Laurie Blakeney has flown into the islands like the much needed trade winds and began her workshop this week. I attended the morning basic class. We started with an hour of seated poses: dandasana, swastikasana, baddha konasana, and upavistha konasana. The emphasis was to address stiff hips.
In dandasana, she had us engage both legs at a time and notice which one engaged first. Then she had us engage one leg at a time. It was telling on how we have a tendency to work one leg more than the other, and more minutely, how we work certain parts of each leg more than the others.
In swastikasana, we did a forward bend with a folded blanket under the cross of the shins. She called this “rolling uphill.” I had a tremendously difficult time in the forward bend as I am quite girthy. “It doesn’t matter what is hanging out, what matters in the interior abdominal muscles behind what’s hanging out,”Blakeney said.
In baddha konasana, we leaned to one side to get the whole side of the thigh on the floor, then slowly shifted back to the middle trying to keep the thigh on the floor as long as possible. This was quite effective in elongating the inner groin muscles.
We then did a quick transition between baddha konasana and upavistha konasana with our fingers behind the knee tendon. We monitored which knee tendon “snapped” our fingers first (of if they snapped at all). Again this built tremendous awareness on how one side often acts differently than the other, and how within the leg there are different movements. In upavistha she noted that the feet should not be the “shining star” but rather the work of the quadriceps. An ongoing theme over the past few years with Laurie is she noticed Hawaii practitioners have overactive feet, likely a symptom of wearing slippers, and wants us to soften them more in our poses.
More to come as I didn’t address the second part of her class, the standing poses…