to cost rather than on Amazon where I have less control of pricing.

Friday, 16 March 2012

Richard Freeman AYC backbending workshop transcribed, "It works I tell ya".

New, blue rug
Monday I practiced along with the Richard Freeman Backbend workshop video posted by Sactiv8 It was difficult to follow because of the sound. It was a little confusing too, lots in there about golden tails, cobra hoodies, smoothies and angels but everything seemed to have an interesting effect especially the parts about the sitting bones, coccyx, pelvic bones and sacrum.

Yesterday I practiced 2nd series and and tried to employ some of Richards instruction and noticed a quite striking difference in my kapo.

I posted the video last night and here it is with the description of how I had Interpreted Richard's instruction

Exploring something Richard Freeman seemed to be saying'ish at AYC. I've tended to bring my sitting bones together then nutate my hips as much as possible, tilting my hips upwards before dropping back. Richard talked about bringing the sitting bones together and the coccyx forward but then also attempting the draw the pubic bone back towards the coccyx, bringing all four points towards each other and drawing up mula bandha ...then bringing the sacrum through, so the whole unit comes forward and up...something like that, either way it made a surprising difference to my kapo today which has tended to be semi committed winter kapo's for the last couple of months.






For the last couple of months I've tended to do half hearted winter kapo's, happy to just drop back near my feet and walk in before settling down holding the balls of my feet. I've also mostly focussed on Primary through the winter, it's cold in the home shala no matter what I do, I'm happy to reach spring with some semblance of my practice intact.

Here though is my kapo from January employing some of what I picked up from heather Morton's Backbending DVD, I'm working on tilting the pubic bone up and holding it up there with mula bandha.


I was quite happy with this at the time. I'd had another lay off second series due to my Vinyasa Krama practice book project which had taken three months, I managed to graze my heel with my fingertips coming down, not bad after a long lay off, thank you Heather.

The Richard Freeman one above felt quite amazing though, after no heels kapo for a long time I pretty much drop back straight on to them, it all felt comfortable and relaxed.

So what's different.

As I mention in the youtube description I'd tended to nutate/tilt the pelvis backwards leading with the pubic bone but for Richard that's leaving the coccyx behind, he wants you to bring the pubic bone and coccyx together and then bring the sacrum through.

This seems to keep keep the whole unit further forward ( often the big weakness in our kapo's is to let the hips, the pelvis, come back as we lower taking our hands beyond our feet), the attempt to bring the sacrum through seems to tilt the pelvis but as a whole unit, a whole unit because your also bringing your sitting bones together, mula bandha is drawn up (you can see me thinking through all this just before I go back in the first video).

So everything is more...solid, more space created = better, deeper and more importantly, a more comfortable, secure kapo.

But is that what Richard was saying?


Image from here

Richard Freeman's Backbending workshop at Ashtanga Yoga Confluence

I've been waiting all morning for a new rug to arrive (getting irritated with towels) and while waiting have gone through the whole backbend workshop video taking notes which ended up as pretty much a partial transcription of as much as I could catch of what Richard was saying (though mainly the parts about coccyx/pubic bone/sitting bones/sacrum unit).

Here's the first video (the workshop is divided up into four) you can reach the others by clicking on channel.



And here's the transcription. This remember is imperfect as it's so hard to hear (which is why I haven't used quotation marks) but may be helpful if your watching along and want to try some of this out. The section at the end on Urdhva Danhurasana is a combination of all that's said through the first three. For completion sake I'll try and add the last ten minutes of the workshop ( the counter poses ) soon.

Note on the timings: I've stitched the video's together so my timings are based on that


around 2.00 
Do you know where your PC muscle is, the kegal muscle connecting the pubic bone with the coccyx? 
Chain of muscles running from the rectus abdomens across the pubic bone to the coccyx.
Coccyx bone and pubic bone, they almost touch (?)
'pulling a smoothie up through a straw, between your legs…don't think about it'
...sacrum goes down, the pubic bone goes down the sitting bones go down.


13:21 The pelvic floor in terms of it's movement has four corners, two sitting bones, the pubic bone and the coccyx.
They (the angels ?) are working to anchor the four corners back. When you get four corners anchored back and they communicate, the middle point pops up in the opposite direction. Mula Bandha. that's the only way to get mula bandha. But you have to get the four Darkini's (angels?) to help to help you.
You don't squeeze the buttock muscles because the buttock muscles and PC muscles are different.
you can soften the buttock muscles, keep the mid line of the pelvic floor slightly taut 
pull the pubic bone way up to the back
another angel pulls the coccyx back and towards the pubic bone
get those two actions balanced and your spine will lengthen to twice it's normal length
drop the coccyx
pull your perineum up to your tonsils : )
kidney wings
four angles pull the your corners of the pelvic floor back (Oh OK because the want to spread apart, pulling them back towards each other)


16:47 don't allow the elbows to go cross eyed


25:20 Cobra hoodie


29:00 raised arms with twist relaxes the psoas
raise the arm up above your head, rotate the shoulder blade outwards
posterior rotation around the horizontal axis
(BUT keep space between the shoulder blades)


33:00
…come up onto the fingertips as if playing the piano, rotate the shoulder blades out i can move the coccyx back, push down the fingers, widening, rolling back the collar bones the pubic bone goes back.
the pubic bone carries the prana pattern, the coccyx the apana and the two become attracted to each other


36:59 Pashasana (arm movement)


47:00 pelvic floor widens, coccyx dives in the pelvic floor
coccyx is like a bumble bee, pelvic floor like a flower


48:08 end of the exhale tones the pc muscle, holding the coccyx down, a bright gold golden tail.


53.14 bhekhasana ? relax the pubic bone, keep the coccyx going back, play the two patterns back and forth.


59:30 We're going to drop the coccyx, let it flow into the pc muscles but we want to get the pubic bone down and back, because the pubic bone, she's receiving the coccyx and the fibres of the PC muscles toned actually bring the coccyx and pubic bone slightly closer together.
if we just pinch the buttocks, push the pubic bone forward, we're making the pelvic floor longer, more narrow, this will create (tension?) in the Si joints and if not there then the lumbar spine.
We trim the legs slightly inwards, spin them downwards, the coccyx drops, pubic bone stays down and the sacrum goes in and up,
The sacrum is not the coccyx, if the sacrum follows the coccyx down and tries to go into the pelvic floor, the pubic bone gets freaked out.
See the sacrum is the mother of the coccyx, the coccyx is the groom and the bride the pubic bone. In yoga time, the pubic bone sets up the width, the right shape of the pelvic floor and the the coccyx comes and everything is OK. then if the mother-in-law of the also follows the little prince, she is huge, wedge shaped, she tries to come into the pelvic floor, the bride sees the mother-in-law and runs out the other side.
In all these backbends, the direction of the sacrum, once the pelvic floor is balanced, the SI joints become balanced in a way in which the sacrum seems to float forward and up out of the SI joints.
But the coccyx drops down and comes forward, pubic bone drops down and stays back
The coccyx and sacrum are going in two different directions (?).


01:02:30 Ustrasana
Inhaling lift the kidney wings, reach up Spin the arms inwards rather than outwards, radical and then move your sacrum in and up, spreading the kidney wings, then the head goes back


1:05:21 inhaling, nudge your sacrum up and in, keeping the pubic bone dropped down, the coccyx lights up, put a little bend in the elbows to accentuate the inward spin of the arms so that your kidney wings come up, coccyx drops and comes forward….. head goes back, look down your nose and imagine a cobra hood opening up over your head.


1:07:00 cobra hoodie (comes out of the back of the head when shoulder blades are relaxed)


1:09:15 if you balance the width of your sitting bones you can get the sacrum to sit smoothly in the illium and if you change the width of the sitting bones it makes the sacrum tilt forward or back depending on the forces, forward bend back bend. So you use your pelvic floor to adjust the width of your sitting bones and you can get rid of an SI bone pain by adjusting the width of your sitting bones.


1:14:58 Urdhva Danhurasana (Instruction comprised of all three UD's)
You feel like your psoas is in your arm
EXHALE: Draw your knees up, come on to the tips of your toes, 
Pull sitting bones, coccyx and pubic bones to a point between the knees ( pull your coccyx to a point between your knees, let your pubic bone go to that same point (drop your pubic bone back onto the coccyx))
Smile before you go up. 
INHALE, up we go, fill your kidneys with a hundred gallons of fresh air, come to a headstand with your heels lifted, bring your elbows back in, so your upper arms are almost parallel. Pull that sacrum up and in, spread the skin of the lower back, 
EXHALE, feel the skin of the lower front ribs softening (the skin of the lower front ribs draws down towards the pubic bone), Put the inner heel down but don't lose the golden quality in the coccyx, 
INHALE Up to the summit, lengthen those arms to twice the natural length, let the collar bones roll back as the kidney wings spread. spread your lower back, wrap the kidney wings (kidney wings stay wide.), wrap the shoulder blades, push on through the inner heel, the collar bone rolls back,…  
Imagine the cobra hoodie stretching all the way up your spine, spreading, you're patanjali
After a number of breaths...
EXHALE Come down , the shoulders, once the sacrum is on the floor, relax the pallet ahhhh


1:28:45 Another UD
Remember this is a breathing exercise. The breath already knows all this stuff, so turn it over to the breath. One more
Deep breath in, still the kidney wings, Exhale, pull the four corners of the pelvic floor to a point between the knees and then when your ready the inhale boots you off, wrap the shoulder blades wides, lengthen the arms, remember the arms stretch the psoas muscles, the coccyx pops up between the legs like a ...tail, your pubic bone should fall back onto the coccyx


Last ten minutes of counter poses to come.


Obviously I'll be coming back to this to tidy it up some more and review it but somebody might be helpful, especially if they attended the workshop and suffered from information overload.

All things Richard

Richard Freeman's website http://yogaworkshop.com/




His Book (left)  The Mirror of Yoga






Pranayama CD
I downloaded this earlier in the week, post to come









His DVD's of course, must practice with his Intermediate series again this week and see if any of this stuff comes up, I remember a lot about the palate last time I practiced with it. In fact here's a link to the store on his website. http://yogaworkshop.com/store/

UPDATE: Nice video of Richard discussing yoga posted on Eddie Stern's blog today http://ayny.org/richard-freeman.html

Now my new rug has arrived, I'm off to practice 2nd and try and put all this into practice.

9 comments:

  1. Hey G.

    I can attest that some of the metaphors you mention -- golden tails, cobra hoodies -- make sense in person. The cobra hoodie, which I took to mean expand from your lats in a fanning sort of motion, the way a cobra fans out its "hood" (the image of Patanjali on our site has this), particularly has helped me move the support of me (admittedly crappy) backbends from my deltoids into my back.

    Something else I'd stress that comes through in person, in case it didn't: Richard is charmingly funny.

    ReplyDelete
  2. David Garrigues also articulates the meaning of the cobra hood in his video on bakasana, which you can find on his website. It's a very interesting concept to me.

    PS Where did you get that blue rug? Very nice! :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Here's David's discussion: http://vimeo.com/30841522

    ReplyDelete
  4. Not knocking the metaphors Steve, great for remembering things and there's a hell of a lot in this workshop, an incredible amount actually, think if I'd come away with just one of those i would have been happy. Just finished 2nd and was working all the sacrum, coccyx, pubic bone stuff and then started to throw in a little of the opening of the shoulders and hoody bits too and you start finding even more space, great great stuff. Then just as i was settling in i remembered there was something about relaxing the skin around the lower rib and kidney wings that i'd forgotten...
    So nice this came up just as the warmer weather is coming on, looking forward to exploring it all.

    This has all been a bit of a revelation, had kind of pigeon holed him as the serious yoga philosophy guy but your ,right charming, funny and of course he was always the amazingly graceful one in all the old videos, it's like, oh yeah, Richard does asana too, forgotten that.

    Love his sense of play and experimentation, can imagine him practicing and still coming across things and thinking 'ahhh, that's interesting, what if I do this...'

    Thanks Anon, will check out David G's version.

    Blue rug came from Amazon UK, just practiced on it, enjoyed. Wonder how often you have to wash them, so used to taking my equal towel in the shower with me.

    ReplyDelete
  5. My friend all this will happen if you tie a langot and practice asanas.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W6jL-eZtKCI

    may be you don't need a blog then );;

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hey, second posting, galaxyate my first comment. This is EXACTLY what marci was trying to get me do, but love the way this has been put. Also like the introvert thing on facebook, feeling very much that way here, amoungst all these trance party people.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thanks for the video link Anon, looks complicated.

    Hi エスタ, hate it when my comments get eaten, especially the long ones, or even worse on the iPad when you can't go back and edit. Marci comes from an Iyengar background does't she. hope practice is going well if nothing else...and the sunsets of course.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hi, really nice read. I think I had a similar impression to you of Richard prior to meeting him. Then when I finally took his workshop I was amazed how much fun he was. Reminded me of agent smith from the matrix.

    ps. love the picture too. I think I've got some others on my website that show the pc muscle too. I think the coccygeus is also relevant to what richard talks about. It helps to pull the sitting bones inwards. It attaches to from the coccyx to the points just above the sitting bones and I think what can happen is that if contracted with the pc muscle, the sitting bones, and coccyx are all drawn towards the pubic bone. This can then cause the coccycx and sacrum to tilt back relative to the pelvis and my feeling is that this action spreads the top of the pelvis, moving the wings of the pelvis outwards and the top of the sacrum backwards.

    Doing the opposite and moving the pubic bone towards the coccycx (?) can cause the pelvis to tilt forward (a tiny tiny amount) relative to the sacrum.

    I'm guessing whether you move the coccyx towards the pubic bone or the pubic bone towards the coccyx depends on the posture that you are doing.

    I've also got my own notes on richards workshop on my website if you are interested.

    all the best

    Neil

    ReplyDelete
  9. Thank you for this Neil, very curious about how and why this pubic bone coccyx relation, why it is it has such a eureka effect. Will take a look at your website as well as your notes on Richard's workshop. thanks for stopping by.

    ReplyDelete

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A Reminder

from Kalama sutra, translation from the Pali by Bhikkhu Bodhi This blog included.

"So, as I said, Kalamas: 'Don't go by reports, by legends, by traditions, by scripture, by logical conjecture, by inference, by analogies, by agreement through pondering views, by probability, or by the thought, "This contemplative is our teacher." When you know for yourselves that, "These qualities are unskillful; these qualities are blameworthy; these qualities are criticized by the wise; these qualities, when adopted & carried out, lead to harm & to suffering" — then you should abandon them.' Thus was it said. And in reference to this was it said.

"Now, Kalamas, don't go by reports, by legends, by traditions, by scripture, by logical conjecture, by inference, by analogies, by agreement through pondering views, by probability, or by the thought, 'This contemplative is our teacher.' When you know for yourselves that, 'These qualities are skillful; these qualities are blameless; these qualities are praised by the wise; these qualities, when adopted & carried out, lead to welfare & to happiness' — then you should enter & remain in them. Buddha - Kalama Sutta
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