robert

Modifying Half-Way Lift?

10 posts in this topic

So I'm still working on my hamstring flexibility and it's improved a little. I've started working on the 'A' sun salutation but am having some troubble achieving the desired flat, parelell to the ground back in the half way lift. I can make it flatter in a 'more than half way' position with hands on legs, but then it's impossible to jump back. What would be the best compromise? Another thing, Candace uses the term 'cactus the arms' quite often in her videos, what does this mean?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think I know what cactus arms means but I'm not good at explaining it. Umm... so I'm pretty sure it's when you're lying on your back and you have your arms to the side, horizontal, and put your hands up. So 90 degree angle. I have no idea if that makes sense :( but imagine one of those stereotypical desert cacti how they have the two 'arms' out to the side and heading up toward the sun. http://globe-views.com/dreams/cactus.html

Vicky likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The half way lift is called Ardha Uttanasana (sometimes also called Urdvah Uttanasana). I'm not trying to be difficult using the Sanskrit names, it is used to avoid confusion. 

 

With the half way lift the hands can be on the thighs, knees, shins, top of feet, or the floor. The hand location is not important. Like you wrote work at achieving a flat back. After the inhale is complete with the half way lift exhale and bend the knees to place the hands on the floor. Then walk the feet back. After you are comfortable walking the feet back try stepping the feet back - step one foot back at a time. Then jump the feet back. Then float the feet back.

 

After you walk the feet back your options are Plank pose, Cobra pose, Chaturanga Dandasana with the knees on the ground, or full Chaturanga Dandasana.

 

This video is very good for getting started

http://www.yogajournal.com/video/video/salute-the-sun-modified/

MrBalloonHands likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ah, Saguaro cactus, I get the reference now.

Thank you for explaining Anahata, that clears my confusion. Raise from the forward fold to a flat back, then fold again to step back. What would be the difference between jumping and floating back?

--edit--

If the action described in the folowing video, that would require substantially more flexibility in the hips than I have at the moment:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Jumping back uses the legs and lower body to do most of the work and the weight. Floating back uses the arms and upper body. It is very useful to at least partially learn this when a person is ready.
The video below is titled jumping back but that is misleading. It is floating back because as you can see there is no weight in the feet.
Does all this seem too difficult today? No problem.
You can still do it. Start by transferring a small amount of weight to the hands. Maybe only 1%, then 2%, then 3%, then a little more and little more. And you can see where this is going. Eventually your feet will lift from the ground. Even if your forward fold isn’t ready for this now someday it will be. And when it is your arms, shoulders and understanding will be ready and it will happen. If a person pushes into this too soon without the basics built up could injure the shoulders.
This pressing into the ground is also a little trick to help relax the muscles on the backside of the body to help with lengthening. Which will make your forward fold progress nicely along.
 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That makes sense, floating back is more transferring the bodyweight into the hands and lifting the legs. As is I can only barely touch my fingers to the floor, so it isn't possible to put any notable weight into them, but I'll keep it in mind. That float back does look like a very controlled and graceful movement. Interesting coincidence that you linked to a video by Mark Darby. I was aware of him as he liked(facebook) a picture I took of Marcus Felsner (yoga teacher/ocarina maker) at Budrio ocarina festival last weekend.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ditto what everyone said. Also, know that it's perfectly fine to bend your knees some in order to reach your hands to the ground (while maintaining a flat) back in lieu of stepping back, assuming that you aren't working under a guru or style of yoga that dictates otherwise.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Robert, you can start to work on this now. When you bend your knees to put your hands on the ground to step back to plank put a little extra weight into your hands. Just shift the weight forward to feel a little more weight in your hands. then slowly build on this when you are ready.
 
Every pose in the sun salutation has a purpose of preparing for what comes next in advancing a practice. The transition to Plank or Chaturanga if practiced this way strengthens the upper body to prepare for Crane pose, all the arm balances, handstands, pick up and jump back (from seated).
 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now