Betsy, Carolyn, Chris, Karen, Sara, and a new guy, Dan from Florida
Known Constraints: Chris working with shoulder problems
Focus: Moving from the Tailbone
See Stick Figure Drawing.
1. Establishing the Forward and Backward Actions of the Tailbone
a. Baddha Konasana with heals about 12" from groin
With focus on moving from the tailbone, a few rounds of rounding and arching the back, eventually finding a rounded fold over the feet for about a minute. Countered with a supported arch.
b. Squat to Uttanasana
Focusing on using the tailbone drawing under to round the back and bend the knees and tailbone lifting up to stretch the hamstrings. Focused and specific.
2. Creating Room in Side Waist and Shoulders
a) Parsva Utthita Tadasana Variation
Interlock fingers in front of body. Turn palms to face away from you and bring arms over the top of the head. Lean right and left and twist hips back and forth to wiggle out of waist. From here, roll left hip forward, drawing right hip back. Draw tailbone under and round the back as you widen the elbows to find the stretch across the shoulder blades. Gaze is towards earth. Come back to center and repeat on other side.
b) Forward Fold Shoulder Stretch
Bring arms behind back and interlock fingers, stretching arms away from you. Tip tailbone up, as pelvis spills forward. Bend knees and allow the chest to rest on the thighs. Dangle your head and allow arms to reach up and away from you. To bring stretch into legs, draw tailbone up. 5 breaths or so. Bring arms back to sacrum, release interlock and roll back up.
Repeating the above, but this time with a Twist.
c) Interlock fingers in front of body with opposite finger on top. Bring arms over the top of the head. Lean right and left and twist hips back and forth to wiggle out of waist. From here, roll left hip forward, drawing right hip back. Draw tailbone under and round the back as you widen the elbows to find the stretch across the shoulder blades. Gaze is towards earth. Begin to slowly, draw right elbow under as you roll chest open to sky. Keeping the elbows bent will allow for more freedom in the shoulders. To intensify the stretch, draw arms towards straight. To release, roll heart back to earth and slowly come back to center. Repeat on other side.
d) Repeating the shoulder stretch detailed in (b) with arms behind the back, but interlock fingers with the opposite finger on top. Instead of rolling back up to standing we will moved into Vinaysa Sequence 1.
3. Vinyasa Sequence 1
(Half Arch, Twisting Lunge, Crescent Moon, Pyramid Variation, Dog, Plank, Sphinx, Locust, Cobra, Rocket Cat, Dog, Standing Split Curls, Squat, 1/2 Chair, Utkatasana, Tadasana)
a) Half arch
Drawing awareness to the compression in the lower spine as tailbone and heart lift. Paying attention to the relief of releasing the compression into a forward fold.
Step right foot back, bend left knee. On fingertips and with back knee lifted, draw tailbone under and roll it up, feeling how it affects the whole spine.
c) Twisting Lunge
Tuck right shoulder under, bring left thumb to left hip crease. Draw tailbone up to assist in chest spiralling up and to the left. Eventually let left arm reach towards sky. Unwind and bring left hand back to earth.
d) Crescent Moon
Drop right knee to floor and explore the different feeling up drawing tailbone under vs. rolling it up to sky. Draw tailbone under and reach hands into center of room, rounding the back. Allow heart to feel soft and light as arms and chest eventually lift to sky. Explore here. If desirable, bend right elbow, bringing hand behind head and use left hand on right elbow to stretch the triceps and lean to the left to get more room on the right side. On Inhale, release arms back to sky and exhale them to the floor.
e) Pyramid variation
With both hands on either side of the left foot, draw legs towards straight, stretching the hamstrings. Stay on ball of back foot. Flex front foot to access calf. To release, bend front knee.
f) Down Dog
Step back to Down Dog, playing with tailbone.
Explore how stresses in body change depending on the tailbone action
Lower to the earth and find sphinx. Exploring the ability to traction the heart forward and draw tailbone towards feet.
g) Locust to Cobra
Draw hands under shoulders and lift heart forward and up, legs up. With emphasis on the traction of the spine, rock slowly into cobra.
h) Rocket Cat
Tuck Toes under and Press into the shape of a question mark, rounding the back, drawing the tailbone under a lot.
i) Down Dog
j) One Legged Dog
Lift Left Leg up, exploring the tailbone as the lever.
Use tailbone curling under to step foot in between hands.
l) Standing Split Curls
Press into front foot and lift back right leg up. Use tailbone to curl in and get little (knee to knee and forehead to knee) and use tailbone to extend leg long again. 3 to 4 rounds, pausing in Extended Standing Splits.
o) Half Chair to Utkatasana
Curl Tailbone under and round back as you reach into center of the room. Slowly, keeping the legs strong, allow upper body to float into Utkatasana.
Exhale to press back up to standing.
Repeat Vinyasa 1 on other side, but explore rolling into cobra from Dog, focusing on the tailbone.
5. Eagle Arm Spine Stretch
Wrap Right arm under left, palms together. Press elbows away from body to create stretch through upper shoulders. Begin to curl tailbone under. Still reaching elbows away from you, start to pull elbows in towards your belly to create full spinal stretch. Wiggling a little will allow the feeling to dig under opposing shoulder blades. Keeping arms wrapped, begin to unfurl and stretch arms up to sky before releasing. Repeat with other arm on top.
6. Vinyasa Sequence 2
(Twisting Lunge, Warrior 1, Parsvotanasana, Warrior 3, pigeon, Revolved Dog, Upward Facing Dog, Dhanurasana, Standing Splits, Half Chair, Utkatasana, Tadasana)
a) Forward fold shoulder stretch
b) Half Arch
Step left foot back.
d) Twisting Lunge
Start with left arm reaching into center of room and twist chest up so it is more like a twisting side angle variation.
e) Warrior 1
Emphasizing tailbone rolling under and rounding the back before ultimately letting the heart lift.
Release Warrior 1 by drawing the front left leg straight. Bring hands into reverse prayer and fold over. To release, keep legs strong as you draw heart back up. Release hands down the back and up over the top of the head.
g) Warrior 3
Bring weight into front left leg and lift back right leg up. Pause and lengthen. Let tailbone be the lever to tip body towards floor.
h) Standing Splits
Release hands to earth and lif back leg for a few beats.
Release right leg behind you and bend left knee
j) Pigeon with Thigh Stretch
Toe heal left foot over and land in pigeon. Lean to the left and bend back knee, catching the foot or ankle in right hand. Begin to stretch the thigh by bringing foot to buttock. To intensify the stretch, roll right hip forward.
k) Pigeon with Swan Rolls
Release back foot. Place hands on either side of body and allow spine to undulate as you find Swan Rolls. Eventually release forward to stretch back of hip.
l) Revolved Dog
Release out of pigeon, back to Dog and allow yourself to drop over into the back bend. Gracefully rolling back to dog.
m) Upward Facing Dog
Using the tailbone, roll from Dog into Upward Facing Dog. Repeat.
n) One legged Dog to Lunge
Lift Left Leg and step foot forward between hands
o) Standing Split Curls
q) Half Chair to Utkatasana
Repeat on other side, but after rolling into Upward Facing Dogs land on the belly and offer a Bow Pose or two in preparation for Camel.
After completing the second side, move from Squat into Uttanasana and back to Dog.
I had the students sit in "toe torture pose" (sitting on heals with toes tucked under) while I demonstrated rolling from Rocket Cat to Ustrasana (Camel).
7. Main Event, Rolling into Camel
Starting in Rocket Cat with toes tucked under, draw the tailbone under to move hips forward. Slowly begin to allow hands to lift and find prayer position at the heart. Pressing thumbs to heart and heart to thumbs go up in the heart, down and forward in the tailbone to start to drop back into Camel. We played with this a few rounds. There was a variety of levels. Some students kept hands at heart and focused on the lifting, some allowed hands to float back to ankles, one moved to kapotasana.
8. Counter and Wind Down
a) Childs pose.
On one side:
b)Ardha Matsyendrasana, half lord of the fishes spinal twist
c) Gomukhasana, Cow face (I made the shoulder stretch optional, emphasizing the folding over the legs to stretch the hips out)
Repeat other side
3 minutes to prepare for Savasana